The Biplane

GKT Rack Card

 

The airplane is a 1927 Waco Model 10 Straightwing, pronounced “Wah-Co” like taco. “Way-Co” is a town in Texas.

The history of Waco began in 1919 when Clayton Bruckner and Elwood Junkin met barnstorming pilots Charley Meyers and George “Buck” Weaver. Wanting to build on the fame and reputation of Buck Weaver, the trade name Waco is an acronym using the title letters for Weaver Aircraft Company. From 1920 to 1947, the company produced a wide range of civilian biplanes in Troy, Ohio, not far from the birthplace of aviation. Waco gained a reputation as the producers of rugged and reliable aircraft, “Ask Any Pilot” became Waco’s slogan. Their planes were popular with business people, the postal services, crop dusters and explorers, especially after 1930 when the company began producing closed cabin models in addition to the open cockpit biplanes. Between the wars, there were more Wacos on the US civil registry than the aircraft of any other company.

The Model 10 was introduced in 1927 and was numerically the most important type to be built by Waco, with 1,623 built between 1927 and 1933. Featuring a steel tube fuselage and wood framed wings, both covered with fabric, the Model 10 carried two passengers side by side in a cockpit under the upper wing and ahead of the Pilot, who had a separate cockpit. The Waco 10 was a quantum leap forward in aviation technology for it’s day featuring ailerons on both upper and lower wings which were strut linked, an adjustable stabilizer and the first hydraulic shock absorber landing gear built into a small aircraft. It was fitted with a very large variety of engines, both radial and V-8 configurations. The Model 10 came with two wing options: the straightwing had more lift and load carrying ability, while the taperwing was a faster and sportier version. Noted for it’s quick and straighforward takeoffs, a speedy rate of climb and equally tolerable landing speeds. the Model 10’s performance soon made it the most popular small aircraft in the United States. By 1927, more than 40 percent of small aircraft sold in the country were Wacos, including 350 Model 10’s at a sticker price of $2,460. The Waco Model 10’s reputation extended to the air race circuit as well: an OX-5 90 hp. Straightwing Model 10 won the 1927 New York to Spokane, WA. Transcontinental Air Derby and a Wright J-5 220 hp. Taperwing Model 10 won the National Air Tour the following year. In 1928. Ed Hedeen set a world aerobatic record by making 283 consecutive barrel rolls in an OX-5 powered Model 10 Straightwing.

N312DC was originally equipped with a V-8 water cooled surplus WWI engine that produced 90 hp. These engines were purchased cheap from the US government and were popular with Aircraft Builders of the 1920’s. In 1939 the airplane was tucked away in a Wisconsin barn until the 1980’s when renowned aircraft restorer Dale Crites performed a complete ground up restoration of the aircraft. At that time he replaced the old surplus WWI engine with a new fangled surplus WWII radial engine that put out 220 hp at nearly the same weight.

There are 36 Waco Model 10’s registered in the US and maybe a dozen are still flying, so you will be taking a ride in a true piece of American history! This aircraft is an authentic vintage biplane not a replica and has been lovingly restored to “like new” condition.