Beechcraft N-35 Bonanza (right)
One of the most popular of the post-World War II single engine private aircraft the Beech Bonanza has maintained its popularity as it approaches its sixth decade of service. First flown in December of 1945 the Bonanza was certified by the CAA in 1947 and was an immediate hit with over 1,000 built in 1947. The Bonanza remained in production through several design variants until 1982 when the 10,403rd and last “V-tail” was delivered. The N35 variant of the Bonanza was introduced in 1961. It featured a 19-inch cabin extension, more powerful engine, and a higher gross weight. The most noticeable difference from earlier Bonanzas is the larger third window on each side of the fuselage. A total of 280 were built.
Cessna 150L (center)
Designed as a follow up to the Cessna 140A as a two seat trainer the Model 150 entered production in 1958 and met with resounding success. The 150 outsold all similar aircraft throughout the 1960s and 1970s. By the late 1960s over half of all civil flight training in the United States was being done in the Model 150. The main criteria for the Model 150 were reasonable performance at a low cost. The aircraft delivered both and has remained popular both as a trainer and for pleasure flying. The “L” version of the Model 150 was introduced in 1971. Modifications included a longer dorsal fin to improve stability and modified landing gear that reduced weight and improved the plane’s handling on the ground. It was also Cessna’s habit to give each model year’s aircraft a different paint scheme, even if no other changes were made.
Erco 415C Ercoupe (left)
Designed by Fred Weick this small two passenger private plane first built in 1939 introduced several revolutionary design elements to the light plane pilots of the day. It was the first General Aviation type aircraft with a tricycle landing gear, was of all metal mono-coupe design with a low wing and when compared to its high wing, tube framed, and fabric covered competitors it looked very sophisticated and modern. However, the most intriguing design element is not visible from outside the aircraft. In its standard form the Ercoupe does not have rudder pedals. The rudder is mechanically linked to the ailerons and turning the control wheel controls both. This virtually eliminates the possibility of spinning the aircraft. The Ercoupe was first sold in 1939, but World War II temporarily stopped production. In 1946, it resumed and Erco built 4,309 of them that year alone. Production continued at significantly lower rates until 1950 when Erco stopped building aircraft. Several other companies have built Ercoupes over the years since and the last one left the assembly line in 1970.
Bede BD-4 (behind tree)
The BD-4 is one of the first true “kitplane” homebuilt aircraft. This means that the buyer did not just receive a set of plans but an entire kit with all the parts needed to build the plane. The first kits were sold in 1968 and the aircraft remains popular today even though the kits are no longer available. The BD-4 enjoys one of the best safety records of all homebuilt aircraft and this combined with the ease of construction and a long list of optional equipment explains the aircraft’s continued popularity nearly 40 years after its introduction.
By kjfitz @ 2007-11-17 10:28:51