Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 12

Thread: Blast from the (Fly Baby) Past

  1. #1
    rwanttaja's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    2,315

    Blast from the (Fly Baby) Past

    I was emailed several days ago, a woman whose husband recently passed away. He had known Pete Bowers in the '60s, and she said she'd found some old Fly Baby pictures in a photo album and wondered if I'd like scans of them.

    They turned out to be pretty neat.

    You see, the Fly Baby prototype crashed just a few months prior to the EAA contest at Rockford in 1963. Pete ended up building a new fuselage, incorporating some changes to improve the handling and make it better. For instance, the tail was lengthened by seven inches. While he was at it, the FAA had also demanded a change in N-number...since short N-Numbers like N13P were only to be used on very small aircraft that couldn't fit a full number. So the rebuilt Fly Baby was registered as N500F, and that's what you see in most pictures.

    The pictures supplied by Ruth Weston are of the pre-crash version of the Fly Baby. And they're pretty sharp....



    The other cool thing was that almost all the photos of N500F show Pete Bowers flying it. These have Phil Weston...which, coupled with the excellent quality, makes me think that Pete himself took the shots.

    We haven't figured out the significance of the hand-lettered "E2" on the top of the vertical tail. It's quite possible that this was identification for the EAA contest in 1960...when it was postponed due to having only two contestants. Other pictures of N13P show this number quite faded.

    Ron Wanttaja

  2. #2
    rwanttaja's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    2,315
    Quote Originally Posted by rwanttaja View Post
    We haven't figured out the significance of the hand-lettered "E2" on the top of the vertical tail. It's quite possible that this was identification for the EAA contest in 1960...when it was postponed due to having only two contestants. Other pictures of N13P show this number quite faded.
    I looked through the October 1960 issue of Sport Aviation, which covers Rockford and the attempt to hold the contest that summer. A LOT of airplanes have hand-drawn two-digit identifiers at the top of the tail.
    Name:  digits.JPG
Views: 540
Size:  36.7 KB

    Anyone know what they were for?

    Ron Wanttaja

  3. #3
    EAA Staff Joda's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Oshkosh, Wisconsin, United States
    Posts
    193
    Very interesting stuff Ron. Thanks for posting!!
    Cheers!

    Joe

  4. #4
    planecrazzzy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    When you go Up North , We're just North of that
    Posts
    167
    Quote Originally Posted by Joda View Post
    Very interesting stuff Ron. Thanks for posting!!
    I just think it's amazing they built planes back then... I'd be lost without the internet.
    A lot of A&P's have kept me save.... That's why more people should be posting building progress.

    Gotta Fly...
    .

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    257
    Very cool. Thanks for sharing! I'm sure that EAA's Tracy Lifeisanadventure would be interested in these photos and story. She needs to put her Fly Baby first in line to be restored.

  6. #6
    rwanttaja's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    2,315
    Getting access to these pictures inspired me to do a bit more research into the conversion of N13P to N500F, which Pete Bowers discussed quite fully in the December 1962 issue of Sport Aviation.

    The article *did* make me think, though... should Fly Baby N500F have been disqualified from the 1962 contest?

    I put a write-up together to discuss this: Pretender to the Throne.

    Ron Wanttaja

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    257
    Was the Loving airplane the only other airplane in the competition?

    I found the part about EAA owning the rights to the aircraft interesting (and later rescinded) because that is the premise of the cuuurrent Innovation Prize that is not gettting good ideas either. I believe because of that clause. Interesting information.

  8. #8
    rwanttaja's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    2,315
    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Blum View Post
    Was the Loving airplane the only other airplane in the competition?
    I noticed my write-up wasn't too clear, and have added more detail.

    Anyway, Loving's pusher was at the 1960 convention, when the decision was made to push the judging back two years. However, Loving didn't have the plane at the '62 convention when the contest was run. Eighteen people had entered, but only six airplanes showed up:

    - Bowers Fly Baby
    - Turner T-40
    - Nesmith Cougar
    - Treft Contestor
    - Lacey M-10
    - Spezio Tuholer.

    Pete felt the Tuholer was his major competitor, with its two-seat design and use of a Lycoming ground power unit as an engine.



    Ron Wanttaja

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Circle Pines MN
    Posts
    231
    Nice photos and story, thanks.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    257
    Which airplanes are what in the photo. I know a few but not all. Thanks!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •