Gateway Arch Fly-by

N277DC is powered by a Lycoming O-540 (235 hp) engine turning a fixed-pitch climb prop.
Equipment includes a KX-155 Comm Radio, Mode-C Transponder, ELT, and Garmin 196 GPS.
The two-place bubble canopy, cabin heat, and insulation make it a fine winter flying machine.

A "real" airplane should have two wings.
(Adapted from thoughts of Mike Whaley, Steen Aero Lab) 

      Bi-planes have a magical, irresistible appeal.  They remind us of the early days of aviation, when flying was a romantic adventure shared by only a few daring men and fewer women.  They sometimes flew with a purpose, but often simply for the pure joy of flight. 
      Bi-planes conjure up images of aerobatics....  who hasn't enjoyed seeing a Pitts Special or a big Waco at an airshow?  The roots of display aerobatics were in the barnstorming era of the 1920's and 30's, when pilots in WWI-surplus bi-planes began to establish the basis of both general and commercial aviation as we know it today.        The bi-plane was there during the Golden Age of aviation...and it's just as golden today.  Things have changed much since then...  yet the bi-plane continues on, stronger than ever.  Some folks don't seem to realize that it never went away.  Sure, there aren't any supersonic bi-planes and Boeing isn't likely to hang a second set of wings on the 787.  Yet the Soviet-designed Antonov AN-2, the largest single-engine bi-plane in the world, was built by the tens of thousands, and many are still in daily service.  The Pitts Special is celebrating over 50 years as a premiere aerobatic aircraft and the Starduster Too, with its beautiful lines and classic bi-plane looks, is more popular than ever.  And Jimmy Franklin has even mounted a turbojet engine underneath his 1937 Waco UPF-7.  There's just something special about a bi-plane!
      Aviation lovers know that it's not just about speed and fuel efficiency.  They know that flying is about much, much more.  Though the decades have taught us well and aviation is now the safest mode of transportation available, the romance and wonder that aviators knew back in the early days is still here, calling to us in the magical song of wires stretched tightly between two wings. 
There's just something special about a bi-plane!

“Seven Delta Charlie” is a Starduster Too (SA-300) Originally Constructed in 1977 by Richard Chapple

The Starduster Too is the most popular sport biplane in the country.  Its classic biplane style and elliptical shaped wings make it the prettiest biplane ever built.  It is a two-place machine that is fast and large enough for a cross-country flight with two people and baggage and strong and maneuverable enough for sport aerobatics. The main structure of the airplane is built of 4130 steel tubing.  The wings have spars and ribs made of 1/4" spruce plywood and are covered with fabric just as all biplanes were constructed during the first half-century of flight.  This proven design, first flown in the 1960s, is licensed as an experimental-amateur built aircraft.  There are more than 1,000 Starduster Too’s flying.

It's a Smith DSA-1, Tail # N1321

DSA-1 stands for "Damn Small Airplane - Single Seat"

Designed by the late Frank Smith of Fullerton, Calif., who built and flew the first one in 1956, it is commonly known as a "Smith Miniplane."

In 1970, Bud Davisson wrote: "The Smith Miniplane is right out of the back of every pilot's mind. It flies in the margins of notebooks and lands on the backs of napkins. We've all doodled something similar when our subconscious takes over and the "perfect" airplane flows out of the pencil. I'm sure, at one time or other, most of us have thought about our own personal little biplane. We've all dreamed, but somehow not many of us get past the doodling stage. Frank Smith did."

N1321 is a fully aerobatic, open cockpit, 80 hp fun machine that's an absolute blast to fly. It has a 17-ft. wing span and is only 5-1/2 ft. tall and 15-1/2 ft. long. (It's approximately 5 inches shorter and narrower than a Pitts Special.) Its 17 gallons of fuel are sipped at just over 4 gallons per hour giving it a range in excess of 400 miles. N1321 was built with a variable pitch trim system and "I" struts instead of the original "N" struts giving it additional strength and less drag.

N1321 is Powered by a Franklin 4AC-176-F3 4-cylinder engine producing 80hp @ 2500 rpm

SPEEDS: Cruise--110 mph; Top Speed level flight--120 mph; Stall--50 mph
Takeoff Run--450ft; Landing Roll--400 ft.; Rate of Climb--1000 fpm

N1321's HISTORY:

Construction of Smith Miniplane N1321 began January 15, 1964 in Montrose, California by Emery H. Sunday. The airframe was constructed from 4130 Chromaloy Steel and Sitka Spruce and was covered in 3.7 oz. Dacron fabric treated with Butyrate Dope. The plane was constructed according to the approved plans set with the following exception: the spring landing gear was designed by Nick D’Apuzzo and was constructed from 1095 heat-treated steel and shock struts designed by Claude Gray were added. The application for a Special Airworthiness Certificate was filed April 16, 1968 and the aircraft was registered to Emery H. Sunday, Jr. on April 22, 1968. It originally flew with a 90 hp Franklin engine and a Fahlin wood propeller.

On February 24, 1970, N1321 was sold to Louis M. Sauve’ of Monrovia, California. Aircraft history over the next several years is somewhat sketchy as the aircraft was cannibalized and the engine was removed for use in other project aircraft. On April 4, 1975, the remaining aircraft parts (without an engine) were sold to Phillip. W. Ewanko, of Fontana, California.

The parts were reassembled, the current engine was installed, and the aircraft was certified July 26, 1977 with Paul D. Goodrich listed as the manufacturer. Mr. Goodrich first flew N1321 on September 5, 1977. After completing the test flight requirements, the aircraft was issued a new Special Airworthiness Certificate on May 22, 1980 and the aircraft was sold to Donald J. Dobbins of Garden Grove, California, on May 25, 1980, who resold it to Fred M. Ramer of Anaheim, California on January 17, 1981, who flew and maintained it from 1982 through 1986.

Over the next decade, N1321 went through periods of inactivity and multiple owners. No flights were recorded in 1987, 1988, or 1990. It was transferred to Scott D. Morrett of Buellton, California on July 3, 1989 and to three co-owners, Sharabi Avinoan, Kotter Gideon, and Lazrovits Martini on Oct. 13, 1991. After 1992, it did not fly again until after it went through a complete renovation completed on July 4, 1997.

The aircraft was completely rebuilt and recovered with ceconite fabric and Randolph buterate dope in 1997. It was painted with Stits Polytone Lemon Yellow paint and trimmed with Plasticoate Pacific Blue stripes. It was re-rigged and inspected by Rick Olson, who was an A&P and also the aircraft owner through February 2001.

The aircraft has continued to fly since and has gone through a series of ownership transfers, from Rick Olson to Larry Schuer on February 10, 2001; to R. W. Lembcke on an unknown date; to Joshua Smit on May 14, 2003; to Brian Kissinger on September 14, 2006; and finally to me on May 8, 2007. This sweet little biplane moved on to a new home in Florida in 2011.


My first plane was a 1951 Piper PA-22 Tripacer.

Next came a 1966 Cessna 177 Cardinal

I've owned two Mooneys and have flown all the models made in the 1960's & 70's. As a 100-hour private pilot with only 7 hours total Mooney time, I had the great privilege of ferrying new Mooneys from the factory in Kerrville, TX to St. Louis.


My U. S. Air Force planes:

The Northrop T-38B Talon is a fantastic aircraft. I spent four years introducing Luftwaffe pilots to the thriills of flying supersonic jets.


I proudly flew Lockheed C-141 A & B Starlifters all over the globe on a variety of missions that included humanitarian relief, aeromedical evacuation, and heavy equipment and personnel airdrop. What a beautiful workhorse!


Many people have seen this beautiful C-141 photo over the past 25 years
but few know anything about the photo or the mission that was being flown.
The trivia question that must go with this photo is . . .

"Which direction is the airplane flying?"

Some guess it's flying west into the sunset and others say "east into the sunrise."

The true answer is: DUE NORTH!
The C-141 formation had just closed the rear cargo doors after
completing a resupply drop at McMurdo Sound on Antarctica.

(From the south pole, all directions are north.)