Curtiss Wright Travel Air D4000
Baujahr / Built in:
Pilot oder Besitzer / Pilot or owner:
Stationiert in / Stationed in:
Compton Abbas, England
Motor / Engine:
Continental W-670Leistung / Performance:
Abmessungen / Measurement:
Max. Abfluggewicht / Max. takeoff weight:
Weitere Informationen / More information
Travel Air was the collaboration of three aviation pioneers; Walter Beech, Clyde Cessna and Lloyd Stearman and came into being in 1925 in what was to become the cradle of American aviation; Wichita, Kansas. Famous models such as the Travel Air 5000 and 6000 to the sleek Mystery Ship R that won the Thompson Trophy in 1929, were all designed and manufactured here.
NC5427 was first registered by Walter Beech on May 7, 1928 as a Travel Air Model 3000, Serial Number 516, equipped with a Hispano Suiza Type E liquid cooled 180HP engine, a wooden Jacuzzi propeller, and granted registration number 5427.
She made her way by rail to San Francisco Aerodrome (what is now Oakland Airport), California to D. G. Warren Co., the Travel Air dealer at the time and sold to W. J. Browne of Stockton, California on April 6, 1929.
Mr. Browne owned her up until 1934 when she changed hands a couple of times before G. E. Cannon acquired her in 1935 through 1940. Mr. Cannon had Bendix brakes and a Hamilton Standard metal propeller installed in 1936.
A few owners further along but always in California and a steerable tail wheel is installed in 1941 followed by a Pioneer Altimeter, Consolidated Tachometer, Consolidated ASI, Carvil Compass and new front windscreen. These airplanes were originally designed for rides and not mail, instruction or, as was to come later, crop dusting, so instruments in the front cockpit were rare if at all.
In 1943 she moved on to Phoenix, Arizona and there remained until 1970. In 1945 is when her life changed significantly by becoming the property of Arizona Aircraft Repair and converted to a crop duster with installation of Wright J-5-A radial (220HP), hopper, fuel capacity reduced from 60 USG to 25 USG, spreader bar, recovering fuselage with Terne plate, and Dural covering for elevators, replacing Bendix wheels for Hays 8.50X10 wheels for dusting and seeding operations and placed on the restricted category. Functional, but not pretty.
July 31, 1953 through May 8, 1961 Farm Aero Services, Phoenix, Arizona
Lycoming R-680-9 installed July 30, 1947 replacing Wright J-5A (installed July 23, 1945)
In 1947, the Wright was replaced with a Lycoming R-680-9 producing 300HP.
She remained a crop duster in Arizona until 1970 when she was purchased for restoration by a PSA Captain, Spencer Nelson, and moved to San Diego where a complete restoration from the ground up began to take place by Travel Air West, comprising Harry Somers and Jim Ward. Spencer was tragically killed in the worst mid-air accidents in California between a PSA 727 and Cessna 172, killing 137 in both aircraft and 7 on the ground.
The airplane passed through a couple more hands before being purchased by F. Leland Jones in 1983 though the restoration work continued until completion in 1990.
The aircraft remained with Leland Jones until Joe Santana acquired her in 2004 and flew her to fame until I became lucky enough to be her next custodian in 2014.