BARNSTORMER'S DELIGHT; SEIZED BY CUSTOMS
NC28K landed at Tucson on Tuesday November 12, 1929 at 3:00 PM flown solo by George Scott. Scott appeared to be in a flight of two with J.F. Hoffman flying the Bird NC48K.
There is contention in the identification of Scott's airplane. Clearly (I don't think there's any confusion about his handwriting in the Register) pilot Scott identifies the airplane he was flying as Bird NC28K. However, the official FAA record, which I have in my files, clearly identifies NC28K as a New Standard. Also, aerofiles.com lists it as a New Standard D-25, c/n 147.
Where does this leave us? The only alternate read I might make of his handwriting would be maybe NC28H. But 28H is a Curtiss Robin according to aerofiles. Could Scott have mis-entered his tail number, or the airplane brand he was flying? Could he have been flying chase for Hoffman in the D-25 in order to bring him back to NY after delivering 48K to the west coast?
Author, and Scott's grandson, Tom Matowitz, writes, "I know there's some confusion about the N number, but the entry in the register clearly states the aircraft type as a Bird. I think it's more likely he would have made a mistake with the N number than the aircraft type. Also, while he spoke fondly of Birds, I don't recall him mentioning a New Standard. In any case, the handwriting is unquestionably his. I suspect the N number is an error made after a long hard day of flying."
Without further evidence of aircraft number or type, see below.
This airplane is a New Standard Model D-25 (S/N 147) manufactured under ATC# 108 during September, 1929 by the New Standard Aircraft Corp., Patterson, NJ. It left the factory with a single Wright J-5 engine (S/N 13617) of 220HP. It was a five-place airplane, with a pilot cockpit at the rear and an enormous 4-passenger cockpit forward. It was a popular barnstormer's airplane for selling rides. It was almost a brand new airplane when it landed at Tucson.
NC28K sold first to the Cuban Aviation Corp., New York, NY on September 7, 1929. It was designated for use in Cuba, but it didn't get there. In fact, in the official Civil Aeronautics Authority (CAA) records, there was some confusion regarding the purchase and transfer of the airplane, with several letters exchanged between the CAA, the Cuban Aviation Corporation, and the New Standard Aircraft Corporation. Register pilot Gilbert Budwig, then Director of Air Regulation for the CAA, signed the letters from the CAA.
It was sold to Hayes Aviation, Inc., Syracuse, NY on May 17, 1930. In what appears to be an internal shuffling of assets early in the Great Depression, the airplane transferred between Hayes Aviation and R.C. Hayes, Inc. twice between 1930 and 1932. It sold on May 16, 1932 to William Keeler of Saratoga Springs, NY. It had accumulated 487 flight hours, a large amount for roughly 2.5 years of service to-date.
The aircraft was seized on August 18, 1933 by the U.S. Customs Bureau and the registration was cancelled on October 10, 1933. The airplane had landed on a farm in Iberville, Quebec, Canada on March 29 and 31, 1933 for the purpose of loading liquor. The legal paperwork at this point in the airplane's official CAA record includes all the seizure, prosecution and monetary fine penalties associated with this law-breaking episode. Would that pilot Keeler had waited just a few months to quench his thirst, as the Eighteenth Amendment was repealed by the Twenty-first Amendment on December 5, 1933.
On December 18, 1933, NC28K was sold to Robert Parr for $375. The airplane came to Parr with the same Wright Whirlwind J-5A installed (S/N B 13617), but it was identified on his receipt as having 200HP. As testimony to the hard life the airplane had led, as of May 11, 1934, it received major repairs to its wings, empennage, fuselage, powerplant and flight controls. These repairs were sworn to in a deposition made by Rostislaw S. Komarnitsky, a consulting engineer with the Metropolitan Aircraft Corporation, Teterboro, NJ. It then sold as, "One rebuilt NEW STANDARD..." to the Leech Aircraft Corporation, Armonk, NY.
Over the next decade, NC28K passed through eight more owners. The penultimate owner, based at the Poughkeepsie Airport, NY, used the airplane for banner and glider towing. The final owner (from Asbury Park, NJ, who bought the airplane for $618.72, paid over 12 months in equal installments of $51.56), as of August 11, 1943, disassembled it for parts. The registration was cancelled by the CAA on April 29, 1948 when the last known owner failed to reply to a questionnaire. No further information.
THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 01/28/08 REVISED: 02/18/10