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This information comes from the listings of Non-Prefixed and Non-Suffixed aircraft reviewed by me in the archives of the National Air & Space Museum, Washington, DC.

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Registration Number NC8463

Long-Lived Smuggler of Silver And Gold

This aircraft is a Stinson S Junior, manufacturer’s serial number 8013 (ATC #423). It was manufactured May 31, 1931 by Stinson Aircraft Corporation, Northville, MI. It left the factory with a 215 HP Lycoming R-680 engine, S/N 534. It weighed 3,265 pounds as a four-place airplane.

It was sold on May 29, 1931 to Century Air Lines, Inc. of Chicago, IL. Near a week later, on June 9, 1931, this new airplane suffered an accident at La Grange, IL. It required a new front wing strut, rudder and complete new right wing. It was repaired with factory parts and returned to service on June 30, 1931.

One thing led to another, and the airplane had another accident on July 1, 1931 at Chicago. The airplane crashed at a location given as Taylor Avenue and Higgins Road. Does anyone know where this is? Reportedly, “the engine quit, forced landing, engine in bad condition, damage to propeller, speed ring, rudder, fin, 7 wing ribs, rear of fuselage.” The airplane was “fully repaired” at the factory, inspected and returned to service on August 21, 1931.

On November 2, 1931 the plane moved to New York under the ownership of H. Garrison Silleck, III. He sold it once in the New York area, then after three years it sold to Marshall W. Sawyer of Tucson, AZ on February 16, 1934. Sawyer’s address was given as the Santa Rita Hotel, where Lindbergh had stayed seven years earlier.

We find NC8463 landing at Tucson on February 19, 1934 piloted by Clyde W. Wallace. He was inbound from Phoenix, AZ carrying one passenger, A.J. Towson. Sawyer had smaller landing lights installed and the wheel fenders removed as of August 13, 1934. The airplane had accumulated 893:30 flight hours as of that date.

Now life gets interesting. The airplane sold on April 23, 1935 to Charles W. Mayse of Tucson. Mayse was a frequent visitor to the Airfield, landing there in various aircraft and signing the Register at least ten times between 1926 and 1932. The airplane was sold to the Woodwards (Mr. and Mrs.) of Douglas, AZ in 1937. The airplane had accumulated 1,611 flight hours.

While in the hands of the Woodwards, the airplane came under investigation by the U.S. Treasury Department and the U.S. Coast Guard because it, “makes frequent trips to Mexico.” The record states,

“arriving from Agua Prieta, Sonoma, Mexico at Douglas, AZ, airplane seized by U.S. Customs Service, Jan 13, 1940. Officers Lee D. Echols, Geo. W. Smith & Henry K. Street. John J. Woodward and Lester Bert Farnsworth arrested. Woodward admitted that he had not declared a bar of silver and gold (536.26 Troy oz.) brought out of Mexico at Douglas, AZ 12/20/39, in a suitcase. With Gilbert Vincent and Bert Farnsworth attempted to fly the bar of bullion to New Orleans, but had motor trouble at Hachita, NM and returned to Douglas 12/22/39. The three men left with the bar in a Ford Coupe (1940 Ariz. Lic. # C7493), also seized. Value: $850 airplane, $675 automobile.”

On March 7, 1940, Mrs. Woodward reported her husband killed in an airplane accident, “8 weeks ago.” Customs authorities released the airplane to her. She sold it to Neil S. Taylor of Marana, AZ on August 1, 1940 for $650.

It sold eight more times between 1940 and 1944, moving from Tucson to California and back to Texas. On September 19, 1944 it suffered an accident at Wellington, KS. Upon takeoff from a field at Kiowa, KS it hit a hole and the right landing gear dropped off. It made a landing at Wellington, bent the right wing tip, propeller and engine cowling. The pilot and three passengers sustained no injuries.

It sold twice more, arriving on June 11, 1946 in the hands of Victor Goudey of Los Angeles, CA. He paid $3,000 for it. In March 1948, Goudey reported the airplane “permanently dismantled.” The registration was cancelled August 31, 1948.



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