Registration Number NC8463
Long-Lived Smuggler of Silver And
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.
UPLOADED: 08/05/05 REVISED: