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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 (NASM), Washington, DC.


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Registration Number NR5326

Fueler For A Famous Endurance Airplane

This aircraft is a Stinson SM-1 Detroiter, manufacturer’s serial number M-236. It was manufactured in April 1928 by Stinson Aircraft Corporation, Northville, MI. It was sold 5/11/28 for $12,500 to N.L. Hurd, VP of Central Airways Corporation of Chicago, IL, and licensed on 5/24/28 to be used, “for Chicago to Detroit route and taxi service.”

It came from the factory with a 200 HP Wright Whirlwind J5-AB, S/N 8413. The airplane weighed 3,485 pounds.

On 7/7/28 it suffered an accident at Chicago. Pilot J.L. Huber and six passengers were uninjured. The airplane had damage to, “right wing spar, motor mount, L/G (wiped off), fuselage, prop, left aileron, right door torn off, elevator bent.” It was rebuilt at the Stinson factory, inspected and approved for flight on 11/13/28.

While it was being repaired, it sold twice. First, to E.B. Herren of Chicago on 7/27/28, then to the Chicago-We Will Corporation on 9/25. The expressed use of this airplane was stated to be, “as refueling plane for endurance flight.” A restricted “R” registration was authorized, to expire 10/7/29. The airplane had the seats removed and it was fitted with refueling gas tank in the cabin (100 gallons).

Then the airplane was sold to Ben Benjamin on 11/8/29 for $3,000; then on 2/4/30 to Big Ben Air Service of Chicago (owned by Ben Benjamin). Like its sister ship, NR5189, this series of sales seems to be a “price reduction” in preparation for the record flight. While in Big Ben’s hands, besides the refueling tanks, a loudspeaker (100 pounds!) was installed in the baggage compartment, the left door was removed, and, during the refueling, the wind-driven generator would be removed.

The endurance flight did take place between June 11-July 4, 1930 at Chicago. John and Kenneth Hunter flew NR5189 for 553h:41m:30s. They covered about 40,000 miles. NR5326, the refueling plane was flown by their brothers, Albert and Walter. Their record was short-lived as the title was regained the following month (July 21-Aug 17, 1930 - 647h:28m:30s at St Louis by Dale Jackson and Forrest O'Brine in a Curtiss Robin restoring their title set in 1929). However, see this download for an article that appeared about a year later in the June 11, 1931 Cleveland Plain Dealer (shared by site visitor Robert Hayes). It clarifies that Jackson and O'Brine's record was disqualified because they actually landed during one night and affected repairs on their airplane. Although the news article is hard to read, please refer to the typed transcription in the last two pages of the download.

After this flight, the airplane was sold to John A. Hunter on 7/14/30 for $4,600. Now comes the airplane to Tucson for the first time on 7/20/1930. NR5326 was piloted by Kenneth Hunter, with brother Albert as passenger. They arrived from San Diego Rockwell Field, headed back to Los Angeles. They flew as a flight of three with brother John flying the record setting airplane, NR5189, and a passenger Herbert Budd flying with brother Walter in Travel Air NC5241. They stayed in Tucson overnight, leaving the next day.

In a conversation I had with Hershel Hunter, Albert's son (who was five years old at the time of his father's and uncle's record), he said the trip west was to appear in a Hollywood movie with Will Rogers about endurance flying. But the trump of their record by Jackson and O'Brine the following day cancelled Hollywood's interest. We find them on their way home from what must have been a disappointment on the west coast.

The extra fuel tank was removed, the airplane converted to regular 6-passenger configuration, and a regular NC “commercial” registration was applied for by John Hunter on 8/29/30. He re-covered the fuselage and tail group between 12/1/31 and 2/28/31. NC5326 was sold to Kenneth Hunter on 3/10/31. He had the wings and ailerons re-covered by Parks Air College in St. Louis on 3/11/32 and flew it for another year. On 5/9/33 the airplane had flown 582.5 hours. Hunter sold the airplane on 8/14/33 to Francis J. Lahey of Madison, IL who flew it only 25 hours or so and sold it on 6/27/34 to Lydia Peik of New Holstein, WI.

The airplane landed again at Tucson on 9/12/1936 piloted by Arnold H. Peik (transport license #16979; A&E license #6920). The Peiks flew the plane for three years; A.H. Peik was cited for several (unidentified) violations in connection with the airplane, and endured a 15-day suspension of his license (record didn’t say if it was suspension of pilot or mechanic license).

On 5/23/37, with 983 flight hours, NC5326 was sold to Roy A. Cheverton of Santa Ana, CA, who sold it on 10/29/37 to W.L. Moore of Bakersfield, CA. There is no further information except that the registration was cancelled 6/1/38.



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