Enclosed is a picture and story of my Stearman. Off the assembly line Feb. 22, 1943. Next day up to Grosse Isle, Detroit for a tour with the navy. Sold as surplus in 1946. Went dusting and then back to original in the early 70’s. The log’s are interesting and pretty much complete. I was looking for a warbird in the 80’s and decided on a Stearman that was available in ‘Texas. It wouldn’t start and the bank that was selling the plane had a stack of liability releases a foot high that they had required prospective buyers to sign before trying to prop it. My offer was accepted and off to Texas on the big bird with my FBO friend and instructor IA& I / duster time, just one of those fellow pilot people who could fly a board. What a comforting feeling going off to fly home a non starting Stearman. I had a lot of hours in different SEL airplanes, but little tail dragger time. I was about to be upgraded.
Arriving in Houston, renting a car for the trip south in a grand Texas downpour. arriving in the middle of the night at the airport. There was 12 “of water standing on every runway. It looked more like a seaplane base. The next morning was meeting the banker at the airport and closing the deal and trying to start the new acquisition was a chore. Asking the FBO to find us a starter was the best option as the one that was on board only thumped. The greyhound arrived the next morning with the new winder, but as usual 2 hours after the new one was ordered and the new one inbound , we had the old one off and found the problem, solidified grease in the planetary gears from being Flown several hours and being started by hand propping. So much for that.
New starter installed, she whirled like a turbine, but no start. A small shot of ether down the stand pipe and she roared to life in a cloud of smoke and purred like a kitten. After a ground run of fifteen minutes, we decided to test hop it around the field. All was normal. Back on the ground we packed our dirties in the suitcase along with the old starter and put them on the greyhound for there trip north. By this time all of the water was gone ., but I still don’t know where it all went.. To make a long story short we got out behind a front that was traveling faster than we were. We both agreed it was the greatest flight experience that we had ever had. We flew from south Texas to Bay City across Galveston Bay, 500 AGL, to Beaumont to the Mississippi, up the river to Memphis, across Western Ky. To West Virginia. What a great flight , saw only one cloud at 500’ In Louisiana. Many thanks to all of the towns for painting there water tanks, its as good as GPS.
The amazing thing was the ole’ girl never failed to start the rest of the trip and has been the easiest starting Stearman that I have ever seen over the past 18 years. We still get together on nice days for those special minutes to bore a few holes and make the sounds that everyone loves of the old Continental.
It’s all a part of being a patriotic, ex GI , trying to keep a part of our history alive and its what I call a part of Americana.