AOPA's Centennial of Flight Sweepstakes - April 25 Photos and Commentary

November 11, 2009

Photos and Commentary

AOPA Waco gets an elevator renovation

Apr. 25 � As a result of the assembly of the as-yet uncovered parts of our Waco UPF-7, it was decided that the elevator needed more upgrading. Craftsmen at Rare Aircraft in Faribault, Minnesota, didn't like the way the elevator and horizontal stabilizer fit together, so Dan Pfleger, pictured in the February AOPA Pilot, built new ribs. In other progress, new wing-root fairings are under construction. It was thought the old fairings could be reconditioned, but specially built ones will fit better. Also under construction is the fairing between the vertical fin and fuselage. Fuel tanks have been built, and Roy Redman, owner of Rare Aircraft, has designed a removable cover that will allow the tanks to be worked on in the future without having to remove fabric covering. The instruments are out for reconditioning and should be back soon.

Now that the fit test has been completed, the aircraft wings, tail, and landing gear have been taken off the fuselage in preparation for covering. Rare Aircraft is a popular shop, however, and covering must wait until May while work is finished on a Waco Taperwing that is currently in restoration.

Old Waco Aircraft Company building still exists

The building where AOPA's 1940 Waco UPF-7 Centennial of Flight Sweepstakes airplane was built still exists in Troy, Ohio, and serves as a commercial warehouse. The company cafeteria, a separate building, also has survived and is home to a lawn-care company. A high-tech firm occupies the hangars near the plant that were used for final assembly. A large addition to the plant, where gliders were made during World War II, has been taken over by Goodrich to make brakes for the F-16 fighter and the space shuttle. Aviation has not left the premises. All this information comes from a visit to Troy April 24 by AOPA Pilot writer Al Marsh, who met with members of the Waco Historical Society and visited the Waco Aircraft Museum just 15 minutes north of the James M. Cox Dayton International Airport. The society also has established a museum in downtown Troy, but future plans call for new construction at the Waco Aircraft Museum, where a grass runway supports Waco fly-ins, kite-flying events for kids, and radio-controlled model competitions.

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The Waco factory
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Jim Beisner and Jack Waters with a photo of the first Waco factory.
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The Waco cafeteria