View Full Version : What was the oldest airplane you flew?

5th Jul 2003, 07:50
3 weeks ago ... a 1938 LN-65 Aeronca - what a thrill! Thanks Rogers! :) :ok:

BTW the RPM gauge was four times the size of airspeed indicator...

hopefully a Beech 18 next week...

C'mon ppruners - let me hear what kind of history you flew ...

5th Jul 2003, 13:00
In the early seventies, did a short term contract on DC-3's...and the best in the fleet (18 aircraft) was manufactured in 1936...and oddly enough did not leak in the rain.
Have no idea why not.
An ex-UAL bird, I think.

5th Jul 2003, 14:17
Can't beat the pre-war stuff but have flown a few of WW2 vintage:

1942 Stearman, 1942 Tiger Moth, 1943 L4 (O-49) Cub, 1944 Harvard and a 1946 Auster.

I only ever managed to sit in the pilot's seat of the former Strathallan Lancaster while it was on the ground. Still a wonderful feeling, sitting there with a handful of large throttles and looking out at a brace of Merlins on each wing. What a shame that she never flew again.:sad: C'mon Kermit put her back in the skies. :ok:

Any offers for a whizz about in a Mk9 2 seater Spit anybody??

5th Jul 2003, 19:42
I did my first solo in the mid '50's in a Miles Magister at Denham, G-AFBS, which was built in 1936-37. It was used at the reserve flying school at Woodley thoughout WW2 and now resides at Duxford. Hows that for survival?

5th Jul 2003, 20:54
I used regularly to fly a 1934 German Meise glider, of the type ued to train future Luftwaffe pilots.

Sir George Cayley
5th Jul 2003, 21:05
1932 Spartan Arrow

What a loverly old thing it is too

Sir George Cayley

The air is a navigable ocean that laps at everyones door

Hap Hazard
6th Jul 2003, 02:52
WUB, sorry to say, no you didnt, cause the Meise wasnt even designed by Hans Jacobs in 1934, and appeared at the design competition in for what was to be Olympic sailplanes in Italy 1939.
There were well over 600 built during the war, and a few war built examples survive, there are no prewar Olympia Meise's left to my limited knowledge.
Sorry to spoil your claim....maybe you are getting confused with the Grunau Baby?:confused:

Like many others out there, Tiger Moth G-ACDC, but then she has been rebuilt several times in her long career, dont know if that counts!:ok:

6th Jul 2003, 03:14
Hap, Thanks for the correction. It was a Meise for sure, it belonged to a man called Toby Fisher and I flew it at Weston-Super-Mare. I just got the date wrong (old age creeping up) :O

6th Jul 2003, 04:27
Someone has just put photos on the Private flying forum of G-AAMY,(1929), managed quite a few hours in that and another DH60,G-AAVJ, both wonderful aircraft, in many ways better than the Tiger.:ok:

6th Jul 2003, 09:25
Beech18, (C45) G-ASUG, sorry, don't know when she was built.

chimbu warrior
6th Jul 2003, 09:35
1934 Porterfield. Apart from being extremely cramped in the front seat, it flew better than most light singles built 50 years later.

Ex Oggie
6th Jul 2003, 22:44
IIRC Beech 18 G-ASUG was an E18S. That would put it circa. 1955.

6th Jul 2003, 23:02
Privatly several years on J-3 Cub, professionally co-pilot on Convair 580, Captain Viscount 700 series, Captain lLockheed L-188...:ok:

Feather #3
6th Jul 2003, 23:29
A quick chance at a friend's Fairchild Argus. Unique in many ways and most enjoyable.

G'day :)

Lu Zuckerman
7th Jul 2003, 02:01
I crewed on PBY-5As, Grumman JRFs (Goose), Beech JRBs (D-18), PB1G (B17), A-26 Invader and I had several rides in TBMs and PBMs. Of course these aircraft were of WW-2 vintage but the flights took place between 1947 and 1953 so the aircraft were not that old. I guess the only thing that is old is me.


7th Jul 2003, 02:53
The oldest aeroplane I ever flew?

Pretty well anything owned by the RAF:\ :ugh:

7th Jul 2003, 03:20
I've flown IN (as opposed to flown) a 1929 New Standard biplane at Old Rhineback on 11 th July 1982.

And in a 1931 Stinson Trimotor at Oshkosh in 1983.

7th Jul 2003, 09:14
The oldest aeroplane I've flown isn't a patch on most of these, it was only a 1960 Cessna 150.
Five years older than me, and it was one that had a four-stage mechanical flap lever, like Piper's have.
Also had a pull-start handle to engage the starter instead of a solenoid.

7th Jul 2003, 10:21
Flown the following - 1933 Stinson SR-9, 1937 Lockheed 10A, 1943 PBY-5A.

18-Wheeler, my 150 was the deluxe version. Had electric flaps.;)

7th Jul 2003, 20:34
I own and fly two machines with a combined age of 130 years.

Anybody who visited Old Warden at the weekend would have seen my rubbish attempts at flour bombing/ baloon bursting...!


7th Jul 2003, 21:00
Were you using the Maggie, Hairy? Grannies and egg sucking doubtless but, if ever you get the urge, don't try toilet roll cutting with your prop, use the wings - I watched a Chippie doing it years ago: the shredded paper got stuffed in the carb intake resulting in a nicely judged dead-stick landing! Believe the Tiger Club had a similar experience with four Turbs all at once at Farnborough in the 1960s!

Oldest I've flown in was a 1929 Stinson Junior in Florida - nearly had a go in the same New Standard as Poetpilot but that was "winded" off. Shame we didn't manage it as I flew in a brand spanking new A-340-600 two days later - oldest and newest so close together would have been notable.

The oldest I've actually flown (well, handled under supervision!) was a '66 vintage Cessna 150. Nearly as old as me...

Rallye Driver
7th Jul 2003, 21:15
Hairy, I take my Panama hat off to you sir. That limbo flying looks an 'interesting' proposition, and you almost got several of the balloons - it's just that they didn't burst.

Long may your delightful aircraft continue to age. BTW, with all your flying do you get Hair Miles?

The oldest machine I've flown is the Tiger Club Moth G-ACDC, though I believe there is some debate as to exactly which bit is original (if any!). Otherwise it is the Grace Spitfire ML407, built in 1944 - I've got 37 minutes on that.


8th Jul 2003, 00:58
I havent been invited to do the toilet roll thing but will take the advice!

Limbo - Not that difficult after the first scare - it looks so small as you turn in! I think the scariest job is holding the poles....

A crosswind and turbulence can be challenging. Wake turbulence was also a factor on Sunday.

Flour bombing - a black art at which I am hopeless.

We need to drop them from at least 100ft in order to get a nice puff.

Interestingly enough, the Maggie was trialed as a (very) light home-defence bomber. So here we are, over 60 years later, flying a Maggiebomber again!

Balloon bursting - tricky too. It really is a case of luck of the draw. There is a narrow window in which you can manouvre so if a balloon ain't there for you - tough.

I thought I had got one at least but all narrow misses unfortunately.

We have tightened things up as we get more experienced at it - it is a new routine this season.

I also struggle to keep up with the professional test pilots I fly with - after all I am just a hobby pilot. Great bunch of guys - such a priveledge to be involved.

SVAS - always short of volunteers, especialy those who are happy to do some of the less glam jobs like cleaning the aircraft down.

Nice white overalls supplied!

All the best.


I have control
8th Jul 2003, 07:00
The oldest planes I've flown in are EAA's 1929 Travel Air E-4000, 1930 New Standard D-25 and 1930 Pitcairn Mailwing PA-7.

The oldest I've had my hands & feet on the controls is EAA's 1929 Ford Trimotor, if a replica of the 1927 Spirit of St Louis doesn't count.

The oldest I've soloed is a 1931 Aeronca C-3

8th Jul 2003, 16:38
I flown a Sopwith Camel, two in fact, one with a Clerget engine, a Spad, Albatross, a DR1 (Fokker Tri-Plane) and a Airco D.H.2. Not old in the real sense, all replicas from days with Leisure Sport in 1977/9. All were true to their breeding though, except the Spad which required an inordinate amount of front end 'ballast' due to a design fault at the Augsburg factory where it was built. There was also a Fairchild Argus which was a treat to fly. Still about today with 'Low 'n Slow' I think.

I did also fly a Staggerwing at Redhill. Can't remember the owners name - but he was rich.

G-ACDC at the Tiger Club was rebuilt many times one way and another but it is still flying at the TC - now at Headcorn. I have around 200hrs on that.

I flew in the Turb formation at the Tiger Club and the memories have been bought back by Hairy, regarding balloon bursting, flour bombing, streamer cutting and 'under the hoop'. We also did a tied together formation. Most times we got the four-ship back to Redhill with the ties still on. When they got broke, the one 'wot did it' bought the beer at the local.

Treadders is right about the toilet roll cutting an engine. It was at Bembridge, (although there MAY have been a similar incident at F'boro as he suggests) when one Robin Voice had a sheet of a toilet roll ingested into the carb and he made a forced landing - broke the u'carriage I think. I think he would have liked the toilet roll on board at that point!!

Ah! Those were indeed the days.

Census boy
8th Jul 2003, 17:04
Remember seeing a fatal accident at Shoreham many years ago when a Turbulent went in after doing balloon bursting , flour bombing etc. Fortunately in twenty five years of flying never seen any others but have seen the aftermath on several occasions......

8th Jul 2003, 18:50
That was John Harper. He was not killed (unless there was another incident I am not aware of!). Fortunately his injuries were not too serious and he was back flying again a few months later.

But then display flying is inherently dodgy, and every year there is always a few accidents and incidents. Always will be.

8th Jul 2003, 21:00
The Staggerwing - the red one - belonged to Philip Wolfe - moved to Biggin eventually and has now gone to Sweden I think...

Shaggy Sheep Driver
8th Jul 2003, 21:45
Our Chippy was built in 1951 and so is marginally younger than me.

Flown on an AN2, but I think that just looked old. And flown P1 in a Waco that looked very old, but was a modern replica.

The oldest I've flown as P1 is an L4 Cub, G-BHXY, in which I have a good few hours, and which IIRC was built in 1944.


8th Jul 2003, 22:07
Thanks J - you are absolutely right. He held good BBQ's in his garden at Outwood. Never went home from one of those I can tell you. Would have been banned for years!!!

9th Jul 2003, 00:42
My oldest is my 1941 Taylorcraft BC12, closely followed by the 1943 L4 I have too - and both are damn fine airplanes !

what went wrong for the last 60years?


9th Jul 2003, 16:01
A 1943 L4 cub, and excellent fun it was! (Thanks again.)
Two friends were flying an R22 in the same area, and saw us:

A - Is that an aeroplane?
B - Yes, why?
A - It looks like it's hovering.

And a positively youthful 1952 Chippie...mmm... Chipmunks...

9th Jul 2003, 19:47
CamelPilot the Clerget engined Camel, although a replica, must count for something :ok:

PS, FNG and I never managed to generate enough interest to be able to form a group around the Argus. Ah well.......

Dan Winterland
10th Jul 2003, 03:04
I know where you're coming from BEagle - in fact I think we have flown some of those together!

A lot of Squadrons in the RAF used to make a great deal of the fact that they had some pilots flying aircraft older than themselves. But at a flying training school somewhere in England in 1993, we went one better. We had an aircraft which was originally delivered to the RAF in 1949. One day our 24 year old QFI flew with a 19 year old student, making their combined age less than the age of the airframe!

10th Jul 2003, 16:24

You are right. The Clerget Camel was a bit special, and very very interesting to fly. It only accumulated around 9 hours of actual flight time before it was sold, or given, to the Brooklands Museum.

Sadly, I hear, it was the subject of a taxi error recently and the prop hit the ground. The resulting splinters punctured various parts of the fabric.

Not very good for the engine either. They only had a life of 50 hours!

11th Jul 2003, 02:14
I think regular contributor Airbedane is being modest on this one ,as he regularly displays a 1908 edwardian aircraft at Old Warden which is I believe the oldest original aircraft flying in the world I can,t remember the type !!lovely to see it fly on a calm evening though.So come on Airbedane don,t be modest put your hand up !!.

11th Jul 2003, 02:45
I think that is the Blackburn monoplane - though I could be wrong on that.

11th Jul 2003, 19:23
Airbedane ( I can safely tell you that his handle is derived from his lovely little 4 year old girls pronunciation of 'aeroplane' - cute or what??!!)) regularly flies the 1911 Blackburn and also the Bleriot (1909?). The Blackburn is the oldest airworthy British aircraft anywhere in the world. I also believe it has its original engine.

I think it will be game set and match for AB on this one??

Well done Stampe for making us all green with envy. The Blackburn is a delight to fly apparently - a proper aeroplane that regularly flies a circuit or two when the conditions are right.

ALas - the Bleriot - for good reason - is restricted to hops. Neil Williams tried to circuit it many years ago and stuffed it in an adjacent field - bent it bad....

Anyway Stampe - me and you will knock em dead at the PFA Rally - I doubt whether my old planes have been there for many years - and.....the weather is looking goooood!!


12th Jul 2003, 17:30
A 1937 Taylor J2 Cub. In fact I have flown several of these beaut little machines.
Slow as all heck. Hand started. No brakes. No tailwheel steering - a fixed skid. No stall warning indicator. No differential ailerons.
The wind creeps in via all the many nooks and crannys and runs up the legs of your pants. Navigate via way of the little compass.
The elevator trim is controlled via a sash cord on the port cabin wall.
Yes, these machines were from a bygone era, one that said any flying was better than no flying at all.
Memories. Memories.

Flying Lawyer
15th Jul 2003, 17:11
This is a good excuse to wander down memory lane, otherwise known as my log-books. :D

1933 Tiger Moth G-ACDC
1938? Stearman PT17 N75811
1941 Harvard AT-6D G-SUES
1942 Tiger Moth G-ANOH
1942 SNJ-5 N3680F

Once my pride and joy, 1942 AT-16 Harvard IIB FT391 (G-AZBN) which I bought with Ray and Mark Hanna. http://www.caa.co.uk/srg/aircraft_register/GImages/g-azbn001.jpg

In 1990 we replaced it with a 1947 Yak 3.
The Yak is coming to the end of a total rebuild and is on static display at Duxford. http://www.fighter-collection.com/yak3/img/yak-3_04.jpg

1947 Stampe G-AWEF
1948 Pilatus P2 G-BJAX
1949 Stampe G-ATKC

1951 Chipmunk WD345. I learned to fly with the RAF in WD345, but also have a special affection for WK518 (1952) in which I did my first solo 32 years ago last month.
It's now with the BBMF. http://www.raf.mod.uk/bbmf/images/chipmunk2.jpg

After that, they start getting younger than me! ;)

The oldest helicopter is a youngster in comparison, a 1966 Bell 47G (G-CHOP, formerly XT221)

Mike Cross
15th Jul 2003, 17:14
Not that old:-

G-AJOA DH82A 1940
G-APFU DH82A 1943
G-BVCV Fairchild M62A Cornell 1942

and the current mount
G-BTCH Luscombe 8 1948


Toddington Ted
16th Jul 2003, 04:48
While I've got the log book to hand (see RN Chipmunk thread), I guess the oldest I've flown solo is the good old Chipmunk (WB671), whilst Bulldog XX513 was a much younger beast (at least in 1979 when I flew it). As a cadet I was privileged to fly in Shackleton AEW2 WL747 in 1974 and was given a brief chance to actually fly it in a gentle circle (seems daft now but I felt 10 feet tall then!). I think one of the most memorable (but only as a pax) was a trg flight trip in 216 Sqn Comet IV XR395 in April 75, shortly before the Sqn disbanded. A few trips in CFS Vickers Varsity WJ945, WL671 & WL670 in 1970 & 71 were also memorable if only for the smell of that old bus! Alas, only a pax then!:rolleyes:

16th Jul 2003, 04:58
Snap speedbird 48

Maggie AFBS in 1956, also AJZH and AIDF.
Denham Auster, reg resting in an old log book

Was Wilbur one of your instructors?

Tiger Moth and Chipmunk like wise in old log book

Passenger in both Dragon and Dragon Rapide, but I guess that doesnt count, except the Dragon Rapide was my first flight.

Southern Cross
16th Jul 2003, 06:00
1938 Dornierwerke AG built Bu131 (Bucker Jungmann) with an original Hirth HM504 engine. Well, to tell you the truth, I have not flown it yet, but I will just as soon as I can get it off the Italian register and onto the G register... fingers crossed for September.:)

16th Jul 2003, 08:51
Tiger Moth, Beech Staggerwing, Fleet Canuck would probably be the oldest over the years. Can't recall the years of manufacture off hand but you have got me wondering now so I am into the research on those. And yes the Staggerwing was, and still is, a thing of beauty!

Blind lemon
16th Jul 2003, 17:44
1943 J3 cub on floats :D :D :D although some of the training hacks I have nursed around the skies felt older. Maybe we should list those that we flown that were most knackered. Often the real oldies have been well and truly pampered.

17th Jul 2003, 06:38
My golden oldie pales into insignificance next to some of yours....

Chipmunk WB569 - no idea when built, but she's the oldest serial out of the ten (blimey, didn't realise I'd done so many!) Chippies I've back-seated in. Still not gone P1 in one yet. Job for next year, that'll be... :)