Hank Jordan's Blog
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Memoirs of My First Airplane

April 21st, 2011 by Hank

I did most of my pilot training in a Luscombe airplane Model 8B, which I owned. It was great plane for a serious beginner. It was strong — it could withstand four G’s, meaning you could do acrobatics in it (but I never did — part chicken I suppose).

The turbulent history of the Luscombe Corporation is well documented. In a nutshell, Model 8 production began in 1938 with the plain Model 8. Over time letters were added to the “8”, from “A” thru “F”. Production started in Trenton, NJ and eventually moved to Dallas, TX — well after Don Luscombe lost control of the company to a manipulative financier.

The company ceased production and declared bankruptcy in 1949, as the general aviation manufacturing industry collapsed after World War II due to overproduction.

Low-volume production of the Luscombe continued through 1959 in Fort Collins, CO after the type certificate was purchased from the bankruptcy proceedings. One salient takeaway about the Luscombe’s history is that only a small fraction of the total fleet was manufactured while Don Luscombe was in control of the company.

The airplane cruised at more than a hundred miles per hour. The four-banger Continental engine produced 80 horsepower and got more miles to the gallon than the typical car in its time.

There was a Plexiglas roof so you could see out the top of the plane during a turn or whenever you wanted to look up there. There was no steering wheel. Instead there was a control stick, poking up out of the floor. With it you could bank, climb and descend. Very little pressure was required to make the airplane respond.

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