Saturday, November 13, 2010

About the Biplane: Waco YMF-5, #N50YM and #N250YM,

The Biplane

The Spirit of Adventure I

I bought this incredibly beautiful biplane in 1993, 
fresh from the factory in Lansing, Michigan.
It was the 50th one they built, so they were very proud of it.
I told them I couldn't fly, but that didn't seem to matter.
Until I tried to fly it for the first time in a crankin' crosswind.
After two hours of torturing the biplane, chief pilot Carl Dye said:
"Tell me again how long you've been a pilot?"
I told him: "I'm not a pilot."
He says: "We don't really teach people how to fly here."
So I told him: "Let's get this biplane back to San Diego, and I'll figure it out from there."
And so the adventures began...

This is the airplane I used to learn how to fly.
It was an extraordinary feeling to finally fly solo,
and then to earn my Private Pilot license (November 18, 1993) in this work of art.

(click for BIG image)

One of my instructors (some wannabe pilots need more than one teacher) decided to do a check flight after some routine maintenance, but he came in for a landing with the parking break on. Boy, was he surprised when it flipped over the instant of touchdown!
He was unhurt (except for his pride), but the biplane was a total loss.
On that day, February 24, 1994, he earned the call-sign "Flipper".
I traded the broken bits, and the insurance settlement, for a new biplane.

"The Spirit of Adventure II"
This is biplane number two, purchased May 1994.

Equipment List:
Horizontal Situation Indicator (HSI)
Traffic Collision Avoidance Detection (TCAD)
Global Positioning System (GPS), 
Arnav Star 5000 (navigation, groundspeed, direction)
Moving Map Display, Eventide Argus 7000
Nav/Comm: two KLX155's
Stormscope BFG
Vertical Speed Indicator (VSI)
Vacuum operated Artificial Horizon
Magnetic Compass
Turn coordinator
Engine speed, rpm
Manifold pressure
Exhaust gas temp
Cylinder head temp
Oil temp
Oil pressure
Alternator output, Volts, amps
Battery indicator, volts
.... probably more stuff I'm forgetting right now...

Waco biplane cockpit and instrument panel N250YM

The aircraft is fully certified for flying instruments-only, and for night flying. Total time on the engine and airframe is about 630 hours since it was built. Time between overhauls on the engine is 1200 hours. It has never been in an accident or incident.
The biplane is also outfitted with a video camera in the right lower wing, wired to a VCR and monitor in the cockpit. With this setup I can make videos (or watch them!) as I fly.
Other special features: Auxiliary fuel tanks. Total fuel 72 gal. Total endurance 4+ hours. Range approximately 400 miles depending on winds, using cruising airspeed of 100 mph.
Baggage: 75 lbs. in rear baggage compartment, 25 lbs in the front baggage compartment.

To fly this biplane,
to buy one of your own, new or used,
or just to look at some neat photos,
and learn more about this unique aircraft,
click on the link below

Waco Aircraft Company

in Battle Creek, Michigan

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