Friday, April 13, 2012

The Call of the Air

I confess to a certain weakness when it comes to the underdogs. Having been one myself, especially in my teenage years, I know underdogs possess unknown qualities which must be discovered, one at a time, over time. Thus when an email arrived from a fellow Cub owner accompanied by a brochure for an unusual airplane that happened to be for sale practically in my back yard, I began peeling back the layers to see what might be what.

Callair

At first, it looked like a Cub with a glandular condition. What the heck? It’s not a Cub. Look at that gear. Look at the windows. What about the shape of that windscreen? This is not a Cub. It is one thing: “Unusual” and in need of work.

Alex finds something of interest Hey, what about this

There is no mystery. This is an Interstate Cadet. But not. This is a Callair S1A, a successor to the Interstate Cadet. But maybe not. The genealogy of the design is a bit complicated and I’m just beginning the research to pin down exactly what I have. The design was sold to the Call family of Afton, Wyoming, in 1952 after languishing through another owner. The Calls bought the design as much for the stock of steel tubing and hardware for their other designs as for the airplane itself . One firsthand source revealed that the Calls never built one of these S1A airplanes from scratch themselves; the S1As that were badged as “Callair” airplanes were essentially rebuilt from older Interstate airframes. I do know this: The Continental 90HP engine was an option attributed to the Call family’s ownership of the design, and the recently-overhauled engine on the airplane is the engine that was originally listed with this “Callair” airframe.

Alex finds a diamond in the rough

Whatever it is, and wherever this research takes me I know this: I won’t run out of projects any time soon. Frumpy or not, they say it’s a great flying airplane … and you can definitely put lipstick on a pig.

I’ll keep you posted.

Interstate logo-2

(or whatever)