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Smith Mini Barn Find Fuselage

pete51577

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Fuselage and tail of a Smith Miniplane. It was started in the 60s by an old hand at Kobelt Airport (a real early hotbed up here in NY of the aerobatic and sport flying world back in the golden age of sport flying, 1950s-1970s.) It was hanging in his workshop for years and I got it from the guy who got it from the estate. It was always indoors but just never finished. It’s definitely a piece from that era. The welds look solid. It seems to be straight and plumb. Well done throughout. Some surface rust. Anyway, I got it from the guy who was too old to do anything with it and wanted it gone. I’d love for it to find a home with someone who’d want to build it up as a nice pure “of the era” Smith. This is surely a piece from the hardcore original EAA/homebuilder/sport flying generation. If someone wanted to build up a pure Smith in the style and vibe of the 60's era, big N#'s, WW2 goggles, this would be a great head start! I just wanted to save the darn thing. I’m not trying to make money or anything here, covering costs is about all I care about, just trying to get the thing saved. It’s currently in my storage unit. Pics attached. $650?? Open to offers. Someone come and get it!

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Dave Baxter

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Unfortunately there is a lot of started and never finished projects like this around. Back in the 70s and 80s one could probably have found some one that would love to have it. But these days you will be lucky to find anyone, I hope I am wrong, but don't think so. Dave
 

EAABipe40FF

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Alas I suspect Dave is right. Like the dinosaurs like me who know how to fly them we might be the only ones who would want to build one?
Unless it's almost ready to go it's goo much for me. The only thing I might consider is a complete airplane needing FWF.
 

pete51577

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I know and understand fully. The hope is that if there is anyone out there that would want it, they are more likely to be on this site!
 

jrs14855

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Bob Walters and Jerry Nolan were Kobelt regulars in the 60's. Both had miniplane projects. They lived in Bloomfield NJ at the time. Bob passed many years ago. Always wondered what happened to their projects. There were at least two other Mini's finished and flown by members of Bloomfield EAA Chapter.
The Mini was by far the most popular biplane in that era until the Pitts plans became available. At least one pilot started his aerobatic "career" in a Mini. Moved on to a series of Pitts's and Unlimited competition.
There was also a Mini built in Jamestown NY area and I think one in Albany area. That was an era when there were very few flying EAB in the Northeast.
 

footloose

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Pete , this is like dangling a carrot on a fishin pole in front of a hungry Donkey (JA) . You got the carrot and I know witch part I play here . I'm probably the most avid Smith groupie on the planet and on this forum as well , and would love to have it , and ya couldn't even come close to buying the 4130 to build it for your offer . I'm in Oklahoma and it would cost a min. of twice that to retrieve it . These Smith projects , to me , are on the same level as French Bull dog puppies . If I could have a thousand of um , I'd need a huge barn . I like the suttle changes that the builder was making and looks as though most all the small brackets and standoffs (wing attach) etc. are not installed yet and it appears he was going with a Continental engine . Wish I could call it mine , but . Hope it finds a really neat home and moves forward . Looks like Frank had touched another builder / dreamer with his own dream .
 

footloose

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Jim , my first Smith came from up there . It was built right there close to Niagra Falls . I don't remember the builders name but it was blue and white , almost like the original , of Franks . It was N171K . It had a C-85 Continental on it . That N number is now reissued . I tracked it down to a location in Florida and spoke to a gentelman that could remember it and could remember that it had been involved in an accident and the pilot was not injured . Went off radar after that . I'd like to have it back , but .
 

pete51577

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A little historical context behind the Smith fuselage. Here are some old photos of Kobelt Alrport in “the era.”
The Waco UPF was owned by the guy who built the Smith fuselage. If I had the time, skill, and resources to bring the project to fruition, I’d paint it somewhat like the that UPF. Red and white. Big N#. Lean into the era!
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Knight Twister

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I have a Pitts fuselage in the same stage of completion. I have no illusions of anybody wanting it. More trouble than its worth to carry out of my storage loft. I'll let my wife include it in the auction someday. The number of young pilots/builders wanting these types of airplanes is dwindling rapidly.
 

EAABipe40FF

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You have my mouth watering Pete. It is one of 3 EAB I've always wanted. Not even that far but I wouldn't take it on if it was free. I'm 75 and while the desire is still there my body tells me no. I could no longer do it justice.

Jack

PS other 2 are Cassutt and Tailwind
 
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I have a Pitts fuselage in the same stage of completion. I have no illusions of anybody wanting it. More trouble than its worth to carry out of my storage loft. I'll let my wife include it in the auction someday. The number of young pilots/builders wanting these types of airplanes is dwindling rapidly.
I told my wife that if I go first, donate my aviation hobby stuff to the local vintage aviation museum.
 

footloose

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Bob , if ya donate it to the museum over by Liberal Ks , it will share company with Bob Turners Willie . I haven't seen Bob's plane in years but would love seein it again .
 

jrs14855

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In the group photo Al Bachman is kneeling in front of sign on right. Bob Walters is front row above the O. At the left end of the front row is Ken Joralaman who owned a Rearwin, far left I think is Lloyd Fearey who built a beautiful Baby Ace that was last known to be in Middletown.
I later worked for Princeton Aviation in NJ and Ken was a mechanic there. The Rearwin was gone by then.
Pappy Kobelt was a passenger in a car that hit a tree near the airport. He was killed, the other two occupants survived. Good Friday 1966, the airport was never the same without him.
 

jrs14855

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Second photo is south of the original hangar looking N/NW. PJ260, 450 Stearman is probably Lindsey Parson's, "Nixie" Kobelt Ryan PT22 with Continental 220 and Harold Krier's Krier Kraft is hiding behind the others.
Kobelt in that era had a 1800' runway with the NY aqueduct, about 20' high at the north end of the runway. Ed Mahler would snap roll the T6 above the aqueduct on takeoff.
 

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