Aviation Innovator Rex Buren Beisel

September 23, 2014 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

Designed by American aeronautical engineer Rex Buren Beisel, the Vought F4U Corsair was the first fighter aircraft with the capability of exceeding a speed of 400 mph in level flight carrying a full military load. The single engine aircraft was used extensively in World War II, allowing the Allied forces to dominate the skies in the Pacific. Between 1940 and 1953, the number of F4U Corsairs built by Vought across 16 models totaled 12,571, but because demand for the aircraft outstripped Vought’s production capacity, F4U Corsairs were also built by Goodyear and Brewster, with the prefix of FG for Goodyear and F3A for Brewster identifying the manufacturer.

Born in San Jose, California, on October 24, 1893, and raised in Cumberland, Washington, Rex Buren Beisel earned a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Washington, while at the same time working at various jobs. Upon graduation Beisel completed a civil service examination in mechanical engineering which led to a job offer in the US Navy’s Bureau of Construction and Repair, and later at the Bureau of Aeronautics in 1917 where he served as a draughtsman. Although he had no previous aeronautical experience, and limited access to relevant data, he started designing wing floats, pontoons and hulls for seaplanes with such skill that he was soon assigned to major aeronautics projects, and in 1919 became one of the few aeronautical engineers in the United States.

In 1923, Beisel went to work as Chief Engineer at the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company where he designed award winning airplanes, among which were the N2C-1 Fledgling and F8C Helldiver. In 1931, as Assistant Chief Engineer at Chance Vought, Beisel designed the SBU-1 and SB2U Vindicator bombers. He was soon promoted to Chief Engineer and was head of the design team that produced the legendary Vought F4U Corsair. He became General Manager of Vought Aircraft in 1943, during which time he oversaw the relocation of the company from Stanford in Connecticut to Dallas, Texas, and move that included huge quantities of equipment and 1,300 employees and their families. He was promoted to Vice President of Vought’s parent company, United Aircraft Corporation in 1949, retiring a few years later. Rex Buren Beisel died on January, 26, 1972, in Sarasota, Florida, at the age of 78, having made an indelible and noteworthy impression on aviation history.

Superb Restorations at Chino’s Air Museums

July 16, 2013 by  
Filed under Features

Located in San Bernardino Country, California, the city of Chino has two museums which will be of interest to aviation enthusiasts – the Planes of Fame Air Museum and the Yanks Air Museum, both of which are located at the Chino Airport. The Planes of Fame Air Museum has a large collecting of both flying and static aircraft and is the base for restoration of rare and historic aircraft from around the world, while the Yanks Air Museum, as the name suggests, is devoted to restoring, preserving and exhibiting American aircraft and aviation-related artifacts.

Established by Edward T. Maloney in January 1957, the Planes of Fame Air Museum was initially located in Claremont, California, and was known as The Air Museum. At that time a group of volunteers undertook to restore derelict aircraft to an airworthy condition to take to the skies once more, and this remains a priority of the museum. When the museum’s collection became too large for its Claremont premises it was moved in 1962 to a venue close to Ontario Airport in California, before being moved again in 1970 to Chino Airport, where it remains today. The venue at Chino Airport features a hands-on aviation youth education center, offices, a gift shop, a library and restoration facilities. Display areas include aircraft from the Korean War, Vietnam War and the so-called Cold War era (1947-1991). The Japanese aircraft collection at the museum includes the only airworthy Japanese Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter in the world, as well as an Aichi D3A such as those seen in the memorable movie Tora Tora Tora about the historic attack on Pearl Harbor.

With more than 160 aircraft in its collection, the Yanks Air Museum has the most extensive private collection of American World War II aircraft in the world, many of which are the last of their kind. Rare WWII aircraft in the collection include the P-40 Warhawk, P-51A Mustang, P-38 Lightning, P-47M Thunderbolt, F6F Hellcat and B-25 Mitchell. Visitors to the museum can take a behind-the-scenes look at aircraft restorations as they take place in the Restorations Hangar, with dedicated staff and volunteers using the techniques of the eras the various aircraft were manufactured in to restore them to their original state – a fascinating process worth checking out.