From: Bob Runge <email@example.com>
Swift N80528 s/n31,
I recently purchased the above listed Swift and have just finished reading “The History of the Swift” on the Swift home page. I am confused. My aircraft started life as a GC-1A and was converted to a GC-1B via an STC in 1951 (according to the log entries). First log indicates Feb 1946 as manufacturing date and lists Globe as manufacturer. If my aircraft was one of the first GC-1A’s built by Globe (SN 2 – SN429), and Temco started producing GC-1B’s in May 1946, why does my aircraft have the “D” style rear windows representative of a Temco? My aircraft is now also designated as a “Temco Swift” on all the back registrations I have seen, as well as the current one. If this is not true, can I get this changed?
Your airplane was definitely built by Globe originally. Many airplanes lost their actual identity when they were sold by Temco, In which case, they were simply registered “Temco” Swifts. My own N2431B was made in 1950, long after Globe was gone, but it was a “Globe Swift” on the registration, by furnishing the FAA with the original wt & balance & equipment list plus the original flight test report from 1950, I convinced them it was a Temco & they changed the paperwork accordingly. Having said that, it really doesn’t make much difference! A cup of coffee still costs me $1.10 at the local restaurants!
Who changed yours to a GC-1B? Was it Temco? It should have been done according to S.B.#27 – on a 337 form not an STC. The big thing in years gone by was to install a “new look” kit, which replaced the slope shelf with a flat shelf and installed the Temco style “D” windows. Nowadays, we would make out a 337 form on this. (major alteration). But it’s on the original ATC & Temco & others used to install them with a log entry & sometimes not even THAT! Many old time FAA (CAA) people used the Globe & Temco terms interchangeably, after Universal (Univair) bought the type certificate many Swifts became listed as “Universal” as the manufacturer, even though Univair never manufactured any airplanes. — Jim
Thanks for clearing the fog on my questions. Sure do appreciate it. Actually, the conversion to a GC-1B from an A was done according to SB #27 and not an STC. My error. I checked my airworthiness certificate and it says GLOBE GC-1B. The old registration says TEMCO GC1B. I talked to the FAA and they told me that they make out the registration according to what’s on the airworthiness certificate. Doesn’t seem so in this case. Seeing how I just bought the aircraft and the registration is still pending, I am going to see if they will just correct it according to what they have on record for the airworthiness.
MONTY THE MATCHMAKER…
Back on the 15th of July I asked for your help in finding a Swift. You gave me the tip to call Jerry Ramerth. To make a long story short, I did and I now own 77759, except I don’t have it home yet. Anyway, wanted to thank you for your help. Would you have any idea on where or how I could come up with the original or close to the original Temco design on the control wheels. The wheels on mine have been repainted and so they are now blank.
Jerry Swartz (Jsw7211963@aol.com)
Sioux City, IA
Congratulations on getting N77759. Incidently, the 777 series of Swifts were unique. They were made in the transition period between Globe and Temco, mostly from Globe parts, but were finished by Temco. I believe N77759 was originally made by Globe as s/n 28. Probably, it had some mishap at the factory, and was simply pushed aside in the weeds. When Temco was trying to get started up again in early 1948, it was repaired and refurbished and fitted with a new firewall foreward, and given a new s/n 3631, and sold as a new aircraft.
The control wheels were maroon in color. The Globe airplanes had a Globe decal or paint logo in the center. The Temco airplanes had a similar “Temco” design. The last time I saw N77759, it still had the blue stripes and red “Swift” bird painted on the cowl, that is the “correct” scheme for s/n 3531. I don’t have a detailed drawing, in case you need to redo it, but if you can get up here, we have several original Swifts locally. Look at the Swift site on the web and look at my site for photos of N2431B. — Jim Montague
WHERE THE HELL DID THEY GET THEIR PARTS???
I have noticed that some parts on swift that have data tags are the same s/n of the aircraft. were all the parts matched to the aircraft in production”? If this is so my R/H elevator is off of s/n 111.
Thanks, Lee Davis (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Over the years I have seen a lot of those s/n data tags. I believe they ‘kind of” tried to match s/n’s but many were off a few numbers right from the factory. For instance, my first Swift, which was s/n 42. The fuselage and centersection were s/n 42, but the wings were slightly different and most of the control surfaces were slightly different, like s/n 43 – 44 – 45 etc. ( long time ago, I forget exactly) s/n 3760 which I am working on now has ailerons tagged 3759. Many GC-1Bs around s/n 1100 had control surfaces & wings s/n’s like 450, of course, they never made a 450, GC-1A production ended at 409, but they had the parts made up and they used them as they needed them. I wish now I had paid more attention to this. Of course, now many parts have been swapped around, but I know for sure some were like this from the factory.
My s/n 3731 (N2431B) has had the left elevator changed, it is s/n 3762, which aircraft s/n was never built. That elevator came new on aircraft 3758. It was destroyed, and the elevator was put on s/n 3687 (N2387B) that aircraft was damaged and many of the parts off N78122 were used to rebuild it. I got the elevator many years ago and put it on my plane to replace one that had a scratch on it. Thanks for the note, I love the history of this stuff. BTW, s/n 111 is flying so I doubt if your RH elevator came from it, thats probably just the way Globe used control surfaces that day. I guess we Swift guys can’t be like the Corvette owners and advertise “all serial numbers match”, since so many didn’t right from the factory. — Jim
MONTY FIGURES OUT JUST HOW MANY SWIFTS WERE BUILT… (4199)
I decided to sit down and determine how many Swifts were actually built. There were 409 GC-1A serial numbers; s/n 1 was not a Swift as we know it, so count …408
The Globe GC-1B’s start at s/n 1001 and go to s/n 1504, which counts 504 aircraft, but s/n 1002 and 1004 were converted GC-1A’s and have already been counted, so subtract two. But looking a little further along you see s/n 1527, so add one. Total count for this series …503
The Temco built 1946 Swifts total 329 serial numbers, but s/.n 2001 and 2003 were converted GC-1A’s so subtract 2 from 329. Total count here…327
The Temco airplanes from s/n 3501 to 3760 total 260. s/n 3531 was evidently converted from s/n 28 so subtract one from 260. Total count here…259
TOTAL SWIFT BUILT = 1497
Other Swifts may in fact have been converted GC-1A’s, so the count may even be lower. I would welcome any input or commentary. — Jim
MORE DISCUSSION ON SWIFT PRODUCTION NUMBERS… (11199)
From: George Isenbruerger <email@example.com>
Subject: numbers of Swifts…
I just read that email below (“UPON FURTHER REVIEW…” from the Oct. #4 GTS Internet Update) and I wonder how many Swifts are currently flying worldwide. I assume that we have 2 Swifts (N2451B and D-EJYB) flying in Europe with one being repaired (Roger Hamletts Swift G-AHUN). I also heard of two other Swifts that were purchased by a father and son team from airbus industries in Tulouse, France. However I do not know if they are already in France (N3333?? and N333??) What about elsewhere? Regards — George
I would invite you to go through the lists and count them! I’ve tried it and I’m sure I never got an accurate count. Some of the airplanes listed are “paper airplanes” and only exist on paper. Others are non-flying for one reason or another and the owners couldn’t care less about keeping the record straight. Others are still unknown and we still find one every month or two, perhaps stored in a barn or destroyed years ago. The FAA records in the US still show almost half of the original production still registered. The total flying, or which could fly is somewhat less worldwide, about 500 airplanes.
I don’t believe those Swifts ever made it to France. I think N3333K was sold to a gentleman from Texas and N333DK is for sale in Florida. Puzzling, to me, The one that had the 220 Franklin and canopy is no longer listed as having either. Incidentally, there are two Swifts in Australia, several in Brazil, one in Chile and more in Canada and South Africa. There were two in the Philippines but they have been returned to the US, one sat on a dock in Los Angeles and now suffers terminal corrosion and the other, which flew around the world in the ’50’s is now in storage in Illinois. Jim
SWIFT SERIAL NUMBER LISTING…
To: Pete King <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Why do you set the 3500 series swifts apart from 36 & 3700 series?????? in your genealogy print outs??????
High regards, Pete
The reason I include the 3500 s/n’s in with the ’46 Globes is so I could show the transition of “N” numbers. Note N3811K is Globe s/n 1504 and N3812K is Temco s/n 3501 Note also I have the original Globe s/n’s in parenthesis thus: 3502 N3813K (1506) Also note Globe s/n 1527 is N3834K, Temco must have forgot to take “credit” for that one. It also shows the origin of the N777 series of Temco Swifts which were assembled by Temco out of Globe produced parts. N3899K and N2300B are adjacent s/n’s and probably near identical airplanes, they just represent the change in block “N” numbers as assigned by the CAA. — Jim
STOCK vs MODIFIED… (11499)
From: “Frank L. Mason” <email@example.com>
I noticed a lot of commentary about modified Swifts in this (last) issue. It brings to mind a question. Any idea how many Swifts are left that have been maintained “as delivered” (with any required AD’s of course)? In my entire life I’ve seen 1 advertised as “owned for 30 years by one owner… as original. Seems a shame everyone is butchering them up.
I agree totally with that last statement! Oh sure, I agree a 210 hp engine is nice, and bubble canopies are nice, but I think we had more fun when you could run out and buy a good Swift for $2,000! Everyone seems to want to go faster, longer, and in more comfort. This is not all bad as a big engine Swift with 50 gallons of fuel and modern radios and instrumentation is a pretty neat airplane. I think a PROPERLY modified Swift has its place, as well as an original or nearly original Swift. — Jim
(Editor’s two-cents worth follow…)
I’m not really sure about exact numbers but I’ll take a stab at this until someone emails with better information. Every year at Swift National there are at least a dozen, if not more, really “stock” Swifts. Many Swifts that are close to original are being restored back to “as original” condition (or at least as close as possible). The Association has been encouraging keeping stock Swifts stock or restoring back to stock for many years now.
These days, it seems that the majority Swifts that are close to original are not being customized. Most of the recently customized Swifts are made from Swifts that were already WAY past any resemblance to original before further customization began. (At least most of us would hope so…) The Association apparently does not seem care too much if a Swift that is already “cut-up” is customized further. Then you also have the individuals that on rare occasion make so many changes that they have to put their Swifts in the experimental category.
Regarding number of owners. The Swifts in our family probably represent the two extremes. Our Swifts are three serial numbers apart and were built by Globe in October ’46. In my mind’s eye I can see them going down the line at the Globe plant, almost nose to tail with only ’05Kilo and ’06Kilo between them, soon to be parted but someday to be together again. My Swift, thus far, has had two owners (or, “caretakers”, as some of us prefer to think of it). The original owner from April 1947 to August 1982 was the late Linn A. Gore of Santa Monica, CA. Then myself from Aug ’82 through today. My wife’s Swift, on the other hand, has had 29 owners. Erin has owned her Swift since February 1986 and has by far owned her Swift longer than her 28 predecessors. Most Swifts will fall somewhere in between our two in number of owners and I would challenge anyone to show me proof of a Swift that has had more than 29 owners. I’m also reminded now, as we are discussing one Swift with many owners, of the one owner that has had many Swifts. Mark Holliday of Lake Elmo has owned, I believe, 30+ Swifts. (And we won’t count the Swift he won in a raffle and gave back…) Maybe Mark can email me with the exact number. As of this minute…
Swifts are without a doubt the most modified production light airplane in the world. (Or any size airplane for that matter…) They tend to be as individual as their owners and in point of fact I think that is one of the things, to me anyway, that makes them so special. Like my wife was quoted in Stan Thomas’ book, “The Globe Temco Swift Story”… “Swifts are like snowflakes, no two are alike.” When you go to a Swift Fly-In if you haven’t looked at all the Swifts there you haven’t seen them all. Maybe some of the Swifters out there might have some numbers and/or opinions of their own on this subject. — Denis
NO MORE CALLS PLEASE, WE HAVE A WINNER!!! (11599)
From: Steve Wilson <SteveWlson@aol.com>
Subject: Re: GTS Internet Update#4
In a past GTS Internet Update you wrote…
<< My wife’s Swift, on the other hand, has had 29 owners. Erin has owned her Swift since February 1986 and has by far owned her Swift longer than her 28 predecessors. Most Swifts will fall somewhere in between our two in number of owners and I would challenge anyone to show me proof of a Swift that has had more than 29 owners. >>
I accept the challenge… Attached is a “Word” file containing the names and addresses, including the date of purchase for each of the owners of N3876K, Barb’s airplane. There are 31 owners, if you include the birth parents “Temco.” OK. what’s my prize?….. A nice Swift when Barb is through restoring it is enough!!!
SWIFT SERIAL NUMBER 2 NOT THE FIRST PRODUCTION SWIFT… (010100)
Subject: first and last
Denis: Here’s a letter I sent to HG Frautchy at the EAA………….
I was very interested in your pictures of Lou Leftwich’s Swift in the December issue. However, I must correct you. NC33336, s/n #2 is a preproduction prototype. The first production Swift is NC80500, s/n 3. I myself am the caretaker of N2460B — the LAST Swift built in 1951. (picture attached) That picture was taken in 1998 after Mark Holliday ferried it here to MN. Restoration has begun, a restored Swift can’t be painted, right? Unfortunately, after the paint was removed, a lot of bondo was revealed, so some major reskinning is in order. — Jim Montague EAA 42062 AC 1310
STEVE WILSON WITH A GLOBE STORY… (100100)
From: Steve Wilson <SteveWlson@aol.com>
In a message dated 9/28/00 21:21:27 Central Daylight Time, firstname.lastname@example.org writes: << Pop Johnson was the Jim Bede of the 1940s. (In some respects…) He went to a Culver Cadet dealer and “borrowed” it on the excuse he wanted his personal mechanic to look the airplane over before buying one.>>
“Pop” Johnson either took a job as a Culver salesman, or represented himself as one, otherwise your rendition is accurate. This information was told to me in 1968 by former Swift dealer Bob McKissick who lived near the Ft. Worth plant and was intimately familiar with Globe and the Swift. He also knew “Pop” Johnson. Some of you who remember the Winchester, VA fly ins of the early 70’s might remember that Bob attended a dinner there and gave a history of the Swift. Interestingly, his stories which were new to us then, turned out to be VERY accurate later when we talked to people like Bud Knox and Cotton Conder. Unfortunately, like a lot of folks of that era, Bob has gone west. I will relate one of his stories which has not been told here yet:
Seems that if you were an early Globe “Swift” dealer you had to purchase (read… sell) one GC-1A before you could get a GC-1B. Bob was desperately trying to sell his “one and only” to a Texas rancher. When he arrived to demonstrate the Swift there was a Cessna salesman there with a brand new 140. Bob went first and tried to show the rancher what the Swift could do for him and why it was wise to buy it. Then the Cessna salesman took the rancher up to show off the 140. They took off shorter, flew slower, and landed slower and shorter. As they landed, bored and fearing he had lost the sale, Bob was perched on the horizontal stabilizer of the Swift, as they taxied to a stop. The rancher seeing Bob, exited the 140 and immediately attempted to take up the same position on the 140’s horizontal stabilizer. The poor little 140’s tail buckled and Bob sold his GC-1A on the spot! Cheers… Steve W
Subj: Globe or Temco
From: Mike Williams <email@example.com>
Is my Swift 78314 a Globe or a Temco? It is in Globe configuration. Mike
N78314, s/n 2314 was near the end of the 1946 production contract where Temco manufactured 329 Swifts for Globe. Read the note on the serial number page on the Swift site. I would surmise that s/n 2314 was not sold until 1947 or 1948, and was sold by Temco. So the Airworthiness Certificate may read “Temco”. Some airplanes around this number have both Globe and Temco data plates on them. N78314 is a Temco built Globe Swift. But it may be registered as a Temco GC-1B. This has confused many people over the years. As a matter of interest both N2431B and N2460B were registered as “Globe” Swifts. Globe Aircraft did not exist after 1947 and N2431B was made in 1950 and N2460B was made in 1951! It took copies of the original paperwork to convince the FAA that they were not Globes! The answer to your question is, N78314 is a Globe Swift, but if it’s registered as a Temco, the sun will still rise in the East tomorrow! — Jim
SERIAL NUMBER TRIVIA FOR “NUTS”…(120200)
Subject: Re: s/n trivia
From: Steve Wilson <SteveWlson@aol.com>
I was looking at the wings from N3876K, s/n 3576 today. The right wing’s s/n is 1580. Interesting because if you extrapolate N77753, s/n 3525 should have been 1530, then 3576 should have been 1581. Not far off! The left wing s/n is 3555. Just trivia. Probably much of nothing… Take care… SW
Interesting. I once heard the production of wings was undertaken by Temco early on and that most of the wings were built by Temco. I have seen ailerons and flaps with s/n’s of 500 or so which indicated these had sequential Globe s/n’s. I suppose back in ’46 they really didn’t know or care that 50 some years in the future some nuts would be interested in stuff like that! — Jim
HOW MANY ARE LEFT… (080201)
Subj: Info on Swift Production
From: Steve Roth <Swift97B@aol.com>
Monty: I want to make up an information poster to display with my Swift at a local CAF fly-in. I want to indicate the total number of Swifts built, the relative total number still in license and total (approx) still flying. I see on the web site that 1498 were built but I need the other numbers (even if they are a WAG). Can you help? Thanks, Steve
I don’t know how many are in license at the present time, there really isn’t any way to tell that from the FAA registration information. I would guess that about 300 Swifts are still active. I think I checked once and there are about 700 Swift serial numbers still registered with the FAA, and maybe 500 of these are flyable or potentially flyable. — Jim
WHERE IS SWIFT N902B??? (010302)
From: Cotton Conder <FiveNoTrmp@aol.com>
Subject: Re: Swift Newsletter
N902B was a Swift the company kept for us to fly on business trips. I’m not finding N902B in my copy of your Swift Genealogy Listings.
N902B was not numbered in any of the blocks of numbers like the usual Swifts. I have no idea of the serial number but would sure like to! It was numbered like the Buckaroos. For instance, I have a photo of N900B, which is the prototype Buckaroo with the revised canopy but still has the Swift cowl. I have long suspected that Swift s/n 3534, N77764 became the Buckaroo prototype. I suppose we never will find all the Swift serial numbers, because some were converted into other airplanes even when they were practically new. Who would guess that 50 years later some nut (me!) would care about that stuff? — Jim
Wish I could help you but I do not know whether N2460B was the last Temco Swift. I checked my log books for 1951 and could not find where I had flown this ship. During ten months of 1951 I was at Goodfellow AFB San Angelo, Tx with 3 Buckaroos in competition with the Beech T34 and Fairchild’s Entry for a contract with the AF. During this time I flew a Swift N902B back and forth to the Temco Plant several times. This plane had a 145 Continental engine. At Christmas time in 1951 I flew this plane to Greenville Division of Temco. The next day Red Crawford and another employee named Patterson flew N902B to Dallas Love Field to check on some business with ‘then’ Pioneer Air Line. On take off coming back the engine failed at about 400 feet and they tried to make a 180 degree turn back to the field. They got back to the runway but went in at about a 45 degree angle. Both were very seriously injured and the plane was totaled. N902B was a Swift the company kept for us to fly on business trips. I’m not finding N902B in my copy of your Swift Genealogy Listings. Good luck installing skins on N2460B. Been there…Done that. Cotton
COTTON CONDER Q & A…(040201)
The following email from Casey Woodard resulted in this Q & A with ex Globe/Temco employee/pilot Cotton Conder. Interesting stuff for the history buffs… We also wish Casey the best of luck with his project!
From: Sir Rocks <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Historical Marker at Globe Swift Plant – Please Respond
Dear Sir, I thank you for your wonderful website. My college class and I in Ft. Worth, Texas are trying to get an historical marker placed at the old Globe Swift Plant in Saginaw (Ft. Worth). My responsibility for the project is to interview employees who worked at the plant during the 1940’s-70’s. Could you tell me of any employees who may have worked at the plant or any other contacts or webpages that would be helpful to me. I can’t find many people and I am starting to run out of time and would like to find some people who worked at the plant hopefully by this weekend or so. If we are successful and get a marker at the plant it would be a fine tribute to the plant and and its very interesting history. Any help is greatly appreciated. Thank you, Casey Woodard
Q. What do you know of the origins of the Globe Swift plant?
A. In 1920 the Globe Plant was a manufacturing plant for horse drawn wagons. Mr. John Clay Kennedy bought the plant that year and the next year converted it to a chemical plant called Globe Laboratories lasting until about 1940. He then converted it again into an airplane manufacturing plant known as Bennett Aircraft Company. He built the Bennett Twin Engine planes but could not sell them. Mr. Kennedy changed the name to Globe Aircraft Company in 1943. The company built military AT10 Beech Aircraft by contract until the end of WW11. After the war the two place Swift was designed. The company did well at first with this new airplane but produced more planes than demand allowed, consequently going bankrupt in 1946. The co. in Trusteeship continued to service customers for another 1 ½ years with only two employees running the plant. At that time in 1947 Temco Aircraft Company took over Globe Aircraft Company, and moved everything to their Grand Prairie Plant, leaving the building vacant. Later in 1957 Bell Helicopter Company took over the building and continued building helicopters until recent years. After Bell moved the building stood vacant for a period of time. It then became a military armory for a short time. At the present time the building stands vacant.
Q. When did you start working at the plant?
A. Hired in late summer of 1945
Q. What was your job at the plant?
A. Field Service Rep. , A & P Mechanic and Pilot
Q. Did you enjoy working there and why?
A. Yes. Wonderful place to work. Good salary. Good benefits and fine people.
Q. Who was the target buyer for the Swift airplane and what made the Swift unique?
A. Doctors, Lawyers and recreational pilots. It was unique in that it was the first all metal general aviation plane available after WW11.
Q. Approximately how many models of Swifts were manufactured?
A. Only two. GC1A – 85 HP and GC1B – 125 HP
Q. Approximately how many employees worked at the plant at any one time?
A. 900 Employees
Q. Was the plant significant to the surrounding areas and if so how was it significant?
A. It furnished employment and did a great war effort
Q. Briefly, what were the reasons the plant closed.
A. The plant over produced causing surplus new planes and eventually went bankrupt.
Q. Do you think the Globe Swift Plant deserves some historical recognition and if so why?
A. Yes. This building is almost a shrine to Globe Swift owners and pilots all over the U.S. , plus the great war effort during WWII.
GLOBE AND TEMCO FACTORY TEST PILOTS… (MAR 03)
From: Jim Montague <Swift31B@aol.com>
Subject: Swift question
I haven’t heard from you in a while. I hope you are Ok. Mark Holliday bought a “new” Swift – N78267. I know there weren’t supposed to be any 1947 Swifts, but the test flight in the log was 12-16-47. The pilot signature is hard to read, but it looks like “J. B. Pitzer” or something like that. Does that or something similar ring a bell? Jim Montague
As I approach 87, I seem to be feeling better than I have in a long time.
I do not understand your remark “I know there weren’t supposed to be any 1947 Swifts”. I have pages of 1947 various Swift flights in my logs books. Your pilot question brings back many memories of my old friend Jimmy Pitzer, who was our number 2 test pilot at Temco, but he never worked at Globe. Lynn Meyers was our chief test pilot at Temco. For your information and record, the chief test pilot at Globe was Ted Yarbrough and the number 2 test pilot was Lewis Doan and the number 3 test pilot was Emmit Cook. The rest of us were just check out, service, and delivery pilots.I do not know after 55 years exactly when Temco started to build the standard 125 HP Swifts or the date they shut down during the period of Globe bankruptcy, but, I believe your good records showing all planes, dates, serial numbers, ect. will answer this question. It seem to me much of this happened in 1947. Most, if not all, Swifts built by Temco were flown by either Pitzer of Meyers. You asked me some time back if I remembered a man named Ben Hammer at Globe A/C. ~He was one of our A/C structural engineers. He was supposed to be one of the best at that time. Best regards to Mark Holliday. And I say again…nice hearing from you.
Thanks much for the reply. You are a living treasure. What I meant was, after the bankruptcy, production stopped. I thought all those Temco built Standard Swifts – the 2000 serial numbers – were built in 1946. Were some built in 1947? I know the later ones – like N78300 and up are 1948 Temco Swifts on the FAA records. For sure that signature is Jimmy Pitzer. The airplane Mark just got was owned by Jim Walker for about 47 years. He has it in CO. so I haven’t seen it yet. Next time I see Mark I’ll have to find how many Swifts he’s had now. The number must be close to 100. Except Globe and Temco, that must be a record. — Jim
HOW TEMCO GOT A CRASH TRUCK… (MAR 03)
Got this off a website that has some stories written by ex-Temco employees. This was the only one that involved Globe…
GLOBE AIRCRAFT– The second year that I worked at Temco the company bought Globe Aircraft in Fort Worth out of bankruptcy. Globe was the designer and producer of a civilian airplane called the Globe Swift. Temco later produced these aircraft as the TEMCO Swift. Pilots tell me that it is a good airplane, but that you have to fly it all the time — it is very unforgiving of the lazy pilot.
One day shortly after we bought Globe, Lunday, a line foreman and a fine guy came to me and said, “I’m heading up a crew to go cannibalize the Globe factory of everything of value”. So you will understand, during WWII an agency was created called the Defense Plant Corporation which if a defense plant needed a piece of machinery and could not afford it on their own books the DPC would buy it for them and let them use it at no cost. Such machinery and equipment was called GFE (Government Furnished Equipment). We had bought Globe Aircraft assets and thus had a right to all the company’s equipment, but no right at all to any GFE at Globe. On the way over to Globe Lunday told all of us that there would be a DPC official there to keep us from taking off with any GFE.
The DPC man turned out to be a little wizened, gray, balding sort of guy — typical civil servant type — but with a tongue like Cleopatra’s asp. While there for the first load I grabbed a big rotating standing fan and started to lever it on to a dolly when the DPC civil servant came running;. “No, NO! Put that down! That does not go! That is GFE. Can’t you see the tag. Put that down.” I put it down, but he kept his eye on me as I loaded other stuff. As we went back for the next load Lunday told me that as soon as we got there that I was to go start loading the big standing fan, I told him that it was GFE and that the DPC man had told me to leave it alone. Lunday said for me to go load it anyway, and when the DPC man came up to give him an argument about it. Question the authenticity of the tag, ask to see his credentials, tell him you doubt he works for DPC — any thing to keep him busy while they get the truck loaded. When we got there I went over to the fan and started to move it toward the door and sure enough here came the DPC man with fire in his eye so I did just as Lunday said. It got pretty hot and heavy and the man from DPC had his arms wrapped around the fan while the truck was being loaded. Finally when I was about to wind down Lunday came over and said “Charles, you stupid fool, can’t you see that the fan is GFE? Now get out of this gentleman’s hair and you go drive the truck around front while I apologize to this gentleman for your stupidity.” I drove the truck around to the front door and Lunday came out and jumped in the truck and said, “Go! Go! Go!” About two blocks down the street I said “Lunday we’ve got to go back to the Globe plant. Joe is not on the truck”
Lunday said, “Keep driving. Joe is driving the fire truck back”
“But the fire truck is GFE!” I said. Lunday grinned, “Well I’ll be damned, and I didn’t even notice”. So that is how Temco got a crash truck — but didn’t get a standing fan.
POP JOHNSON… (APRIL 03)
From: Christy (Johnson) Catenhauser <email@example.com>
Subject: Pop Johnson
Dear Mr. Arbeau,
My name is Christy (Johnson) Catenhauser and I am Pop Johnson’s granddaughter. I have slowly gathered as much information as I can about his Johnson Rocket and I am now interested in his original design of the Swift. I know that he hired a man by the name of John Kennedy (Globe Aircraft Company) to build the aircraft in the early 1940’s. I believe he received certification for the 85HP model in 1946. I would greatly appreciate any information or photos that you might want to share. This is one phase of his life that I am finding hard to research. Thank you for your time, Christy Catenhauser
4821 W. 67th Street
Prairie Village, Ks 66208 ( suburb of Kansas City)
(Editor says: Christy was given contact info for some of the Swifters who could help her gain more information about her grandfather. If you have anything that might be of help please email her. Some of the responses will follow in this and, if necessary, future updates.)
From: Christy (Johnson) Catenhauser <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: Pop Johnson
Denis – Thank you for the additional information. I will be in contact with everyone you mentioned. I received an e-mail from Mark Holliday and have hopes of meeting him in Minneapolis sometime soon. I have pictures of Pop with with the original Regent and Johnson Rockets as well as other material I would like to share. I can’t tell you how excited I am to possibly ride in one of his planes. I’ve always wanted a pilot’s license and now might be the time to pursue that dream. All of Pop’s son’s (Ed, Dave and C.O. (my father) flew for major airlines. Unfortunately, I lost my dad 24 years ago to cancer. Again, thank you for your help! Christy
Subj: Re: Pop Johnson
From: Mark Holliday <MarkH85@aol.com>
Hi Christy, My name is Mark Holliday, I received a cc of your email to Denis Arbeau. I am a Swift owner and own 2 of the 3 remaining Texas Bullets, that your grandfather designed in the late 40’s. One of my Bullets is flyable and the other is awaiting restoration. The third is owned by Robert Brown of Atlanta GA. The original Johnson Rocket prototype is in Florida and for sale, as the owner died about a year ago. James Wilkins of Tyler Texas, who did a presentation on the Texas Bullet to the Tyler Historical Society a few years ago said someone should do a biography on Pop Johnson. The never completed second Regent Rocket is in my area also (Minneapolis). I think that was the final aircraft your grandfather designed. If I can be of any help to you please let me know. Regards, Mark
From: Cotton Conder <FiveNoTrmp@aol.com>
Subject: Pop Johnson
Received your E-mail yesterday. This brings back many memories of those days 56 years ago. Will give you what I remember. You are right , your Grandfather was eccentric, and he always wore a hat, even when he was working. Your Grandfather was gone from Globe Aircraft when I arrived in early 1946. He had set up shop on Meacham Field in Ft. Worth just about 5 miles from the Globe plant. In the early part of 1946 several Globe personnel and I visited your Grandfathers shop where he had two Rockets in work. I met him and looked over his Rockets. They were way ahead of the times. The original Swift your Grandfather designed looked very much like an airplane built by the Culver Aircraft Corp. called the Culver Cadet. It had 65 HP engine and was mostly covered with fabric. He did not get credit for the original certification of the GC1, s/n 2 in March 1942. After WW11 we, at Globe, got the FAA (production) certificate for the 85 HP GC 1A all metal Swift, and eventually the 125HP GC 1B. During these busy times I lost track of your Grandfather’s progress with the Rockets, but when Temco took over Globe and I went to Temco to work in 1947 I noticed he had rented space from Temco. I went into his small section of the plant and talked to him again. At this time he had a secured area of the plant behind locked doors. He was working on a sleek designed aircraft he told me he was going to call the Texas Bullet. I believe his intentions were for Bob McCulloch & Temco to mass produce the Bullet, but something happened to change his mind and he moved his whole operation to Longview, TX and located on the Gregg County Airport. I took temporary leave from Temco about that time to fly a Grumman Mallard for an Oil Co. in Ft. Worth, and I again lost track of your Grandfather. There is a book written by Stanley Thomas in 1996, titled, “The Globe/Temco Swift Story”. This books chapter 2 is devoted to your Grandfather and the early days, with pictures. You can order this book from: Sporty’s Pilot Shop (pn M503A) Clarmont/County/Sporty’s/airport Batavia, OH 45103 www.sporty’s.com/shoppilot/53. I believe most of your questions will be answered in this book. If you are not able to find this book please get back with me and I will find it for you someplace. When I think of your Grandfather as an aircraft designer I put him in a category with men like Al and Art Mooney, Walter Beech and Mr. Cessna, who designed some of the most practical general aviation aircraft ever built. Unfortunately, he just didn’t get the breaks needed to get this kind of project going in a big way. I want you to know I am available to assist you in any way. Just send me an E-mail any time. — Cotton Conder
DID THE POP JOHNSON/GLOBE “GC-1 s/n 1” BECOME THE PROTOTYPE JOHNSON ROCKET??? (APRIL 03)
In the April Swift Museum Foundation newsletter, SMF President Charlie Nelson addressed the possible connection between the Pop Johnson designed and built Globe GC-1 s/n 1 and his prototype Johnson Rocket. The restored Rocket was at Sun n Fun this year and the two photos Charlie published in the newsletter showing the GC-1 “way back when” and the Rocket at SnF were quite provacative! I emailed Swift historian Allan Erickson regarding his thoughts and he replied as followed…
Subject: Re: Globe GC-1 vs Prototype Johnson Rocket
From: “Allan Erickson” <email@example.com>
Check my Sept 2001 newsletter. This is old news.
The “newsletter” Allan refers to is his excellent Southern California Swift Wing newsletter. It might be old news to the relatively few Swifters who receive that newsletter so Allan has given me permission to share with you here what he wrote back in Sept ‘01…
SWIFT/ROCKET SPECULATION (SCSW Newsletter, September 2001)
Most of you are probably familiar with the prototype Johnson Rocket because of its almost identical appearance to the war years X model wooden Swifts. The Rocket has been completely restored by Leonard McGinty of Thonotoasassa, FL. It is based at the Zephyrhills Florida Municipal Airport and is for sale for $100,000. Both wooden Swifts were designed by Pop Johnson. It is interesting that the first wooden Swift NX17688 s/n 1, was scraped on April 14, 1942, the same time that Pop Johnson left Globe. Four months later, on August 10, 1942 Johnson applied for registration for the Rocket prototype. Three months after that, on November 23, 1942 and on the same airfield, Pop Johnson had an almost identical airplane flying, the Johnson Rocket Prototype. Even more interesting is the fact that in the 60’s the Rocket was based here on the West Coast and was owned by Robbie Robinson who is now at Whiteman Airport. Robbie stated that he was told that the Rocket was in fact built from one of the Globe Swift prototypes. How is it that this rumor followed this airplane from Texas to California?
The present owner doubts that this airplane could be one of the Globe’s. The Rocket has a fabric covered fuselage and wooden wings whereas the Swift had a wooden fuselage and fabric covered wings. But consideration must be taken in as to how (Globe Chief Engineer) Bud Knox modified the second wooden Swift NX17690, s/n 2, to become NX17640 which was the true prototype for the production Swift. ‘690’s fuselage went from wood to a metal cover on top with fabric covering the sides and bottom. The wings appear to have been covered with wood. The only way these airplanes were identified as being the same was by the CAA documentation.
The point being made is that Bud Knox modified the 690 airframe from that of wood to one of wood, fabric, and metal, the same as the Johnson Rocket. Pop Johnson could have done likewise with wooden Swift NX17688 s/n 1, upgrading the engine and the airframe to become the Johnson Rocket. It is unlikely that Pop could have built the Rocket in seven months from scratch. Remember this was war time, nothing was to be had, not even balsa wood (Mosquito Bombers). This is speculation… But reasonable speculation.
I want to thank Mark Holliday, I think, for bringing this subject and these airplanes once again back into focus. There may never be an answer on this and then again there may still be a Globe employee left out there who can say yes or no. Pop Johnson’s rocket is a beautiful little airplane. Mark Holliday saw the Rocket at Sun n Fun several years ago and showed interest in adding it to his stable but if I remember right, he purchased a Cessna 195 instead. Geeez! Hope this airplane ends up in a Swifter’s hangar or in the Swift Museum Foundation. — Allan Erickson, Sept. ‘01
MORE JOHNSON ROCKET VS SWIFT FROM A ROCKET OWNER… (APRIL 03)
Subject: Swift Newsletter, Swift/Johnson Rocket Relationship
From: Orval Fairbairn <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I have Johnson Rocket 185 S/N 11 and am aware of the Pop Johnson relationship to the Swift. After talking at length to Charlie Nelson at Sun ‘N Fun and parking alongside him and the protptype Johnson Rocket taildragger there, and after reviewing the Swift Website, I am now convinced that the Rocket 125 was originally the GC-1 Swift, rebuilt as a different airplane — namely the Rocket 125. Differences appear in the engine/cowl installation and the vertical fin/rudder. The rest of the plane appears to be the same. It is also cutious that the first five Rocket 185s carried registration numbers NX(C) 33339 through 33344, and that the first metal Swift was 33340. I don’t know when the switch on that number took place, however.Please sign me up for your discussion/email list. Orval R. Fairbairn, Daytona Beach, FL
IS IT A GLOBE, OR A TEMCO, OR BOTH??? (MAY 03)
From: Robert Nye <email@example.com>
Subject: Swift N24SE nee: NC78151
Jim– This is in response to your request in the newsletter a few weeks ago. My Swift GC-1B’s s/n is 2151 and the plate on the tail says it was manufactured on 09-24-46. I have a letter from the second owner’s son that says,… “my Dad bought it second hand in 1946.” He also sent a picture (which doesn’t show the N-number) dated October 1946… He also included three other photos dated 1948 and 1949 which do show NC78151 printed vertically on the tail. I don’t have the original logbook. Mine starts on Oct. 2, 1963 at 723 hours and states: “Aircraft time taken from recording tach time verified by telephone with former owner located in Minneapolis, Minnesota.” I know this is a bit vague but it’s what I have. Hope it helps. Bob Nye.
P. S. I liked your quote at the beginning of the Swift website that I put it on my hangar wall. It seems to help with the local know-it-all nose dragger crowd…
(Editor says… If I’m understanding Swift history correctly, the “78” series of “N” numbers are the Swifts that were built by Temco under contract to Globe so they would be “Temco built Globe Swifts…Right???)
—SWIFT SERIAL NUMBER LISTING GOT AN INTERESTING UPDATE… (MAY 03)
Jim Montague is constantly sending updates to the Swift serial number listing on the website. Mostly related to new caretakers but also other bits of info and the occasional discovery of a Swift that Jim previously did not have info for. But here is an update of particular interest.
In the section of the GTS Homepage that has the serial number listing for the GC-1A Swifts:
the information on the GC-1 s/n1 and GC-1 s/n2, along with the relationship to the prototype Johnson Rocket 125 has been addressed. Also, a link has been provided to the page on the “X Swifts” that is found in the section of the website on Swift history.
The direct link to the Swift history section of the GTS Homepage is:
We are trusting that Swift historian Allan Erickson, SMF President Charlie Nelson, and Johnson Rocket owner Orval Fairbairn will look over these website pages and offer any additions or corrections that may be needed.
LUSCOMBE SWIFT??? (JULY 03)
Just when ya think you know all there is to know about Swifts this deal turns up…
For Sale: 1951 LUSCOMBE SWIFT GC-1B, Sliding Canopy, 210 hp 1287 SMOH, 200appx STOH. 2495 TTAF NO Damage History. Tail Beef up kit. Excellent paint Imron Blue Met. Same Owner last 35 yrs, Always Hangered. 9 gal aux. Plus Operational Tip tanks. 60+gals fuel. Has Autopilot, Swiftronics totalizer, KX155 Nav-Com Apollo 612B Loran. Comes with Spare McCauley prop, Stock Wing tips, Spare Canopy Lens (had both sides but one was broken) Also included in sale, Garmin 295 GPS. Not just a Swift but One of only 10 Luscombe Swifts built and about the 5th or 6th to last Swift built. Make “OLE BLUE” a NEW home today!!! ASKING $80.000.00. Contact Arthur Douse 954-567-4949 (Go to the for sale section of the GTS Homepage website to see photos…)
So… Of course I go running to our Swift historian Jim Montague and he says…
“In 1951, I believe, Temco consolidated their light plane operations under the name “Luscombe”. N2460B is a Luscombe Swift and several documents in the aircraft papers refer to that fact. I haven’t looked at the paperwork in a long time but I could do that. — Jim”
Jim went looking and sent me a copy of the factory invoice for N2460B, s/n 3760, the last Swift built. The “manufacturer” is listed as “The Luscombe Aircraft Corp.” Located in Garland, TX. Jim thinks it is possible that the last 10 production Swifts may have been built there. By the way, the invoice shows a price of $4495 and a discount of $950. Such a deal…
Now all this is truly interesting information. But please don’t start any rumors that I’m gonna change the name of the website to “GTLS Homepage”.
WHEN YOU KNOW ABOUT IT AND SEE HOW WRONG THEY GET IT YOU WONDER IF YOU CAN TRUST WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT ANYTHING ELSE… (JULY 03)
From: Jim Montague <Swift31B@aol.com>
Subject: Plane & Pilot
The August issue of Plane & Pilot has a little article mentioning the Swift.
As usual, it is full of errors.
……many GC-1A’s wound up converted to 125 hp……
…..many GC-1B’s were engineeered with 145, 150, 180 and 200 horses……. not exactly!
….Built from 1946 to 1950,…..wrong!
…..was not much faster than a Cessna 170, about 120 knots……hmm, thats quite a bit.
In the photo caption the useful load is given as 954 lb. Well, maybe that was just a typo. The cruise here is 130 knots! The price is given as $26,000 and the picture is of Dorothy Goldings airplane which is currently for sale at $115,000 — Jim
ONE MORE SWIFT SERIAL NUMBER MYSTERY SOLVED… (SEPT 03)
As Jim Montague carries on with his continuing quest to account for every Swift serial number, he finds that some of the blanks get filled in with interesting stories. Here is an example…
To: Terry Stewart <firstname.lastname@example.org>
From: Jim Montague <Swift31B@aol.com>
I have been communicating with Don Mahn. He was telling about N78212 which he tells was discovered in the Chiricahua Mountains with two skeletons and a lot of cash on board. What year was it discovered? Can you tell me more? This sounds like a fascinating story. — Jim Montague
Regarding Swift N78212, The story I get from some of the locals is the aircraft went missing around the spring of 1957 during a spring snow storm. A local rancher/guide led searches for several years looking for the wreckage as he had heard the aircraft fly over during the storm. He never found the plane even though the family of the owner continued to hire him for several years in order to find the remains of their loved ones. Sometime in the mid ’60s a forest ranger, looking for sites to develop helispots for firefighters stumbled onto the wreckage on the east slope of Chiricahua Peak near Ojo Agua Fria Spring.
I was led to believe the men on board were employees of North American Aircraft and they had a large sum of money with them. The money, documents, etc. were found intact in a briefcase at the wreckage site. The remains of the pilot and passenger were found in the wreckage or close by. I believe one or possibly both had survived the wreck and died of exposure. I do have the data plate from the aircraft. The remains of the wreckage were destroyed a few years ago in the Rattlesnake Fire that swept across Chiricahua Peak and the surrounding area. The Plane was never removed because it was in a wilderness area even though I tried several times to offer to clean it up for the forest service. Sincerely, Terry Stewart (formerly N78175)