The Allen Airways Flying Museum

1930 Stearman C3R Business Speedster


Stearman C3R
Bill Allen in the cockpit

Click to enlarge.
One of 38 built, this Boeing C3R aircraft started its life on Roosevelt Field in New York and was a demonstrator used by Lloyd Stearman's number one salesman to sell airplanes. Two of the C3R's predecessors, the Stearman C3Bs, flew around the world in 1931. The C3R was significantly improved and is considered to be one of the finest biplanes ever built.

The primary purpose of the C3R was to bring the Stearman Aircraft Company out of the depression. Named the Business Speedster, some were used by sportsman, others by corporations needing to transport two passengers plus a pilot.

Flight Magazine October 1997. 
Article and photos by Budd Davisson.

View pages side by side.

Our C3R was also used by Pioneer Instrument Company as an instrument test platform according to historian John Underwood. After many owners around the country it ended up as a crop duster in Phoenix and Yuma, Arizona, under the ownership of Marsh Flying Service.  It was flown into a cotton wood tree, salvaged and sold and placed in a hangar in Chino, California. It was then purchased by Jeff Robinson and taken to Santa Ynez Airport where it was extensively restored by Garth Carrier. The aircraft was awarded Reserve Grand Champion at Oskosh in 1984. We purchased the airplane from the owner in 1990 and flew it until 2005 when it was taken down to the bones again by Rick Atkins of Ragtime Aero in Placerville, California. The original Wright J6-7 motor was overhauled by Al Holloway of Quincy, California.

In 2006 the Stearman won the Orville and Wilbur Wright Trophy at the National Aviation Heritage Invitational held in Reno, Nevada, in conjunction with the National Air Races. The trophy presenters were: Neil Armstrong, Gene Cernan, Don Lopez, Jack Daily, and Steve Hazy.

Subsequently, it won Grand Champion at Watsonville, California; High Point Trophy at Merced, California; and Grand Champion at Casa Grande, Arizona. It has been featured in several magazines including Forbes.

Comments by Bill Allen.

Stearman C3R
Photo Bill Allen.  Click to enlarge.



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