In 1928, aviation itself was still younger than most pilots who were flying at the time. By this time, however, aircraft had become fairly sophisticated machines with more reliable and more powerful engines and refined aerodynamics. As with every new transport technology, men first experimented with them as war machines and then set to racing them against each other for glory and money. These two competitive endeavours hastened development of aircraft design, engineering and performance to the point that pilots, like NASCAR racers of today, became household names across the land.
One of the greatest of these was Iowa-born racing phenom Johnny Livingston who made headlines across America with his derring-do and air-racing successes. In fact the young pilot came first in 79 of the 139 air racing events he entered. Livingston, like the auto racers of today was not above endorsement contracts and turning his fame into fortune. He became essentially a WACO dealer, buying and selling WACO aircraft through his company Midwest Airways Corporation. Eventually he became a WACO factory test pilot, was the first owner of this particular aircraft and most certainly had personally flown the Vintage Wings of Canada WACO A.T.O..
On Sunday June the 3rd, as part of the Vintage Wings of Canada “Sunday Visits” program, the WACO was flown by Mike Potter to the Canada Aviation Museum where it will be on display inside the museum for the month of June and possibly July.
Accompanying the speedy-looking WACO were two other aircraft of Vintage Wings of Canada – the lovely de Havilland Tiger Moth flown by Howard Cook and the elegant and historic de Havilland Fox Moth with Dave Hadfield at the controls. They made the short flight down the Ottawa River in hot hazy conditions and joined the Vintage Wings Hawker Hurricane IV and North American Harvard 4 already at the museum for a visit.
Once safely on the ground, Vintage Wings maintenance personnel were on hand to drain the fuel fromits tank before the red and black beauty went on display inside the museum. Only a minimum amount of fuel was on board the Taperwing for the short journey to Rockcliffe, so the procedure was a simple matter. The museum opened one of the big hangar-style doors on the southeast side and the Taperwing was pushed inside to its display area. Vintage Wings of Canada also lent the Taperwing hangar banner which normally hangs at Gatineau to fill out the display.
A few days later, Anna Ragogna, the VWoC aircraft groomer was dispatched to the museum to buff and shine the vintage aircraft so that it be presented to the standard of all our aircraft.