"TALES FROM THE BUSHmaster."

No, it's not a FORD!!!

(But it could be.)

LOSS OF N750RW.

It is with sadness that we report the loss of Bushmaster N750RW on September 25, 2004. The pilot and co-pilot were badly injured but, at this writing (Oct. 1, 2004), are expected to recover. The accident which occurred following a takeoff run took place at the Fullerton airport in California. If you will go to the NTSB accident report site for September 2004 you can see a report of the accident. A slide sequence of the accident may be seen by clicking here. (click where it says Slideshow).

The pilot of the aircraft was Jay Yoshinaga of Gardena and the right-seat passenger was pilot/mechanic Anthony (Tony) Albanese of Brea. Both men are expected to recover from their injuries, however at this writing (Jan. 11, 2006) Tony remains a paraplegic. A fund has been set up to help Albanese, the more seriously hurt when the Bushmaster 2000 crashed. Tony Albanese was well-known in local aviation circles and his friends have set up a fund to help him and his disabled companion get through the ordeal. Details on the fund and information about Tony's condition may be viewed at Friends of Tony , a website maintained by his family. If you can contribute in any way I am sure it will be appreciated. The airplane was owned by Bud Fuchs.

Mike Lauver, one of two people (Ralph Williams was the other) who had at one time owned each of the Bushmasters, expressed an opinion that little could be salvaged from the wreck and that a rebuild did not appear feasible.

Justin Juknelis from Fullerton sends us this note and a picture of RW in happier times. of RW in happier times: "I live right by the Fullerton Airport and happen to have a photo of the N750RW that crashed at Fullerton 9/25/05. I believe took the attached photo around July 2003".

Two of the "Fords" still active are not really Fords as explained on the basic Ford page. For whatever reason, however, whether by intention or by misunderstanding on the part of an uninformed public they are often misidentified as the old Ford Tri-Motor. Personally I think it may be a case of "Ford envy" or just that people want to brag to their friends that they've ridden on the original Tri-Motor.

That caveat out of the way it needs to be pointed out that the newer machine (by nearly 40 years), the Bushmaster, is a fine airplane in its own right and can stand proudly on its two legs (o.k., maybe it's three). Two of them were completed, N750RW and N7501V, and both are still very active. N750RW is operating in the San Francisco area. Per word on 3/26/03 N7501V has just been bought by Greg Herrick to add to his great collection at his Minnesota museum.

This page has been created not for the purpose of adding any fuel to the fire of controversy that may surround the airplanes but simply to present for your enjoyment a few tales of adventures in the Bushmaster. No effort will be made here to further explain the lineage of the airplane.

Said I wasn't going to get involved; however, for you purists, on Pg. 257 of Bill Larkins' excellent book, "The Ford Tri-Motor", there is a detailed evaluation of the Ford and the Bushmaster 2000, written by Designated Examiner Bernie Godlove. Bernie is authorized to issue ATP type ratings in both airplanes and has flown them extensively. Details on obtaining Bill's book are on my Ford page. I decided the comparison was too lengthy to include here.

Part of the pleasure I derive from keeping up the Ford site lies in the enjoyment of reading the many e-mails I receive ranging from "I had my first ride in one" to "I made my living in one." Lately I have received some great e-mails from someone with first-hand knowledge of the Bushmaster and, with his permission, I present these stories for you to read.

Even though these stories may not be 100% pure Bushmaster they are mighty interesting reading. I may add more stories as I get them. Where thought necessary words or sentences have been omitted to protect the guilty. Also, I do not edit so you are on your own with spelling and punctuation!

SOME NOTES ON THE BUSHMASTERS FROM MIKE LAUVER

My name is Mike Lauver and I had the good fortune to own and operate both BUSHMASTER 2000’s, ser# 001 N750IV and ser # 002 N750RW through my companies and the good auspices of a family trust fund based out of Southern California. There was a third airframe started but never completed. I have photos of all three airframes under construction at the facility in Long Beach. We acquired N750RW in 1990 and sold it in 1996. N750IV was purchased in the winter of 1995 and sold in the fall of 1996. They were two very different aircraft. IV flew a lot like a Ford 5ATD while RW was a baby buggy to fly.

Between the two aircraft I have nearly 1100 hours in type. I received my initial type rating from the late Bernie Godlove concurrent with his receiving his DPE authority in the A/C from Bob Trout formerly of the Las Vegas FSDO. At the time there were no Bushmaster DPE’s in the country. Bernie conducted the ride and Bob monitored the action standing between us on the flight deck. When we were done Bob signed off Bernie and Bernie signed off me. Later I received my FORD (FO5) type from Bernie in N414H in Las Vegas. Eventually I upgraded my BU2000 type to IFR from VFR (ATP). I flew the airplanes across the US and back and forth to Alaska. We also trained a number of pilots who earned their BU2000 type in RW

. N750RW Ser # 002

. We acquired 750RW at an auction at the Santa Monica Museum of Flying in 1990. At the time we were operating BE-18s and thought the TriMotor would be fun. We almost got side tracked when I started bidding on and HU-16 long wing tri-phibian (wheels, hull and center skid for snow). I dropped out at $250K and saved myself for the Bushmaster. Along with the aircraft I also acquired the rights to the Bushmaster Corporation and all of the remaining plans, material specs and drawings. The jigs had previously gone to the San Diego Aerospace Museum and when they were finished with them I believe they went to Kalamazoo. With some help from a museum pilot who was typed, and no support from my local FSDO in San Diego, I got some dual in the A/C and subsequently received my check ride from Bernie via Bob Trout. The ride took place between Orange County (SNA) and Chino (CNO). As a demo of the performance capabilities, I flew RW from SNA to CNO on only the left engine (#2 & #3 in the zero thrust position). Four people onboard and 300 gal of fuel. No problem in RW maintaining 90 mph indicated and a respectable climb when needed... Later on when I would train others in RW, I would fail (zero thrust) either #1 or # 3 about 200 feet after take off and then fail the center engine on the turn to down wind while still in a climb. Biggest problem was to keep new guys from exceeding 80 mph in the pattern and overshooting the touchdown zone. Single engine landings were very simple in RW. It seemed that people had more problems with a center engine only situation than any other.

. Unlike a FORD, you had to have all power off upon landing, no carrying a few inches on the center engine for sink rate and directional control. The BU rudder was effective almost from the time you closed the door and with that huge wing it often behaved like a lighter-than-air craft, not 7500lbs of metal. When I first looked at RW I thought it would be a hand full in a crosswind. Corrugated, slab sided flying chicken coop! I was soon to learn that it was probably the best cross wind airplane I have ever flown. Additionally, the more you loaded into it the better it flew. It was my understanding from conversations with Ralph Williams and others that the original design called for a gross weight of 17,000lbs. I believe it. As part of the purchase I also had some drawings for a proposed BUSHMASTER 3000. We can only speculate.

. RW had a manufacture date of January 18, 1985 and had 100 hours on it when we bought it. Interestingly it was placarded “No flight when visible moisture present” or similar wording. Never seen that one before. We were concerned about flying it near the beach as we could then see the Pacific Ocean, a great mass of visible moisture, but I digress. The explanation I got was that the final certification flight took place on an afternoon in Long Beach, Ca on a clear, sunny day. No flight in “moisture” was demonstrated and to expedite the certification the restriction was accepted. We tried for a while to get it removed but to no avail, government in action. Also, it had a day light only operation restriction. That one we did get lifted after a protracted series of sessions with the SAN FSDO where we presented the entire tech specs on all of the nav, panel, beacon and strobe lights. We also had an interesting go around over the issue of type ratings. At its weight and single pilot certification normally a type would not be required. In fact, when we purchased 1V, the pilot who was flying it at the time did not have a type, didn’t know he needed on and his local FSDO was unaware of the requirement. The final word from the FAA on the matter was the all too familiar “At the discression of the Administrator…” In the end it worked out better for us, but it was an interesting exercise.

. During our first year with RW we learned to properly fly it and then conducted flightseeing (part 91) and training. In 1991 I flew the plane to Healy (HRR), Alaska (Denali National Park) to conduct flightseeing operations in conjunction with one of our twin Beeches. We had been operating under the CALIFORNIA WINGS banner in San Diego (MYF) but incorporated in Alaska as DENALI WINGS. This is when we really learned to fly RW. Healy at that time had a gravel strip at the mouth of Windy Pass. Famous for its high winds and fickle cross winds, I really learned what the plane could do. You asked and it would provide. It was an outstanding performer in marginal situations.

. The next year we acquired a remote lodge 30 air miles from Denali. That season I flew in and out 2000 passengers plus all of the food, fuel, horse feed and dog food to the lodge. At the beginning of the season the “strip” was 1200 feet of gravel and snow, by July we had 2000 feet usable. RW felt right at home. At the end of the season we used RW as a tanker filling the 360 gal tanks in Healy and draining all but necessary return fuel at the lodge so that the caretaker would have his snow mobile fuel for the winter. It really scooted on that 100LL, but he went through a lot of spark plugs. As I did at the end of each season, I flew RW back to San Diego for the winter. This season however, we got 39 inches of snow the night before I was going to leave. We were stuck for 10 days waiting out the WX . When we could finally go there was still 18 inches of snow on the runway but those big old tires with a light load acted like skis. They just floated right up on top of the snow and the take off was uneventful.

. I continued this routine for the ’93 season, minus the lodge. In ’94 I flew RW to Memphis, Tn. via New Orleans for the summer then back to San Diego. ’95 we were back in Healy then back to San Diego. In the winter of ‘95’-96 we acquired 750IV and put RW up for sale. It was sold to its last owner in the spring of 1996. On the first leg of its flight to its new home, the new owners ran it out of gas over New Mexico, and narrowly missed destroying the plane landing it in a freeway median. The plane was based out of the St. Louis area for a while and then relocated to Southern California where it finally met its end on September 25, 2004 at Fullerton, California. The last time I saw RW was at Santa Monica (SMO). It had been repainted and a modification had been done to the fuselage near the horizontal stab. I have no idea what its purpose was.

. A couple of interesting notes on RW. First there was a rumor that I was never able to confirm, that RW was built as the first of a production run / demonstrator for the DoD. As the story went they had placed an order for 100 BU2000’s but Pres. Reagan froze the budget and the order was canceled. The second was that negotiations were underway in the 1980s to produce BU2000s in Africa. I did find correspondence in my files that supported this one. Kenya was the proposed location for manufacturing and I had a number of letters from various “officials” in Kenya and I believe Aircraft Hydro Forming, Ralph Williams’ company that built the Bushmaster.

. N7501V Ser # 001

. I have less experience with 1V than I do with RW. I first 1V in 1990 back at the Owls Head Museum of Transportation in Owls Head, Maine... Shortly after purchasing RW we were approached by the museum to see if we were interested in purchasing 1V to go along with RW. We made an offer but it was declined at the time. Then again in 1995 the museum contacted me and told me 1V would now be sold, period. Our original offer of 1990 was accepted and we put the deal together in about 4 hours over the phone. I purchased it through another of my Alaskan operations, TriMotor, Inc.

. The Owls Head museum is a real hidden gem. If you ever have the opportunity to visit, I highly recommend it. 1V, as well as most, if not all, of the aircraft that were in the museum’s collection at that time, had been the property of Tom Watson, former chairman of IBM. Tom acquired the 1V from Chuck LeMaster (I believe). Prior to that I believe Steve Cowper purchased it in Alaska. He went on to become Governor of Alaska in the mid 1980s. The museum’s collection had a cut off production date of the 1920’s. As 1V was built in 1966, they decided that is was inappropriate for the collection.

. 1V was the first Bushmaster built and as such was really a proto-type ship. It requires more attention to fly than RW did. RW was far more refined than 1V. There is a large chunk of lead out in one of the wings, I don’t remember which one, between 70 and 90 lbs that was used to help keep the wings level. The wheels and brakes kept you on your toes on roll out and taxi. The brakes had a tendency to grab. The aircraft also would tend to drift to the left on take off and roll out if you weren’t paying attention. It did not have the climb performance of RW and actually had a sink rate with the power off. There was a dramatic difference in single engine performance between the two ships.

It is my understanding that the late Jerry Brown who bought the aircraft from me, changed out the wheels and brakes which helped a lot with ground handling. I believe that he also added to the avionics.

Eventually I took 1V from Maine to Oshkosh. I arraigned with the late Warren Bassler (Bassler Turbo) to do an extensive annual on the aircraft, and then I decided to leave the plane there for the EAA Fly-In. In the intervening time Warren offered to sell us one of his personal Exec recip DC-3s. I decided to sell 1V in order to be able to afford the DC-3. Timing didn’t work out and we missed the -3 by a few weeks. Jerry Brown of Kansas City eventually bought 1V. He was a class act. I enjoyed our dealings. We were all saddened by his passing. Jerry had the ability and desire to maintain 1V properly. I flew Jerry in 1V from Oshkosh to KC and provided some training for a pilot friend of his. The last time I saw 1V it was in his hanger in KC. He later relocated to San Luis Obispo, Ca (SLO).

SUMMARY

The BUSHMASTER was/is a great plane. It did a wonderful job of doing what it was designed to do. It also is a great crowd pleaser. With its relatively low value, as compared to an original FORD, they can be operated as flightseeing planes and doing passenger hops at air shows. It’s fun and easy to fly, easy to maintain and only burns 60 gph. 1V was operated under Part 135 in Alaska in the 1970s but when I tried to put RW on my certificate we were stopped cold. No one could locate a maintenance manual. We tried Ralph Williams and the ANC FSDO and Steve Cowper. All had had them at various times but none could be located. We did arraigned to have Dick Martin Aircraft (CRQ) produce one for us, but it took us big bucks to undo the problems they caused with the plane and no manual was produced. RW remained under Part 91.

One of my former pilots regularly saw both aircraft in California. After Jerry’s death, he thought 1V was neglected for a while. Neither of us has seen it since its sale and relocation to the mid-west. I assume that it is being well cared for now and it recently was a participant in the National Air Tour. Last time he looked over RW (last fall) he said there was visible external corrosion on the airframe and multiple cracks in the spinners. He was very unimpressed with its condition.

There are a few folks who were instrumental in making our Bushmaster operations a success that I would like to mention. They can also provide additional information should you run across them. James Johnson, who served as Chief Pilot and check airman for my 135 operation, Denali Wings, spent many hours in all sorts of conditions in RW with me. Ted Stewart, DPE and general all around round engine aficionado and good stick, Bill and Al at Klares Aviation who kept RW healthy and the late Doc and Flo Young, whose financial backing and enthusiasim made it all possible.

All of these comments and observations are mine and mine alone. Don’t blame anyone else. If you have any updates, comments, etc. I can be reached at mike@hogflight.com . I hope that you too have an opportunity to fly / ride in 1V one of theses days, you’ll love it!

These first stories are taken verbatim from e-mails sent by Jack Griffis, formerly an FBO in Anchorage, Alaska.

  • Account #1, Jack Griffis.

    Hi, Art:

    I was stumbling around the internet and lo and beheld I run across this old friend of mine. Two friends, in fact. Bushmaster 7501V and 750RW. I can't offer you a complete timeline, but I can fill in some of the holes for you.

    I had a FBO at Merrill Field in Anchorage from 1970 to 1976 called Southcentral Aviation, Inc. I was looking for a plane that could take a good sized load off from unimproved surfaces in short distances. My cousin, Mike Sporrer, who retired from TWA a couple of years ago, and his dad, my uncle, Al Sporrer, who is in the Illinois Aviation Hall of Fame, decided to fly Mike's C-172 to Alaska for me to sell. They convinced my Aunt Ebbie that they could get more money for the plane in Alaska. Isn't it terrible, Art, the way pilots will lie just to get to fly somewhere?

    While in Anchorage, Mike told me that the answer to my problem was languishing in Long Beach, CA. He had spotted the plane in Jane's Aircraft of the World. Off to the library we went, found the Bushmaster (No. 1, 7501V) and spent the next six months calling Ralph Williams and Walt Greer in Long Beach about bringing the plane to Alaska. They had not sold any planes and had so much money wrapped up in this one plane that they wanted $1.2M for it. Cough, cough! Southcentral was sweet little Part 135 operation, but...$1.2M???

    After six months, we had gotten to know each other and they decided that maybe it was better to have it working somewhere - anywhere - rather than gracing the hangar for another few years. So, in the summer of 1972 my chief pilot, Charles Wayer and myself, went to Long Beach and brought the plane back to Alaska. We kept it until 1974 or 1975. I could be more accurate, but I lost my log books in one of my moves. We sold the plane to an outfit in Bethel, Alaska, named, of all things, Bushmaster Air Alaska. After that I cannot be of much help. I thought it had gone to Kansas before going to the Owl's Head Museum, but I can't be sure.

    I do have some photos of it that might be of some interest. We flew a load of building supplies and 355 gal. barrels of fuel to a fishing camp and landed on a sand bar. That was fun, but digging it out of the sand for three hours wasn't. Frenchy Savard was the mechanic that did most of the building of the plane in Long Beach and he and I got into a debate over the windshield deicer. Frenchy assured me that since the nose engine cowl ring was about 18" ahead of the windshield, the engine heat would blow right back and prevent any ice. I can show you pictures that later won that argument for me. We did convince them to install a cabin heater, though.

    Ralph Williams, who owned a huge machine shop in Long Beach, and his partner, Walt Greer, installed the heater themselves. We had a great time with that bird. We serviced a gold mine and fairly often the miners would have me bring a quartered moose back for their families to pick up. I never charged for that, of course, but they always insisted I take the brisket.

    Since this is the longest email I have ever written, I see the space does end. I'll send you another re N750RW (No. 2). Jack Griffis

    Account #2, Jack Griffis.

    Don't know as much about #2. After I sold Southcentral Aviation, Inc. I moved to southern California. I kept my Super Widgeon and would have it annualed at the Bushmaster hangar where I would observe the construction progress. One day I flew in to shoot the bull (or something) with Ralph and Walt. They were talking with a gentleman I had not met. We were discussing #1 at some length when this man elbowed Ralph and said, "Ralph, has this guy flown a Bushmaster?"

    They stand there looking at each other and then both of them turned to look at me. My fly was zipped, and I couldn't figure out what was up. Ralph said, "Jack, how would you like to help us out? We need someone to take this plane up, probably next week." Turns out the other guy was his insurance man. The insurance man was happy as a lark until he learned that I had not flown a Bushmaster since 1974 or 1975. This was in 1985. So, I didn't qualify to sit in the left seat, but they wanted me in the right seat. They kept hunting around and finally found a pilot out of San Jose, CA that flew the Trimotor Ford in the first Indiana Jones movie. His name was Lennert Von Clemm. Len turned out to be the consumate pilot. Of course, he didn't know me from Adam, so I was probably a lot happier with him than he was with me.

    So, the next week, or so, we took N750RW up for the first time. Incidentally, Art, the Romeo Whiskey (RW) came from Ralph Williams initials.

    The plane flew remarkably well and Len & I were laughing about getting paid for nothing unless we wrote something up. So, we wrote up the mixture control handles for being blue instead of red. However, there was one little thing. While we were running up at the end of the runway, the chief mechanic (Bob) jumped inside and handed me a red mechanic's rag. When I asked him what that was for, he said, "you might need it". ??? The takeoff roll was very normal, but as soon as the wheels lifted off the three mixture controls, the three carb heats and the three prop controls fell completely loose to the "off" position. Of course, Len had the throttles in his hand and, in and instant, I was pushing the other nine levers upward. (You know how you just hate to have the mixture controls drop to the cutoff position on liftoff) The friction locks had totally let go. The lock wheels had serrated edges to assist in gripping and, try as I might, I could not turn them one little bit. I even tore the skin of my right hand on the serrations trying to tighten them. Then I remembered that red rag. With that rag I was able to tighten the locks. Other than that, everything went perfectly. Jack Griffis

    Account #3, Jack Griffis.

    Hi, Art: Thanks for all the pictures, web pages and articles, etc. Very interesting.

    You can forward anything you like and I will get some pics to you as soon as I can. I am in the same boat as you. I am 70 and also self-taught. Only I don't have even a broken scanner.

    Your email reminded me of something that happened in Alaska that I probably should not tell...but, I will. what the heck! You said when you were in Alaska you did not fly when it was colder than -25 degrees. (Art's note: I did not fly a lot up there - only a little T-craft time on skiis. The non-flying involved P-80s on which I was a crew chief). I had a couple of building inspectors for the state call me to fly them about 400 west of Anchorage to inspect a school building the state was building for the natives. I called for the weather and was informed that the equipment had broken down at 3:00AM and at that time it was -40 degrees. However, they went on to say, it was CAVU all the way and could be warmer now. I told these inspectors that the only plane I had available was a Piper Apache that we used for multi-engine training, but was authorized for Part 135. They said OK so away we went.

    When we got to our destination we found it was still 40 below. I had the 160 hp engines, but I could never keep the oil warm, so they would have to talk to the construction supervisor at the strip. They only got 15 minutes of conversation when the engines temps showed the oil was getting cold while idling. I hustled them back on board and we took off. About 200' up the right engine quit. I started circling around to land when I noticed that the plane was flying on one engine as well as it did ordinarily with two engines. I reminded them that there was an inversion and if we could get to 10,000' I could probably get that engine going. The boss just shrugged and said, "You're flying". We climbed like a homesick angel. In fact, I had to throttle the one engine back a bit. I did a quick calculation and found that at 40 below the air density is about minus 6,400 feet. The frigid air was so dense it was like flying with a turbocharged engine.

    At 10,000' the engine started on about the fifth try. I had to land at McGrath to get fuel and it was just as cold there. I couldn't talk the line boy into refueling me while the engines were lit and when I shut them down, that was it. We had to stay the night in McGrath. Next morning Wein Air Alaska loaned us a herman-nelson heater. We got the oil warmed up, but I could not actuate the throttles or prop controls. So, I did a dumb thing. I had the line boy raise the cowling and push the throttles and props almost full forward. Then I called the tower and told them I would be taxiing to the runway very fast. They affirmed and I started the engines.

    Art, I know it's not possible, but it seemed like we should be burning rubber. We took off before I got to the runway. I switched to the tower and told them I was airborne. They did not seemed surprised and I never heard from them when I got home. I climbed as steeply as I could to put as much load on those engines as possible so they wouldn't over rev. We got away with it, but I promised myself...NEVER AGAIN! The FBO at McGrath told me something I still do not know if it is true. He said all Apaches right fuel pumps shut off automatically when the temperature falls below -30 degrees. Ever hear of that? We got to altitude (still an inversion) in record time and it didn't quit on the way up. Bet I took a hundred hours of wear off those engines.

    You also mentioned that your 235 hp (Art note: per engine of course, but then you knew that!). Ford would not fly on two engines. I'll tell you a Bushmaster story about that next time. Jack

    Account #4, Jack Griffis.

    Good morning, Art:

    Just now noticed that I failed to see the "more pics" link on Chris' page of DC-3's and Bushmasters. He had 11 great shots of #1. Gotta tell you, Art, those photos of 7501V in Alaska did a number on me. The black paint peeling off the leading edge of the wing, the fuel truck sitting at the plane with the guys up on the wing refueling, etc. brought a flood of memories back. It is just amazing how that peeled paint affected me.

    I did not know about the musk oxen being hauled to Siberia. That must have been Bushmaster Air Alaska out of Bethel, AK. I sold #1 to them. As for the refueling, at some of the villages we flew into, we would pay a couple of kids a couple of dollars to roll 55 gallon drums of fuel, sometimes 1/2 mile, to the plane. Then we would get up on top and refuel using a wobble pump. One time we forgot our chamois cloths and pumped 3 gallons of water into our right fuel tank. Got to watch those fuel drums.

    Chris mentioned how well the plane flew on two engines. Only when the plane was empty. We were flying building materials into a village about 90 miles north of Mc Grath for about 10 days. I was getting anxious to get back to Anchorage. My chief pilot, Charles Wayer, had flown the original Tri-motor Fords and, along with his 22,000+ hours flying time, he had a real eye for loading and weight. On our last trip, he went to check weather, and I loaded the plane. There was a little left over, but this plane would lift anything you put in it. Charles came back, stuck his head into the cabin, and asked me how much weight was in there. I said it was right up our 12,500 lb. takeoff weight. (Part 135 limit). He said, "I see", and climbed in. I took off and got about 400' to 500' high and Charles reached over and brought the left engine back to "0" thrust and asked me what I was going to do now. I said I would turn back and land on the crosswind strip and Charles invited me to try. We sank towards the trees pretty quickly. When I mentioned that a mother bird, in a tree just ahead of us, tucked her baby under her wing, he gave me the throttle back.

    Charles mentioned that he didn't mind putting his faith in Pratt & Whitney once in awhile, but he wanted me to know what the results would be if the faith was unjustified. We estimated that we weighed about 14,000 lbs. on that takeoff. However, Chris hit the nail on the head when he mentioned how it flies on two engines empty. We used to throttle the nose engine back to "0" thrust when light, and we would give up about 5 mph. The wing is about 3' thick at it's thickest point, so the plane has tons of lift and tons of drag. In fact, the wing has a built-in "full flap" position. You can sleep in a sleeping bag behind the fuel tank in the wings. See ya later. Jack

    Account #5, Chris Grotewohl. Chris talks about flying the Bushmaster 2000.

    The Bushmaster trimotor has three PW 985 engines rated at 450 HP each. This airplane performs great with one engine out and is actually overpowered with all three operating. I use about 30" MP for take off which is 75% and it performs great. The trimotor holds 366 gallons of fuel and we usually burn around 60 gallons per hour. It has two speeds, slow and stop. Actually, it has a cruise speed of 115 mph and just lumbers through the air like ship on the ocean. The control response is very slow, in fact full deflection of any control surface at cruise does very little, eventually the plane responds but one needs to be ahead of the plane on landings. I usually plan my flare out way in advance knowing a few seconds later the plane will actually respond. The ship is identical to a Ford 5AT except it has a dorsal fin, aileron trim and the fuselage is a little wider.

    The re-creation was a brainstorm of William Stout after Ford terminated the production of the trimotor. Bushmaster built two of these ships. It is great fun to fly and miserable to land in crosswinds. I taught the owner, Jerry Brown to fly her. I really love this machine and it really draws attention. There are two of these airplanes in existence, and roughly 5-6 flyable trimotors left in the world. This airplane served in Alaska and Siberia for many years, barnstormed in the 70s by Chuck LeMaster and also did some museum time in San Diego and in Maine. It is currently at New Century along with the DC3's.

    *Update* Well, the plane has gone through another annual and the wheels and brakes had to be replaced. Found the parts down in Texas, they are Lockheed Lodestar wheels and brakes with 737 tires. The airplane is eventually California bound.

    *Update* Been making test hops in her, checking systems before the flight to California. Had the brakes adjusted, and now troubleshooting the center generator. Took the plane to the KC Expo on AUG 12-13 and she was popular. Plan to leave for California on Aug 25th. Should be 15-16 flight hours. Made the trip and it was great. The plane is now based at the Pasa Robles airport in California.

    UPDATE* Jerry Brown owner, was killed in a R22 in May of 2002. A sad day in Aviation.

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    Copyright © 2007 Arthur B. Wiggins

    Created September 15, 2002. Updated June 19, 2007.

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