Aircraft & History

Our N3N Aircraft

Our N3N aircraft is a Naval Aircraft Factory (the manufacturer) N3N-3. It entered service in May of 1941. One of approximately 980 produced and 40 left flying in the world, it was used as a primary trainer for the U.S. Navy during WWII. The N3N-3 was the last biplane to be used in U.S. military service. This aircraft (N45163) has been lovingly (okay, there was some screaming involved) restored to a “like new” condition.

The N3N-3’s were produced by the Navy to be used as a primary trainer for cadets. At that time, the Navy was contracted to manufacture a percentage of its own aircraft, and the N3N-3’s were built from spare dirigible (blimp) parts to make use of surplus materials. In 1938, they cost $25,000 each.

skinThe N3N-3’s were built to be very rugged (designed to +9 and -5 g’s). In the hands of new naval cadets, these aircraft lived a rough life teaching the basics and challenges of airmanship. Because of its color and demand of respect, the cadets affectionately nicknamed it “The Yellow Peril.”

This particular aircraft served as a trainer in Pensacola, FL and Glenview, IL until 1945. It was then relegated to the harsh life as a cropduster until 1984. In 1993, a complete restoration of this aircraft began. Three years and 5,000 man hours later, it was finally completed and ready for flight in May of 1996.

Our Waco UPF7 Aircraft

The WACO (as in WACO) is short for the Weaver Aircraft Company of Ohio. There were approximately six hundred Waco UPF-7s produced in the United States from 1938 to 1942. The Waco UPF-7 was originally developed as a World War II trainer. Today, fewer than 80 today are still flying, with the majority having found their way to museums. Our UPF-7 was originally purchased by the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) for primary training during WWII.

N45163   NC164
Naval Aircraft Factory N3N-3 (N45163)
Engine: Pratt & Whitnew R985 (450 hp)
Cruise Speed: 95 mph
Stall Speed: 50 mph
Empty Weight: 2695 lbs
Wing Span: 34 ft
Takeoff Distance: 350 ft
Landing Distance: 450 ft
  WACO UPF-7 (NC164)
Engine: Contenental R670 (220 hp)
Cruise Speed: 95 mph
Stall Speed: 41 mph
Empty Weight: 1855 lbs
Wing Span: 30 ft
Takeoff Distance: 325 ft
Landing Distance: 425 ft

A note of thanks: I would like to thank all the people that helped during the restoration of the N3N; especially David Forrest, Les Koberg and Philip Dahlke whose guidance, knowledge, and inspiration made the completion of this project possible.