STINSON

As teenagers Katherine and Marjorie Stinson both became not merely pilots but exhibition pilots, giving displays through Midwest prior to 1914. Brothers Edward A. (Eddie) and Jack also became pilots and ran a flying school at San Antonio, training numerous pupils including Canadians for service in Europe. Shut down on US entry to war, Katy raised over $2m flying Buffalo-Washington, and later set records non-stop San Diego-San Francisco. Eddie made first commercial flight NY-Chicago, in 1922 moving to Detroit whose chamber of commerce financed construction of 4-seat cabin biplane. This, first Stinson Detroiter, sold for $12,500 and triggered Stinson Airplane Syndicate February 1926, renamed Stinson Aircraft Corp. later same year. Detroiter sold well but redesigned to appear April 1927 as SM-1 high-wing 6-seater, over 120 being built in several versions. From 1928 3/4-seat Junior was added, production exceeding 380. In 1927 moved to new plant at Wayne, and 4 days before Wall St Crash controlling interest sold to Errett Cord, president of giant auto conglomerate which became AVCO. In July 1930 SM-6000 Airliner, first 'Stinson Tri-Motor', 10-seater, sold well (over 115), but Eddie Stinson force-landed in new Model R 25 January 1932, walked away and then died suddenly next day. Model R led to SR, first of Reliant family of high-wing (typically) 4-seaters, 39 civilian versions plus 7 new-build wartime including 500 AT-19 supplied as Reliant I nav. trainers to Royal Navy. Model 105 Voyager 2/3-seater sold well, 1,285 of 3 basic versions. In 1940 Victor Emanuel, president of Avco, placed Stinson under Vultee control, effective 30 June, preparatory to buying out Consolidated. Stinson remained at Wayne, where production went ahead on L-5 Sentinel, derived from Voyager but equipped for observation and casevac, total 3,590. Vulteeā€™s merger with Consolidated March 1943 made Stinson part of Vultee-Stinson Division. Post-war produced Model 108 Voyager (August 1945) attractive 4-seater. 5,100 sold but on 1 December 1948 Convair disposed of Stinson division and 500 unsold Voyagers to Piper, who regarded acquisition as removed competition rather than as asset.

Read 104 times