Registration Number NC13402
Part of Earhart’s Support Infrastructure &
This airplane is a Waco UIC (S/N 3748; ATC #499) manufactured
in May 1933 by the Waco Aircraft Co., Troy, OH. It
left the factory with a Continental R-670 engine (S/N 700)
of 210 HP. It was a four-place airplane, weighing 2,800 pounds
It was purchased on May 22, 1933 by Edward L. Erickson and
John L. Remmert, Waco dealers, of the Floyd Bennett Airport,
NY, NY. They sold it on May 9, 1934 to Waco Sales of New
York, Inc., Roosevelt Field, Mineola, NY. The president of
Waco Sales was Howard Ailor. Below, we see NC13402 in the
The women in this image are identified as, standing L to R, Arlene Davis, unidentified, Evelyn Olliphant de Seversky (wife of aircraft designer Alexander Seversky), Marjory Ludwigson, unidentified, unidentified, Mrs. I.J. Fox (race sponsor), Annette Gipson (race namesake), Suzanne Humphreys. Seated L to R, Edith Descomb, Frances Marsalis (worked in Waco sales at Roosevelt Field; killed in airplane crash the following year), Helen Richey, Amelia Earhart, Amy Mollison, and Ruth Nichols. Further discussion of the image is in the right side bar.
The photograph below, courtesy of the San Diego Aerospace Museum Flickr Stream (SDAM), shows what is probably NC13402 (registration partially readable on the starboard top wing) behind Amelia Earhart (far left) and three unidentified women. But that is not what is interesting about this photograph. The important element here is that the women are on roller skates.
Amelia Earhart (R), With Three Women on Skates, ca. April, 1935 (Source: SDAM)
Now comes the airplane to Tucson on April 10, 1935. It is
flown by Ailor, carrying two passengers, Bill Lear and A.E.
Moreland. They had arrived from El Paso, TX westbound for Los
Angeles, CA. Ailor noted in the Remarks column
of the Register, "Radio compass to Earhart for Mexico
City hop." They were carrying one of the
early radio compasses developed by Lear’s embryonic
instrument company. This device was the subject of an article that appeared on page 257 in the August, 1935 Popular Mechanics magazine, below. The aircraft pictured is probably NC13402.
Radio Course Indicator, Popular Mechanics, August, 1935 (Source: Web)
Later in April, Earhart set a speed record on a solo flight
from Los Angeles to Mexico City and then set another record
from Mexico City to New York. We don’t know what
effect the compass had on her navigational efficiency or
overall time, but we can assume it was positive.
Although the NASM record for this airplane does not list
it, this Waco was reputedly sold to Howard Hughes and flown
to him in Florida in 1934. We guess he never accepted it.
The pilot who flew it there, Monty Chumly provides this PDF image
of his pilot log for March 1934. Lines 4-8 of his log document
the flight from New York Roosevelt Field to Florida Palm
Beach during that delivery. Note that his next stop is Rio.
Montgomery Chumly was the South American Waco Dealer
from 1935-1940. He was solely responsible for all Wacos sold
to South and Central America. Subsequently, he finally quit
flying his airplane (Pitts Special) at 88 years old! He is
now 96 and still remembers well the era of our website (I
have word, as of October '07, that Mr. Chumly has passed
on, can you confirm?).
have stayed in Rio only briefly, because on October 18, 1935
it was sold to Lear Developments, Inc. (see above) and used
to further develop the radio direction finder (RDF). The
image below shows a RDF loop antenna installed on top of
A year later the NC13402 was sold to Ward-Pearson,
Inc., of Roosevelt Field, NY. This began an almost decade-long
annual turnover of the airplane to new hands. From New York
the airplane migrated to the Midwest, winding up with Air
City, Inc. of Sturtevant, WI on May 14, 1944. They bought
it for $2,950 and performed some maintenance and repairs,
including a new R-670 engine.
On February 29, 1950 Air City sold the airplane to Frank
Hay of Racine, WI. It then changed hands another three times,
underwent some wing repairs and the installation of Edo P-3300
floats and water rudders. Cancellation of the registration
was requested on October 21, 1952 by final owner F.J. LaValley
of Tupper Lake, NY. The reason given was, “due
to accident.” The records were closed on October
But this wasn’t the final word. An enquiry came
to the FAA on October 10, 1975 for a chain of title. Although
it is not clear, the airframe may have still been in existence
Waco NC13402 Today
UPDATE: This airframe IS still with us. The grandfather
of a site visitor from Florida owns it. This email of June
19, 2006 provides current status:
"... I enjoy this site very much
and would like to contribute some information. This Waco
UIC is owned by a good friend of mine (my Grandfather). As
of now it is disassembled (no plans to restore yet), but
the airframe still exists."
And further: "...The building the plane is in
suffered some damage from the last hurricane and the roof
collapsed this past heavy rain we had [tropical storm Alberto].
inside are fine. A couple wings (to which plane I don't know
[he owns NC11489, too]) got damaged but they can be fixed.
My Grandpa and I are the 'recovery
team' and I'll try to snap a few shots while we try to move
the parts to another hangar."
More as I receive it.
THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 03/27/06 REVISED: 04/01/06, 06/21/06, 11/07/07, 03/24/14, 11/23/14