Registration Number NC1517
This aircraft is a Stinson SM-1 Detroiter, manufacturer’s
serial number M-209. It was manufactured in August, 1927
by Stinson Aircraft Corporation, Northville, MI. It was
sold the same month to Scenic Airways, Inc. of Detroit,
and licensed on September 9, 1927 “To be entered in New York-Spokane
Air Race and then based at Grand Canyon, Arizona.” The
Aircraft Yearbook for 1928 does not list any Stinson in any
of the competitive events of the 1927 National Air Derby.
It came from the factory with a 200 HP Wright Whirlwind J5-CA,
S/N 7745. The engine was changed to a 220 HP model (S/N 7741)
on September 16, 1927. The airplane weighed 3,310 pounds.
The Davis-Monthan transient Register lists 14 visits by NC1517
between January 25, 1928 and January 18, 1929. J.
Parker Van Zandt, who was the President and General Manager
of Scenic Airways, Inc, piloted the first 8 flights. Based
at Grand Canyon, the destinations for these visits were listed
as Nogales, AZ and Phoenix. Four visits to Davis-Monthan were
overnight (1/25/28-1/26/28; 1/31/28-2/1/28; 3/6/28-3/7/28;
3/14/28-3/15/28). Norman W. Patten, while Scenic Airways owned
the plane, piloted a 9th flight.
On May 4, 1928, with 94 hours total time, the airplane was sold
to Harry. H.
Culver, Culver Building, Culver City, CA. It
was then based at Rogers Airport, Los Angeles. Its final five visits at Tucson were piloted by Culver's personal pilot J.B. Dickson. On July 2, 1928
the airplane landed at Davis-Monthan on a trip from El Paso, TX to Culver City. Its final visit was an hour visit during a flight from Douglas, AZ to Santa Monica, CA.
On January 30, 1929 it was sold to California Aerial Transport,
9800 West Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA. This company was its
final owner. On July 11, 1932, upon renewing its license, it was
listed as having 851:15 hours total time. California Aerial
Transport reported its final disposition on February 15, 1933 as,
“no longer in service, torn down and disposed of.”
With roughly 5.5 years of service flying roughly 900 hours,
it averaged about 160 flight hours per year. Its license was
cancelled March 10, 1933.
From one source, to paraphrase Mark Twain, the news that the airplane was "torn down and disposed of" might be slightly exaggerated. A Stinson painted in Scenic Airways livery and identified as "1517" is flying today. However, the serial number of that airplane is M-267. Compare this number with the one in the first line on this page: they are different airplanes. M-267 was manufactured in 1929, a year after the real 1517 landed at Tucson. A present-day photograph from the Journal of the American Aviation Historical Society (AAHS) is below. It shows nicely what the real NC1517 looked like back in the late 1920s.
Stinson SM1-B S/N M-267 Dressed in NC1517 Livery (Source: AAHS)
UPLOADED: 6/9/05 REVISED: 01/23/06, 07/11/12, 12/12/12