FLORIDA RUM RUNNER
According to data from the NASM, this airplane is a Ryan B-5, S/N 213 manufactured on August 5, 1929 under ATC# 142 by the Ryan Aircraft Corp., St. Louis, MO. It left the factory with a R-975-A engine (S/N 10583) of 300 HP. It was a six-place land monoplane, licensed on August 12, 1929.
There is about a year's gap in the NASM data. NC314K apparently was operated during that year by Pickwick Airways, Tom Morgan, President. I called the Archives desk at the NASM and asked about the gap in their record. They said it could be due to a leasing arrangement between Ryan and Pickwick (the airline liquidated its assets after closing down in the spring of 1930, an early victim of the Great Depression). Such leasing arrangements do not show up in the official federal records, because there is no change in ownership.
Regardless, below is a crisp image (credit, right sidebar) of 314K in Pickwick Airways livery.
NC314K in Pickwick Airways Livery, Date & Location Unknown (Source: AAHS)
Then, according to the NASM data, it sold on September 22, 1930 to the Detroit Aircraft Corp., c/o Lockheed Aircraft Corp., Burbank, CA. During Lockheed's ownership, NC314K landed at Tucson December 18, 1930 flown by Dean Farran. He carried two passengers: Carl B. Squier and Jack Miller. They were eastbound from Burbank to Ft. Worth, TX. Capt. Carl B. Squier was the general manager of the Lockheed Aircraft Corp. The purpose for the trip is not mentioned in the Register.
A few months later, Lockheed sold the airplane to Harry and William Anderson of Detroit, MI on April 16, 1931. There are no details as to use or maintenance of the airplane under their ownership. The Andersons sold it to Lou Rhodes of Virginia, MN on November 4, 1931. By June 8, 1932 NC314K was converted to floatplane configuration with Edo Q floats. The total flight time reported as of September 14, 1932 was 521 hours.
A few months later a Treasury Department report states that the aircraft was seized in Lake Okeechobee, FL on February 18, 1933 carrying, “approximately 50 sacks of assorted liquors.” The Department of Commerce number on the aircraft had been obliterated and replaced with “NC-81” painted on the underside of one wing.
The pilot gave his name as Jack Wilson, described as a 49 year old former Pan Am pilot. Treasury also had information that C.R. Rhodes, husband of Lou Rhodes, was also involved in smuggling. The aircraft was subsequently stored at Dinner Key, Miami, FL.
The license for NC314K was cancelled by the Civil Aviation Authority circa February 20, 1933 as seized by the U.S. Bureau of Customs, Treasury Department. It’s a pity the Rhodes’s didn’t wait a few months. Prohibition was rescinded in December 1933. The ultimage fate of the airplane is unknown.
UPLOADED: 12/23/07 REVISED: 11/30/09