Registration Number NC5310
Potential World Traveler Turned Duster
This aircraft is a Stearman C-2B S/N 127 (ATC #55 pending).
It was manufactured on May 22, 1928 by The Stearman Aircraft Co.
of Wichita, KS. Installed originally was a 200 HP Wright J-5
AB engine, S/N 8378. It weighed 2,650 pounds.
It sold on May 23, 1928 to Ross Hadley of Los Angeles (president
of Pacific Aeromotive Corp., distributor of Wright engines),
who flew it immediately from the factory to Detroit, Columbus,
Indianapolis, Dayton, Chicago, Amarillo, El Paso, Phoenix,
Los Angeles. The airplane was painted green, red and blue,
and sported a monogram saying, “Ross-Hollywood-USA” (see the link for NC8809, another Stearman flown by Hadley that had the same logo on the side).
It was probably during this long cross-country flight that
NC5310 landed at Tucson June 23, 1928, at 6:20PM flown by owner/pilot
Hadley. He was inbound from El Paso, headed for Phoenix. As
of July 9, 1928, the airplane had flown 67.5 hours.
A few months later, on October 7, 1928, Hadley had an accident in
Los Angeles (no injury) that resulted in, “cracked beam
in lower right wing and badly bent right front L/G strut.”
It was repaired, inspected and approved by November 22, 1928.
According to the record, Hadley planned a European trip,
sailing on the "Ile de France" April 2, 1929 with the airplane
to fly in: France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary,
Czechoslovakia, Poland, Germany, Denmark, Holland, Belgium,
Yugoslavia, Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Roumania and England.
Hadley, born November 25, 1900, held F.A.I. certificate #7033 and
a Federation Aerienne International Sporting License #161
for 1929. It was reported that as of March 25, 1929 the airplane
was in New York City awaiting shipment to Europe.
Alas, things did not go as planned. On April 1, 1929 Hadley was
involved with NC5310 in an accident in Lordsburg, NM, a long
way from New York City. He and his passenger, Chester Loomis,
were uninjured. The airplane, however, suffered, “propellor
[sic] bent, center and rear motor case cracked, fuselage gas
tank damaged, upper and lower right wings broken, right interplane
struts bent.” Hadley did not repair it.
In August, the airframe was sold to Western College of Aeronautics
in Los Angeles, and on 9/10/29 to Aero Corporation of California,
Los Angeles. Aero was owned by Jack
Frye, an early air transport operator. The airplane was
repaired and fitted with a hopper for crop dusting with a
Wright J-5 225 HP engine (S/N 8362) installed. Its registration
was changed to “R”, restricted for crop dusting.
In this configuration NR5310 landed again at Tucson October 26, 1929,
piloted by Lee Willey, a line pilot for Standard
Air Lines, and an employee of Aero Corporation of California.
Willey was enroute from Ciudad Obregon in Mexico back to Los
Angeles. There is no record of why he was in Mexico.
Finally, the airplane “washed out” in Fresno,
CA on May 10, 1930 when it, “failed to recover from acrobatic
maneuvers.” The pilot was George Naeve. No mention of
his fate; we hope he parachuted to safety. The registration
for NR5310 was cancelled May 27, 1930.
I'm happy to report that on March 3, 2006 I received the
following email from a site visitor.
"My father was George Naeve. He did survive the 1930 "wash
No details yet, but I'll send them along when I hear.
UPLOADED: 06/05 REVISED: 03/20/06, 08/25/11