Registration Number NR5189
A Famous Endurance Airplane
This aircraft is a Stinson SM-1 Detroiter, manufacturer’s
serial number M-233. It was manufactured in April 1928 by
Stinson Aircraft Corporation, Northville, MI. It was sold
the same month for $12,500 to N.L. Hurd, VP of Central Airways
Corporation of Chicago, IL, and licensed on 5/24/28 to be
used, “for Chicago-Detroit taxi service.”
It came from the factory with a 200 HP Wright Whirlwind J5-AB,
S/N 8383. The airplane weighed 3,485 pounds.
On 7/13/29 the airplane sold to Russell C. Mossman of Barrington,
IL for a planned refueling endurance flight. A telegram authorizing
a “R” (restricted) license for the flight arrived
7/20/29. Mr. Mossman sold it on 9/12/29 to the Chicago We-Will
Corporation. A 300 HP Wright J-6 engine S/N 10585 was installed,
as were two extra oil tanks, and an extra 132 gallon fuel
tank in the passenger compartment. It was inspected and approved
“Restricted for endurance flight” on 9/27/29.
It was named “City of We-Will” in 1929.
It was sold on 6/4/30 to L.W. Schuetz of Chicago, and on
the same day (don’t know why: cost subsidization? Anybody
know?) to John A. Hunter of Sparta, IL for $2,628. At this
point the airplane had wing fuel tanks (45 gal. L/45 gal.
R) and the 132 gallon fuselage tank for a total of 222 gallons.
It was re-inspected at Sky Harbor Airport, Northbrook, IL
and the fuel system was found, “well padded and securely
supported”, and “endurance equipped, appears OK.”
It was renamed, "City of Chicago".
The endurance flight did take place between June 11-July
4, 1930 at Chicago. John and Kenneth Hunter flew NR5189
for 553h:41m:30s. They covered about 40,000 miles. The refueling
plane was flown by their brothers, Albert and Walter (see
NR5326). Their record was
short-lived as the title was regained the following month
(July 21-Aug 17, 1930 - 647h:28m:30s at St Louis by Dale
Jackson and Forrest O'Brine in a Curtiss Robin restoring
their title set in 1929).
However, see this download for an article that appeared about
a year later in the June 11, 1931 Cleveland
Plain Dealer (shared by site visitor Robert Hayes).
It clarifies that Jackson and O'Brine's record was disqualified
because they actually landed during one night and affected
repairs on their airplane. Although the news article is hard
to read, please refer to the typed transcription in the last
two pages of the download.
Now comes the "City of Chicago" to Tucson on 7/20/1930.
NR5189 was piloted by John Hunter, the pilot during the
endurance event two weeks earlier. He arrived from San Diego
Rockwell Field, and was headed back to Los Angeles. He had
a posse with him consisting of his brothers, Kenneth and
NR5326, and a passenger
Herbert Budd flying with brother Walter in Travel Air NC5241.
They stayed in Tucson overnight, leaving the
next day. In a conversation I had with Hershel Hunter, Albert's
son (who was five years old at the time of his father's
and uncle's record), he said the trip west was to appear
in a Hollywood movie with Will Rogers about endurance flying.
But the trump of their record by Jackson and O'Brine the
following day cancelled Hollywood's interest.
After the NR registration lapsed on 4/16/31, the engine was
replaced with a J-5 S/n 7686, radio equipment and extra fuel
and oil tanks were removed, and the fuselage, tail group and
cabin were overhauled (with new fabric applied). A “C”,
commercial registration was issued 5/9/31.
The airplane had flown 1,568.5 hours as of 4/22/32. John
Hunter was reported deceased and the NC registration was cancelled
on 7/18/32. The airplane was sold two years later by Laura
Hunter, John’s widow, on 6/21/34 to Lucille Trunnell
of Cape Girardeau, MO. The airplane had 1,594 hours on it.
She sold it to Howard Trunnell of Blytheville, AR on 8/28/34
with an address change of Leland, MS. He had a tail wheel
Mr. Trunnell, who appears to have used the airplane for cotton
dusting, showed good husbandry of NC5198. As of 7/2/36 he
had installed new fabric on the fuselage, rudder and left
side of stabilizer, new glass and molding in the cabin, the
struts were stripped and recovered. He relocated to new addresses
in the south over the next two years (Florence, AL, back to
Blytheville, AR, to Jonesboro, AR, and to Greenwood, MS.
As of 10/4/38 the covering was "rejuvenated" (a
process of applying an organic solvent to make the nitrate
or butyrate dope more flexible), redoped, and colors changed
to red and yellow. In the warm, southern fall of 1938, this
must have been a beautiful airplane to admire. He had flown
it several hundred hours.
Finally, the airplane was sold to Lloyd Adkins of Chicago
on 6/6/39. It suffered an accident on 9/4/39 and was a complete
washout due to, “Fuselage fabric failure, mentioned
in report to Stinson from CAA, 10/4/34.” It seems
the "rejuvenation" of the fabric wasn't a good choice for
repairing the aging cotton and coating. The registration
was cancelled 9/4/39.
THIS PAGE UPLOADED: 06/05 REVISED: 01/05/07, 02/12/07, 05/25/07