Porterfield Airplane Club

Keep the Skinny Birds Flying Safely

Hi All,

Hopping some of you learned Porterfield experts can help.  

I’m intrigued with the serial number of my Collegiate. Reading the history on the main page it appears that a total of 640 Porterfields were manufactured. This being the case how does my 1941 built plane get serial number 953?

Thank you in advance! Steve Ahrens.

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Serial numbers don't necessarily reflect the quantity produced, Steve. The Collegiate series started with s/n 550...the CP-50 prototype, but when it was upgraded under a different type certificate (A720), the serial numbers started at 651. However, the one seaplane built (Kevin Feauto's restoring her) has a s/n of 981: go figure!

The CP-40 Zephyr series started out with s/n 250.

The Model 35 Flyabout prototype was serial numbered 101.

Thanks Andy, I appreciate the reply. Thought there must be some method behind the numbers. Do you know of any literature that would help me research my serial number to see where it fits in the production line?

Unfortunately, no. Porterfield has never really been thoroughly researched and published by any aviation historians, that I’m aware of. I would like to think this info is buried somewhere in Joe Rankin’s files, but his son, Brad, has yet to find any old factory documents nor drawings, other than the Type Certificates.

You can snoop through the FAA database, as there are many Porterfields in it that were at one time registered, so they are still listed below the current N# holder. You can also perform a search for Porterfield in the FAA registration database, for currently registered skinny birds.

Thanks Andy, the more I read about the Porterfield the more intrigued I get, but I’m also learning there isn’t an enormous amount of information out there. Thanks for the heads up on the FAA database, not a huge amount of these birds out there, I assume that not all aircraft on the register are necessarily flying either?

Andy Gelston said:

Unfortunately, no. Porterfield has never really been thoroughly researched and published by any aviation historians, that I’m aware of. I would like to think this info is buried somewhere in Joe Rankin’s files, but his son, Brad, has yet to find any old factory documents nor drawings, other than the Type Certificates.

You can snoop through the FAA database, as there are many Porterfields in it that were at one time registered, so they are still listed below the current N# holder. You can also perform a search for Porterfield in the FAA registration database, for currently registered skinny birds.
There are more projects than there are airworthy Collegiates. I try to match them up with new, enthusiastic members as I learn of them.

The Collegiate type was beloved by CPTP cadets, at least the seventy or so that I spoke with, back in the 70’s and 80’s, who had learned to fly and soloed in them. Her downfall was the all wood wing. The Grade A fabric would start to rot and the wood within would soon follow. Those who had never been charmed by her flight characteristics feared the integrity of all that spruce and shied away from buying them, so they rotted into the ground after being stripped of engine and instruments. Even her Shinn wheels and brakes were thought to be inferior to Clevelands and Goodyears. Ignorance has always led to poor decision making.

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