Porterfield Airplane Club

Keep the Skinny Birds Flying Safely

Judy Birchler
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  • Indianapolis, IN
  • United States
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About Me:
My first airplane was a 1/3 interest in a 1940 Porterfield, based at Skylane Airport in Evansville, IN. This is way before two of your Porterfield Club members, Hank Meador and Fred Williams, ever dreamed they would own this same airplane!
Do you own a Porterfield Airplane?
No, I own a happy little 1958 Aeronca 7EC Champ.
Are You a Pilot?
Do you have a MYSPACE profile, email address or personal website that you would like to share with others?
Tom Porterfield suggested I include the Porterfield post from my website www.ladieslovetaildraggers.com.

Of all the things I’ve posted on the website, this one makes me the happiest! I have a personal connection to this very special bird and I’m delighted old friend and current part owner in this great project, Hank Meador, has sent me photos and details to share.

So what’s the story? This beautifully restored Porterfield is the first airplane I ever owned – well, 1/3 of it anyway! But hey, when you’re flying it, it’s all yours! I flew the daylights out of it shortly after getting my pilot’s license and spent many hours flying along the Ohio River chasing ducks, landing on grass strips and getting my first taste of the very best in flying – tandem taildragging.

The red ’40 Porterfield had a 65 hp Lycoming back then that leaked a little oil, didn’t always want to start on the first few swings of the prop and had some minor issues you’d expect in an old taildragger that hadn’t been flown a heck of a lot in recent years. It also wasn’t too speedy but I wasn’t particularly interested in speed anyway.

I remember flying it 40 miles north one afternoon getting pushed along by a very generous tailwind only to start getting really nervous when I decided to turn and head for home. I remember holding onto the stick, eyes glued to the fuel tank, hoping I’d get back to the airport before the last drop of fuel ran out. I did!

Here’s newly restored 1940 Porterfield LP-65 with partners Bud Sherretz, Randall Krystosek, Hank Meador & Fred Williams.

On December 10, 1940 the Porterfield factory in Kansas City, MO completed the aircraft, serial number 842. She had 14 owners over the next 30 years until purchased in 1972 by Tom Crane of Skylane Airport, Evansville, IN. It remained at Skylane throughout the next 38 years , flyable until a tornado pounding 100 mph winds struck the airport in 1982. Even though most of the airplanes based there were destroyed or substantially damaged by the wind, #842 received only minor damage; 3 left wing ribs were broken, the fin and rudder bent and the wooden turtledeck was fractured. Due to the damage the airplane was taken out of service and stored in pieces in an old barn.

Congratulations to Hank, Fred, Bud & Randall on a beautiful bird. And oh, I’m patiently waiting for my first ride in 34 years!??!!

I won't include all the text from the blog since I'll bet you've already read the entire story in Vintage Aircraft Magazine but I will say I was thrilled to see the guys complete the restoration and have the pleasure of flying that beautiful bird everywhere it wants to go. Here's one last picture from a long, long, time ago.

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At 8:42pm on March 19, 2010, Gloria C Conolley said…
Hi Judy, Welcome to the Club. You and I are women that rarely get a chance to do the things that men seem to have an edge on. I started with an Aeronca and ended with a Porterfield. Those were the best years of my life ! Hope you get lots of enjoyment out of this club.
At 11:40pm on March 15, 2010, Tom Porterfield said…
Welcome to our Porterfield Airplane Club. We are glad to have you. Thank you for posting the pictures and story of your old Porterfield Airplane.
Tom Porterfield
At 7:05pm on March 15, 2010, Andy Gelston said…
So you own a happy Champ??? Is that the one with a C-85 up front and the big tail out back?

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