Porterfield Airplane Club

Keep the Skinny Birds Flying Safely

I’m days away from getting our 1940 Porterfield C65 airworthy after not flying since the 1960’s. I am seeking any advice from those with experience flying the skinny bird.

We do not have anyone in my area familiar with the type for a formal check out so at this point I am planning to just take it out like I stole from Dad’s garage. Insurance is fine with my total tail wheel time( predominately in a Stinson 108-1)but they want 10 hours in type first before coverage begins.

Worst case senecio as an A&P/IA I can likely fix any thing I bend up but I really would really like avoid this option. Any advice or criticism from an experienced stick jockey is welcomed(ie, wheel vs three point landings, takeoff/approach speeds…).


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Comment by Jerri & Chris Bergen on June 18, 2023 at 12:43am


Jerri and I are vendors at Oshkosh, "Victory Girl".  We will be passing very close to your airport on our way into the show. If possible we would like to stop and see your CP-65. It's always exciting to see another Porterfield. We have the good fortune to have three on our airport, KCCB. We look forward to your reply.

Blue Skies & Calm Winds,


Comment by Trevor Burns on June 17, 2023 at 10:36pm
All great information thanks for the help. We had a it of a delay of game as we couldn’t beat winter this past year at the grass strip. I’m happy to report NC27288 is back in action. Flew the first 5 hours on it Wednesday. Need to adjust the wings for a slight heavy condition on the right side but other that that all seems to be operating great! Thanks to everyone for the help.

Comment by Jerri & Chris Bergen on November 7, 2022 at 7:23pm

One more comment you may be able to use.  Hot starts are always a pain.  Especially at the pump when you want to get going or head for the barn.  I have found very good luck with hot starts by shutting off the fuel and letting the engine die.  When you have finished fueling turn the fuel on and throw the prop without pulling it through.  It may take two, maybe three throws and it will fire right up.  Give it a shot.

Blue Skies,


Comment by Jerri & Chris Bergen on November 7, 2022 at 6:31pm

I'm a bit late in this conversation but I wanted to say that Andy has given some great advice for a new Porterfield owner.  The CP-65 is the sweetest flying airplane that I have ever had the pleasure to fly.  One thing you may want to experiment with is your short final speed.  I normally fly 60 mph in the pattern and 55 over the fence.  It will help shorten your ground effect float.

Blue Skies,


Comment by Andy Gelston on September 3, 2022 at 12:01pm

Thank you for getting another Skinny Bird flying, Trevor!

The Collegiate is very similar to the Champ and Cub taxiing and taking off. Landing, it is best to come in a bit high and slip as needed, or carry some power. Like the Cub & Champ, 60mph is a good number to keep in mind for approach, landing, taking off, and climbing out.


She likes to three point land, but it takes a few landings to get a feel for the power/energy management to avoid dropping her in and bouncing a few times, which she’s happy to oblige you with. This happens if she get’s too slow, but hasn’t stalled yet. Without carrying some power, she drops like a rock, similar to a Taylorcraft. If you bring her in a bit too fast, she’ll just float along in ground effect and you may as well throttle back up and make it look like a low speed pass to save your ego, unless you have plenty of runway before you.

I usually shut the gas off on my way to the hangar/tie-down area to drain the carb bowl as a way to shut down, but that takes a bit of trial and error to get the timing right. The Shinn brakes are pretty effective to assist with turns on pavement and hold her still during engine run-up. 

If you’ve worked up any checklists, I advise you sit in the cockpit for an hour or so, going through them, placing your hands and eyes on the controls, gauges, etc, so you know exactly where they are when you’re moving. Then you can focus on the flying and not looking for something in the cockpit.

The cockpit does seem claustrophobic at first, but by the time you get to the end of the runway to take off, you’ve become acclimated to having that instrument panel one foot away from your face. I sure hope you installed shoulder harnesses!

Soft landings, Andy

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