Luscombe–Not Dead Yet?


Despite a tangle of legal problems, at least one eviction and continued bad blood between various factions, a California man vows that the Luscombe tail dragger will live on. “We’re going to get it into production one way or another,” said John Dearden, president of Renaissance Aircraft. Dearden’s design is a souped up and modernized version of the all-metal high wing, first introduced in the 1940s. He has the type certificate and all the tooling. What he needs now is a place to build it. Renaissance was set up in a municipally-owned hangar at Cape Girardeau, Mo., but was unable to meet its first bond payment for the city-financed building. Instead of giving the company more time, city fathers asked Dearden to leave and he went to California to regroup. He said there are now three communities vying for the future factory, two in the Southwest and one in the Midwest but he declined to give more details. “Until we have something on paper, we don’t really want to discuss it,” he said. Dearden said the company’s problems can be traced to legal battles with the former holder of the type certificate which used up millions of dollars of capital funds. Dearden said he has judgments totaling about $3 million in his favor and he’s planning to collect the money and use it to start building airplanes. In the meantime, through a spinoff company called Team Luscombe, Renaissance has started manufacturing and supplying new parts for the existing fleet of airplanes.