Classic Aircraft Showcase: Part 2


The second installment of our showcase features seven more of the best classic airplanes AVweb’s readers had to offer. Check back next Friday for the third and final part of the Classic Aircraft Showcase and, in the meantime, you can revisit Part 1 here: Classic Aircraft Showcase: Part 1.

1937 Ryan STA

We first purchased this 1937 Ryan STA (Serial #156 N17352) in 1968 to promote our then (Power) family airport and restaurant, The Nut Tree in Nut Tree, California. In “Fly Nut Tree Airport” livery, it was a regular on the California air show circuit in the early 1970’s. It was later on display in our aviation related retail store, One Flight Up. 

When the original Nut Tree was closed for redevelopment in 1996, the aircraft was sold. Fortunately, we were able to correct that error when the aircraft came up for sale in 2010 and we bought it back. 

This Ryan is now fully restored, airworthy and was returned to the original factory livery of bare metal with a blue stripe. It is currently on public display in the The Rowland Freedom Center museum at the Nut Tree Airport in Vacaville, California. – Brian Power

1941 Boeing A75N1 “Stearman

I’ve owned this 1941 Boeing A75N1 Stearman for 32 years. The PDF contains a booklet (above) I put together for judging at Oshkosh last year, where the aircraft won the “Outstanding WWII Biplane” award. The first couple pages include a brief history of the airplane. N33NA underwent a complete restoration during the COVID years, in which I was heavily involved. It is now more a “part of me,” than ever before. – Roger Brown

1946 Cessna 140

I purchased my 1946 Cessna 140 as a hanger queen in 2020 after the previous owner passed away. The last time she was airworthy was 1979! After 300 hours of work and 130 hours of polishing, she’s finally airworthy again. – Dan Melia

1948 Luscombe 8F

1948 Luscombe 8F -Terry Durham

The Luscombe 8 series pioneered many of innovations found in modern civilian aircraft. It was the first light aircraft with a fully enclosed (cowl) engine and the first all metal monocoque design. Roughly 6,000 Luscombe 8’s were produced between 1937 and 1955 with an estimated 1,000 still actively flying.

This aircraft (02B) was manufactured in Garland, TX in 1948. It was formerly owned by the late Charles (Charlie) Harris, EAA Director Emeritus, Vintage Aircraft Association and VAA Hall of Fame, for 28 years. Prior to that, it was owned by Alfred (Fritz) King, pre-war Luscombe plant foreman and chief test pilot, for 14 years. It was restored throughout the ‘90s by Patrick Rourke (mechanical) and TR Boyd (finish) in exquisite original detail and is one of the finest examples of an original Luscombe’s in existence today. – Terry Durham

1955 Cessna 170B

I will have been the caretaker of my 1955 Cessna 170B for 40 years as of this coming August. I’ve flown her over 2,200 hours to 38 states as well as British Columbia and Yukon Territory on the way to Alaska. In 2014 at the Creve Coeur airport near St. Louis, the site of that year’s annual International Cessna 170 Association Convention, a hand-propped Cherokee got away from its owner and found its way to (through) 98C. Everyone who saw it, including me, thought she was a total loss.

A tongue-in-cheek note to an Association member who is a principal in Mountain Airframe in Mena, Arkansas, about rebuilding her brought the serious reply that he thought it could be done. He flew up to Creve Coeur to do an in-person assessment, prepared an estimate, and brokered a deal with the insurance company to repair her. With about 2-1/2 years of part-time work, the job was done and 98C won both the People’s Choice and Best Original 170B at the 2017 Cessna 170 Convention at Deming, New Mexico. In 2021, 98C garnered the Outstanding Cessna 170 Award at AirVenture Oshkosh. – Miles Bowen

1957 Bellanca Cruisemaster 

1957 Bellanca Cruisemaster – Jack

1957 Bellanca Cruisemaster – Jack

1963 P35 Bonanza

The previous owner flew this 1963 P35 Bonanza for almost 30 years, but as I understand it, “aged out” of flying sometime in the mid-1990s. The plane subsequently sat unused in a maintenance hangar for 25 years. Total time on the plane was only 2,373 hours.

Restoration began in 2019. The aluminum, magnesium, and paint were in great shape, but almost everything else was replaced. Steve Gosby did most of the mechanical work, Jeff Wall put in the new panel, Tim Hess did the IO470N engine, and Wayne Caron redid the interior. The leather-covered control wheels were done by Tim Hallock. It has some interesting features such as the extended baggage compartment, which Beech did not introduce until the S model.

The work was completed around the time of the first COVID lockdowns. I needed a checkout (since I had no V-tail time) and most instructors I knew were not flying. I eventually was introduced to V-tail owner/instructor/A&P Jay Drury and started flying in May of 2020, 25 years after the Bonanza had last left the runway. I usually see around 163 knots TAS at 8,000 feet at 70% power.

I get a lot more attention on the ramp in the V-tail than in the Citation Mustang I used to fly! –Bill Stevenson


  1. I would like to fly a Cessna 170. Both to finally get my tail dragger endorsement, and to go places in reasonable comfort. However, I did have the opportunity to fly a Cessna 140. Reminded me too much of the 152 I used to fly. Slow, cramped, and not much power. Not only did I take a pass on the 140, but many others did as well. Which is probably why it got sold rather quickly…..

  2. I own a C-140 with an O-200 and love it, cheap to operate with 3-1 fuel mix ( 3 parts mogas / 1 part 100LL, reasonably fast and comfortable for a 2 seater, it will 1/2 the time of driving to a destination and is a pleasure to fly, would recommend it to anyone.

  3. I will never understand why, with now two “classic Aircraft” publications, the one classic that everyone seems to leave out is the 1946 Stinson Voyager 108. I have been flying my 1946 108 for more than 50 years now and have never flown a more stable aircraft. It does not need an autopilot for long cross country trips. Sure, there are faster, more popular classics, but none that compare with the Stinson 108 series.