Posted By RichC on October 16, 2006
Our Experimental Airplane Association (EAA) Chapter 284 had the October meeting at Jim Hammond’s “Airdrome” located just east of Dayton, Ohio; its home to some very interesting projects and restored airplanes. Jim welcomed our members to his personal hanger(s) which to me looked like an airplane hobby on steroids. (Jim did admit that his hobby got away from him) His passion for aviation over the past several decades have obviously consumed his time and extra dollars, as both his personal grass strip, his well lit and organized workshop and multiple hangers are a great home for ‘his collection of personally’ restored classic airplanes.
As for ambition, Jim doesn’t let much holds him back; neither his work as an engineer in a family business or being a husband and father of two daughters have kept him away. Notable in his collection was his everyday flyer, his”truck” as he calls it, an attractive Aeronca Champ. (Aeronca has a rich local SE Ohio history as do many early airplane companies)
As we meandered our way slowly around Jim’s collection of airplanes, most of us were amazed that someone this young could have the expertise and ambition to have restored this many airplanes. After checking out the familiar Aeronca Champ, most of us were drawn to his ‘flying bathtub‘ parked in the hanger just behind the Champ. Those familiar with that nickname know we’re talkng about an early Aerona; Jim’s was a C-3 from the 30s with an interesting history. In its day, it held the altitude record for a pilot and passenger (2 place) at 15,000 feet. (jokingly Jim mentioned the pilot and passenger were ‘small’ women)
Hammond’s C-3 doesn’t just sit around collecting dust either, as he has toured part of the country including a 1600 mile round trip to Oshkosh and Iowa with it … and considering it is original and has
received only one overhaul since its manufacture in the early 1930s, that’s amazing!
He also has a great little Piper ‘Cub’ similar biplane, call a Hatz that is an attractive biplane with avid builders and flyers. Jim’s little two place biplane looks as if it would be one of the most enjoyable taildraggers to fly around the patch.
Another beautiful vintage airplane is the Stinson (mid 1930s) radial powered monoplane (above), which beginnings stem from the local Dayton area too. Jim’s is model which was restored by Morton Clark was called a Reliant (?). He recently used the Stinson as the “luggage hauler” when touring with others to Oshkosh and the airshow circuit around the mid-west. It’s a pretty big airplane with significant space and cargo hauling ability as it was designed to carry up to 4 passengers plus pilot in comfort. According to the US Centennial of Flight Commission’s website, the company founder Edward â€œEddieâ€ Stinson was a proficient test pilot as well as ‘stunt’ pilot and had logged the most flight time to date, 16,000 hours, at the time of his death at the age of 38. He died in an air crash in Chicago on January 26, 1932, while on a sales trip. (Cockpit below)
Although Jim Hammond had a few other items around, perhaps the most interesting was the 1917 Standard J-1. Their are only a handful left and very few flying. They were built to supplement the much more popular Curtis Jenny during World War I. This particular
plane was used for barnstorming during the 1920s and has a rich history including the common retrofit which added a more powerful French built 150 HP Hisso engine. The barnstorming pilot that once flew this airplane in the 1920s even paid Jim a visit and shared some memories. (Yes … he is a little older than most of us, 100 I believe!)
As we wrapped up our day touring Jim’s shop and hangers, were bunches of photos and personal memorabilia that I would have enjoyed looking at too … some that would make aviation museum people drool. He pulled out several photos showing his airplanes and their history with previous owners a lifetime ago and although I enjoy my Sonex project, I also envy the idea of restoring a piece of disappearing history. I picked out a more recent hand scribbled note thumb-tacked to the door post that might offer some 2006 history for anyone familiar with antique airplane restoration.