LEVIER W-5 COSMIC WIND “Mr. Robinson” – N99CW
The creation of the Goodyear racing class inspired Tony LeVier to create a new racer, so he put together a team of professionals that included Fish Salmon and Glenn Fulkerson, who were later joined by Irving Culver. As the drawings were finished, parts began taking form in workshops and machine shops all over the LA area, which eventually all gathered at Maynard Guilford’s machine shop where the final assembly was done.
Three complete Cosmic Winds were manufactured and began racing in 1947, but they weren’t the front runners the team wanted them to be. Just after ironing out engine problems and beginning to catch up with the winners, Lockheed noticed a discouraging number of pilots dying in Goodyear racing. Management didn’t want their two top test pilots risking their necks for a little prize money, and the Cosmic Winds were quickly sold to new owners.
In the late 1950s, Billy Robinson, one of the original race pilots for the Cosmic Wind, began building his own Cosmic Wind. Billy continued working on his aircraft until his untimely death in a J-3 Cub accident. The remains of the project shuffled through a series of owners until winding up with Joan Trefethen Alford. Bill Warwick finished the construction of the airplane for half ownership of the Cosmic Wind, which was dubbed “Mr. Robinson”.
When completed, Mr. Robinson carried a lot of luxuries the originals didn’t, including a tailwheel rather than a skid. The Continental O-200 engine was substituted for the C-85 and a battery and starter were also installed. Throughout the entire project Bill said he wanted to finish the airplane the way Billy would have wanted and that included doing it all in aluminum. That meant no glass, though the project consumed much more time that way, and in the end, Bill was forced to make wheel pants out of glass.
Shortly after the Cosmic Wind completed testing, Bill died in the crash of a new T-18 he was testing for a friend. Mr. Robinson then fell through a couple different owners and was eventually obtained by Joanne Noar. Joanne donated the Cosmic Wind to the EAA AirVenture Museum in 1999. It remains the lowest time and most beautiful Cosmic Wind left in existence.
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