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History of EAA’s Swallow - NC4028

In the winter of 1928, three Swallow airplanes were sent via train from the Swallow factory in Wichita, KS, to L&H Aircraft, an aircraft dealer in Hartford, CT. The three planes had been purchased for less than $7,000. The Swallow that was to become EAA’s (NC4028) cost $50 more than the others because it had a “booster magneto.”

Before the airplane arrived in Hartford, it had already been sold to its first owner, Mrs. Lou Edgar, of Schenectady, NY, making her the first woman in New York State to own and fly an airplane. She had her name painted on the tail of the airplane and the words “Schenectady Rambler” on the side of the fuselage.

In April of 1929, Mrs. Edgar sold the Swallow to two partners in Troy, NY, who intended to use the plane for carrying passengers. A tragic incident occurred on May 22, 1929, while one of the partners was taking flight instruction near Troy Airport. Newspaper accounts indicate that an engine failure caused a forced landing and substantial damage to the plane. The airplane was disassembled and returned to the airport in pieces.

Almost 30 years later, the two owners sold the damaged pieces. In June of 1961, the parts were sold again, this time to an aircraft restorer in Connecticut. The airplane was repaired and new fabric was installed. In September of 1961, the Swallow was inspected and a new airworthiness certificate issued. Now considered an antique, the plane still had its OX-5 engine.

In the fall of 1962, the Swallow was sold to an aircraft engine company in Miami, FL. The plane was flown from Connecticut to Florida to participate in a reunion of OX-5 enthusiasts. The company closed shortly thereafter and the plane was not used. In 1976, the disassembled airplane was among numerous aviation items donated to EAA by Mr. John H. McGeary, Jr. The parts remained in EAA storage until Paul Poberezny decided it should be returned to flyable condition. The restoration effort began in 2001 and included substantial repairs and upgrades. The wings and fuselage were recovered as workshop projects during AirVenture. A more powerful and reliable engine was installed. In the fall of 2004 the plane returned to the air, flown by retired United Airlines captain, Buck Hilbert.

NC4028 is now back in regular service at EAA’s Pioneer Airport, providing authentic open-cockpit ride experiences to EAA AirVenture Museum visitors. The Swallow is believed to be the oldest airplane still in commercial passenger service.

Accredited by the American Association of Museums
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