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Changes made to the EAA Swallow - NC4028

EAA’s Swallow is an authentic aircraft, not a replica. The plane has been changed over the years to improve its safety, while retaining the fun of an open-cockpit airplane.

The largest change was replacement of the original OX-5 engine and wooden propeller with a Continental R670 radial engine and metal propeller. The OX-5 was an eight-cylinder, V-8, water-cooled engine that developed about 90 horsepower. It was combined with a Hartzell wood propeller. The more reliable Continental has seven cylinders and develops 220 horsepower. A Hamilton-Standard propeller with ground-adjustable aluminum blades was also installed. This engine and propeller combination was used on WWII Stearman trainers.

The original Swallow design used a tailskid and had no wheel brakes. For operation on hard surface runways the tailskid was replaced with a Scott steerable tailwheel. Toe-actuated hydraulic brakes were added to the main wheels.

When the Swallow was new it had no engine starting mechanism. The engine was started by hand propping. An electric starter has since been added, with an accompanying battery and engine driven alternator.

Improved technology has allowed many safety improvements to be incorporated in NC4028 without compromising its authentic feel for passengers. The original fabric used on the plane was Grade “A” cotton. That covering has been replaced with Razorback fabric on the tail and Poly-Fiber on the wings and fuselage. A communication radio was installed in the pilot’s cockpit, along with an intercom to allow communication with the front cockpit passenger.

Restoration of the Swallow was lead by Gary Buettner, with assistance from many volunteers, including Orville Perdue and Bob McLaughlin. The United Airlines Historical Foundation was a major contributor to the project, providing support and with a donation from member Clay Lacy, a newly-overhauled Continental engine.

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