RIDER/ELMENDORF R-5 “Jackrabbit” – NX264Y
Veteran California race plane builder Keith Rider built two new racers for the 1936 season that were essentially identical, the R-4 and the R-5. Even though the R-4 had a more successful career, the R-5 is a treasured racer because it represents the technology of the state of the art of the smaller class racers of 1936.
The racer was powered by a 6-cylinder, inverted, inline, air cooled Menasco engine. The only significant difference between the R-4 and R-5 was the R-5’s wings were two feet longer, adding 80 pounds to the empty weight of the aircraft. The wing was a one piece, all wood, two spar unit with plywood covering overlain with fabric. The fuselage was a very simple steel tube truss with fabric covering on each side and nothing more than sheet aluminum wrap around fairings forming the top and bottom sides.
The airplane was sold to Dave Elemendorf who raced it at the 1936 Nationals at Los Angeles as the Elmendorf Special. Dave painted the racer a cream yellow and was assigned race number 22. The Elmendorf Special placed third in the 550 cu. in. qualifier at a speed of 224.551 mph, winning $150.00.
By the 1938 Nationals the R-5 was under new ownership again, the Marcoux-Bromberg team, who painted the racer a dramatic black and yellow and retained race number 22. Someone had dubbed the racer the “Jackrabbit” and a bunny at full lope was painted on each side of the vertical fin. Earl Ortman was the pilot of the Jackrabbit in the 1938 Greve race where he finished fourth after he was flagged down after 16 laps at an average speed of only 192.503 mph. The team won a thousand dollars in prize money nonetheless.
A sick engine at the 1939 Nationals was the end of the Jackrabbit’s active racing career. Little is known about the R-5 after retirement, but it was rumored to be serving as a billboard for a Chinese restaurant in California.
In 1963 the racer was registered to James Garvin of Walnut Creek, California. In early 1966, James put the aircraft on long term loan to the EAA Museum, where it was given a cosmetic rejuvenation by Bill Chomo and the restoration staff. Later, the Jackrabbit was registered to Morton Lester, who permanently donated the racer to the EAA AirVenture Museum in 1980.
Rider/Elmendorf R-5 Jackrabbit Rider/Elmendorf R-5 Jackrabbit