WACO UEC – NC12472
For some people, when you say Waco, you’ve said it all. This wonderful workhorse of an airplane has caught the eye of many an airplane fancier. According to Ray Brandly’s book on Wacos, “The Versatile Cabin Series,” serial number 3638, NC12472, was manufactured on June 9, 1932 and sold to Mid-West Airways Corp., of Aurora, IL.
Again from the Brandly book, “Waco engineers were dedicated to the task of designing a 4-place cabin plane with performance characteristics typical of Waco open-cockpit planes, particularly as to ability to get into and out of small fields.” Other features were to include economy in weight and size, wider angles of vision, and to keep the price below $6,000. .
This particular Waco UEC was once owned by the patriarch of the Meredith family. Son Ted, now deceased, had a photograph of his father standing in front of NC12472 and made the decision to find the airplane, if possible, and restore it to its former glory. The aircraft, surprisingly, was easily located, but prying it away from its owner was another story. It took 20 years before the plane was once again a part of the Meredith family.
The Waco UEC was based on the Waco F-2 open-cockpit biplane. Because of this predecessor, the cabin biplane inherited the friendly nature of the F-2 and its ability to get in and out of short strips with a load. The UEC could easily accommodate four people, five if they were of smaller stature.
The plane was pretty much of a basket case, but still within the realm of “doable.” It was determined that the sheer size of the project would make it impossible for Ted to complete himself, so it was farmed out to a series of restoration shops. The fuselage had suffered the ravages of time and 25 to 30 percent of the tubing was replaced because of rust and damage. Original paint scheme colors were Kensington grey, black or vermilion and silver wings. Ted Meredith chose a beautiful golden yellow accented with white and “Hershey chocolate bar” brown. The exotic wood veneer used for the panel was selected and prepared by Ted who was a really good woodworker in his own right. The instruments are overhauled originals, the engine is a Continental W-670 and the Curtiss Reed prop was replaced with a Hamilton Standard ground-adjustable.
The restoration took six years and made its first appearance at AirVenture 2007 in Oshkosh. It was an instant hit and received a Silver Age Runner-Up award. Mrs. Katie Meredith donated the aircraft to the EAA AirVenture Museum that same year.
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