N17029, 1936 Porterfield 35-70 FLYABOUT 'Spinach', Rev. 1

 
Copyright 2006, Doug Robertson, posted on 2006-10-23

 
 
 
The predecessor and genesis of this aircraft model was a depression-era design by Noel Hockaday called the Wyandotte Pup which
was a high wing  tandem seat light aircraft similar in appearance to a Taylorcraft. Shop students at Kansas City's Wyandotte High School built the Pup in 1932/33 as a shop exercise. Noel Hockaday had earlier worked for Ed Porterfield who purchased the Pup's design rights and  called upon him to develop the design after the Pup flew. Porterfield established the Porterfield Aircraft Corporation  specifically to build the developed design, hiring Noel Hockaday again as now Chief Engineer and plant General Manager. The resultant design was sold as the Porterfield 35-70 Flyabout. While the Wyandotte PUP used a little-known Poyer three-cylinder engine of 30 horsepower, Porterfield's production aircraft, the 35-70 Flyabout used a larger established 70 horsepower  LeBlond   five cylinder air-cooled radial engine. Porterfield used the first number to denote the model year of the aircraft and the second number to denote the engine's horsepower. Thus, the Porterfield 35-70 was a 1935 model first year of production. N17029 is a 1936 35-70 model, which was the most commonly-built model Flyabout. The original price in 1935 of the Porterfield 35-70 Flyabout with LeBlond 70 horsepower radial engine was FAF: $1,395
 
There was also  the Porterfield 35-90 Flyabout with Warner Scarab 90 horsepower radial engine, and the 35-65 and 35-75 were later models. A rare model was the 35V with 60 horsepower Velie engine. The 35-75C with 75 horsepower flat opposed four cylinder Continental engine was also offered.
 
The Porterfield Aircraft Corporation built about 150 Flyabouts of all models, as two place tandem seating enclosed cabin monoplanes. The aircraft were popular with flying schools and sports pilots. The noted woman pilot of the era, Louise Thaden raced a Porterfield for fun.
 
N17029 "Spinach" is a very colorful two-tone green finished aircraft, almost whimsical in appearance. The stubby cowled radial-engined nose gives it a jaunty, yet businesslike appearance, with a wonderful radial sound. N17029 was a fly in visitor to Santa Paula Airport on a First Sunday monthly Aviation Museum Day, which attracts like a magnet many interesting and unusual visiting aircraft.
 
Vintage aircraft followers will note the close resemblance of the Rearwin 7000 and 9000KR Sportsters to the Porterfield 35-70 Flyabout. The Rearwin Sportsters were directly inspired by the design of the Porterfield 35-70 Flyabout because Noel Hockaday had earlier also worked for Rae Rearwin in Kansas City. Bill Weeks engineered the Sportster 7000 design for Rearwin also with production commencing in 1935. The slightly larger Sportsters with 35 foot wingspans used a 70 horspower LeBlond radial in the 7000 and a 90 horsepower Ken Royce (LeBlond) radial in the 9000KR. Rae Rearwin purchased the LeBlond engine company in 1938 and renamed the LeBlond radial engine designs after his two sons, Ken and Royce Rearwin. Each of these contemporary-in-time high wing steel tube, wood and fabric monoplanes were two place tandem seating enclosed cabin radial-powered light aircraft. The Rearwin Sportsters were somewhat more popular than the Flyabouts with more sold.
 
Please see the photo of N14485, a red 1935 Rearwin 7000 Sportster with 70 Hp LeBlond engine at bottom right for the close resemblance comparison. Photo taken by Glenn E. Chatfield. Thank you, Glenn.
 
 
Please click on the top photo to see the N17029 Aircraft Profile page and more photos. One of the Aircraft Profile page photos of mine shows "Spinach" on takeoff requiring little distance on SZP's 2,650 foot runway 22 to break ground.  The adjacent right hand photo shows "Spinach"  being hand-propped for engine start. Of interest-"Spinach" was  once
owned, flown by the late actor Robert Cummings. 
 
 
35-70 Flyabout Specifications  
 
Length: 20' 0"
 
Wingspan: 32' 0"
 
Wing area: 147 sq ft (another reference gives 145 sq ft)
 
Height: 6' 7"
 
Weight empty: 813 lbs (another reference gives 750 lbs) 
 
Weight loaded: 1,310 lbs (another reference gives 1,235 lbs)
 
Engine: LeBlond 70 series, 70 Hp 5 cylinder air-cooled radial 
 
 
35-70 Flyabout Performance
 
Max speed: 115 mph (another reference gives 100 mph
 
Cruise speed: 105 mph (another reference gives 90 mph)
 
Stall speed: 40 mph
 
Initial rate of climb: 600 ft/min (another ref. gives 650 ft/min)
 
Ceiling: 15,000 ft 
 
Endurance: 360 miles (another reference gives 315 miles)
 
 
 
 

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