N350Y, 1931 Buhl LA-1 FLYING BULL-PUP, Rev. 2

Copyright 2006, Doug Robertson, posted on 2006-04-03

The Buhl LA-1 FLYING BULL-PUP is a rarely seen and unusual vintage ultra-light aircraft in several respects. It was one of the first light planes to feature a streamlined oval monocoque fuselage of riveted metal with a permanent wing built as an integral part of the fuselage. A mid- or shoulder wing single seater was a rare configuration in 1930 when first produced, but is often seen today in racing planes, high-performance aerobatic aircraft  and experimental homebuilts. The wing is of fabric-covered two spar, wire-braced wooden construction.

Buhl Aircraft of Marysville, Michigan was previously noted for large commercial aircraft, the cabin three to eight-place AIRSEDANs and was reorganized during the Depression. It could be said that the FLYING BULL PUP was a Depression 'Baby' single seater better suited to slimmer pocketbooks.

The FLYING BULL PUP was only produced for one year between 1930 and 1931. It has excellent and fun flying characteristics with the pilot sitting at the center of gravity and the wing set at the center of thrust. Engineering design was by Etienne Dormoy who worked for SPAD of France and also designed the Dormoy 'Bathtub' that won the Rickenbacker Race in 1924. The original engine used was the Szekely 3-cylinder air-cooled radial of just 45 horsepower.

An excellent color picture taken by Stephen Amiaga of an A.H.C (Szekely) SR-3 radial engine as originally installed in the Buhl LA-1 Bull Pups, which engine can be seen at 21N, the Mattituck, NY airport, is shown at lower right. Thank you, Stephen.

 N350Y was formerly owned by the late Clete Roberts, a Los Angeles pioneer TV newsman also with film credits. Clete had a hanger with several aircraft and old Ford cars at Santa Paula, California Airport where N350Y is still based. Note the clever overhead-braced turnover pylon integral with the landing gear structure that serves rollover protection for the pilot. N350Y now is powered with a 75 Hp flat opposed four cylinder Continental engine with increased performance. An excellent 14 by 20 extreme closeup color photo of N350Y in flight accompanies the January 2003 page of the Aviation Legends Calendar annually produced by photographer Michael Terry.

Please Click on the top picture to see Aircraft N350Y Profile Page with other pictures. The picture at the top was taken by me on 1995-08-06 as an SZP-exhibit aircraft during SZP's 65th Anniversary Flyin and recently found. The aircraft then had the upgraded 75 Hp Continental engine.





Original specifications: 45 hp Szekely SR-3

Wing span: 30' Length: 19' Height: 6'6"

Weight empty: 550 lbs.

Useful load: 300 lbs.

Gross weight: 850 lbs.

Wing area: 122.1 sq. ft.

Wing loading: 6.96 lbs./sq. ft.

Power loading: 18.88 lbs./hp.

Powerplant: 45 hp A.H.C.(Szekely)SR-3 3-cylinder radial

Fuel capacity: 10 gal.

Fuel consumption: 3 gal./hr.


Original performance:

Cruise speed: 76 mph

Max speed: 95 mph

Landing speed: 32 mph

Initial climb 800 ft./min.

Service ceiling: 14,000 ft

Range: 245 miles

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