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Spartan C2-165 low-wing navigational trainer prototype (Army XPT-913)

Stargazer2006

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It's amazing the things that show up on eBay.

For $150, you can buy a unique War Department Air Corps Materiel Division 24-page report dated June 30, 1931 about the military evaluation of a previously unseen Spartan low-wing monoplane primary trainer prototype.

I wish I had that money, but honestly I don't. I'm sure someone with a genuine interest in early Air Corps history will jump on the occasion, though!

I've reworked below some of the photos provided and replaced one of them with a similar one of better quality.
 

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Stargazer2006

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Apparently the XPT-913 was the Model C2-165 (a completely different aircraft from the better-known C2-60, as Spartan designations can really get confusing...).
Here is an excerpt from The Spartan Story by Chet Peek which, although not mentioning the Wright Field evaluation or the XPT- designation, makes it quite clear it was the same aircraft (bold type is mine):
The last Spartan model to receive any sort of certification was the low-wing navigational trainer, the C-2-165. It received its Group 2 Approval on 5-3-32 at about the time both the factory and school were almost shut down due to lack of business.
Complete specifications are not available for this rare model, but photographs suggest the fuselage and landing gear may have been copied directly from the C-3 biplanes. Two struts braced the long low wing; no wires were used as with the lighter C-2-60.
The 5-cylinder Wright R-540 165 HP engine was used, fitted with a metal, ground adjustable propeller.
A factory photo shows NC993N with a blind flying hood covering the back cockpit, and the words "radio-blind flying" painted at the rear of the fuselage. Gross weight is listed at 2140 lbs., so the plane was almost 500 lbs. lighter than the C-3 models.
Records indicate that serial No's D-1 and D-2 were eligible for approval, but only S/N D-1 was built, NC993N. It was routinely referred to as "The Army Trainer" by students. This plane was used for several years as a blind-flying and radio-navigational trainer for the Spartan School of Aeronautics.
Another mystery solved! ;D
 

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Stargazer2006

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Jos Heyman said:
Aerofiles gives registrations NC992N and NC993N.
Yes, based on the civil register, but I'm inclined to believe the Spartan book when it says that company records "indicate that serial No's D-1 and D-2 were eligible for approval, but only S/N D-1 was built".
That's something I discovered only recently, the fact that some civil registrations can be listed for certain aircraft (and c/n numbers even associated with them) while in fact the aircraft in question were not actually built. It's kind of confusing really but apparently that's what happened in this here example.
 

Stargazer2006

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Skyblazer said:
Jos Heyman said:
Aerofiles gives registrations NC992N and NC993N.
Yes, based on the civil register, but I'm inclined to believe the Spartan book when it says that company records "indicate that serial No's D-1 and D-2 were eligible for approval, but only S/N D-1 was built".
That's something I discovered only recently, the fact that some civil registrations can be listed for certain aircraft (and c/n numbers even associated with them) while in fact the aircraft in question were not actually built. It's kind of confusing really but apparently that's what happened in this here example.
Bumping this topic as closer scrutiny definitely shows that Aerofiles was definitely wrong and that I might have been as well.

  • Registration [992N] was absolutely NOT a Model C2-165 but the completely different C2-60. I have a photo here to prove it.
  • The designations are confusing but "C2" did not mean this was the same type, only that they were both two-seater types with engines of different power.
  • The second C2-165 (c/n D-2) was registered as [11003]. I doubt it would have received both a constructor's number AND a registration if it hadn't been built.
  • As [NC993N] (c/n D-1) was used by the Spartan School of Aeronautics at the time, it is likely that [11003] was the one evaluated as XPT-913 by the Army.
 

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Paulmcmillan

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I know this is an old post - But I found it (and joined group) when googling NC992N - The reason being the following

On my US Caterpillar list I have a bailout of Mr Bryan 'Jake' Maxwell Jacobs at Tulsa, Oklahoma 13th April 1931. I had a bit on Mr Jacobs

"In June, 1928, he accepted a position as airplane and engine inspector for the Aeronautics Branch of the Department of Commerce, predecessor of the Bureau of Air Commerce. He was stationed at the Fokker factory at Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey, for about six months. The work in this position consisted of the testing of pilots and mechanics for licenses, inspection of aircraft for airworthiness, and investigation of accidents and violations of the regulations. in the fall of that year, Jacobs was appointed one of the three original engineering inspectors for the Aeronautics Branch and held this position till 1931" . This work entailed the visual checking of new types of airplanes prior to their being granted licenses for commercial operation and the carriage of passengers, static testing of the wings, control surfaces, control systems, factory methods, etc., and flight tests to determine the stability, control characteristics in various altitudes, and satisfactory recovery from spins. During one of these flight tests at Tulsa, the plane developed wing flutter and shed both wings in the air. Jacobs joined the Caterpillar Club by bailing out when he got down to about 500 feet. Shortly after this experience he was transferred to airline inspection, and with another inspector had charge of the inspection of airline operations in the Western quarter of the country."

I was recently reading The Spartan Story: by Chet Peek with George Goodhead and on the section on Spartan C-2-60 it says "But old-timers tell a
story, that is probably true, of one student who was determined to find out just what a C-2 would stand.
Announcing, "I'm going to pull the wings off this plane!", he donned a chute, climbed into one of the little ships and took off. Heading for the north side
of the field, he proceed to "wring out" the C-2 until, sure enough, the wings folded up. He parachuted down safely, but the plane was a total loss."

The story is to much similar to be anything else but same incident.. Not a student but an Inspector and probably to licence a Spartan - Now the issue is what one -The text makes clear it is a C-2 - I asked on Air Britain and they flagged up " Spartan Aircraft used Identification Application I-10406 on 2nd February 1931 and Identification 992N was issued. The Application was for a C2-45 c/n I-1, a 2PCLM aircraft with a 45 hp Szekely engine. Nothing else apart that the Identification was unassigned on an unknown date, and the registration was used on a glider in California." - But your text and photo shows "Registration [992N] was absolutely NOT a Model C2-165 but the completely different C2-60. I have a photo here to prove it." - So I am now thinking Jacobs bailed out of NC992N
 

tulsaboy

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I know this is an old post - But I found it (and joined group) when googling NC992N - The reason being the following

On my US Caterpillar list I have a bailout of Mr Bryan 'Jake' Maxwell Jacobs at Tulsa, Oklahoma 13th April 1931. I had a bit on Mr Jacobs

"In June, 1928, he accepted a position as airplane and engine inspector for the Aeronautics Branch of the Department of Commerce, predecessor of the Bureau of Air Commerce. He was stationed at the Fokker factory at Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey, for about six months. The work in this position consisted of the testing of pilots and mechanics for licenses, inspection of aircraft for airworthiness, and investigation of accidents and violations of the regulations. in the fall of that year, Jacobs was appointed one of the three original engineering inspectors for the Aeronautics Branch and held this position till 1931" . This work entailed the visual checking of new types of airplanes prior to their being granted licenses for commercial operation and the carriage of passengers, static testing of the wings, control surfaces, control systems, factory methods, etc., and flight tests to determine the stability, control characteristics in various altitudes, and satisfactory recovery from spins. During one of these flight tests at Tulsa, the plane developed wing flutter and shed both wings in the air. Jacobs joined the Caterpillar Club by bailing out when he got down to about 500 feet. Shortly after this experience he was transferred to airline inspection, and with another inspector had charge of the inspection of airline operations in the Western quarter of the country."

I was recently reading The Spartan Story: by Chet Peek with George Goodhead and on the section on Spartan C-2-60 it says "But old-timers tell a
story, that is probably true, of one student who was determined to find out just what a C-2 would stand.
Announcing, "I'm going to pull the wings off this plane!", he donned a chute, climbed into one of the little ships and took off. Heading for the north side
of the field, he proceed to "wring out" the C-2 until, sure enough, the wings folded up. He parachuted down safely, but the plane was a total loss."

The story is to much similar to be anything else but same incident.. Not a student but an Inspector and probably to licence a Spartan - Now the issue is what one -The text makes clear it is a C-2 - I asked on Air Britain and they flagged up " Spartan Aircraft used Identification Application I-10406 on 2nd February 1931 and Identification 992N was issued. The Application was for a C2-45 c/n I-1, a 2PCLM aircraft with a 45 hp Szekely engine. Nothing else apart that the Identification was unassigned on an unknown date, and the registration was used on a glider in California." - But your text and photo shows "Registration [992N] was absolutely NOT a Model C2-165 but the completely different C2-60. I have a photo here to prove it." - So I am now thinking Jacobs bailed out of NC992N
Paul,
For a number of reasons I don't think that it was NC992N. I suspect that it was one of the C-2-60s that Spartan School used with students. There is no evidence that NC992N was used by Spartan. I haven't pulled the FAA file, so maybe there would be some information in there. I think I have a photo of the crashed C-2-60, probably the one that Mr. Jacobs bailed out of. I will try to look it up and see if I can find those photos.
kevin
 

Paulmcmillan

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Kevin

Thanks for your input - but Jacobs would have been their to test as part of an ATC for an aircraft I can’t imagine him testingnything but a prototype - also I think the date pre dates C-60 production?
 

tulsaboy

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Kevin

Thanks for your input - but Jacobs would have been their to test as part of an ATC for an aircraft I can’t imagine him testingnything but a prototype - also I think the date pre dates C-60 production?
Paul,
I will research that question. You now have me intrigued. An earlier poster attached a photo of NC992N (that is actually my photo, I think they found it from where I posted it on another site!) that shows it was clearly from the C-2 family, but was not a C-2-165. The main question for NC992N is whether or not it was actually built with a Szekely engine, or if it was built with a Jacobs like the rest of the production C-2-60 aircraft. Other than that one photo of NC992N, I'm not aware of another photo of that airplane.
kevin
 

Paulmcmillan

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Kevin - Thanks for that Found thius today


The Cushing Daily Citizen
Cushing, Oklahoma
Tuesday, April 14, 1931 - Page 5

Flier Saves His Life With Chute
As Plane Crashes

TULSA Okla April 14 (LP) John Jacobs, Department of commerce engineer, saved
his life late yesterday when he leaped
with a parachute from a speeding plane
from a 500-foot altitude.

An aileron snapped as he was putting
the new type Spartan craft thru strenuous speed
tests. The plane was ??.... (word missing but probably wrecked or destroyed)
 
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Paulmcmillan

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Now have exact location Mohawk park

The Daily Oklahoman
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Tuesday, April 14, 1931 - Page 1


TULSA. April 13 (AP)

Jacobs, Kansas City, aeronautical
engineer for the
department of commerce
leaped to safety with a parachute
from a disabled plane over
Mohawk park here late Monday. The
plane a new type small ship manufactured
here lost an an aileron at an altitude of
500 feet. Jacobs who was
testing the craft said he believed
the unusual strain to which he had
subjected it,
tore the aileron loose. The
plane was demolished
 

tulsaboy

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Paul,
The Mohawk Park bit makes sense. For those not familiar with Tulsa, the original municipal airport is now Tulsa International Airport. Immediately north of the airport, with just a 4 lane road between them, lies Mohawk Park. So what that means is that your pilot took the airplane just to the north of the airport, and was staying in the immediate vicinity so as not to go too far away.
kevin
 
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