Texas/Transland/Weick Ag-1 to Ag-3 series (forerunners of the Piper Pawnee)

Cy-27

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This was originally going to go into the category “All those weird and wonderful postwar U.S. one-offs...” but when I discovered the prototype was re-engined and three examples flew it lost its one-off uniqueness!

Transland Ag-2

The Transland Company of California, U.S.A., had for many years been converting surplus World War II aircraft into crop-dusters. A crop duster had been developed by Texas A&M College and designated the Ag-1.

This led to the development in conjunction with the Texas A. & M. College and Transland designer George Roth of a new type. The prototype of a single-seat agricultural aircraft was built by Transland Aircraft, a division of the Hi-Shear Corp. Construction of the first aircraft began in 1954 and the Transland Ag-2 made its first flight from Torrance as N8330H on 11 October 1956. The parent company hoped to put aircraft into production for all types of aerial spraying and as a tanker for fire-fighting and control. In the event only three examples were completed. Although considered by many as ahead of its time, it was too expensive in the 1950's when there was still a surplus of cheap ex-World War II examples available for agricultural work with spares readily available.

Powered initially by a Pratt & Whitney R-985 (450 hp) engine. To increase its payload capacity to 3,000 lb (1,360 kg), it was later re-engined with a Pratt & Whitney R-1340 S3H-1 (600 hp) powerplant. This also allowed for the aircraft to become a two seat machine with the rear cockpit modified to carry a passenger. The payload was increased from 2,000 lbs to 3,000 lbs, giving an all-up weight in the agricultural category of 7,700 lbs. The Civil Aeronautics Administration awarded Type Certificate #4A20 (FAA Pt 3 Type Approval ) to Transland Aircraft for the Ag-2 on 24 June 1958. Potential customers were also offered the option of a Pratt & Whitney AN-1 Wasp 9-cylinder radial. The aircraft used Hamilton Standard 6101A two-bladed constant speed propeller.

The AG-2 utilised equipment of a specialised nature which included rotary hopper gates, agitators and pumps. Two complete and separate dispersion systems were built into the airframe, one to deal with fluids and the other with powders. It used the Transland Boom-Master pump and liquid system with a swath width of 80 to 100 ft (24 to 30 m) and a Transland developed dry materials dispensing system.

The fuselage was an all-metal semi-monocoque structure of riveted 24ST aluminium alloy. all of the internal fuselage was primed with zinc-chromate and all other surfaces were protected against the corrosive agricultural chemicals carried.

The Ag-2 had a cantilever low-wing with NACA 64021 high lift wing section. The wings were all-metal made of a riveted aluminium alloy similar to the fuselage. Full-span slotted flaps, the outer wing flaps with slot lips which served as ailerons. When the flaps were lowered, elevators are automatically trimmed. The Ag-2 had a dihedral 0 degrees (centre-section) and 12 degrees (outer panels). The wing incidence was 4 degrees.

The tail unit was a cantilever all-metal structure. the undercarriage was fixed and had a tail-wheel. Vultee supplied the shock-struts. Attached to the shock-struts were wire-cutting blades as a lot of the flight time was to be at low-level. Goodrich provided the wheels and 27SC tyres as well as a suitable low-pressure non-steering tail wheel. The aircraft carried two fuel tanks, one in each wing.

While the test flying was done on the first aircraft, a second, N8331H, was built and fitted with the P&W R-1340. This example first flew from Torrance in June 1958.

In 1959, a third and final aircraft, N8232H, was built and operated in Panama.

N8330H , the prototype was sold in Uruguay in 1962 and registered CX-AYC in May 1962. Operated by Azucarera del Litorial SA of Paysandu, it flew sugar fertilizing operations until late 1963, when it was stored. After many years in storage, it was flown again on 1991 and flew until 1993 when it was parked. In April 2003 the aircraft arrived in New Zealand for restoration, with 1091 flying hours recorded. See also http://rnzaf.proboards.com/thread/18119/unbelievable-zlin-topdresser-build?page=3 .

Details (Prototype R-985)
Engine:
1 x Pratt & Whitney R-985 (450 hp)
Seats: 1
Wing span: 42 ft 0 in
Length: 27 ft. 11 in
Height: 9 ft . 8 in.
Wing area: 321.6 sq ft
Payload weight: 2,000 lb
Hopper cap: 53 cubic feet
Load cap: 2,000 lbs
Spray tank cap: 250 USG
Fuel tank: 2 x 62.5 US gal
Oil tank: 10 US gal
Wing aspect ratio (flaps up): 5.19
Wing aspect ratio (flaps down): 5.44
Constant chord: 7 ft 10.4 in (2.40 m) with flaps up

Details (R-1340)
Engine:
1 x Pratt & Whitney R-1340 (600 hp)
Seats: 2
Wing span: 42 ft 0 in
Length: 27 ft. 11 in
Height: 9 ft . 8 in.
Wing area: 321.6 sq ft
Payload weight: 3,000 lb (1,360 kg)
Maximum weight: 7,700 lb
Empty weight: 3,468 lb
Propeller diameter: 9 ft 0 in (2.74 m)
Wing aspect ratio (flaps up): 5.19
Wing aspect ratio (flaps down): 5.44
Constant chord: 7 ft 10.4 in (2.40 m) with flaps up

Sources
Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1952-53 (Sampson, Low) editor Leonard Bridgman
Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1965-66 (Janes) editor J.W.R. Taylor
Air Pictorial 1957-03

A report brochure for the Ag-2 is advertised for sale at http://www.barbarossabooks.com
 

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walter

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Re: Transland Ag-2 (Agricultural)

Hi Cy-27 :)
Thank you for the AG-2 piece. This aircraft causes me headaches for a long time and I think there are still unanswered qustions.
I agree that N8330H was the prototype (http://www.torranceca.gov/archivednewspapers/Press/1956%20Jan%20-%20Dec/PDF/00001495.)
[/size]and I donot dispute that 2 additional aircraft were built (N8331H and N8232H) as you mentioned.
[/size]What puzzles me is that attached photos show N8231H and H8320H. Either these are 2 more aircraft or there has been quite a mix-up with the AG-2 registrations and N8231H was N8331H and N8320H was N8330H.
[/size]I`m lost, help needed!
[/size]Transland as a company still exists in Texas [/size]http://www.translandllc.com [/size]
 

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Stargazer2006

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Re: Transland Ag-2 (Agricultural)

Brilliant. This is the kind of post I love, thanks a lot for this, Cy-27! I had never read that much about the Ag-2 previously, nor did I know there'd been a third example.

The story of the Ag- series is interesting. The Texas Ag-1 prototype [N222] was a single-seat low-wing agricultural plane with open-cockpit and 225hp Continental E-225 engine. Designed and built in 1950 at the Texas A&M College Aircraft Research Center by Fred Weick (of Ercoupe and NACA cowling fame) and Hugh de Haven, it resulted from a survey taken throughout the application industry and was the first purpose-built crop-duster. Wikipedia has an article on the Ag-1, detailing its specs and characteristics (directly taken from Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1952-53) but they say nothing of the prototype's ultimate fate: the Ag-1 incorporated several safety features which proved vital when the aircraft crashed in 1953, leaving the CAA safety agent who was evaluating the aircraft virtually unhurt. You can read about in the attached article below. Eventually, the aircraft's remains landed in a museum at A&M.

Last part of the story is perhaps the least known, but also the most interesting. Fred Weick designed a third type in the series, the Texas/Transland Ag-3 [N888B]*, a 135hp fabric covered, low-wing taildragger with a 800lb payload which resembled the Ag-1, although smaller and lighter. This first flew in November 1954 and was built mostly of parts contributed by Piper, and tested by hundreds of farmers before being produced as the Piper PA-25 Pawnee agricultural plane. In addition to the Pawnee, Weick also co-designed Piper's Cherokee line of personal and business lightplanes with John Thorp and Karl Bergey.

Nothing to add about the Texas/Transland Ag-2, you pretty much said it all. One thing though, you have the Ag-2 designed by George Roth; I have it designed by George Wing. I'm inclined to believe your version as the rest of your article seems extremely well documented. George Wing, after all, was the president of Transland, but he probably was no designer. Interesting to note that his own Derringer was also designed by John Thorp, and that the first three D-1 Derringer production models were built by Wing's Transland Co. before he set up the Wing Aircraft Co.

* NOTE: I haven't been able to find a picture of N888B.
 

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Cy-27

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Re: Transland Ag-2 (Agricultural)

In reply to Walter, I did try to do an FAA search on the serials but it returned only a modern aircraft of a popular design. There is usually some indication in the results from their site which tells if the registration has been re-used.
 

walter

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Re: Transland Ag-2 (Agricultural)

Hope this works.
A photo of N888B the AG-3
clip_image002.jpg
 

walter

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Re: Transland Ag-2 (Agricultural)

Abviously did not work :'(
Maybe this way?
 

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Stargazer2006

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Re: Transland Ag-2 (Agricultural)

walter said:
A photo of N888B the AG-3

Great, thanks a lot, walter.

Given the amount of information available on the internet, I find it strange that I could find no photo of that particular aircraft (nor any of the pre-series Pawnees) online. Not that the books I have helped much, either. Agricultural aircraft are not fighters, they are often disregarded and overlooked...

As for the question about the registration numbers, I'm of the opinion that you are right, and that there must have been a confusion in Cy-27's source. So I think the list goes as follows:
N8320H > CX-AYC
N8231H
N8232H

This being said, I do wonder if the first one shouldn't have been N8230H (perfectly sequential with the other two) but was mispainted on the aircraft, as it happened on a few occasions.
 

walter

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Re: Transland Ag-2 (Agricultural)

Attached photo of prototype as N8330H. Photos in local Torrance, Ca newspapers at the time of the first flight also have photos of this prototype as N8330H.
Never seen a photo of N8232H (the one that went to Panama).
Assuming there was indeed a mix-up on reg.nrs and (temporary) wrong numbers painted on the aircraft, could it be:
N8330H initially and then changed to N8320H (Colour schemes on N8330H and N8320H could suggest this could be the same aircraft). Later to CX-AYC and now in New Zealand
N8331H initially on no.2 and then changed to N8231H
N8232H (never seen photo) and impossible to check that it may initially have been N8332H
 

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Cy-27

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Re: Transland Ag-2 (Agricultural)

I have just spent the past hour searching my drives and scanning the net for photos of AG-2's and can't find the Panama example at all.

I am inclined to agree that it is possible that the prototype N8330H was at some point miss-painted as N8320H (the FAA has an entry for a PA-28RT-201T with that registration). The two photos from either side look fairly contemporary and have identical paint schemes.
 

robunos

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Re: Transland Ag-2 (Agricultural)

Given the amount of information available on the internet, I find it strange that I could find no photo of that particular aircraft (nor any of the pre-series Pawnees) online. Not that the books I have helped much, either. Agricultural aircraft are not fighters, they are often disregarded and overlooked...

From "Piper Aircraft and their Forerunners", pp 113-120 :-

"In 1951 the only aircraft being built for agricultural purposes was the PA-18A
Super Cub, but this was a modification of an existing aircraft. In July 1953, Mr.
Piper visited Fred Weick at Texas A & M, to ask him to consult for Piper to
design, build and test a distributor for dust and seeds for the PA-18A. Two
weeks later, Piper sponsored the Texas A & M Research Centre to develop a new
agricultural airplane. It was to be similar to the AG-1 but smaller, and instead of
being mainly made of aluminium alloys it was to have steel tube fuselage and
fabric covering. Another Piper requirement was that it be built with as many
standard PA-18A and PA-22 components as possible without compromising the
design. The resulting aircraft was the Texas AG-3 with registration N888B, with
a135 hp engine. it was a single-seat low-wing design with a US35B airfoil and a
tail-down undercarriage. The wings were braced to the fuselage with struts.
The hopper with 800 lb capacity was situated in front of the pilot who sat in a
big [Piper] "Apache" type seat and the cockpit, which was full of safety features,
was situated high in the fuselage to give maximum visibility.
Following satisfactory flight tests, Piper invited Fred Weick to join them in
November 1956, which he did in April 1957 at the new Piper development
centre at Vero Beach, Florida. The design was given the Piper number PA-25,
the c/n 25-01 and called the Pawnee. It was refitted with a 150 hp Lycoming 0-
320-A1A engine. Two pre-production aircraft were produced at Vero Beach in
1957, these were c/n 25-1 and 25-2 with registrations N9100D and N9101D
respectively. Production commenced at Lock Haven in May 1959 with c/n 25-3
registration N6000Z (completed on the 21st May) and continued until
September 1963 with the 150 hp engine.
Meanwhile in 1962 another prototype appeared from the Vero Beach
development centre c/n 25-02 registration N74829, fitted with a 235 hp
Lycoming 0-540-B2B5 engine. Production of this variant started at Lock Haven
with c/n 25-2000 registration 4X-APA completed on the 16th March 1962."

cheers,
Robin.
 

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robunos

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Re: Transland Ag-2 (Agricultural)

Images from reply #5 attached to the Forum...

cheers,
Robin.
 

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Stargazer2006

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Re: Transland Ag-2 (Agricultural)

Thanks a lot robunos for adding valuable information to this topic and confirming some of the data I had, notably about the various Piper prototypes.

While researching the subject earlier on I found that some books contained mistakes, notably in making a confusion between c/n 25-01 and 25-1, or saying that the PA-25 prototype was developed from the Ag-3 (when in fact it was the very same aircraft redesignated).

The Ag-3 is variously found as the Texas Ag-3, the Weick Ag-3 or the Transland Ag-3. I'm not sure about the last one... All three Ag- types were developed at Texas A&M College, and both Ag-1 and Ag-3 were Fred Weick designs... but did Transland have any involvement in the Ag-3? The Ag-1 was apparently built at Texas A&M, the Ag-2 by Transland... The Piper book you quote has the Ag-3 built at Texas A&M, while in some period publications I have seen the type described as the Transland Ag-3, which would suggest they built the prototype and Texas A&M only developed it.

Until we can clarify this point, could some moderator (or Cy-27 himself) change the topic's name? I guess it's now about the "Texas/Transland/Weick Ag-1 to Ag-3 series (forerunners of the Piper Pawnee)"... Thanks!
 

Mark Nankivil

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Thanks to the Richard Atkins collection, some photos and a 3 view of the Ag-2.

Enjoy the Day! Mark
 

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Stargazer2006

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Mark Nankivil said:
Thanks to the Richard Atkins collection, some photos and a 3 view of the Ag-2.

Wow, Mark, these are just superb! Thanks a lot for taking the time to share them.
 

Cy-27

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Thanks Mark.

I have been looking out for a three view of quality for some time.

Now we've got it!

Thanks again.
 

Jespenship

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Re: Transland Ag-2 (Agricultural)

I have just spent the past hour searching my drives and scanning the net for photos of AG-2's and can't find the Panama example at all.

I am inclined to agree that it is possible that the prototype N8330H was at some point miss-painted as N8320H (the FAA has an entry for a PA-28RT-201T with that registration). The two photos from either side look fairly contemporary and have identical paint schemes.
Thanks Mark.

I have been looking out for a three view of quality for some time.

Now we've got it!

Thanks again.
Re: Transland Ag-2 (Agricultural)

Given the amount of information available on the internet, I find it strange that I could find no photo of that particular aircraft (nor any of the pre-series Pawnees) online. Not that the books I have helped much, either. Agricultural aircraft are not fighters, they are often disregarded and overlooked...

From "Piper Aircraft and their Forerunners", pp 113-120 :-

"In 1951 the only aircraft being built for agricultural purposes was the PA-18A
Super Cub, but this was a modification of an existing aircraft. In July 1953, Mr.
Piper visited Fred Weick at Texas A & M, to ask him to consult for Piper to
design, build and test a distributor for dust and seeds for the PA-18A. Two
weeks later, Piper sponsored the Texas A & M Research Centre to develop a new
agricultural airplane. It was to be similar to the AG-1 but smaller, and instead of
being mainly made of aluminium alloys it was to have steel tube fuselage and
fabric covering. Another Piper requirement was that it be built with as many
standard PA-18A and PA-22 components as possible without compromising the
design. The resulting aircraft was the Texas AG-3 with registration N888B, with
a135 hp engine. it was a single-seat low-wing design with a US35B airfoil and a
tail-down undercarriage. The wings were braced to the fuselage with struts.
The hopper with 800 lb capacity was situated in front of the pilot who sat in a
big [Piper] "Apache" type seat and the cockpit, which was full of safety features,
was situated high in the fuselage to give maximum visibility.
Following satisfactory flight tests, Piper invited Fred Weick to join them in
November 1956, which he did in April 1957 at the new Piper development
centre at Vero Beach, Florida. The design was given the Piper number PA-25,
the c/n 25-01 and called the Pawnee. It was refitted with a 150 hp Lycoming 0-
320-A1A engine. Two pre-production aircraft were produced at Vero Beach in
1957, these were c/n 25-1 and 25-2 with registrations N9100D and N9101D
respectively. Production commenced at Lock Haven in May 1959 with c/n 25-3
registration N6000Z (completed on the 21st May) and continued until
September 1963 with the 150 hp engine.
Meanwhile in 1962 another prototype appeared from the Vero Beach
development centre c/n 25-02 registration N74829, fitted with a 235 hp
Lycoming 0-540-B2B5 engine. Production of this variant started at Lock Haven
with c/n 25-2000 registration 4X-APA completed on the 16th March 1962."

cheers,
Robin.

Here is me flying the second preproduction Pawnee, N9101D circa 1985. The company I flew for at the time used it to pull banners. One year after this picture was taken, it would experience engine failure pulling banners in Myrtle Beach SC. The pilot landed in the surf, survived, but the airplane was written off.
EC24131C-09CA-4807-81C3-4BFCF323A020.jpeg
 

ZacYates

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I almost hesitate to mention it given I didn't take any photos (I felt I should've asked the owner) but I recently visited the NZ Ag-2 for the first time. A very impressively-sized and solid aeroplane in person.
 

riggerrob

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After his time at Transland, John Thorp designed a series of airplanes for Fletcher Air Parts of California. Fletcher in turn sold incomplete airplanes to Pacific Aerospace Corporation of New Zealand Their first model was the PAC Fletcher FU-24, low-winged agricultural airplane. The first Fu-24 flew in 1954 and was certified in New Zealand in 1955. FU-24 is unique among purpose-built ag aircraft with its forward cockpit and tricycle landing gear. The first FU-24s were powered by horizontally opposed, air-cooled engines, but many have since been converted to turbo-props with Walter or Pratt & Whitney of Canada engines. The large cabin and large cargo door made it practical to drop skydivers on weekends, so many Fletcher and PAC airplanes have been permanently converted to haul skydivers in NZ, USA and Europe. The PAC 750 XL is still in production with a PT-6A engine and a cabin large enough to carry 17 skydivers.
 
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