This Stearman was built in 1942 in the American State of Texas as part of an order of 1000 aircraft destined for the US Army. The plane got delivered on January 30th 1943, redirected to the US Navy and not the US Army. In those years the plane had yellow wings, a silver/yellow fuselage and a blue tail with roundels and stars. With only a plastic tube to serve as communication device, many military pilots got their initial training on this sturdy biplane.
The original colour scheme of the Old Crow
Planes for nothing
After the war, these surplus planes were sold for very little money. William E. Haddock from Battle Creek, Michigan buys one on October 14th 1946 from the Government in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It is the Boeing Aircraft Model 75, manufacturer’s serial number 75-7213, identification number 07609, a former US Navy trainer. Handwritten on the Bill of Sale is the new registration code: N9912H. Bill Haddock pays cash. Only US $ 510.
A Stearman fitted as a
Bill Haddock buys the plane apparently for trade. In 1947 he sells it again to Aerial Blight Control in West Bend, Wisconsin, a private company that converts her into a crop sprayer. The maintenance documents in the FAA files highlight some details: “Front seat, instrument panel and floor boards removed. All metal hopper for crop dusting installed”. The type specification in the documents changes from N2S-3 to the civil Model B75N1.
It would be the beginning of a period of hard working with a peaceful task in Missouri, Mississippi, Texas, California and other states.
From 1947 till 1990 this biplane fulfils her money earning role. Via 16 owners and airfields in Wisconsin, Missouri. Michigan, Kansas, California, Texas, Colorado and back to Missouri she is being sold by Mid Continent Aircraft Corp, to a group of Dutch owners.
In 1979 another shift in usage takes place. The front cockpit gets her seat back and the plane takes a slower pace of living. Some local passenger rides, a demo flight or a simple tow job is carried out by her. From this time stems the black-gold livery with an Old Crow as a logo; probably a sponsor activity from theKentucky based whiskey brand with the same name. This impressive colour scheme is retained by all next owners.
tijde van deze Old Crow
advertentie in 1943 maakte de
Old Crow zijn eerste vlucht, toen
nog als Navy trainer.
Hans Nordsiek started to focus on a biplane in 1989. Initially wanting a Curtiss Jenny, he changed his mind upon advice of some friends and shifted his attention to a Stearman. Looking back, as owner of the N9912H, Hans confirms; “It is a plane with guts, user-friendly, able to take the beating, never letting you down and, above all, you can make lots of fun with her!”
In order to make it financially possible, Hans gets two pilot colleagues into the plan. The real search starts and via a visit to some Fly Ins (one of them is the famous National Stearman Fly In in Galesburg, Illinois) Hans ends up at Mid Continent Aircraft Corp. The purchase of the “Old Crow” is a fact and in the fall of 1990 a pilot flies her to Chicago. Here she is taken apart. By train she travels to Montreal (Canada) and by boat to Antwerp (Belgium). In 1991 she is put together and test flying starts at Lelystad Airport, the Netherlands. The Dutch historic aviation community got herself a new member… .
A cat with many lives!
The Old Crow takes a walkabout in Europe. Many are given a ride in this flying legend. She is a much appreciated guest at aviation events. The “Log of Joy”, in which every passenger can write down his flight experiences, is filled with numerous messages. Changes take place in ownership and at the end of 2005, Hans Nordsiek may call himself the only owner. Things suddenly accelerate. The airplane is tired after many years of hard work. Her trusted propulsion, a Continental W670 radial engine of 220 hp is begging for a visit to a workshop. On august 30, 2006, she makes her last flight from Bonn (Germany) to Antwerp (Belgium) and an overhaul program of 1 ½ years takes a beginning. All parts are dismantled and are replaced or repaired. New wings arrive from England, a brand new Jacobs radial comes from the USA.
At February 10, 2008 she is ready to go at the threshold of runway 11 of Antwerp Airport (Belgium). The test flight is successful! The Old Crow is healthy for decades to come… indeed a cat with many lives.
The Old Crow is located at Lelystad Airport, The Netherlands. The airport is well equipped, also with a grass runway which is very convenient for crosswind sensitive tail wheel biplanes.
“The Old Crow is dedicated to people of all nations and times who strive for world peace”
Biplanes contain a magic that goes beyond words. The Old Crow was crying out loud to give this magic hands and feet. She now plays a major role in the activities of The Storyteller. Under this name she sets forth into the world and her crew answers the call of duty with a entertaining variety show, full of acts, stories and spontaneous flashes of wit.
Thousands of people at national and international event enjoyed her performances. Given her military background and now showing a peaceful coat, she truly shows what an “old soldier” can do!
More info on www.thestoryteller.nl