Selling the Dream of Flying in a Past Era – Insights from an old airplane marketing brochure.

Showing a pilot looking out the slid back window, soaring above clouds, with what would appear to be “the kids” in the back seat, the “great new Stinson Voyager” presents itself as the plane for the “everyman” (and I mean no disrespect to its applicability to women also, but consider the time, it wasn’t the market that was being targetted just yet).

Finding the original 1947 brochure that was presented for buyers with the documents from Charlie was one of many small treasures that gives a historical perspective on the aircraft we are now learning more about. The document is in wonderful shape and shows the detail and presentation given to extolling the virtues of this aircraft to a would be 1947 pilot purchaser who might consider all the benefits of adding a Stinson to the family set of vehicles.

The quality of the presentation is amazing. It is somewhere between a professional children’s book and a professional sales brochure. It sells what the manufacturer though would be valued at the time by the buyer and his family. Looking through it gives us an insight into a different time in aviation, and American, history.

I couldn’t look through this without wanting to share it for the historical perspective on an aircraft that has managed to live in varying degrees of relevance and utility for now 70 years.

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A new home, and new life (for Charlie).

The 545am weather check showed major improvement from the day before, so it was time to get up and get on the way for the last leg of the trip to bring Charlie back to her new home, Allegan, Michigan for the next adventures that she would share with us.

The morning found Charlie on a chilly ramp, with the temperature hovering just above freezing. I was expecting a hard start with a cold engine, but I wasn’t expecting it to be an even harder start due to the rookie mistake that I had made when we left Charlie two days earlier.

What was that rookie mistake?

Ugg, I had left the master switch on and we now had a dead battery.

Fortunately, the helpful folks at Byerly Aviation in Peoria were quick to offer assistance of a jump start, and also, fortunately, the battery is in a position that is easy to get at in this old Stinson.

With some extra power, Charlie’s engine again came to life and we were able to head off on our way as the morning sun arose in the east and we headed toward it, inching ever closer to home with every minute. Continue reading

Adopting “Charlie”

I don’t think anyone really gets to own an airplane. Instead, I think you become a caretaker of a machine with a soul. You adopt it, become its protector and promoter and if you do a good job it takes you on adventures. Yesterday we adopted “Charlie”.

Charlie is a 1947 Stinson 108-1, who has had a bunch of upgrades and was originally born in February of 1947 in Wayne, Michigan. She turned 70 years old this year.

She lived most of her life with a couple of owners in Michigan. Beginning in 1977, she sat for many years without use. In 1994 a new caretaker decided it was time for her to be rebuilt.

With an extensive effort, by 1995 she was again ready to fly with new fabric, a bunch of upgrades, and a new engine. She served her new caretaker well from what we can tell from the logbooks but eventually transitioned to new homes. A short stint in Florida, then to her most recent home in Palestine, TX, where we met her most recent caretaker. Brian Rucker.

We arrived in Palestine, TX to find Charlie tucked into the back of Brian’s hangar, ready for a new adventure.

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