“Charlie” is a 1947 Stinson aircraft that is operated by Aimee and Jason as they travel, train, and have adventures in flying. This page will detail the story of Charlie as Aimee and Jason spend time in the air and as her caretaker.

Posts will be made of adventures, challenges, triumphs, and just cool moments with Charlie. We promise to update this with as much information as we can about this vintage aircraft and as much enjoyable flying she affords us.

A few interesting/useful documents related to the Stinson aircraft –

Franklin Aircraft Engines – Model 6A4-150-B3, B31, & 6A4-165-B3 Inspection, Maintenance, and Overhaul Instructions

Owner’s Operating Manual Stinson 108-1 1947 Voyager 150

Franklin 335 Operators Instructions – Model 6A4-150-B3, B31, & 6A4-165-B3

General Service Manual – Stinson Model 108 Series Airplanes

Check this page periodically to see their travels with Charlie.

  • Charlie “Checkup”

    Whenever you send a new aircraft for its first maintenance work after you buy it, it is always a fear that you are going to find a bunch of things that need attention, and as a result, can get expensive. So, when we sent Charlie to a mechanic friend of mine a little over a month ago to address an AD inspection, one that we thought was not actually applicable and for which we wanted to eliminate the need to inspect it on a recurring basis, with a little nervousness, we also asked the mechanic to, “give her a look over and see if there is anything else that should be fixed.”

    Charlie sits awaiting my pickup…perhaps a little sad she won’t get to hang out with the P51 and Stearman in the hangar in which the maintenance was done. I have to think if these aircraft have souls, that as that sat quietly in the hangar for many nights, they shared with each other the decades of adventures they have had as we pilots transition in and out of them and pass along, with generations of pilots still flying these classic and historic aircraft.

    Asking a mechanic what else they would like to fix on any vehicle is a scary, open-ended invitation to make that inspection open all kinds of Pandora’s box moments. But having a good mechanic I trust, we also wanted to know if there was anything lurking that should be addressed.

    The AD we wanted to address was an old one, one that required inspection of the carburetor linkage every 25-hours. A frequent AD such as this is certainly a detractor in the regular use of an aircraft, and we suspected it had been made exempt many years ago, but the last two annual inspections had written it up as still applicable.

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  • 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.

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  • First Journey with Charlie…almost home.

    So, the plan to get home looked like this. Unfortunately, the storms to the west moved in on Saturday evening, and by the time we were to leave on mid-morning Sunday, they covered most of the route, so it changed a bunch! In fact, we didn’t stop at any of the airports we originally planned to have on the route.

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  • 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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