Waco

Waco "Mystery Ship" JMF-7

Military Designation PT-14

Performed 1975-2011 (In process of being restored.)

Kyle has been flying Jimmy's orginal Waco "Mystery Ship" since 1999. This is the plane Jimmy is most well-known for flying (before the Jet Waco).

This is one the few remaining big bi-plane aerobatic acts you will find on the airshow circuit today. Originally used to train civilians as pilots before America's entry into World War II, the Waco eventually became available for widespread commercial use, such as dusting crops or barnstorming around the nation at early airshows.

The Waco "Mystery Ship" was orginally built in 1940, this Waco is a one of a kind, and has been through many modifications over the years. Because of all the extensive modifications, this Waco no longer looks like an origial Waco, and was dubbed the "Waco Mystery Ship."

The "Waco Mystery Ship" is also a movie star! It appeared briefly in "FOREVER YOUNG" staring Mel Gibson and it had a big part in "TERMINAL VELOCITY" staring Charlie Sheen.

Modifications:


Photo by Bill Van Pelt


Photo by Larry Raulston



Photo by Harvey Morgan II

Technical Info on the Waco JMF-7

Year:.......................................1940

Type........................................Waco

Model:....................................UPF-7

Manufacturer:.......................WACO Aircraft, Troy, Ohio

Engine:...................................Pratt & Whitney R-985

Horsepower...........................500

Wingspan:
        Top.......................30 Feet
        Bottom.................26 Feet

Length:...................................24 feet

Height.....................................12 feet

Show Weight:.........................2,240 pounds

Fuel Capacity.........................55 Gallons

Maximum Speed:.................250 m.p.h. dive (160 m.p.h. level)

Stalling Speed……..........…60 m.p.h
                    
Stress Levels..................…..+-9 Gs



Photo by Scott Slocum

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SHORT HISTORY OF WACO

Waco Aircraft Company was founded in 1920 as Weaver Aircraft Company. By 1930, the company was a leader in the design of wood and fabric aircraft. Waco produced over 80 models throughout 1919 – 1946. Waco built open cockpit biplanes to private owners. The UPF-7 was built in greater quantity than any single Waco model that preceded it. Also known as the PT-14, it was ordered by the U.S. Army Air Force for use as a trainer. Approximately 600 UPF-7s came out of the Troy, Ohio factory between 1937 and 1942. Of the original 600, the total of Waco UPF-7s has decreased steadily. Today there is only around 150 registered. Today Troy is still a manufacturing town, producing machine components and other goods for a variety of industries.

The UPF-7 was a continuation of the Waco "F" series which had been introduced with Model INF of 1930. The letter "U" identified the engine as the 220hp Continental VW-670-6A. The "P" identified the wing and fuselage design. The "F" reflected the principal design characteristics of the airplane.


The UPF-7 as the Military PT-14

The XPT-14 was somewhat modified from UPF-7 standards to meet military requirements. It had a direct-cranking starter and civil instruments, but was most notable for its considerably narrower landing gear and a full-NACA engine cowling. The YPT-14s, with military instruments and hand-inertia starters, were virtually stock UPF-7 airframes with wide landing gear and cowled engines.

The XPT-14, s/n 39-702, was lost in a freak accident on October 11, 1939.
Waco sent a replacement to Wright Field to carry on where the XPT-14 left off. This was a standard UPF-7 carrying civil registration NC20907, c/n 4659. The plane was overall silver in color and had an uncowled engine. No military markings were ever applied.

At least 34 UPF-7s were obtained by the CAA direct from the factory finished in the standard FAA orange and black lettering. These had varied registration numbers, NC152 through NC185. Standard factory colors for UPF-7s were the same orange yellow wings and tail with trainer blue fuselage used by the Army Air force trainers at the time.

Significant private ownership of UPF-7s did not occur until late in WWII, when some of the training schools were phased out. The government bought a number of the unemployed UPF-7s for the surviving schools, but others found new civil owners, particularly crop dusters that were hungry for replacement airplanes in a nation geared to military production. After the war, the UPF-7s did not have any particular appeal to non-commercial owners; they were just cheap old airplanes, good for time building by pilots who flew them for little more than the cost of fuel. More then ended up in the dusting business, which at the time operated almost exclusively with obsolete airplanes. The UPF-7, thanks to their low cost and good cooling of the radial engine, found homes in glider clubs where they made fine tow-planes. A few, were also used for aerobatics training and eventually found their way into small flying circuses and airshows.

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