After a very long restoration project and recent FAA sign off, a Stinson L-1 Vigilant owned by Kermit Weeks’ Fantasy of Flight Museum of Polk City, Florida took the sky today for the first in years. Other than some minor teething issues that one would expect with any first flight, the plane performed admirably and spent 25 minutes in aloft. Once landed the necessary adjustments were made, and there are plans to fly her again tomorrow.
Mr. Weeks himself commented on his Facebook page: “Only flew for about 25 minutes due to a couple of issues, mainly needing to tweak up the oil pressure as the oil temp came into range. Not a big issue on a new OH engine. The main problem was that the throttle quadrant has no friction lock and the prop control kept creeping back at a rather brisk rate. I eventually stuck my left knee behind it so I could focus in other things. Did a very brief hook up for pics with the Storch before deciding to land. Everything that’s important has been tweaked so we’ll be back flying in the morning! Congratulations to Paul for all his years of hard work in creating his latest piece of art!”
In 1940 Vultee acquired the Stinson Aircraft Company and developed the O-49 Observation braced high wing monoplane. In 1942 the US Army Air Corp changed the “O” Observation designation, replacing it with the new “L” Liaison category with the Stinson being the first first to receive such treatment, thus becoming the L-1. Most L-1s went to the UK under the Lend Lease program and hence tend to be a rare bird in civilian guise. Adding to the rarity, extensive production of the L-1 was curtailed in favor of the lighter-weight “Grasshopper” types being producted by Piper, Aeronca and Taylorcraft. This particular aircraft is one of the few that remained in the US and had the USAAC serial of 40-3102.