Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Rare Bird At Thunder Over Michigan

A rare bird made an appearance at the Air Show:

No, its not a Grumman S-2 Tracker.

It's the Grumman C-1 Trader.

The Grumman C-1 Trader is the COD (Carrier On Board Delivery) variant of the C-1 Tracker ASW aircraft.  Delivering personnel, supplies and mail (complete with a US Postal Service marking on the front landing gear cover), 83 Traders were built, and according to Wikipedia only 10 are left flying in private hands.

This was one of them.

The current owner was by the plane and spent quite some time telling us about it, especially after Murphy's Law mentioned his stop by the S-2 Tracker graveyard. We learned a lot about the bird from its owner who was quite the patient and gracious gentleman and the kids liked listening to him.  The seats for passengers face backwards so there is less stress on them during carrier landings.

He also posed the riddle: Why and how did so many Traders log more carrier landings than catapult shot takeoffs?

The answer is that these planes had sufficient power to take of from the carrier without the assistance of the catapult, and apparently a lot of pilots preferred leaving the carrier under their own control that way.

He was offering internal tours for $2 a pop so while ML and I continued to listen to him tell us all about the planes history and what its like to fly it, I sent Leah and Abby on a reconnaisance mission to scope out the interior of the plane and bring back pictures.

Off they went, and they did a good job:

They even did an interior video:

These kids took their aircraft documentation job seriously.

A beautiful plane, a gracious owner, and the kids got to explore a real piece of living history, and they highly enjoyed themselves.

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