Have You Seen a Baumann Brigadier?

By Scott Spangler on October 13th, 2014

As the photo here shows, it looks like an old Aero Commander, and when I first saw this photo that was my initial identification. And then I noticed that the tail feathers were lower, and that the horizontal stab didn’t have the Commander’s dihedral, and, oh yeah, it has pusher props.

Knowing me as a dedicated airplane geek, a friend at Addison Airport sends me photos of airplanes that catch her attention and asks me to tell her more about them. The Baumann Brigadier stumped me, and after nearly a half-day of research online and in my library, I had to admit defeat.

A coworker she next shared the photo with was able to identify the airplane, and he provided the Wikipedia link. In our e-mail exchange, we wondered if any examples of the airplane still exist. Only two prototypes were built, and a search of the FAA registry provided no joy. Neither did an afternoon dedicated to finding an example on museum display.

So I’m turning to the collective knowledge of JetWhine’s legions of fellow airplane geeks. Have you seen a Baumann Brigadier, and where can you still see one?

There is a good chance that one of the prototype Brigadiers got a new set of U-channel wings, courtesy of Willard Ray Custer, who designed and built this airplane, the Custer CCW-5. Long familiar with this STOL five-seater, it’s the airplane I first thought of when I saw the Brigadier’s pusher props.

Wikipedia says Custer modified “the existing Baumann Brigadier, a 5-seat mid-wing pusher twin which itself did not reach production.” There’s were two CCW-5 prototypes. The first flew in 1953 and the second flew in 1964, the lapsed time due to a common aviation problem, financing.

With two Baumann Brigadier prototypes and two Custer CCW-5 prototypes, it seems logical that Custer modified both of his airplanes predecessors. If that is, indeed, the case, I have seen the trunk of the Brigadier, years ago at EAA Oshkosh and more recently at the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum in Reading, Pennsylvania, which cares for and is restoring the 1964 CCW-5. But I don’t know this for sure, but I’d like to. Thanks for your help! – Scott Spangler, Editor

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