Aviation Ancestry: Luscombe Lineage

By Scott Spangler on July 12th, 2021

Some days, opening my email inbox is like Christmas. This day’s present was from Ryan Short, a reader, aerial photographer, and part-time flight instructor who works with students by appointment through Texas Tailwheel Flight Training. Flying his 1939 Luscombe 8A, NC25215 ($120 an hour), he specializes in tailwheel endorsements, flight reviews, and general proficiency training. He wrote:

I read with interest your article about your father [Aviation Ancestry: Discovering the Logbooks of a Life Rarely Discussed].

I am the current caretaker of N25215, a Luscombe 8A that was also assigned to the Iowa Airplane Company from 1939 until close to the end of WWII.

I’m wondering if in your father’s records there are more names, photos, or other bits of information that might help me track down more about this aircraft. I’d like to put her back in Iowa Airplane Company markings as well.

In reply, I promised a return to my father’s logbooks to compile the N-numbers of his winged classrooms, all Luscombe 8As, and the names of instructors who signed each lesson’s entry. (The photo search must wait until my next with my sister, who has the family photo albums.) In a follow-up email he shared a photo (above) he’d found of some of the Iowa Airplane Company fleet of Luscombe 8As and two of its instructors.

What got me excited about his email is learning that the Luscombe that taught my dad to fly in 1943 is still serving the same purpose 78 years later. When I opened the logbook I discovered the N-numbers of Ryan’s Luscombe, NC25215, and the one my father soloed on October 23, 1943, NC25152, were, in a manner of speaking, dyslexic siblings. But Ryan’s email got me wondering, what happened to the Luscombes on my list?

In the two months of primary training my father received, he flew seven different Iowa Airplane Company 8As. Ryan’s airplane, Serial Number (SN) 1120, was not one of them, but that was surely the luck of the draw. The registration range of the seven Luscombes spanned from his solo airplane, NC25152, to NC28846, so logically Ryan’s airplane could have been a member of the Iowa Airplane family.

If Ryan’s Luscombe (right) is still teaching, maybe some of the others my father flew are doing the same. Off to the FAA Aircraft Registry.

The FAA deregistered my dad’s solo mount, NC25152, a 1939 Luscombe 8A, SN 1076, on September 12, 2012. Its last home was Eldorado, Arkansas.

A pilot in Gilbert, Arizona, has reserved N25356. Before that, it identified a 1977 Cessna 152 in Greenville, Mississippi, that the FAA deregistered on January 22, 2013.

NC28450 is still a 1940 Luscombe 8A, SN 1317, and still carrying its fractional owners aloft in Elba, Alabama.

N28543 is a 1979 Piper PA-28-236 Dakota in Apex, North Carolina.

The FAA canceled the registration of NC28828, a 1940 Luscombe 8A, SN 1570, on July 23, 2009, which then called Atlanta, Georgia, home.

N28846 expired on November 12, 2013, and it identified a deregistered 1978 Grumman American AA-5B Tiger in Houston, Texas.

N28573 is assigned to a 1977 Grumman American AA-5B Tiger now flying in Savannah, Georgia.

The dream of flying an airplane my father once flew will remain just that, at least as far as the Luscombe 8A is concerned. Given my stature, I’m a cabin-filling control locks. But I can still hope that others might see this and share what information and or images they possess on the Iowa Airplane Company Luscombes with me and Ryan, who can be reached at Texas Tailwheel Flight Training.

If you enjoyed this story, why not SUBSCRIBE to JetWhine, if you haven’t already, and please share it with anyone who might find it interesting. – Scott Spangler, Editor

Related Posts:

Leave a Reply

Subscribe without commenting