This collection consists of the records of the Waco Aircraft Company. The material includes office files of the company, marketing and sales information, and design data. Also included are original engineering drawings and report files.
Scope and Contents note:
In 1920 Clayton J. Bruckner, Elwood "Sam" Junkin and George "Buck" Weaver formed Weaver Aircraft Co. In April of 1923, they renamed the company Advanced Aircraft Co. and, in May of 1929, Waco Aircraft Co. By the 1930s the company was a leader in the design of wood and fabric aircraft. At their most widespread use, Waco aircraft were operated by public, private, military and corporate owners in thirty-five countries. During World War II, Waco devoted itself entirely to war production, manufacturing large numbers of troop- and cargo-carrying gliders. Following the war Waco attempted to market a wholly new design, but the post- war slump in the private aviation market and the high development costs of the aircraft forced Waco to withdraw from aircraft manufacture in June 1947. During its twenty-seven year existence Waco produced sixty-two different aircraft models and led all its competitors in the number of aircraft registered.
The Waco collection is divided into two parts. Part One comprises 24,855 drawings. The locations and descriptive information of these drawings are listed on an electronic database entitled the Waco Aircraft Engineering Drawings Data Base. The drawings vary greatly in size from small drawings of 4x5" to large sheets of over 150" in length. The majority of the drawings included in Part One are numbered, but many of the drawings are unnumbered. These drawings span most of the Company's existence and depict many of its powered and glider aircraft. There are several smaller sets of drawings which include layout drawings, tool drawings and stress analyses. Production charts and data charts are also among these drawings.
Part Two includes the business records of the Waco Aircraft Company. These documents can be generally divided between the engineering and sales departments. Most of the drawings within Part Two are from sub-contractors and U.S. Government agencies.
Waco aircraft company designations are confusing. Many variations exist regarding the practice of assigning model designations. Despite these exceptions, some basic rules serve as a guideline. Prior to 1930, Waco models were designated by a single number, 1 through 10. The last aircraft designated in this manner, the Waco 10, became the Waco Model O under the new scheme of designation.
Waco early models were additionally referred to by their horsepower. This may have been a practice of distributors and salesmen.
Since 1930, The Waco Aircraft Company used a combination of three letters with which to name its models. An example would be the Model ASO. The letters are best read from right to left. The letter on the right represents the fuselage, i.e. Model O. The middle letter represents a modification to the basic model, i.e. CSO for straight wing or CTO for tapered wing. The letter on the left represents the engine, i.e. CSO for Wright J-6, 225 horse power engine. Additionally, Waco models were often followed by a number indicating the year in which the aircraft was built. A YPF-6, for example, was manufactured in 1936.
Waco World War II gliders, designed for the U.S.A.A.F, were designated by an alpha-numeric combination. The four unpowered gliders produced shared the same letter prefixes of CG, which stood for cargo glider. The numeric suffix distinguishes the aircraft. They were the Models CG-3A, CG-4A, CG-13A and CG-15A. An X preceding the designation denotes experimental, i.e. XCG-4A. An addition of two letters denotes the manufacturer, i.e. CG-4A- TI for Timm Aircraft Co. Many of the Waco designed gliders were constructed by various companies. Powered versions of the gliders were referred to by the prefix PG for powered gliders.
Series 1: Numbered Engineering Reports
Series 2: Model Engineering Reports
Series 3: Engineering Documents
Series 4: Government Contracts
Series 5: Contractor Reports
Series 6: Correspondence
Series 7: Publications
Series 8: Sales
Series 9: Blueprints & Drawings
Series 10: Drawings Lists
Series 11: Model Indexes
Series 12: Contractor Drawings
In 1920 Clayton J. Bruckner, Elmwood "Sam" Junkin, and Buck Weaver formed an aircraft company known as the Weaver Aircraft Company in Troy, OH. By the 1930s the company, known as Waco Aircraft Co. since 1929, was a leader in the design of wood and fabric aircraft, with Waco aircraft being operated by public, private, and corporate owners in thirty-five countries. During World War II Waco devoted itself entirely to war production, manufacturing large numbers of troop- and cargo-carrying gliders. Following the war Waco attempted to market a wholly new design but the postwar slump in the private aviation market and the high development costs of the aircraft forced Waco to withdraw from aircraft manufacture in June 1947. During its twenty-eight year existence Waco produced sixty-two different aircraft models and led all its competitors in number of aircraft registered.
Related Archival Materials note:
Other collections within the Archives Division of the National Air and Space Museum which are relevant to Waco are as follows:
The Hattie Meyers Junkin Papers(1906-1982), Accession #XXXX-0171. Junkin was married first to George Weaver and later to Elwood Junkin, both founders of the Waco Aircraft Company.
The A. Francis Arcier(1890-1969) Collection, Accession #XXX-0072. Arcier was one of the leading engineers with the Waco Aircraft Company.
The National Air and Space Museum Archival Video Discs. Included in this collection are three blocks of Waco Aircraft photographs; prints listed by model type under the Company name in the Aircraft Finding Aid, prints listed under "Glider Aircraft" in the U.S. Air Force Collection finding aid and prints listed under the Company name in the "General Subjects" of the U.S. Air Force Collection Finding Aid.
The NASM Archives Technical Files. The documents filed under "Waco" include mostly photographs and newspaper articles. Information about some of the individual Waco employees, including Hattie Junkin and George Weaver, can be found filed under the individual's name in the biographical section of the Technical Files.
This collection consists of photographs, news clippings, and correspondence documenting Thaden's aviation career.
Scope and Contents:
The Louise McPhetridge Thaden Collection contains numerous newspaper and journal articles, personal letters and business correspondence, writings, photographs, and scrapbooks, all relating to her aviation career.
The National Air and Space Museum (NASM), Archives Division also holds additional materials about Louise Thaden. Biographical information can be found in the biographical fiche collection at the NASM Archives/Garber Facility. In the NASM Archives downtown facility, we recommend the Biographical Files which contain additional newspaper and journal articles, letters, memorabilia, and photographs. Please note that these files also contain microfiche.
For additional photographs please see the NASM videodisc files located at the NASM Archives Udvar-Hazy facility. The images can be seen on NASM videodisc 7B-6445 --6491 (Accession # 1989- 0132). Also check NASM videodisc 2B-46705 --46805. In most cases, there are original videodisc prints available in the NASM Archives facility downtown and copy negatives at the Smithsonian Institution, Office of Printing and Photographic Services (OPPS). Please consult a staff member for more details and about ordering procedures
This collection had little original arrangement, and accordingly, has been divided into six general series according to material types.
Series 1: GENERAL. This series contains mostly journal and newspaper articles, but also includes telegrams, letters, applications, invitations, examples of commercial endorsements, membership certificates, and original race information and itineraries. It is arranged in chronological order. Significant events are highlighted. In some cases, newspaper clippings with handwritten messages have been kept for their inherent value.
Series 2: WRITINGS. This series contains samples of her various writings. It is arranged in chronological order.
Series 3: PHOTOGRAPHS. This series contains photographs. The subject matter ranges from childhood activities to award ceremonies. It is divided by two large subject groupings: first—people (arranged by general categories), second—events (arranged by date). All paperwork directly related to a particular photograph has been kept with that photograph. Please note that Smithsonian Institution negative numbers are written on the back of each photograph when applicable. Sub-topics listed in the finding aid are meant to highlight particular topics in each folder and are not intended to indicate exclusive content. Please review each folder thoroughly.
Series 4: SCRAPBOOKS. This series contains seven scrapbooks of various sizes and content and two Civil Air Patrol award certificates. The inclusive dates are listed next to the individual scrapbook. The content of the scrapbooks date mostly from 1919-1940 and contain photographs, newspaper articles, membership certificates, licenses, contestant ribbons, invitations, business cards, and cartoons about Thaden. Handling notes are listed next to individual scrapbooks in the finding aid. Please follow these notes so that the physical integrity of the object can be preserved.
Series 5: THADEN AIRCRAFT CO. AND RELATED MATERIAL. This series contains information about Thaden Aircraft Company and Herbert von Thaden. Items in this series include: newspaper and journal article, resumes, letters, photographs, and information about the All-Metal aircraft created by Herbert Thaden. This series is the only portion of the collection with any obvious arrangement and was separated into its own series for this reason.
Series 6: MISCELLANEOUS. This series contains all of the materials that do not appear to fit easily into any of the above series. The items here include undated or general journal and newspaper articles, newspapers from University of Arkansas, maps, Who's Who application, musical score, souvenir stamps, travel souvenirs, and resumes.
Louise McPhetridge Thaden (1905-1979) was one of the United States foremost female aviators during the late 1920s and 1930s. She received instruction in 1927, soloing and receiving her pilot's license in 1928. In December 1928, Thaden achieved a new altitude record of 20,260 ft. In March 1929, she made a new solo duration record, 22+ hours. A month later she set a new speed record of 156 mph. Thaden was the only woman to hold all three records simultaneously. In August 1929, Thaden won the First Women's National Air Derby, commonly called the Powder Puff Derby. Three years later (August 1932), she, along with Francis Marsalis, set the new refueling duration record of 196 hours. In July 1936, Thaden set the new light plane speed record at 109.58 mph. In the same year, she also won the National Air Race, and was awarded the Bendix Transcontinental Air Race Trophy, becoming the first woman ever to receive this trophy. She set an East-West speed record in 1936, and an inter-city distance speed record and another 109.56 mph speed record in 1937.
Ms. Thaden also distinguished herself in her efforts to promote aviation safety through campaigns to mark airports more effectively. She actively sought ways to promote women in aviation through her work with the U.S. Department of Defense, Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) 1959-1961 and in her work with the Civil Air Patrol, 1949-1979. She also co-founded the Ninety-Nines, and organization of women pilots. She received numerous awards and honors throughout her life including: Harmon Trophy, Famous Aviators Wall—Mission Inn (Riverside, CA), Arkansas Aviators Hall of Fame, First Flight Society Hall of Fame, Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame, International Aerospace Hall of Fame of the San Diego Aerospace Museum, National Aviation Hall of Fame, Women in Aviation International Pioneer Hall of Fame, and Civil Air Patrol Distinguished Service Award and Meritorious Service Award. She was also an active writer who published an autobiography entitled High, Wide and Frightened and several journal and newspaper articles. In 1928, she married Herbert von Thaden, an aeronautical engineer and designer of several all-metal aircraft. They had two children, William and Patricia, who donated the materials found in the collection.
1905-11-10 -- Born, Iris Louise McPhetridge, Bentonville Arkansas: Roy Fry and EdnaHobbs McPhetridge
1936-09-04 -- Winner, Bendix Transcontinental Air Race; First woman to win Bendix, Wright 420 hp Beech Staggerwing CI7R; New York to Los Angeles, 14 hrs 55 minutes
1936-09-04 -- East-West Speed; New York to Los Angeles; 165.346 mph, Wright 420 hp Beech Staggerwing CI7R
1937-01-21 -- Inter-City Distance Speed; Wright 420 hp Beech Staggerwing; Detroit to Akron, 40 minutes 43 seconds
1937-05-29 -- 100 km Speed; 197.9 mph, Wright 420 hp Beech Staggerwing D17
1927 -- Instruction
1928-02-08 -- Solo
1928-02-28 -- Federation Aeronautique Internationale Aviators Certificate No. 6850 after approximately 5 hrs 15 minutes solo time, signed by Orville Wright
1929 -- Transport pilot License number 1943; 4th woman to earn this rating
Delta Delta Delta (Delta Iota Chapter)
Ninety-Nines (International Organization of Women Pilots): -- Founding & Charter Member 1929-1930: First de facto President 1930-1936: National Secretary 1934-1936: Vice President 1960-1961: Amelia Earhart Scholarship Committee
1937-1938: National Aeronautic Association; National Secretary
Veteran Air Pilots
1945-1952: American Red Cross Motor Corps
OX5 Pioneers Club of America
Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association (AOPA)
1959-1961: US Department of Defense, Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS)
1960-1961: Executive Committee
1960-1961: Information Sub-committee Chairman
Civil Air Patrol 1949-1970
Lieutenant Colonel Command Pilot Search & Rescue Mission Pilot Cadet Squadron Commander Director of Cadets, Virginia Wing Director of Cadets Squadron, Cadets Middle East Region Coordinator for Women, Middle East Region National Commanders Cadet Committee 1959-1963: National Commanders Training Committee Chairman National Scholarships Committee 1970: Retired Status
League of American Pen Women, Honorary Member (Pittsburgh, PA)
Business & Professional Women, 381st (Vincinnes, IN)
Strategic Missile Wing, United States Air Force (Wichita, KS)
Honors and Awards
1936: Harmon Trophy (Aviatrix) Federation Aeronautique Internationale, Champion Aviatrix of the United States
Civil Air Patrol: Distinguished Service Award; Exceptional Service Award; Meritorious ServiceAward with Cluster
OX5 Club of America, Broadwick Award --Outstanding Aviatrix
Citation: The Society of Experimental Test Pilots
Airport: Louise M. Thaden Field, Bentonville, AR
1974: The Louise M. Thaden Office & Library, Staggerwing Museum, Tullahoma, TN
OX5 Pioneer Aviators Hall of Fame
1973: OX5 Silver Wings Achievement Award
1980: Arkansas Aviation Hall of Fame
1988: First Flight Society Aviation Hall of Fame, Kitty Hawk, NC
1989: Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame
1989: Recreation flight, 1929 First Women's Air Derby, 60th Anniversary, Susan Dusenbury, pilot
1991-04-05: Flying helmet taken aboard Atlantis Space Shuttle by Mission Specialist Linda Goodwin, Ph.D., NASA Flight #STS-37
1996-08: Staggerwing Beech Commemorative Tour honoring Louise Thaden, winner of 1936 Bendix Transcontinental Air Race; 60th Anniversary
1997-07: Award of Achievement, The Ninety-Nines, Inc.
1999-04: The International Aerospace Hall of Fame of the San Diego Aerospace Museum
1999-07: National Aviation Hall of Fame, Dayton OH
2003-03: Women in Aviation, International --named as one of the "100 Women Who Made a Difference" in the history of aviation, 14th annual conference
Louise Thaden Woman of the Year Award --Annual presentation by Bentonville/Bella Vista Chamber of Commerce at the NW AR Business Women's Conference, began 2000
2000-03: Women in Aviation, International Pioneer Hall of Fame
William Thaden, gift, 1983, XXXX-0006, NASM
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