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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS FeedCurtiss Robin was perfect plane for Pearl
By Earl Downs

EAA's Curtiss Robin at Pioneer's Phillips Hangar. Photo by Earl Downs

The movie Pearl, showing at the EAA Fly-in Theater on Friday, July 28, is the true story of Pearl Carter Scott. Pearl was a high-spirited, 12-year-old Chickasaw girl from Oklahoma who became the youngest licensed pilot in the United States in the late 1920s.

Her first flight lesson in an airplane was given to her on her family's Oklahoma farm by none other than Wiley Post.

Pearl's enthusiasm led her father to buy her a plane, and she was in the flying business by the time she was 14 years old.

Her plane of choice was the Curtiss Robin, and at first glance it's easy to wonder how this diminutive girl could even see out of the Robin for takeoff and landing. The airplane used in the production of the film was a Curtiss Robin, but the movie plane did not have the same engine as Pearl's plane. Her Robin was equipped with a Curtiss OX-5 engine, and if you want to see a Curtiss Robin like Pearl flew, check out the Phillips Hangar located on EAA's Pioneer Field.

The Robin has a unique fuselage and windshield design that allows the pilot to see forward out of two angled side windshields that extend from the wing to below the pilots knees. By leaning slightly to the left or right, a pilot of the Robin actually had better forward visibility than many contemporary taildraggers. Pearl didn't have to see over the nose because she could see around it. The Curtiss Robin was the perfect plane for Pearl.

The Fly-In Theater is presented by Ford Motor Company and supported by Hamilton Watches.

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