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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS FeedStinson Model O
By Randy Dufault

From left: Jim Teel, Brad Poling, and Jeff Paulson with their reproduction 1933 Stinson Model “O” parasol. Photo by Frederick A. Johnsen

Full-size airplanes are often the inspiration for radio-controlled model aircraft. Occasionally it happens the other way around.

While perusing a model construction plans catalog, Brad Poling of Sacramento, California, noticed the Stinson Model O and ordered a set of plans. His intent was not to build a model; it was, instead, to locate and purchase the real thing.

A typical vintage airplane search ensued. But when the production run for an aircraft type finished 76 years ago and consisted of only 10 examples—nine of which left the United States as new airplanes—the likelihood of success was very small.

“I was looking for a prototype,” Poling said, “and that was a couple years worth of frustration. When that came to a dead end we decided that maybe we could build one.”

Plans for the small-run model were just as difficult to find as the airplane. Poling had a few details and dimensions, but needed more.

One suggestion Poling received was to approach the project just as Stinson had in 1933. Stinson received a requirement for a military trainer from the just-forming Honduran air force. In a 90-day project the wings, tail, struts, and landing gear of a Stinson SR Reliant were married to a newly constructed, open cockpit fuselage. A new wing center section replaced the space occupied by the cabin fuselage of the SR.

Another search by Poling, more successful this time, ensued for a Stinson SR to use as a base for the reproduction O.

Key help for the missing fuselage and wing center section came in the form of a set of photographs. Howard Emaugh, a radio-controlled model enthusiast, had several pictures of the under-construction airplanes, including critical views of the uncovered structure.

After getting the photos from Emaugh, Poling believed he had enough to get started. Although he was an experienced homebuilder, he and his partner Jim Teel, also from Sacramento, felt the project was a bit beyond their capabilities and a search started for some help.

“We looked for a shop in the Sacramento area,” Poling said. “There are several restorers, but none that wanted to take on this project.”

Ultimately Poling located Jeff Paulson of Evergreen Aviation Services in Scappoose, Oregon. Paulson was willing and the project got underway.

“We built this one like the originals,” Paulson said. “The wings were highly modified. When you have a 7-foot center section and a much narrower fuselage [than the SR], some dimensions needed to change. We cut 2 feet off of the wingtips, the struts were moved in 19 inches, the flaps were removed and five new root ribs were built to transition into the center section.”

Paulson digitized one photo of the uncovered fuselage. The known dimensions of the landing gear mounting points were then used to determine other critical measurements. Tubing diameters were matched to Stinson standards for the era.

The final configuration and trim of the new O is modeled after the one non-military example that remained in the United States. Paint trim and colors were chosen from known Stinson palettes of the era as no color photos of the original exist.

A few concessions to the modern era are included. They include a lockable tail wheel in place of the original full-castering version, Cleveland brakes and a very well hidden set of modern avionics.

Poling and Teel plan to show off the rare bird at air shows primarily west of the Rocky Mountains, and east of the mountains as time permits.

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