Aug 312010

Before I had configured this Flight Blog I had completed my first interview for the upcoming movie with a Physician named Larry Boehme. Now that I have the Blog up and running I am doing some catchup to update it and Larry is first on the list.

Dr. Boehme with his spotless 1943 Stinson Reliant.

Regardless of his accomplishments, Dr. Boehme prefers to be called Larry so I will dispense with the “Dr.” in this post. (Frankly, though, I’m more comfortable calling him Doctor because in person he personifies that title. It seems like his first name…) In addition to having flown a variety of aircraft AND owning the Stinson, Larry also spent a number of years as a Flight Surgeon in the Wisconsin Army National Guard. At the end of June we were able to get a meeting together at his home field in Junction City, Kansas to talk about his elegant ’43 Stinson Reliant.

This angle shows why the Reliant is nicknamed "The Gullwing"

Larry took this plane from basket case to cross country showpiece and always keeps it waxed an in top shape.

Wide span pneumatic flaps

Here Larry explains one of the idiosyncrasies of this model – its pneumatic flaps.

Wheel pants gleam in the sun

I was quite surprised to learn that the wheel pants were not stock because I cannot imagine what the plane would look like without them. It seems so obvious that they should be there.

It takes a ladder to get in

When you are swinging a big fan up front like this one you have to have tall gear to keep from digging up the turf. A side effect of that is a fuselage relatively high off the ground. The chrome ladder solves the cockpit entry problem while at the same time adding to the Cabin Class of this Classic.

The cockpit is definitely reminiscent of the '40's

With its big steering wheels, steam gauges and wood trim you definitely feel like you stepped back 70 years when you step in to this Reliant cockpit.

Torque to spare

The front end of the Stinson speaks power and prestige. There is no engine sound like one of these big radials and  in addition to that aesthetic they push air with authority. I was fortunate to get a ride in the Reliant and can tell you the big round engine presses you back in the seat on takeoff.

The Art of the Radial

A perfect pairing for pulling

It was really a treat for me to spend some quality time on a balmy day at the air park talking with Larry Boehme about his Reliant. I learned a lot about the plane from him and I’m sure you will find his interview and airplane very interesting in the upcoming movie.

The Venerable Stinson V-77 on the roll

Note in this picture you can tell the weight of the airplane is being transferred from the gear to the wings right before takeoff.

Hence "The Gullwing"

The brilliantly painted '43 Stinson Reliant commanding its way through the atmosphere

In its familiar element shown in the picture above you can see how much spring there is available in the Stinson gear. Landings in it are smooth as butter.

I’m looking forward to catching some more flying footage of Larry’s plane at the Antique Airplane Association Fly-In at Blakesburg, Iowa later this week. I will be posting some pictures and observations here on The Flight Blog from the show. It will be GREAT!

Blue Skies & Tailwinds!

Brian FitzGerald