The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

Mark Simonson

September 22, 2012

First private planes delivered locally in 1927

You know someone was financially well-to-do in 1927 when it was reported in the newspapers that he had purchased his own personal airplane. This happened twice during the autumn of that year, by residents of Morris and Oneonta.

Holman H. Linn of Morris, the inventor of the Linn Tractor, was on the way home from the Minnesota State Fair, where he was displaying his invention in September. As Linn stopped at Detroit, he purchased a Stinson-Detroiter five-seat enclosed cabin bi-plane before leaving that city. As The Oneonta Star of Friday, Sept. 16, reported, the plane was due to reach Morris on Saturday to be exhibited at the Morris Fair the next week.

The plane was equipped with luxury features of the time, and had a cruising speed of 105 mph. 

“When Mr. Linn was asked why he would invest so much money in such a hazardous game, his answer was, ‘The time is near when our country will be as mighty on the wings as it now is on wheels.’”

“The field known as Washbun flats which Marsh Washbun and son, Henry, have been public spirited and liberal enough to donate as an airport for Morris, will have all the facilities for the air traveler.” The Star added, “Morris, which is evidently several strides ahead of this city in the establishment of an airport ... is to be congratulated.” 

It was believed at the time that Linn’s purchase was the first privately owned plane in Otsego County.

Just a few weeks later, it was reported on Tuesday, Oct. 11, that Daniel Franklin, a milk wholesaler in Oneonta, had purchased an airplane and had it brought here the day before. Franklin bought his aircraft a bit closer to home, and it had personal ties to Oneonta. 

The plane was a Fairchild type FC-2 All Purpose cabin plane, the product of Oneonta native Sherman M. Fairchild. It was built in Farmingdale, at one of Fairchild’s Long Island factories. A unique feature of the plane was its folding wings. Within two minutes, the wings could be folded against the fuselage of the ship, allowing storage of three Fairchild planes in the space ordinarily required for one plane.

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Mark Simonson

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