Our Planes

Our Meyers OTW

Our 1940 Meyers OTW

We have two incredible airplanes:

—   1940  Meyers  OTW   – Biplane

—  1946  Piper J-3 Cub


1940 Meyers OTW

The Meyers OTW (Out To Win) series of training biplanes was designed by Allen H. Meyers in Techumseh, Michigan starting in 1936. Three versions based upon engine power differences were produced for the Civilian Pilot Training Program prior to and during World War II. The OTW 125 of 1939 had a Warner Scarab 7 cylinder radial 125 hp. engine. The OTW 145 of 1940 had a Warner Super Scarab of 145 Hp. and this was followed by the OTW 160 with a 160 hp. Kinner R-56 5 cylinder radial.  Our OTW was outfitted with a Warner 165 “Super Scarab” engine in 1970.

A considerable number were produced between 1940 and 1944 for schools operating under the CAA War Training Service. The 125 Hp. version cruised at 105 mph with a 40 mph landing speed giving a safety ratio of 2.5 to 1, among the best in the light plane field. The aircraft was instrumented both for primary as well as advanced flight training.

Construction is an oval 24 ST Alclad covered fuselage semi-monocoque to the rear cockpit and fully monocoque to the tail. Wings of plywood ribs utilized a Meyers-designed airfoil and spruce spars, fabric covered. The tail is all-metal alloy operated by compression tubes. The ailerons on lower wings only are also all-metal. Note the large area control surfaces.

The relatively heavy wing stagger allows wide viewing from either cockpit. There is also wide spacing between the wings adding to forward visibility and less airflow interference between the two, aiding in lifting ability and greater control in low speed maneuvering.

These large wings prevent a ‘sporty’ roll rate but do give tight turns due to the wing surface exposed by the wing stagger. A welcome factor is the soft landing characteristics at just 40 mph. The 8 foot wide undercarriage with large tires distributes the load shock on landing and straightens out wobbly landings. The lower wing mount position allows a long compression undercarriage strut attached to the top fuselage longeron with front vee struts centered on the underside of the metal fuselage. The brakes are strong and the tailwheel swivels, yielding good ground handling. The OTW was considered a docile, easy to fly biplane trainer with good performance characteristics.

Wing span: 30′
Wing area: 262 Sq. Ft.
Length: 22’8″
Height: 8’6″
Weight empty, 165 hp: 1,340 lbs.
Gross weight: 1,910 lbs.
Fuel capacity: 24 gallons
9 GPH fuel burn at cruise
Baggage capacity: 10 lbs.

Maximum Speed: 115 mph
Cruise:  90 mph
Landing speed: 40 mph
Ceiling: 17,500 ft.
Initial climb rate: 1.200 ft./min.
Range: 400 miles

Warner 165 HP “Super Scarab”
Hydraulic Brakes (originally had Model “A” Ford mechanical brakes!)
Number Built: 102 – Ours is number 20 of the original 102 airplanes built

The Designer
Born in Allenhurst, New Jersey, in 1908, the son of Swiss immigrants, Allen H. Meyers grew up on a farm in upper New York State. The fact that his father was a graduate of ETH, the Swiss equivalent, perhaps, of MIT, influenced Meyers’ development. Growing up with ready access to his father’s engineering notebooks and drawings, and the fact that their farm lay beneath one of the early flyways used by pioneering aviators, Meyers was infused with a lifelong dedication to aviation and aircraft design.

When, in the mid-1920’s, he experienced flight for the first time, his fate was sealed. After graduating from high school he sought, in vain, for a college curriculum in aviation. The field was too new for a curriculum to have been developed, so he embarked on a learning experience of his own making, apprenticing with such early aircraft manufacturers as Chance Vought, Glenn Martin of Baltimore, and Stinson Aircraft Corporation of Wayne, Michigan, beginning as a “tin smith” working in aircraft metal. During that time, he learned to fly, earned his private pilot’s license, and purchased a WACO-10 (OX-5), with which he instructed, flew cross country during an era of few navigational aids and limited facilities, barnstormed, and began to imagine a better aircraft design. During 1933-34, he began to polish the design concept for his first plane later to be called the OTW (“Out to Win”).

While working for Stinson Aircraft as a sheet metal worker, he read everything he could find about aircraft design, studied engineering and mathematics in night school, and began building the fuselage of his plane in a small garage in Wayne, Michigan.

The first test flight, on 10 May 1936, made headlines in the Detroit News when, after nine hours of testing, Meyers flew the plane to Middleburg, New York, upon learning that his mother had been severely burned in a fire. The plane and Mrs. Meyers fared well. That aircraft, the Meyers OTW, a two-place, tandem-seat biplane, featured an all-aluminum, oval-shaped, monocoque fuselage (wherein the surface metal is a major structural component), with abundant strengthening bulkheads, aluminum tail surfaces, and a wide landing gear with long struts that seems to anticipate the landing gear of the postwar Cessna in its effect.

Early models of the OTW were powered by 125-hp (OTW-125) or 145-hp Warner “Scarab” (OTW-145) engines, with the later models powered by 160-hp Kinner R5 engines (OTW-160).

Most of the 102 OTWs manufactured in the Meyers’ Tecumseh, Michigan, plant, were used as primary trainers during World War II, one of two planes later approved for aerobatic training use in the armed services, where it earned a reputation for being an excellent aerobatic machine.

With at least 25 OTWs restored and flying, and with all three types represented in that number, the OTW may very well be a phenomenon among warbirds, with nearly one quarter of the total manufactured still in use. [History by Kevin Murphy]


Additional Information

1946 Piper J-3 Cub

Peachtree City Biplanes J-3 Cub

Our 1946 Piper J-3 Cub

1946 Piper J-3 “Cub”
Continental 85 Horsepower engine
No electrical system…..start with a “flip” of the propeller.
The Piper J-3 Cub was first introduced to the flying public in 1938. A high-wing two-seater, it could putt-putt along at 60 mph with its 40-hp engine. Like many small planes of the day, it had a framework of steel tubing covered with cotton fabric. In the fashion of Henry Ford’s Model T, it was available in only one color: bright yellow, with a black lightning stripe down the side. At a sticker price of just $1,325, the Cub quickly become the top seller in the emerging private plane market.

As war clouds gathered in 1940, the Cub (by now souped up to 65 hp) became the primary training plane in the Civilian Pilot Training program. In that role, it introduced tens of thousands of young men—including an ambitious young fellow named John Glenn—to the joys and challenges of flying. A military version, the L-4 Grasshopper, flew observation and liaison missions throughout WW II.

In 1946, Piper built more than 6,000 Cubs to satisfy pent-up demand after the war, much of it from returning military pilots ready to embrace the post-war American dream. That’s still the record for the most civilian aircraft of one type manufactured in a single year. Cubs were rolling off the Piper production line in Lock Haven, Pa., every 20 minutes.

But the post-war boom died quickly, and in 1947 production of the J-3 model ended. A total of 14,125 had been built, more than any private plane model ever. An improved version, the PA-18 Super Cub bush plane, remains in production to this day.

Some 5,000 J-3 Cubs are still flying, many of them impeccably restored and commanding prices of up to $40,000. Pilots prize them for their antique appeal and simple, forgiving handling qualities. “Flies like a Cub” is still the pilot’s ultimate compliment for an airplane.

Flying a Cub has always been about fun, pure and simple. Dodging around puffy clouds. Skimming the treetops with the window and flop-down side door open. Landing on a beach or grassy field just to see what’s there. You still start the engine of a Cub by giving the propeller a flip, just like in the old days. You navigate with your eyeballs, and a map on your lap. There’s no radio to distract you. When you fly a Piper Cub, it’s just you and the air.

Length: 22 ft 5 in (6.83 m)
Wingspan: 35 ft 3 in (10.74 m)
Height: 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m)
Wing area: 178.5 ft² (16.58 m²)
Empty weight: 765 lb (345 kg)
Useful load: 455 lb (205 kg)
Max. takeoff weight: 1,220 lb (550 kg)
Powerplant: 1 × Continental A-65-8 air-cooled horizontally opposed four cylinder, 65 hp (48 kW) at 2,350 rpm

Maximum speed: 76 kn (87 mph, 140 km/h)
Cruise speed: 65 kn (75 mph, 121 km/h)
Range: 191 NM (220 mi, 354 km)
Service ceiling: 11,500 ft (3,500 m)
Rate of climb: 450 ft/min (2.3 m/s)
Wing loading: 6.84 lb/ft² (33.4 kg/m²)
Power/mass: 18.75 lb/hp (11.35 kg/kW)