Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Number Eight in a Series of Collector Prints... Nixon Galloway!

Apparently, a big, bad ass Stearman!

The "Speedmail" M-2 was a typical Stearman except for the size of the plane which was twice the size of the typical biplane.Mail and other cargo were carried in two separate compartments totalling 90 cubic feet which were located ahead of the pilot. The engine was the 525 hp Wright R-1820 "Cyclone" with a front exhaust collector ring as used on the J-6 engines.

"Speedmail" was designed by Lloyd Stearman in his Wichita, KS plant for Walter Varney of Varney Air Lines. It was nicknamed "Bull Stearman" because of its size and power. It's upper wingspan measured 46 feet. Mr. Varney bought six of the M-2 design. Five as mail planes and one, with a two passenger front cockpit which replaced the mail compartment as a personal craft. They were equipped with a mail pit designed to carry a 1,000lb payload at a cruising speed of 125 mph with a range of 725 miles.

In researching this aircraft, I found an interesting website where a group dedicated biplanes fans restored the only flyable M-2 today. The url is: 


The site has some photos of the restoration with colors that Nixon Galloway used in his rendering. Of note, Nixon's illustration doesn't show the unique half colored wing, which was painted orange is order to identify the aircraft if it should crash in the wooded and mountainous Northwest region. That alone is an indication of the danger flying mail from one site to another in the early 1930's.

Copyright 2013/Ben Bensen III

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