If you appreciate fine machinery, your interests most likely spread beyond road going vehicles. For those of us with an eye on the sky, there are a few airplanes considered by aviation buffs to be among the finest ever designed and the Beech Staggerwing is one of those planes. David Oreck, yes, of vacuum cleaner fame, has been a pilot since World War II and his private airplane collection, some of which is now up for sale, includes this absolutely perfect 1944 Beechcraft G17S Staggerwing.
The Staggerwing, so named for the rearward or negative stagger position of the upper wing, was, in its day, what the private jet is today, a fast, luxurious aircraft for the well heeled traveler who could relax in the comfort of its leather interior.
NC16 Golf Delta began life as a D model in service with the British Royal Navy. After the war, it changed hands several times, eventually finding its way to the Staggerwing Museum in Tennessee. It was then acquired by Jim Younkin who decided to restore the plane, but in the process, turn the basket case D model into a G17S, the latest of the staggerwings and while doing so, update the various onboard systems to bring everything up to modern standards. Gerard Dederich bought the plane, not yet reassembled and went even further by finishing the interior and having the exterior painted in the stunning color scheme you see today. After the FAA issued an airworthiness certificate, it was purchased by David Oreck.
It is now powered by a 450 horsepower Pratt and Whitney R985 AN-3 Wasp Junior, a 9 cylinder radial engine and mounts a Hamilton Standard 2D30 prop. It includes a full complement of King avionics, Century 2000 autopilot and AA83 intercom system. Cruise is 200+ mph.
This is the opportunity of a lifetime for the aviation enthusiast with the wherewithal to add what will be the centerpiece of any aero collection. It was awarded “Grand Champion” status at Oshkosh, it has been featured in many aviation magazines and after a world class restoration it’s flight ready for its next owner.
Some years ago, while attending the Oshkosh EAA fly in, I had the opportunity to see three staggerwings lined up next to the runway, a sight I’ve never seen since in all of the intervening years. Seeing this one up for sale on eBay brings that moment back to mind. It’s a very uncommon sight of a very uncommon airplane.