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Tommy Smith And The Swedish Connection

Title: Tommy Smith And The Swedish Connection Author: R Shreve Last modified by: R Shreve Created Date: 10/18/2002 4:54:17 PM Document presentation format
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Title: Tommy Smith And The Swedish Connection 1 Tommy SmithAnd TheSwedishConnection 2 My first experience Of flying was with Tommy Smith and My Father in this plane Circa 1936 3 In 1938 a new Non-Stop Cross Country Record was set by Johnny Jones in an Aeronca 50c Chief Equipped with special Long Range fuel tanks 4 In early 1939 Aeronca sold the Jones Plane to Kurt Bjorkvall of Sweden. Bjorkvall bought the plane for an attempt to cross the Atlantic Non-Stop to Sweden. Bjorkvall had attempted to cross the Atlantic before in a Bellanca CH400 Pacemaker. He went down when the engine failed, but had filled the plane With ping pong balls, and it stayed afloat long enough for a passing ship to pick him up. 5 But there was a problem. Aeronca had made a critical error in the transaction. They sent US CAA an Affidavit of Transfer of Ownership to Bjorkvall, and cancelled US Registration NX21300 of the Jones Plane. They also requested a Ferry Permit for Bjorkvall to fly the plane. US CAA informed Aeronca since the plane was no longer US Registration, and Bjorkvall is a Swedish Citizen, they had no jurisdiction. Bjorkvall would have to apply for Swedish Registration and Ferry Permit before anyone could fly the plane. Bjorkvall sent a telegram to Sweden CAA requesting Registration and a Ferry Permit to cross the Atlantic. It was promptly denied. Bjorkvall was trapped in the US with a plane no one could fly. The only way it could get to Sweden was by ship. Tommy Smith was also interested in the Jones Plane and flying the Atlantic. He was willing to buy the Jones Plane from Bjorkvall, and also buy Bjorkvall a new Aeronca fresh off the assembly line to replace it. But the Jones Plane had neither a US or Swedish registration, and there was no way to make Transfer of Ownership. Then Aeronca came up with a classic Shells and Pea game. 6 Watch the Pea closely now... Jones Plane Re-Registered US CAA as NX22456 Serial Number C-3739 Owner Thomas H Smith Serial Number Plate C-1558 transferred from Jones Plane to new Aeronca Chief on assembly line Note long range fuel tank visible through windshield Serial Number Plate C-3739 transferred from new Chief on assembly line to Jones Plane New Chief from assembly line, now identified by Aeronca affidavit as formerly US NX21300 Serial Number C-1558, crated and shipped to Sweden for Bjorkvall 7 28 May 1939 Tommy Smith took off from Old Orchard Beach Maine on a Non-Stop flight across the Atlantic in Aeronca Chief NX22456, now named Baby Clipper Baby Clipper never arrived in Europe In the Fall of 1941 it was discovered by a Canadian Air Force Observation plane on the Barrens of Newfoundland 8 Canadian Air Force notified United States Army Air Force based at Gander NF USAAF Gander sent a search team to investigate the crash of the Baby Clipper This article about the search team appeared in the Gander Base newspaper late 1941 9 The USAAF search team recovered the instrument panel from the Baby Clipper The panel was returned to Tommys Father, Harvey Smith Photo by Phil Mosher The search team also recovered this note from Tommy stating he was walking out No trace of Tommy has ever been found 10 Phil Mosher has a web site about Tommy Smith http//www.geo-met.com/tommysmith/ Phil erected this Marker and Plaque at the Baby Clipper crash site 11 (No Transcript) 12 Phil Mosher has made many trips to the Baby Clipper site. What has not been scavenged over the years by the local trappers, has slowly deteriorated into a pile of rusted frame tubing. There is not much left. However, on a recent trip Phil found this interesting piece of wood near where the right wingtip came to rest. 13 It is known that the Jones Plane was damaged in an accident in California when another plane taxied into the right wing. The outer 5 feet of the right wing was replaced with a new wingtip, grafted on by splices to the two main wing spars. When the wood piece is overlaid on an AutoCAD drawing of the rear spar splice it seems to fit exactly, seemingly confirming Baby Clipper was indeed the Jones Plane. 14 Kurt Bjorkvall was a volunteer in the Finnish Air Force fighting the Winter War of the Russian invasion. Bjorkvall was killed in an explosion and hanger fire before his new Aeronca Chief arrived in Sweden. 15 Bjorkvalls new Aeronca Chief was received and assembled by his partner in a flying service, Ake Forsmark. It was registered in Sweden as SE-AHL. On a flight to northern Sweden SE-AHL experienced engine failure, and crashed in a small clearing of the dense forest. 16 SE-AHL was destroyed in the crash, but the pilot and passenger were unhurt. The Pilot was Erik Bratt. 17 Erik Bratt became one of the most respected Aeronautical Engineers in Sweden. He is best known as the Chief Designer of the SAAB J35 Draken Double Delta Wing Supersonic Fighter. 18 Erik Bratt and his Jodel Sportplane SE-XED
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