Pitcairn PA-5 Mailwing
|Role||Mail Carrier and Sport|
The Pitcairn Mailwings were developed by Pitcairn to carry air mail for the U.S. Postal Service. Of simple and robust construction, they also had relatively benign flying characteristics. They were constructed using chrome-moly steel tube and square-section spruce spars with spruce and plywood built-up ribs. The fuselage was faired using wooden formers and covered with fabric. The tail sections were built up from steel tube and fabric-covered. The Pitcairn Mailwing had a ground-adjustable fin and in-flight adjustable tailplane, features not often seen in other aircraft.
|Pitcairn PA-5 Mailwing|
|Photographers||John Heck, Vladimir Yakubov|
|Localisation||National Air & Space Museum, Washington DC|
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The Pitcairn PA-5 Mailwing was a single-engine biplane designed and built by Pitcairn Aircraft Company in the late 1920s. It was mainly used for airmail service in the United States, as well as for barnstorming and racing. The Mailwing had a welded steel-tube fuselage and wooden wings covered with fabric. It was powered by a Wright J-5 Whirlwind radial engine that gave it a top speed of 145 mph and a range of 500 miles. The Mailwing could carry up to 500 pounds of mail in a compartment behind the pilot’s seat. The Mailwing was praised for its reliability, maneuverability and performance. It won several air races and set several records, including the first non-stop flight from New York to Atlanta in 1929. The Mailwing was also used by the U.S. Army Air Corps as a liaison and observation aircraft. About 90 Mailwings were built, and some of them are preserved in museums today.
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