Saturday, January 21, 2012

Howard Aircraft Corporation "DGA"

I thought this was interesting, most aviation enthusiasts probably knew this already.
My wife's grandmother had good friends in the late 1920's and early 1930's named Frank and Nell Parker.  He was also known as the "aviation bootlegger" and owned a Howard DGA.

In 1937, the Howard Aircraft Corporation of Chicago was born. Later

that year, the company began offering the DGA-9, with a 285 hp

Jacobs L-5 powerplant. As was manufacturing custom at the time,

each Howard airplane was painstakingly custom built, and from 1936

to 1939, approximately 30 were completed.

It’s claimed that early in his career, in the midst of Prohibition, a

young and poor Benny Howard accepted a Houston, Tex.,

bootlegger’s offer of a good sum of cash if Howard could successfully

modify the bootlegger’s airplane to haul 16 cases of liquor. Howard

did his work so well that the rumrunner reportedly declared his newly

altered airplane a “Damned Good Airplane.” From then on, beginning

with his first design, the DGA-1, every Howard was known as a DGA.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Happy New Year Everyone

I am going to attach a letter from Bill Boisture of Hawker Beechcraft asking for some help to convince the US Government to do the right thing concerning a contract for trainer aircraft.  See his letter below and I appreciate your consideration for contacting your representatives.

Rick Pitts

The U.S. Air Force has made a fundamentally FLAWED DECISION to award the Light Air Support (LAS) contract to the Brazilian-made Embraer EMB 314 Super Tucano.  The 314 costs over 25% more, and it does less in the mission environment than the U.S.-made Beechcraft AT-6.

This is a billion dollar contract award starting with 20 aircraft, but giving the USAF authority to buy up to roughly 60 aircraft.  The LAS contract is meant to support our nation’s Building Partner Capacity policy, which provides friendly nations the capability to defend themselves as our forces withdraw and to equip their own forces instead of deploying ours.  The pilots in these friendly nations have trained in our country in the Beechcraft T-6 Texan II trainer operated by the USAF and U.S. Navy.  The T-6 has been in service since 1999 with dependable, safe performance.

The U.S. Air Force has evaluated the Super Tucano before!! In the 1996 competition for the Joint Primary Aircraft Trainer (JPATS) Program, the USAF REJECTED the EMB 312 ON THE BASIS OF POOR AIRCRAFT HANDLING QUALITIES and decided to acquire the T-6 Texan II.  In the current LAS acquisition process there was NO hands-on evaluation of the competitive aircraft.  Had there been, the poor handling qualities of the Brazilian-made aircraft would have, once again, been readily apparent. 

The U.S. Air Force IGNORED very significant factors while making the LAS contract decision:

1.                The AT-6 predecessor, the T-6, is used to train every DOD fixed-wing pilot.  Any Allied pilot training done in the U.S. is done in the T-6.  THE AIRPLANE IS PROVEN IN OVER 1.8 MILLION FLYING HOURS OF RELIABLE SERVICE.

2.                The AT-6 employs a mission system from the A10C Thunderbolt II aircraft that has been proven in every desert combat campaign, it employs the sensor system from the MC12W Liberty aircraft currently deployed in Afghanistan, and it has proven capability to accurately deliver a wide range of current U.S. and NATO precision and unguided munitions in Congressionally sponsored, Air National Guard funded tactical demonstrations.  The U.S. TAXPAYERS HAVE ALREADY PAID ONCE for the development of all of these capabilities and they are integrated in the AT-6. WHY PAY A SECOND TIME FOR A MORE EXPENSIVE ALTERNATIVE?

3.                The logistic support system for the AT-6 airframe and mission systems is in place and paid for today.  Maintainer training, pilot training, technical manuals, parts stocks are all part of the U.S. DOD capability today!  WHY TAKE THE RISK OF INTRODUCING ANOTHER AIRCRAFT (with no established U.S. support capability) AT A HIGHER COST WITH LESS COMBAT CAPABILITY?

4.                THE USAF DECISION PROCESS DID NOT INCLUDE A HANDS-ON EVALUATION OF THE EMB314 FLIGHT HANDLING CHARACTERISTICS.  This is important because in a previous competition in 1996, the POOR (UNSAFE) HANDLING QUALITIES of the EMB312 as evaluated by the USAF was a major factor in the decision to buy the T-6.

This is a difficult time in our country.  Our economy is slowed and high quality manufacturing jobs are on the wane.  Just last week, the President called on industry leaders to help rebuild the U.S. job base and in-source jobs back to America.  The U.S. Air Force decision for the EMB 314 will result in the LOSS OF 1,400 U.S. JOBS.  For Hawker Beechcraft in Wichita, 500 of those are engineering jobs and 300 are highly skilled aircraft manufacturing jobs.  The tradeoff is 50 jobs in Florida to facilitate “U.S. delivery” of an aircraft manufactured by Brazilian labor and flown to the U.S.

It is fair to tell you that Embraer has a U.S. partner, Sierra Nevada Corporation, based in Nevada with the Congressional support that brings.  This relationship allowed the bid to be entered as a U.S. company.  If the parallels between the Boeing and Airbus competition on the U.S. Air Force tanker contractor are striking, they should be. 

We have filed suit against the U.S. Government in the Federal Claims Court, and the judge has agreed to hear the case on its merits.  In the face of this review, the U.S. Air Force has issued a stop work order on the LAS contract.  That would seem to indicate the error of this decision might now be recognized, but we are not relying on this process.

If the U.S. Air Force decision to award this contract to a foreign aircraft does not make sense to you, I am writing you to ask for your help.  It is very easy. Go to our website,, and use the already prepared letters to let our leaders know what you want done.  The site also supports writing your own letter if time and interest permits.  LOOK OVER THE ENCLOSED MATERIALS AND SEE IF THIS U.S. AIR FORCE DECISION MAKES SENSE TO YOU AS A U.S. TAXPAYER.  I guarantee it will not.  If you agree, please pass this letter and the attachment on to your friends.

On behalf of our 6,000 people, I want to thank you for taking the time to get this decision objectively reviewed by our nation’s decision makers.


Bill Boisture

Chairman & CEO

Please see link below: