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Great Lakes Aircraft Corporation

$265.00

SKU: 804
Product Details

Stunning, engraved stock certificate from the Great Lakes Aircraft Corporation dating back to the 1920's. This document, which is signed by the company Vice President and Secretary, was printed by the American Bank Note Company, and measures approximately 11 1/2" (w) by 7 1/2" (h).

 

This certificate's great vignette features a bi-plane being loaded at an airport. A second bi-plane flies above.

 

Fantastic piece!

You will receive the exact certificate pictured.

Historical Context

In 1929, the Great Lakes Aircraft Company (GLAC) was formed in Cleveland, Ohio at the former site of the Martin Aircraft Company. They built civilian biplanes, float planes, as well as biplane torpedo bombers and dive bombers under contract to the US Navy. In 1933 the Company was reportedly working on a steam power plant for driving aircraft turbines.

By 1935 the deepening Depression was beginning to make the bankers of Allied Motor Industries, the holding company that controlled Great Lakes, very nervous. The 2T-1 series was doing well, and although several military designs were experimented with, neither the army nor the navy expressed much interest. The lack of hoped-for lucrative government contracts caused several panicky investors to pull out, bringing a premature end to all production in 1935.

Great Lakes Trophy

The Great Lakes Trophy was awarded in 1930 and 1931 to the fastest plane with an engine of 510 cubic inches or less that participated in the National Air Tour.

2T Biplane

The model that most people think of today when someone says, "Great Lakes Aircraft," is the enduring 2T biplane; also known as the Great Lakes Sport Trainer. It was designed and sold as a two-place, open cockpit biplane. The first engines were an 85 hp American Cirrus Mk III. The 2T biplane was not as large as some of its contemporaries manufactured by Stearman, WACO and Travel Air.


Great Lakes 2T-1A Sportster

The original models had a wing span of 26 feet 8 inches and length of 20 feet 4 inches. The useful load was 578 pounds and it was stressed for 9 g positive and 6 G negative. It had outrigger landing gear with spring oleo shock struts, and the range was 375 miles. The sale price started out at $4,990 dollars but as the depression came it was lowered to $3,985. The first four Sport Trainers built were of a rare straight-wing design, one of which was modified into a special racer. Because of problems recovering from flat spins, the top wing was swept back and that is what most people recognize first when looking at a Sport Trainer. At its peak, Great Lakes had as many as 650 deposits for new aircraft. With the onset of the great depression, the Great Lakes Aircraft Company went out of business closing their doors in 1936. The company built just 264 of the Sport Trainers ordered.

Aerobatic Planes

As the years went by, the original Cirrus engine installation was replaced by Warner radials, inline Menascos or Fairchild-Rangers, and horizontally-opposed Lycomings, Franklins, or Continentals. Tex Rankin, a stunt pilot of the 30s and 40's, made the Great Lakes Sport Trainer famous. He had one specially modified and installed a 150 hp supercharged Menasco engine. It was painted red, white and blue with his name upright on one side, and upside down in the other, so folks would know who he was when he flew by upside down. Tex's airplane is being restored by the Oregon Aviation Museum.

For about 30 years, until the late 1960s, the Great Lakes Sport Trainer was the top American-made acro plane. Other pilots who made the Great Lakes reputation famous were: Hal Krier, Hank Kennedy, Bob "Tiger" Nance, Lindsay Parsons, Dorothy Hester, Betty Skelton, Charley Hillard, and Frank Price. The first United States entry in a world aerobatics contest was a Great Lakes biplane that Frank Price of Texas took to Eastern Europe in 1960.