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Waco Aircraft Company

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Waco Aircraft Company
PredecessorWeaver Aircraft Company
ProductsLight aircraft
Waco GXE (Model 10) of 1928 with Curtiss OX-5 engine
Waco GXE (Model 10) of 1928 with Curtiss OX-5 engine
1929 model Advance Aircraft Company/Waco ATO 'Taperwing' of Vintage Wings of Canada.
1929 model Advance Aircraft Company/Waco ATO 'Taperwing' of Vintage Wings of Canada.
Waco UPF-7, built in 1941, arrives at the 2014 Royal International Air Tattoo, England
Waco UPF-7, built in 1941, arrives at the 2014 Royal International Air Tattoo, England

The Waco Aircraft Company (WACO) was an aircraft manufacturer located in Troy, Ohio, United States. Between 1920 and 1947, the company produced a wide range of civilian biplanes.

The company initially started under the name Weaver Aircraft Company of Ohio but changed its name to the Waco Aircraft Company in 1928/29.

Company name

WACO (referring to the aircraft) is usually pronounced "wah-co"[1] (the first syllable pronounced as in "water"), not "way-co" like Waco, Texas, whose name is entirely unrelated.

Several companies operated under the Waco name, with the first company being the Weaver Aircraft Company, a firm founded by George E. Weaver, Clayton Bruckner, and Elwood Junkin in 1920 in Lorain and Medina, Ohio after they had already been collaborating for several years. In the spring of 1923 this became the Advance Aircraft Company in Troy, Ohio, after the departure of Weaver.

At some point (when is not at all clear from the records but 1928 or 1929) it was changed from Advance Aircraft Company to Waco Aircraft Company. The firm is often confused with Western Aviation Company, the name of four unrelated aircraft enterprises in Chicago, Illinois; San Antonio, Texas; and Burbank, California.


Origins and early success

Waco's history started in 1919 when businessmen Clayton J. "Clayt" Brukner and Elwood "Sam" Junkin met barnstorming pilots Charles "Charley" William Meyers and George "Buck" Weaver. Although their initial floatplane design was a failure, they went on to found the Waco company in 1920 and established themselves as producers of reliable, rugged planes that were popular with travelling businessmen, postal services and explorers, especially after the company began producing closed-cabin biplane models after 1930 in addition to the open cockpit biplanes.[2]

The Waco name was extremely well represented in the U.S. civil aircraft registry between the wars, with more Wacos registered than the aircraft of any other company. Production types including open cockpit biplanes, cabin biplanes and cabin sesquiplanes (known by Waco as Custom Cabins) as well as numerous experimental types.[citation needed]

World War II

During World War II, Waco produced large numbers of military gliders for the RAF and US Army Air Forces for airborne operations, especially during the Normandy Invasion and Operation Market Garden. The Waco CG-4 was the most numerous of their glider designs to be produced. At the same time Waco produced over 600 of its UPF-7 open biplanes and 21 VKS-7F cabin biplanes for the Civilian Pilot Training Program, which supplemented the output of the military training establishments. 42 privately owned models of sixteen types were impressed into service as light transports and utility aircraft with the USAAF under the common designation C-72/UC-72.

End of normal operations

Waco ceased operations in 1947,[3] having suffered the fate of a number of general aviation companies when an anticipated boom in aviation following World War II failed to develop.[4] The final Waco relied on an experimental Franklin engine which, with the cancellation of other contracts became so expensive, the Aristocraft, which relied on it, was cancelled.[5]


Modern European WACOs

The Waco brand name was briefly revived, in the 1960s and early 1970s—for a scheme to produce, assemble, re-assemble or market a series of modern, all-metal Italian and French lightplanes (semi-monocoque, enclosed-cabin, low-wing, single-engine) under licence in the United States. The program was headed by a "Mr. Berger," and the enterprise was known (in 1968) as Waco Aircraft Co., a subsidiary of Allied Aero Industries, Inc., and based at Pottstown-Limerick Airport, Pottstown, Pennsylvania, with dealers in Connecticut, Georgia, Oklahoma, Texas, California, and Ontario, Canada.[6] The European WACOs—in some cases replacing the original Lycoming engines with less-popular Franklin engines (Mr. Berger was involved with Franklin) -- were to be manufactured (or at least assembled or re-assembled) in the U.S. by WACO Aircraft Company at Syracuse, New York. Only several dozen (perhaps 65-150) of these European-origin aircraft were sold as WACOs before the death of Mr. Berger put an end to the program. These planes included:[7][8][9][10][11][12]

  • WACO Sirrus – a relabeled Italian SIAI Marchetti S.205 comparable to the Piper PA-28 Cherokee line, a four-seat touring airplane offered with fixed or retractable gear, and Franklin or Lycoming engines ranging from 180 to 220 horsepower.[7][8][10]
  • WACO Vela – the Italian SIAI Marchetti S.208, an enhanced, five-seat version of the Sirrus / S.205, with 260 horsepower, retractable landing gear, and flush-riveted, laminar-flow wings—arguably in the same class as the Beech Bonanza line. It came with an autopilot as standard equipment—unusual for aircraft of its class, at that time—and the first fault-annunciator panel in a general aviation airplane.[7][8][6][9][10]
  • WACO Meteor – a relabeled Italian SIAI Marchetti F.250 / SF.260 fast, acrobatic, three-seat sport / trainer / touring plane, later offered, by others, in manufactured metal versions, metal and wood kitplanes, and as a plans-built wooden aircraft (as for instance, the SF.260, and Sequoia). Marketed in the United States under the name Waco TS-250-3 Meteor, only four were shipped to the U.S.[7][13][9][12]
  • WACO Minerva – relabeled French Morane-Saulnier Minerva or Rallye, a four-seat STOL aircraft designed for use in and out of very small, unimproved landing strips, later produced by French SOCATA as the SOCATA Rallye. (Reportedy, only 3 WACO Minervas were delivered).[9][11][12]

WACO biplane production revived

The WACO Classic Aircraft company (unrelated to the original Waco) began building its WACO Classic YMF in 1986, an upgraded version based on Waco's original type certified design.[14]

WACO aircraft preserved and restored

A large number of survivors exist, with the largest single collection residing at the Historic Aircraft Restoration Museum at Dauster Field, Creve Coeur, near St Louis, Missouri.[15]


Note: Waco civilian designations describe the configuration of the aircraft. The first letter lists the engine used, the second the specific type, and the third the general series. The coding system was changed in 1929 with several letters reassigned, and later with the introduction of the Custom Cabin series, the third letter 'C' was initially replaced with C-S (Cabin-Standard) and finally S.[16] The numeral suffix represents the first year of production if it is 6 or higher (6=1936), or a sub type if 2 or less. Thus EGC-7 is a Wright R-760-E2 (350 hp (261 kW)) engined, cabin biplane airframe, custom cabin model first manufactured in 1937.[17]

Many Waco Cabin Biplanes that were originally sold as civilian aircraft, were impressed into military service in World War II. The United States Army Air Forces classified theirs regardless of type as Waco C-72s, with type letters identifying specific models. Other countries used other designations for their own Wacos.

Open cockpit biplanes and monoplanes

Waco Cootie
Single seat biplane/parasol monoplane, 1 produced, then re-built
Waco models 4 through 7
Used many Curtiss JN-4 parts with new interchangeable wing panels and powered by a 90 hp (67 kW) Curtiss OX-5.
Waco 8
First Waco cabin biplane, powered by 200 hp (149 kW) Liberty - 1 built
Waco 9
First mass-production model, steel-tube framing, powered by OX-5, equipped for EDO floats. Many re-engined. 270 built.
Waco 10 giving joy rides, c.1930
Waco 10 giving joy rides, c.1930
Waco 10
Most produced model of any Waco aircraft, 1,623 built between 1927 and 1933. Refinement of Waco 9 with 90 hp (67 kW) Curtiss OX-5 V8 engine. Redesignated GXE by Waco in 1928.
Preserved 1929-built JYM mailplane of Northwest Airways
Preserved 1929-built JYM mailplane of Northwest Airways
Waco Mailplanes
  • Waco JWM: Straightwing mailplane with 330 hp (246 kW) Wright R-975 engine. Derivative of ASO with 14" fuselage stretch. 2 built.
  • Waco JYM: Taperwing mailplane with 300 hp (224 kW) Wright J-6-9 radial engine. Derivative of ATO with 14" fuselage stretch. 4 built for Northwest Airways
Waco PBA side-by-side biplane of 1932
Waco PBA side-by-side biplane of 1932
Waco A series

Waco D series

Waco CHD
Multipurpose military biplane with 250 hp (190 kW) Wright J-6-7 Whirlwind radial engine.
Waco JHD
Multipurpose military biplane with 365 hp (272 kW) Wright J-6-9 Whirlwind radial engine. 6 exported to Uruguay.
Waco S2HD
Multipurpose military export biplane with 450 hp (340 kW) Pratt & Whitney Wasp Junior SB radial engine. 1 exported to Cuba
Waco S3HD
Multipurpose military biplane with 400 hp (300 kW) Pratt & Whitney Wasp Junior TB. 1 built.
Waco S3HD-A
Armed variant of S3HD but otherwise similar, 4 exported to Cuba.
Waco WHD
Multipurpose military biplane with 420 hp (310 kW) Wright J-6-9 Whirlwind engine. 5 built, including 4 exported to Nicaragua.
Waco CMD
Multipurpose military biplane with 250 hp (190 kW) Wright J-6-7 Whirlwind. None built.

Waco F series

Waco UBF of 1932 flown by Texaco in the early 1930s
Waco UBF of 1932 flown by Texaco in the early 1930s
Waco QNF-2
Waco QNF-2
Waco RNF
Waco RNF

Waco CRG

  • 240 hp (179 kW) Wright R-760 radial engine, later a different Wright R-760.
Waco RPT-1
Low wing open cockpit monoplane trainer prototype, similar in concept to Fairchild PT-19. 1 built.

Waco Standard Cabin Biplanes

Waco UIC standard cabin biplane
Waco UIC standard cabin biplane
Waco YKS-6 cabin tourer of 1936
Waco YKS-6 cabin tourer of 1936

Waco Custom Cabin Biplanes (sesquiplanes)

Waco CUC of 1935 showing the extended cabin and windows of the later C series models. Anoka-Blaine airport near Minneapolis, June 2006
Waco CUC of 1935 showing the extended cabin and windows of the later C series models. Anoka-Blaine airport near Minneapolis, June 2006
Waco EQC-6 Custom at the Calgary Aerospace Museum in 1996 showing the longer cabin glazing of late C series aircraft
Waco EQC-6 Custom at the Calgary Aerospace Museum in 1996 showing the longer cabin glazing of late C series aircraft

Waco S series (1935-1940)

  • Standard cabin designs in production were redesignated with an S type letter to distinguish them from the new Custom Cabin series.

Waco N series (1937–1938)

Waco E series (1939–1940)

Waco ARE on display
Waco ARE on display


Waco CG-4A troop glider.
Waco CG-4A troop glider.



  1. ^ Kobernuss, P.4
  2. ^ "ABOUT," WACO Aircraft Corp. website, retrieved February 5, 2017
  3. ^ O'Neill Sport Aviation March/April 1964
  4. ^ Guillemette, Roger. "WACO Aircraft Corporation". U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission. Archived from the original on 2006-10-06. Retrieved 2006-10-10.
  5. ^ O'Neill
  6. ^ a b WACO ad, "Made for you who demand a unique airplane of superb quality," July 1968, Flying Magazine, retrieved February 5, 2017
  7. ^ a b c d "Short history of the project," SIAI Marchetti S205 - S208 Pilots & Owners Association website, retrieved February 5, 2017
  8. ^ a b c van der Veen, Hendrik (Netherlands), "SIAI Marchetti S.205 - S.208 Aircraft," updated February 23, 2015, enthusiasts' site, retrieved February 5, 2017
  9. ^ a b c d Hellman, Judy, "WACO VELA," (pilot report and review), September 1968, Flying Magazine, pp.58 et.seq., retrieved February 5, 2017
  10. ^ a b c "SIAI-MARCHETTI S.205 (WACO 5.220)-S.2018," November 30, 1999, Plane & Pilot Magazine, retrieved February 5, 2017
  11. ^ a b "SOCATA 'RALLYE'-WACO 'MINERVA'," November 30, 1999, Plane & Pilot Magazine, retrieved February 5, 2017
  12. ^ a b c Davissson, Budd, "WACO METEOR/S.F. 260: And still Champeen," (Marchetti S.F.260 Pilot Report) September, 1977, Air Progress Magazine, retrieved February 5, 2017 from author's personal website,
  13. ^ van der Veen, Hendrik (Netherlands), "SF_260 information from the Netherlands,", updated December 31, 2007, enthusiasts' site, retrieved February 5, 2017
  14. ^ Waco Classic Aircraft Co. About Page
  15. ^ Donner, Brad Historic Aircraft Restoration Museum - List of Aircraft
  16. ^ Aerofiles 'That Waco Coding System'
  17. ^ Aerofiles Waco Page
  18. ^



  • Juptner, Joseph P. (1962). U.S. Civil Aircraft Vol. 1. Los Angeles, CA: Aero Publishers, Inc. LCCN 62-15967.
  • Balmer, Joseph; Davis, Ken (1996). Mrs. WACO – The Early Days of the WACO Aircraft Company as told by one who lived it! Hattie Meyers Weaver Junkin. unk.: Little Otter Productions. ISBN 978-1888282047.
  • Balmer, Joseph; Davis, Ken (1992). There Goes a WACO. unk.: Little Otter Productions. ISBN 978-0925436085.
  • Brandley, Raymond H. (1979). Ask Any Pilot - The authentic history of Waco airplanes and the biographies of the founders, Clayton J. Brukner and Elwood J. "Sam" Junkin. R. H. Brandly. ISBN 978-0960273409.
  • Brandly, Raymond H. (1986). Waco Aircraft Production 1923-1942 (2nd ed.). Troy, Ohio: Waco Aircraft Co. ISBN 978-0-9602734-5-4.
  • Brandley, Raymond H. (1981). Waco Airplanes - The Versatile Cabin Series. R.H. Brandly. ISBN 0-9602734-2-5.
  • Juptner, Joseph (1977). U.S. Civil Aircraft. 7. Aero Publishers, Inc. pp. 97–100. ISBN 978-0816891740.
  • Kobernuss, Fred O. (1992). Waco – Symbol of Courage and Excellence, Volume 1. Terre Haute, IN: Sunshine House, Inc. ISBN 0-943691-07-9.
  • Kobernuss, Fred O. (1999). Waco – Symbol of Courage and Excellence, Volume 2. Destin, FL: Mystic Bay Publishers. ISBN 1-887961-01-1.
  • Simpson, Rod; Trask, Charles (2000). Waco – Images of Aviation. Tempus Pub Ltd. ISBN 978-0752417677.


  • Terry O'Neill (March–April 1964). "The Last Waco". Sport Aviation March 1964 and April 1964. Sport Aviation. Retrieved June 7, 2009.
  • Various (26 April 2009). "Aerofiles Waco Page". Aerofiles. Retrieved June 7, 2009.

External links

This page was last edited on 21 January 2021, at 16:04
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