Travel Air Woolaroc

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Travel Air Woolaroc

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Wes Gan, e-mail, 11.12.2012 20:42

My father was Keith Gan. I tied a few knots in the fabric of the woolaroc myself. I have alot of information and memorabilia about the Woolaroc and Billy Parker (Curtis Pusher). Photo's and articles. I also have a compass Byron Post gave my father, said to be from the plane Wiley and Will died in Point Barrow. I am still working on verification. I am now in touch with Barrow and am looking for an in to Lockead, Sperry and Pioneer. The Smithsonian has the instrument panel with one compass. My compass would have been mounted almost anywhere in the cockpit as it reads with a mirror. I sincerely believe they would not leave with one compass only. My father said it was given to Byron after the plane was found. I love to show my little Phillips Aviation museum.

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Jay Weber, e-mail, 05.01.2012 05:42

Do you know where I can find fabric from the restoration ? Thank you

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Shiloh Thurman, e-mail, 03.12.2010 19:26

The year after the Dole Race Goebel had made some modifications to the "Woolaroc" for a transcontinental speed record attempt. Goebel had the cockpit moved aft, installed a "Wasp" engine, and performed a minor drag cleanup. His top speed with these modifications was 160 mph, which was not fast enough to be a serious threat to the record. When the plane was returned to Frank Phillips, Phillips had the plane restored to its Dole Race Specifications.

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Greg Goebel, e-mail, 23.04.2010 03:47

This is probably more information than I have ever found about Art's plane. Thanks, I appreciate keeping the memory of the Golden Age of Aviation alive and you guys are doing that by sharing your knowledge before it is gone.

Thanks!!

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Chris, e-mail, 09.04.2010 19:33

This is the airplane that hooked me on aviation. I was a kid in Oklahoma when the restoration was performed. I vividly remember the plane sitting in the garage next to the bunk house with the wing removed. There was no one around to stop me so I walked up and stuck my head in the door. The smell of old wood and leather mixed with the smell of slightly cooked engine oil on a warm summer day hit me like no drug ever could. That had to early 70's???

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Joe Pribilo, e-mail, 15.01.2010 06:03

the Dole Pineaple race Tavelair was not model 6000.It was an early prototype similar to the model 5000 and was named the Woolaroc.

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Richard Harris, e-mail, 18.09.2009 00:17

This is, indeed, the plane flown by America's first major airline, National Air Transport ('NAT', later 'United'). Originally concieved by Travel Air co-founder Clyde Cessna (a monoplane advocate), it met initial resistance from his Travel Air co-founders Walter Beech and Lloyd Stearman, both hard-core biplane advocates. Travel Air biplanes had already become the nation's most in-demand airplane, and Beech and Stearman believed in its core virtue: strength borne of a bridge-like trusswork of struts and wires characteristic of biplanes -- not an inconsiderable issue, given that early planes were generally flimsy, and sales largely depended upon demonstrating their capabilities with air-racing and stunt flying, which Beech, Stearman and Cessna did personally. But Clyde Cessna saw the tangle of wires and struts as mostly a source of drag, and the extra pair wings added drag where it wasn't needed (for you aeronautical sophisticates: biplanes, with twice as many wingtips, have about twice as much associated "induced drag" as monoplanes.) Further, Cessna recognized that many passengers would like to ride in enclosed-cabin comfort. Walter Beech noticed that NAT was circulating a bid specification for an early airliner, which largely matched Clyde Cessna's "500" (not "5000") prototype -- and agreed that they should take a shot at the competition. Re-engineering the plane to meet NAT's exact specs, Travel Air's trio of legendary designers won the competition, making this the first U.S. airliner designed to an airline's specifications -- a practice that would become common as commercial aviation advanced. The 5000 proved to be an exceptionally efficient, long-legged aircraft, and many aviators sought it for long-distance, record-setting flights. In 1927, one young mailplane pilot even approached Beech about the idea of interrupting the NAT production to customize one for the "New York to Paris" flight competition, that was brewing. But not wanting to sacrifice his multiple orders from NAT, Beech turned him down. So young Charles Lindbergh went elsewhere for his mount. After Lindbergh's victory became a global legend, Beech reconsidered the next major competition bid, and provided multiple Travel Air 5000s for the 1927 Dole Derby, the 'race' to reach Hawaii by air. One Travel Air (and one other plane) jumped the gun, and got their before the race officially started. Another -- the 'Woolaroc' (named for sponsor /oil magnate Frank Phillip's sprawling rural Oklahoma estate) -- 'won' the race, piloted by aviation legend Art Goebel. Probably the only surviving Travel Air 5000, the Woolaroc hangs in the Woolaroc Museum in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.

Though only a handful were built, the Travel Air 5000 quickly helped redefine the public's expectations of airplane design -- switching from open-cockpit biplanes of limited utility, to efficient, heavy-hauling enclosed-cabin monoplanes that would open the door to truly practical aviation. ~ R.Harris online at: home.iwichita.com /rh1 /av /avhist /av_hist1.htm

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Ronald Denz, e-mail, 29.04.2009 21:46

N.A.T. had eight of these. I had thought they had the Breese (based on an old photo) but now think this is the aircraft they operatred in perhaps 1926 to sometime in the early '30's. Note the resemblence to the Ryan designed Sprit of St. Louis. Except for the cockpit placement.

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Bob Maltby, e-mail, 14.07.2008 04:26

The Travel Air 6000 won the Dole Pineapple race in 1927 from Oakland to Hawaii. The pilot was Art Goebel, a stunt pilot. He had a Army navigator and was using the just released Phillips Petroleum Nu-Aviation gasoline.
A close friend of mine named Keith Gann, restored the plane for the Woolaroc Museum in Bartsville, Ok. Keith was Director of Aviation for Phillips. Sadly Keith is no longer with us. He knew a lot of information on this plane. After a 27 hour flight the plane landed with 15 minutes fuel left in it's tanks. The plane was involved several minor crashes and supposedly repaired. Some of this damage was repaired during the restoration.

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