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Thread: Cosmic Wind N22C

  1. #1
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    Default Cosmic Wind N22C


    Image up for comments and/or information for you to add...

  2. #2

    Default Re: Cosmic Wind N22C

    N22C "Ballarina" was the third and last of the original Cosmic Wind racers. It, along with Tony LeVier's #3 N20C "Little Toni" and "Fish" Salmon's #4 N21C "Minnow" was built by a group of Lockheed employees for the 190 c.i. racing class (todays IF-1). #5 was built for Glenn Fulkerson, who's wife was a Ballarina. The aircraft first competed at Cleveland in 1948, flown by the legendary Bob Downey in his first air race.

    Ballarina was flown as a sport plane around Southern California for several years after the decline of air racing in the 1950's, eventually being sold in the early 1960's to an English owner. The aircraft was badly damaged in a 1966 accident, but was rebuilt and currently flies in the UK.

    My guess is the picture was taken in So.Cal. (Flabob?). The EAA chapter program originated in 1955 or 1956, and the racer never competed at Reno, so that puts the time frame between 1955-1963.

    Great picture!

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Cosmic Wind N22C

    RARA's race database lists one of Bob Downey's planes as Miss Cosmic Wind race #6 -one of the three aircraft here or a different plane?
    The better half's ex was one of Bob Downey's sons and always talks about Bob, would appreciate pictures of any of Bob's racers if anyone has anyRuss

  4. #4

    Default Re: Cosmic Wind N22C

    N36C "Miss Cosmic Wind" #6 was the fourth racer to carry the Cosmic Wind name. It was a hybrid aircraft, related to the first 3 in name only.

    "Fish" Salmon won the 1948 Goodyear race at Cleveland in #4 "Minnow". For 1949, it was decided to extensively modify "Minnow". A brand new tube-and-fabric fuselage was designed and built. The wing was removed from the low-wing #4 and mounted in a mid-wing configuration to the new fuselage. The modified racer was campaigned in the 1949 season, with no real improvement over the original design. After the season, the wing was removed from the new fuselage and re-installed on the original fuselage. A new "barn door" wing was built (similar to a Cassutt wing) and mated to the tube-and-fabric fuselage. Thus was created #6 "Miss Cosmic Wind".

    This aircraft was raced with very little success throughout the fifties. Bob Downey owned the aircraft in the early 1960's, and brought it to Reno for the inaugural races in 1964 as "Ol' Tiger" (his nickname). After the races, Bob traded the aircraft to Denny Sherman as part of a deal where he obtained the 1964 champion aircraft, the #14 Miller Spl. "Little Gem". Bob renamed #14 "Ol' Tiger" and raced it with great success for many years. "Miss Cosmic Wind" wound up with Bill Stead for 1965, who raced it as "Little Miss Reno". Bill Stead then traded the aircraft back to Denny Sherman as part of a deal where he obtained the 1965 champion aircraft, the #39 Sorenson Spl. "Deerfly". As a side note, Bill Stead was killed in "Deerfly" (renumbered #84 as "Miss Smirnof") while practicing for the 1966 St. Petersburg, Fl. race.

    "Miss Cosmic Wind" made its last racing appearance at the 1972 Pt. Mugu F-1 race, flown by Damon Berry. It kicked around Southern California for several years, until it was donated to the Planes of Fame museum at Chino where it currently resides.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Cosmic Wind N22C

    Just came across this thread which is of interest as I am trying to research the history of the Cosmic Winds.
    Tosg you say that the wing from Minnow was reunited with the original fuselage in 1949/50 but have you any idea of the subsequent history of Minnow as it seems to disappear after 1949.
    I know that Milton Blair acquired a lot of Cosmic Wind parts along with Ballerina and shipped Ballerina and probably the other parts to the UK. I believe he also built most of a Cosmic Wind using these parts which was later sold to Robin Voice and he completed it as G-BAER FILLY but did Filly incorporate parts of Minnow (and if so what parts) or was Filly all unused parts left over from the original Le Vier builds. I believe Milton Blair also used Cosmic Wind parts for his Piranha COIN prototype but were they ex Minnow or unused new old stock parts. Please can you help unravel something which has puzzled me for years. Thanks

  6. #6

    Default Re: Cosmic Wind N22C

    Sometime after the 1949 racing season was over, "Minnow" was re-assembled to its 1948 configuration and based in the Los Angeles area as part of J. E. Smith's "Pacific Air Race" team.

    As you stated, Milton Blair acquired as much of the original style Cosmic Wind stuff as he could. My understanding is that when LeVier and Associates started the Cosmic Wind project, it was thought that many more aircraft would be produced over time, so some tooling was fabricated and many components were made in quantity to support the anticipated use. I believe these spares and tooling were what Blair picked up along with the complete aircraft "Minnow" and "Ballerina". Jim Dewey had previously used the tooling and some spares to complete his "Dewey Bird" super Cosmic Wind up at Santa Paula, CA.

    To the best of my knowledge, "Minnow" was broken up during static testing for the COIN project. I have no idea what became of the remains, most likely they went to England. Robin Voice once mentioned that there were some bronze and cream components in the lot, perhaps these were part of "Minnow". I do believe that the COIN aircraft prototype was finished as the "Piranha" and is currently flying in Kansas. My best guess is that "Filly" was built up using original spares, along with the rebuild of "Ballerina" after the 1966 crash. I have no idea if the subsequent English a/c were scratch/spares built or what, if any original spares remain.

    That era of the Cosmic Wind history is murky at best. Blair was apparently a bit of a shady character, not much was really known about his background. He was killed in the UK in one of the early "Midget Mustang" a/c that he imported, apparently for some other venture he was promoting.

    To my knowledge, "Little Toni" was not part of Blair's collection. It did wind up in the UK at a later date, and has subsequently returned to the U.S. The original race #2 that was started but never completed by Billie Robinson was also not part of Blair's collection. This a/c was eventually finished by Bill Warwick and is now part of the EAA collection. The hybrid "Miss Cosmic Wind" was an entirely different aircraft and not part of the Blair collection.
    Last edited by Tosg; 09-08-2009 at 06:45 PM.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Cosmic Wind N22C

    Thanks for the info. I have been trying to research the history of the Cosmic Winds and Minnow in particular for a long time. Robin Voice has sold Filly to a new owner and he recently contacted me having seen one of my postings requesting information and asked if I knew any of the history of Filly.
    I remember reading years ago in Pilot magazine that Robin Voice used some parts of Minnow to build Filly and the new owner says some parts appear to have factory part nos on them which implies those parts either came from Minnow or the spares which would have been used to build further aircraft.
    It took me years to even find out that Miss Cosmic Wind was shoulder winged and it was only when I got the book "The Air Racer" that I found out about the new fuselage having assumed it was the original fuselage modified to take a shoulder wing. I also had no idea about the Plank wing on Miss Cosmic Wind until I read your post so you have given me a good few bits of the jigsaw.
    I knew Little Toni spent time in the UK as I saw it race here. Ballerina was badly wrecked around 1966 when she stalled turning a scatter pylon and the remains were acquired by Paul Bannister. His rebuild completed in the 1970's is apparentlly largely newly fabricated parts as much of the original was too bent to reuse hence the name change to Ballerina II. Ballerina II is now based at Duxford in the same hangar as Stephen Grey's airworthy warbirds known as The Fighter Collection. She is owned by Peter Kynsey who also flies the warbirds.
    The Piranha is still around and I found pictures and info on another forum.
    Milton Blair was killed in Kensinger KF G-ASSV which was a modified Midget Mustang and this aircraft is also under rebuild to fly again in the UK.
    Thanks again for your help.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Cosmic Wind N22C

    What a great plane, I've always wanted to fly one of those but i'm too scared to actually learn how to fly lol I'm ok flying with anyone else in charge but if its left down to me i panic lol

    I haven't been able to track down any information about this plane though which seems weird, well apart from what you guys have already written!!

  9. #9

    Default Re: Cosmic Wind N22C

    Very nice picture. What camera did you take that with?

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Cosmic Wind N22C

    Just found your forum.
    Last edited by AiRick; 11-06-2010 at 10:04 AM.

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