In this post we have a look at one of the fastest sports planes of the 1940s, "Little Butch" (N36Y). Built in 1941 in Melbourne Florida, this historic beauty was specifically designed for racing and aerobatics. An aerobatic and stunt pilot named Woody Edmondson purchased the plane in 1944. It was he who named the plane "Little Butch" because of its short bulldog-like appearance. Woody Edmondson was not the original owner of this plane but he sure left his mark. When he first got it he was using it for transportation between airports in Virginia and North Carolina but it wasn't long before he was flying it regularly in airshows. In fact, this particular Monocoupe 110 special won many air races with Edmondson at the controls, including the very first International Aerobatic Championship in 1948.
There were other Monocoupe models that preceded this one, most with wingspans of 32 feet. But the 110 special had it's wings clipped to 23 feet and had a 185 HP Super Scarab engine installed. The result of these upgrades made this one of the fastest Monocoupes ever built.
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Little Butch is seen above in it's permanent home, the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Chantilly Virginia. In a museum chocked full of aircraft it is difficult to isolate your subject at times so I chose this overhead perspective to somewhat limit background clutter. I also removed the suspension cables (via Photoshop CC) that has it tethered to the ceiling to give a feeling of free flight.
The original base color of this plane was Monocoupe Blue and it had ivory trim. I decided to convert this Monocoupe to monochrome, as seen below.
The Route to the Museum
Edmondson continued to fly this plane on the airshow circuit until 1951 and eventually sold the plane in 1960 to another airshow pilot named Johnny Foyle. Foyle, of Baltimore, was tragically killed while flying a stunt plane during the filming of a television series. So in 1965, Little Butch (N36Y) was then purchased by John McColloch. Sometime around 1974, McCulloch had the plane restored to the red and white colors used by Woody Edmondson during his heyday and eventually donated the plane to the Air & Space Museum in 1981.
Little Butch no longer flies the skies and entertains at airshows but has left quite a storied history to look back upon. Personally, I am so glad that it ended up in the museum for future generations to enjoy.
In closing, I'll leave you with this photo with a painterly effect applied via Topaz Impressions. Using the Edward Hooper II filter and a few adjustments to detail and brush stroke sizes, I ended up with images above.
Thanks so much for visiting!