The 1940 Rearwin Cloudster was donated to EAA in 2012 by Ed McKeown, EAA 212386/Vintage 32087, Village of Lakewood, Illinois.
Only 125 Cloudsters were built, and Ed says his (S/N 828) is the only known airworthy example. The Rearwin Model 8135 Cloudster is powered by a 125-hp, seven-cylinder Ken-Royce 7G engine. Dubbed a "baby Howard DGA" in promotional materials, it's a three-seater, with the single rear seat facing sideways. Top speed is 135 mph, with a range of 600 miles from its twin 17-gallon fuel tanks.
It took seven years - from 2003 to 2010 - for Ed and Roger Shadick, owner of Noble Aviation in Eagle River, Wisconsin, to restore the airplane. Most of the parts come from of Nisswa, Minnesota's Frank Hay, from whom Ed acquired the airplane. "It's a very original aircraft, perhaps not the 100 percent best workmanship," Ed described.
After completing the restoration, the first test flight was done. Once the bugs were worked out, Ed flew it to the Antique Aircraft Association's 2010 fly-in at Blakesburg, Iowa, where he won a first place classic award.
The following year the Cloudster made its first and only visit to AirVenture Oshkosh. Now, with between 50 and 60 hours flown since being restored, it's back for good and is now parked at one of Pioneer's grand Golden Age hangars.
Although the Cloudster flies beautifully in the air, Ed said, it's a little different animal at low speeds or on the ground due to minimal rudder authority. "It's not as easy (to fly) as a Cub or a Champ," he said.