History Takes Flight

With a collection of more than 200 historic aircraft, the EAA Aviation Museum is a year-round destination, combining aviation's past with the promise of its exciting future.

1927 Fairchild FC-2 W2 - NC3569

Location: Antiques & Classics

Herb Harkcom's FC-2 is the oldest known Fairchild aircraft, though this FC-2 had many owners before it fell into Herb's hands. The Fairchild was manufactured at Farmingdale, Long Island, New York, in November 1927 and was sold to Curtiss Flying Service in Chicago, Illinois. It was then sold to Interstate Airlines which later was absorbed into American Airways. The FC-2 flew the Chicago-Atlanta route during 1928 and 1929 as a passenger airplane for American Airways.


The Fairchild had a welded steel-tube structure fuselage and wooden wings. The engine was a 220-hp Wright Whirlwind air-cooled radial engine. The cabin could seat five with the pilot in the front and four passengers, seated in pairs, behind. With passengers onboard, the airplane had 35 cubic feet available for luggage or freight; without passengers, another 90 cubic feet could be used for freight.


The FC-2 was finally retired from airline service because of the acquisition of larger and faster equipment by American Airways, and it passed through three more owners before it was sold to Harkcom in 1961.


The owner who sold the FC-2 to Harkcom had stored the airplane in a shed in Duenweg, Missouri, since 1939. Needless to say, the Fairchild was in pretty sorry shape when it was sold, so Harkcom spent two years restoring his new treasure. The FC-2 flew for the first time as a completely restored antique on August 23, 1963. Harkcom took the Fairchild to numerous fly-ins and air shows throughout the Midwest where he won a total of 30 trophies.


In the fall of 1967, Harkcom decided to donate his Fairchild to EAA. He wanted it to be preserved for future generations as an example of the early day transports that helped to build our present network of airways. Historically, the FC-2 is the oldest known Fairchild in existence and, at the time, was one of just two of that type known.


After a little weather and engine trouble, the Fairchild made its final flight. On July 17, 1969, Harkcom piloted his FC-2 from Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Hales Corners, Wisconsin, stopping in Hannibal, Missouri, and Rockford, Illinois, along the way. The Fairchild was put on display in the EAA Museum and has been seen by hundreds of thousands of visitors ever since.

Aircraft Make & Model: Fairchild FC-2 W2
Length: 30 feet 9 inches
Wingspan: 44 feet
Height:  9 feet 1 inch
Empty Weight: 3,600 pounds
Gross Weight:
1,440 pounds
Seats: 5
Powerplant: Wright J-5 Whirlwind
Horsepower: 220 hp
Maximum Speed: 122 mph
Cruise Speed: 103 mph


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