The Fairchild 24 is a timeless example of an aircraft that melded technology, innovation, lifestyle, and comfort to serve a range of interests. In the late 1920s, entrepreneur Sherman Fairchild sought to expand his fledgling aircraft company into new markets. Believing that affordably priced and comfortably equipped personal aircraft would be attractive for business, sporting, and general use, he acquired the Kreider-Reisner Aircraft Company, a builder of sport biplanes. This move led to several new open cockpit models that earned Fairchild Aviation a reputation for building rugged but agile aircraft to fill a variety of needs. In 1932, they took a giant leap forward by placing seating for two into a comfortable enclosed cabin in a high-wing monoplane aircraft.
Designated the Fairchild Model 24-C8, the aircraft was an instant hit, despite the economic downturn of the Great Depression. Featuring a fuselage of welded steel-tubing, the wings were framed in spruce wood. The engine cowling and cabin exterior were skinned with aluminum. Interior features included corded fabric upholstery, a heated cockpit, and automotive-style roll-down windows. Both air-cooled inline and radial engine options were available. With America’s involvement in World War II, several civilian-owned Model 24s were impressed into military service. Another 980 were built specifically for the U.S. military (for USAAF as UC-61; for USN as J2K) or transferred to the Royal Air Force (as Argus I, II, III) under the Lend-Lease program. These aircraft served as utility aircraft, personnel transport, instrument trainers, and coastal patrol aircraft.
In 1945, production of civilian models resumed. But by 1948 the market had shifted and production ceased. Fairchild Aviation left the civilian market and turned to the more lucrative military market.
The Museum’s Fairchild 24-C8F was one of 40 “F” variants built featuring the 145hp Ranger inline engine. Listing for $5,390, it was sold into private ownership, although the original owners are lost to history. With America’s entry into WWII, this aircraft was “drafted” into the military where it served at Coffeyville Army Air Field in Kansas. There, the aircraft was used for instrument-familiarization for cadets in Basic Flight training. After the war, it returned to private ownership. Meticulously maintained, it was kindly donated to the Museum by Howard Goldman of Ketchum, Idaho.
Status: Flying Aircraft
Manufacturer: Fairchild Aviation Corporation
Registration Number: NC16682
Serial Number: 3018
Max T/O Weight: 2,450 lbs.
Span: 36 ft. 4 in.
Length: 24 ft. 7 in.
Height: 8 ft. 0 in.
Maximum Speed: 120 mph
Cruise Speed: 103 mph
Rate of Climb: 800 ft/min
Power Plant: 1 x 145 hp Fairchild Ranger, inline piston engine