Planes of Fame Air Museum
Planes of Fame Air Museum
Home »  Collection »  Flying & Static Aircraft »  Aero Industries Midget Racer 'Shoestring'


  • Rodney Kreimendahl was an engineer at Lockheed in the late 1940s when the new "Midget" class of air racing was developed. He intended to join Tony LeVier's team, which developed the Cosmic Wind family of racers, but LeVier already had his team filled. Kreimendahl then formed his own group, Aero Industries Inc., and began design work on his own racer. His team had very little financing, and when he asked his wife to name the airplane, she suggested Shoestring because the airplane would be built "on a shoestring" budget.
  • The airplane was built in Van Nuys by Vince and Carl Ast. The airframe was completed, but initially there was no money available to procure an engine. The fuselage was a fabric covered steel tube framework, with an aluminum cowling. The wings and tail were made of wooden ribs and spars with plywood covering. Finally, an engine was obtained, and the first flight was made by Herman "Fish" Salmon.
  • Shoestring was raced to a 7th place finish in the 1949 Goodyear race at Cleveland, piloted by Bob Downey, and achieving a speed of 171.4 mph. The airplane raced through the 1950s, placing in several national races, and flown by several pilots including John Paul Jones, who won the 1951 Detroit race with a speed of 199.78 mph.
  • The airplane was acquired by Ray Cote in 1967. By this time, the Midget Class had been incorporated into the Formula 1 Class. Cote raced Shoestring at Reno from 1967 to 1975, winning the Formula 1 race every year from 1968 through 1975, at speeds up to 227.5 mph.
  • Planes of Fame Air Museum's Shoestring represents the aircraft in its 1949 configuration.



Status: Static Display
Manufacturer: Aero Industries
Year: 1949
Model: Shoestring Midget
Registration Number:
Serial Number: 
Crew: 1
Max T/O Weight: 755 lb.
Span: 19 ft. 0 in.
Length: 17 ft. 9 in.
Height: 6 ft. 1 in.
Maximum Speed: 240 mph
Cruise Speed: N/A
Rate of Climb: N/A
Power Plant: 1 × Continental C-85 air-cooled engine, converted to 0-200 specifications
Range: 360 miles
Service Ceiling: 24,500 ft.
Armament: None


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