While not a top-tier airplane manufacturer, Rearwin Airplanes Inc., founded in 1928 in Kansas City, Kansas, produced a line of rugged high-wing cabin monoplanes that are fondly remembered, culminating with the postwar-era Commonwealth Skyranger 185. One of its least numerous models, however, forever holds a special place in the hearts of modelers and pilots alike: the 6000 Speedster.
Designed by Noel Hockaday and Douglas Webber, the Speedster first took flight on July 11, 1934. Powered by the 95-hp air-cooled in-line four-cylinder ADC Cirrus Hi-Drive engine of English manufacture, the Speedster’s sleek lines suggested speed and class.
Confirming this first impression, company test pilot J. B. “Jack” LeClaire, came back enthusiastic from the short hop, touting the Speedster’s performance. The model 6000, however, could not meet the stringent U.S. Department of Commerce certification requirements for spin recovery.
After more than three years of modifications and a complete redesign of the tail section of the airplane, the Rearwin Model 6000C (C for Cirrus) was awarded ATC #653 on September 28, 1937. According to test pilot Bill Miller, however, the original airplane was an altogether better machine.
Text and Photos by Gilles Auliard
To read the article from the December 2015 issue of Flight Journal, click here.