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From Kansas City Star, August 15, 1929, page 2

Can anyone identify the model of this Swallow biplane? On August 14, 1929, my great grandfather, Humphrey Woods, was fatally injured in the crash of a plane piloted by Thomas Tobiason. The plane was intentionally put into a tailspin at 3000 feet to get Woods accustomed to the sensation of spinning. (Woods was seeking to get his commercial pilot license and needed to be able to recover from a tailspin.) The plane recovered at 300 feet but went into another spin. The pilot righted it just before it crashed. It looks like the front part of the plane hit the ground with considerable forward force, suggesting that the pilot was trying to generate lift over the wings. The front landing gear is destroyed but the tail skid remains.

The August 15, 1929 Kansas City Star reported that it was a Swallow biplane. I do not think that this is a Swallow made while E. M. Laird was with the company. I would expect to see four struts leaning in the same basic direction, unless the two inner struts were built into the fuselage. The tail does not look like the New Swallow photos in which the rudder portion of the vertical stabilizer goes all the way to the top. The tail of this plane does not have the usual contour of other Swallows, perhaps because of damage from the crash. The shape of the fuselage is not as streamlined as the Swallow TP or the Swallow J5. It seems more consistent with the Swallow OX-5 and Swallow N4028, which is my best guess at present.

Thank you for your help. My Dad asked if it was a Laird Swallow on www.earlyaviators.com/elaird03.htm but never received an answer.

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    $\begingroup$ That looks like a survivable crash. He was probably killed by head injuries from lack of a shoulder harness. $\endgroup$
    – John K
    Commented May 2, 2022 at 13:05
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    $\begingroup$ According to the text of the article, while Thomas Tobiason was killed in this crash, Humphrey Woods was only "injured seriously". Maybe he died later after the article was published? $\endgroup$ Commented May 2, 2022 at 20:19

3 Answers 3

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The report: Aircraft Accidents: Letter from the Acting Secretary of Commerce Transmitting, in Response to Senate Resolution No. 206, Information on Aircraft Accidents which Have Occured Between the Dates of May 20, 1926, and May 16, 1930, of which the Department Has a Record. lists the accident on page 150.

The make and model of the aircraft is listed as "Swallow" and the name and model of engine is shown as "Curtiss OX-5".

Screenshot of the table of accidents, listing the subject accident

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    $\begingroup$ What does "Do" stand for in this list? $\endgroup$
    – towe
    Commented May 2, 2022 at 12:08
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    $\begingroup$ @towe: it is an abbreviation of ditto, meaning "same as the above". Nowadays it is more common to use one or more quotation marks. $\endgroup$
    – TonyK
    Commented May 2, 2022 at 13:58
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    $\begingroup$ Swallow info on Wikipedia $\endgroup$ Commented May 2, 2022 at 14:53
  • $\begingroup$ @TonyK Thank you. Yes, I usually use the - " - style. $\endgroup$
    – towe
    Commented May 3, 2022 at 5:26
  • $\begingroup$ @Fred Lawson, thank you! When I noticed the word "Variants," things started making much more sense! $\endgroup$
    – Steve
    Commented May 3, 2022 at 20:18
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The Swallow has the head protection behind the rear pilots cockpit. Varney airlines had 6 original OX-5 Airmail Swallows and they did not have the 'hump'. Neither did the Swallows prior to 1926. You may find the identical design on the Lincoln/Page LP-2 built from 1927. Varney added the diagonal strut to the outer wings after they replaced the OX-5 engines with the Wright 'Whirlwind' motors by June 1, 1926. A 1927 Laird Swallow was found and rebuilt for the 1976 re-enactment with United Airlines support. That plane is in the Seattle Airport. A 1927 was also found and currently flys at the Oshkosh, WI Pioneer airport. I am doing research on the only 6 Varney Swallows because I have artifacts from the chief pilot Leon D Cuddeback heirs in Idaho. Robert P Regan

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  • $\begingroup$ Correction to the above is a later model Swallow most likely a 1927 with the C-7 motor and not the OX-5. The tail is a Swallow rectangle with curve corners and the stabilizer is proper for all Swallows. Even though Stearman helped design the later swallows up to 1929 before he created his own company. There are plenty of Swallow pics and models and photos. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 30, 2023 at 21:54
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Swallow msn:540 reg:NC5536
owner:Commercial Airways Corp /MO
Cancelled: 30.8.29

is a possibility, but I am not finding any other info online about it, and the accident was not entered into any of the accident databases, which seem to focus mainly on airliner accidents for that time period. Several Swallows were struck off the register that month but this is the only one of them that was recorded whose owner was near MO - however the records are very incomplete and there could have been others - or the date it was struck off the records simply not recorded.

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