Don McMakin’s Butler Blackhawk

Following is an excerpt from the December, 2004 MAAC newsletter of Kent McMakin describing his father Don’s Butler Blackhawk project. Don is on the far left in the picture, watching the first flight of the Blackhawk.

My dad bought this airplane along with a few other guys in 1942 for the purpose of acquiring flight time in an aircraft of over 200 HP so that they might become civilian flight instructors. Over th years, the other guys dropped out of the partnership and by war’s end, it all belonged to my dad. With the war over and the need to focus on other more important things, he subsequently sold the airplane in 1948 for $350 to a guy in Coldwater, Michigan. He used money from the sale to buy all the 2×4 studs for our first house.

I looked for this airplane for over 25 years with no luck until Bill Batesole stumbled on it in a barn in Michigan. He bought what was left of it and when he found out I had been looking for it, he sold it to us. All that was left was a bare frame, engine mount and four old spars.
We did subsequently locate and get some original tail surfaces from the EAA but we’ve made everything else. We found a Wright J5 in Indiana and overhauled it.

The aircraft I’ve just described in the very rare 1929 Butler Blackhawk built by Butler Manufacturing, Kansas City, Missouri. It is serial number 110, the 10th built out of a total of eleven. There are but two left and this is the only one flying, unless we wreck it.

spectators roll_out idling2

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