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Spirit of Flight Museum to Display Cassutt Racer

Decade-Long Search Yields Famed Formula One Aircraft

After a decade-long search, Nampa, Idaho’s Spirit of Flight Foundation museum announced on 06 April 2023 that a Cassutt IIIM Formula One racing plane has been donated to the museum’s collection.

Spirit of Flight Foundation president Gordon Page stated: “We have had several Cassutt aircraft lined up over the years, but they just didn’t work out. Fortunately, a donor answered an advertisement we ran recently, and we are happy to say a Cassutt is on the way to the Spirit of Flight.”

The Cassutt Special is a single-seat sport and racing aircraft designed in 1951 by Tom Cassutt, a TWA pilot from Huntington, Long Island, New York. A clean-sheet monoplane featuring a fully-cantilevered mid-mounted-wing and a fixed conventional (tailwheel) undercarriage, the machine was envisaged by Cassutt specifically for competition in Formula One air races.

The Cassutt Special’s fuselage, engine-mount, ailerons, and empennage are of fabric-covered steel tube construction. The airplane’s 15-foot wing comprises a laminated spruce spar and built-up ribs skinned with plywood.

The standard engine by which the Cassutt Special was powered in competition was Continental’s one-hundred-horsepower O-200 model.

Relatively inexpensive, simple to build, and stressed for aerobatics to +12 Gs, the Cassutt Special proved popular among airplane racers.

Mr. Page added: “The Cassutt will be hung from the ceiling of the Spirit of Flight Museum as if it were in an air race. We are dedicating it to our friends, Ib Hansen and Jay Jones. … Air Racing trophies from Hansen and Jones are in the museum collection.”

Since the type’s inception, over eight-hundred Cassutts have been built—a great many of which raced with distinction.

The Spirit of Flight Cassutt will join another famous air racer, Sky Baby aka Swea’ Pea—a 1947 vintage airplane built by Motorsports Hall of Fame of America inductee Art Chester.

Spirit of Flight Museum volunteer and current Reno Air Racer John Flanagan set forth: “Visitors to the Spirit of Flight in Nampa, Idaho will get to see the beginnings of Formula One Air Racing with Sky Baby and experience what it was like to see a plane roaring around a pylon, thanks to the donation of the Cassutt. The museum displays an incredible collection of air racing history and I can’t wait to see the Cassutt.”

The Spirit of Flight Foundation plans to document the Cassutt on the Chasing Planes YouTube channel. Viewers are encouraged to subscribe to subject channel for purpose of supporting the museum and rendering themselves eligible to receive giveaways.

FMI: www.spiritofflight.com


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