2/24 update: in response to a comment, I've added a sharpened and contrast-enhanced image of the logo on the tail.
Another day, another mystery photo. Okay, not a mystery in that this plane’s identity is unknown, but a mystery in that all the internet resources, the few that there are, which have any information about it are, well, to put it bluntly, wrong. (Gasp, you say, the internet might be wrong?)
|Anyone want to take a stab at who this gent is? I believe the location is Oakland CA.|
In the February 1931 issue of Flying magazine, there was a news item about Aircraft Engineering Co. introducing a new plane, the ACE 200, a two-place, high-wing monoplane with a Salmson AD-9 engine, which makes me question whether Aerofiles got the engine application for the ACE 200 and 300 reversed.
Excerpted from an email received from John
Your picture of X952Y shows Richard Hardin, the designer, one of Douglas' World Cruiser engineers', who had formed his own company to manufacture both the Ace 300 and 2-place Ace 500. The operation involved the acquisition of Ace Airport, which had formerly been Murphy's Airport. Before that it was Calif. Airways; afterwards Sprott's and lastly Telegraph & Atlantic.
Contrast enhanced, clarifying the model number as "300"
The 2-seater, X953Y, was powered by a 60-hp Le Blond whereas the single-seater had a 40-hp Salmson. Hardin and an attorney named Harry Miller, who was also a director of the company, took off from Ace Airport for both the St. Louis and Detroit shows. They were planning to fly East in formation with Frank Barber in the Model 300. In the vicinity of San Gorgonio Pass they encountered terrific winds and what happened next was probably due to wind sheer.
The Model 500 flipped over on its back and Miller was thrown out, possibly because his safety belt was either unbucked or it broke. His chute fouled in the tail and he was killed. Hardin bailed out successfully. All of this was witnessed by Barber, who made copious notes about it in his log book.
I knew the test pilot, Frank Barber. He was a retired AF brig. gen. who'd been sacked by Pacific Air Transport in 1928 for flying one of their Boeing mailplanes into a mountain concealed by a snow storm. He was also one of the 13 Black Cats.
Re Horace Keane. He was in no way involved with the foregoing Ace monoplanes.