Mike Rinker’s Curtis Wright B-14 sits on the ramp at Grider Field in Pine Bluff, Arkansas — a sight to behold.
Sunday, July 24, 2016
Pine Buff, Arkansas
During a recent air show at Grider Field at the Pine Bluff Regional Airport, Mike Rinker of Union City, Tennessee, brought his pristine 1932 Curtis-Wright B-14 airplane to be a part of the festivities. The aircraft crashed in 1942 and was repaired. In 2003 it was completely restored and spent most of its life in a museum until Mike Rinker found it and had to have it. As I observed it, there was not a speck of dirt, grime, or grease to be found anywhere on the plane.
440 Horses with a Powerful Spirit
The B-14 is powered by the Wright Whirlwind R-975 engine that pumps out 440 horsepower. An informed observer told me that one of these engines powered Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis on his legendary Trans-Atlantic flight.
Built for Performance
For the time, it appears that the B-14 was built for performance with streamlined wheel covers and slim struts.
At One with the Machine
There is not a lot of creature comfort in the B-14 cockpit. The instrumentation is sparse and the accommodations look a tad on the cramped side. On the upside, the pilot probably feels like he is wearing the aircraft.
Same Fit Different Side
The right side does not look more commodious than the left, but who is to argue with the completely operational 95-year-old plane. Someone got something right somewhere.
The brilliant, fabric-covered wings are things of beauty.
During the show, Mr. Rinker cranked the B-14 up and put it through its paces in the air. He says it is an easy airplane to fly. And it is certainly easy on the eyes.