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The Pobjoy Special was designed by Robert T. Jones and built by Claude Flagg and H. F. Landis in 1930. Robert designed the Pobjoy to be an extremely small, light racer that could reach 200 mph, the speed he believed to be sufficient to win the Thompson Trophy.

The fuselage and tail were of welded steel tube construction, and the wing utilized the patented construction method used on the earlier Nicholas-Beazley NB-3. The most significant feature of this method was the way the spars were fabricated: sheets of aluminum were stamped into U-channels and riveted into the desired lengths. Stamped aluminum ribs and aluminum leading edges completed the structure, which was very light and strong.

The Pobjoy Special’s first competition was in the Men’s 275 cu. in. class Free for All race during the 1930 Nationals, in which pilot Danny Fowlie could only manage 115.24 mph, not the projected 200 mph, placing third overall. By the end of the 1930 racing season, the Great Depression was underway. The Pobjoy Special was sold and Jones was back in his hometown of Macon, Missouri in search of a new job.

In 1932, the Pobjoy Special ended up in the very capable hands of Steve Wittman, who raced it in 1933 and 1934. In 1934, Steve set the 100-kilometer world speed record of 137.513 mph for aircraft weighing 440 pounds or less.

The Pobjoy was sold to Percy V. Chaffee after the 1934 racing season. Percy continued to race the Pobjoy in the 1935 Nationals. In 1936, the 200 cu. in. class was eliminated, so there was no longer a venue in which the racer could be competitive.

The Pobjoy fell through a number of different owners over the years, and its whereabouts today remain unknown. Dick Sampson began a search for the racer, but when he couldn’t locate it, he decided to commission Bill Turner to build a flyable reproduction of the airplane. The little racer was completed early in 1998 and Dick had high hopes of testing the airplane and flying the replica to Oshkosh in 1998. Unfortunately, a persistent problem with low oil pressure never allowed the flight testing to begin, so the Pobjoy was brought to Oshkosh and left on static display during the convention.

Dick Sampson donated the Pobjoy Special to the EAA AirVenture Museum shortly after AirVenture1998.

pobjoy Table of Contents

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