Fairchild 46-A (Clark GA-46 Duramold)
Designed by: Virginius Clark
Powerplant: 1x 450hp SGV-770B-5 Ranger
First flight: 5 Dec. 1937
Type certificate: 1937 [ATC 2-545]
This handsome passenger transport was the idea of Col. Virginius E. Clark, Fairchild Corporate vice president of engineering. The fuselage was constructed according to the Haskelite bonded-plywood process, patented as Duromold and later changed to Duramold for incorporation. In fact the aircraft was a “proof of concept” design to explore the use of that process, which consisted in molded wood panels and structure, bonded together with a plastic resin under heat and pressure in an autoclave. A subsidiary company called Duramold aircraft company was created in 1937 to shepherd the project along. Using the Duramold wood-bonding process the planes aft fuselage was a monocoque cone fabricated in two halves. The forward fuselage structure was of conventional welded square steel tubing with aluminum skin. The wing and tail surfaces were fabricated of wood skinned with spruce veneer. All of the control surfaces were aluminum with fabric covering. The aircraft was powered by a supercharged inverted V-12 Ranger engine, and tested at NACA Langley in the summer of 1937.
A confusing number of name changes followed as the aircraft was developed, Fairchild Duramold, Clark, Duramold and finally back to Fairchild. Sherman Fairchild sold the Duramold process to Howard Hughes who used it on his large HK-1 "Spruce Goose" flying boat. The F-46 was acquired in a derelict state by David G. Lewis, a Fairchild test pilot, in 1947. He managed to reclaim it, restored it in 1949 and eventually converted it to a 450hp P&W R-985 engine. He flew it for 10 years, finally parting with it in 1957. The aircraft went through several hands and again was found derelict by Lewis in 1998. He reacquired the aircraft, dismantled it for possible restoration and brought it home to Hillsboro, OR, from Santa Monica, CA. Restoration is currently being done by Big Sky Stearman.
Population: 1 [NX/NC/N19131]
Specs: span: 38'0" length: 33'5' load: 1627# v: 225/220/65 range: 750.
Crew/passengers: 5 seats