This is the Stinson L-1 Vigilant another impressive member of Kermit Weeks collection at Fantasy of Flight. This particular aircraft just came out of years of restoration. For such a simple design it was believed to be a rather simple restoration, only taking a few years. Well that wasn’t the case. It happens to be the only L-1 that is not in a museum and soon to be the only flying example of this aircraft.
Stinson made a number of aircraft with a similar design, being used for observation mostly. Over the years the various models became more and more perfected. A unique feature of this aircraft is the leading wing edge that can be adjusted for high lift and low speed. It is said that this plane can landed in a space no longer than the plane’s own length. Somehow I doubt they will test that one being is that there is only the one flying.
As you can see we had just about the most ideal skies imaginable for photographing planes. God beams and clouds are probably the sexiest background you can put with planes. The whole look just brings back that feel of the golden age of flight, especially with older aircraft like this one. It brings back that ideal that man’s reach exceeds his grasp.