No. 1446. Nieuport 28 (N12237 c/n 3) Tallmantz Aviation
Photographed at Orange County Airport, California, USA, September 1966, by Phil Juvet

Nieuport 28

03/31/2012. Remarks by Johan Visschedijk: "Of the 297 Nieuport 28 operated by the American Expeditionary Forces in France, 88 were brought to the US after WW I. Twelve of these were used by the USN from 1919 to 1921, they were flown from platforms built over the forward turret guns of battleships. The USAAS models saw short service as trainers at several airfields, among them McCook, Mitchell and Bolling Fields, and were subsequently scrapped.

A few, however, found their way into the hands of civilian owners and began a new career. Some were apparently used for racing, for their wing spans were decreased by five feet and the parallel wing struts were replaced by a single I-strut. By the late 1920's, air-war movies were becoming increasingly popular, and many WW I vintage aircraft were taken to Hollywood to perform before the cameras. Unfortunately, many were deliberately destroyed in crash scenes.

At least five of the Nieuport 28's, including three clipped-wing I-strut models, one clipped-wing model with steel-tube N-struts, and a full span model also with N-struts, appeared in numerous pictures. The last film in which this many appeared together was the original production of "Dawn Patrol", made in 1931. Four of the five appeared in the remake of 1938, but were used only in ground scenes, the flying scenes involving actual old airplanes being re-runs of the 1931 footage, while also replicas were used.

Garland Lincoln, a former instructor of the Army Air Corps and a stunt pilot who worked for movie studios, decided to produce an improved aerobatic version of the Nieuport 28. Powered by a 100-160 hp Gnome rotary engine, it featured a steel tube construction, with exception of the wooden wings, all covered with canvas. Designated LF-1, three examples with steel-tube N-struts were built by Claude Flagg in 1932, another two were produced in 1934, the latter had I-struts.

The pictured replica was first flown in 1932, registered as NX12237 (later NR12237 and N12237) it participated in several movies. In 1941 it was sold to Paul Mantz (Mantz and Frank Tallman merged their companies into Tallmantz Aviation Inc. in November 1961), and in 1950 it was re-engined with a 220 hp Continental. In 1974, while being flown in the filming of "The Great Waldo Pepper" it hit high tension lines and crashed into a field near Piru, California injuring the pilot, Frank Tallman. The wreckage was sold to an individual and presently it is under long-term restoration by Brent C. Mone of Santa Rosa, California."

Created April 5, 2002