January 21, 2013

Howard 500

The Mighty Howard 500 was a conversion from a Lockheed twin that makes a ramp presence like very few airplanes today.  If you were to see a Howard 500 on a ramp full of Challengers, Gulfstreams and Falcons... which do you think YOU would be drawn to?  Watch the video above and tell me you wouldn't skip the others and walk around the Howard!  Thanks to collector Toni Phillippi in Minnesota there are now two preserved Howard 500's in flying condition.  I first saw the Howard 500 at Oshkosh and walked by it several times a day for the week that I was there.  The powerful twin just draws you in.  If I were assembling a dream fleet of airplanes for my personal collection, A Howard 500 would be my traveling machine!  The video above shows that Mr. Phillippi flies his Howard's all over the country and even went to great lengths to return one from Europe to the United States.

For more on Mr. Phillippi's aircraft visit his web site - http://www.tpaero.com/

For more on Lockheed's Twins - http://www.burbanksbest.com/


Frank Van Haste said...

Elegant footage of elegant airplanes, Dan! For some additional "fill" material, you might enjoy a post about the 500 from Ross Sharp's (sadly inactive) blog, HERE.


Anonymous said...

I had the pleasure of flying the D Howard Ventura for several years
for the Standard Oil Company of
Indiana. It was fast, powerful,and
easy to fly. It could almost stay with
Douglas A26.

Ron H.

Dan Linn said...

Ron, bet that was a hot rod. Happen to have any photos of the Howard and A26 from Standard? I am collecting photos and ads for the post war conversion aircraft to include in another blog post.

Anonymous said...

My Uncle was the FAA test pilot/flight analyst for the Howard 500 in 1960. It is a great aircraft!


AirBoss said...

I've actually flown ( right seat) the green and checkerboard yellow one.. And chartered it one other time to take ten guys to Whitefish Montana for a meeting ( fishing). I love that airplane..

While we were getting ready to depart MSP ( pilot had repositioned it there from another local airport for departure due to the fuel pax load and need for at least a 5k ft. runway to get us launched) I was regaling the non flyers in our group with some history while we were waiting for he pilots to get her started started... You know, the usual stuff..like there only 16 of these built and this is the only one remaining... Not thinking what this was sounding like to the 8 pax who had cashed in their tickets on on an airbus to "go in style".... Well about the same time I said that, the pilot was having some difficulty getting the "hot engines" to start... A bit disconcerted by the sound of backfires and the missed opportunities to keep the right engine running, one of the nervous passengers asked, with no small alarm, what had happened to the "other fifteen"?

"Oh", I deadpanned, "... They are scattered somewhere in the hills between here and Whitefish Montana" ( couldn't help myself).

This bird has a first class "head" which came out of Larry Flynt's Gulfstream. Capable of seating one, in comfort, for a great distance.

Although, the motion back in the tail with no functioning auto pilot would make the seat dual purpose for sure!

Anonymous said...

In my avionics career at Houston's Hobby Airport, I spent many pleasant hours servicing a Super Ventura owned by Transcontinental gas Pipeline. If memory serves, there were two or three there in those days, and a number of Howard 250's and just plain old Lodestars. Really love those round motors.

Bob B. formerly of Houston, now retired to Sedona AZ.

Dan Linn said...

Excited to see memories shared about these cool aircraft! Thanks for posting comments.

Bob B said...

Dan, my memory banks have been working overtime, thinking about all those grand old aircraft in the Houston area. A company flying out of Andrau Airpark hangared a fine Lodestar, N30G, there. The crew, pilot Ivis, copilot/mechanic Art lived for the sole purpose of flying the owner from Houston to his ranch on weekends, and had for many years. On one such flight, Art was working the radios and conversing with a controller who seem very young and apparently in training. This young man queried Art: "Lodestar N30G, that's a really old aircraft isn't it?" Not missing a beat, Art replied"Yeah and you oughta see the crew."

Unknown said...

Check out this recent Howard 500 video.


Valeria said...

This is cool!

Anonymous said...

Back in the mid '70's I subscribed to Flying magazine. I don't fly but love planes, especially radial engines. The cover story of the Oct. 1976 issue was on the 500 and I fell in love. I still have the issue (along with the June '77 one which featured the F4U.) I live outside of Portland Oregon and used to see the yellow/green 500 parked at the Troutdale airport and had a chance to walk around it quite a few times. I've followed it's adventures and am thrilled to see a second 500 in the video! Thanks!

Bob C.

Anonymous said...

Hello...not to split hairs wit You, but it's a big hair. The 500 was NOT a Ventura conversion....that's the 60 or so 350s and the single 400 (test bed for pressure vessel). The 17 500s built were hybrids of Ventura/Harpoon components(extensively re-engineered), but the wings and fuselage were scratch built by Dee Howard and Ed Swearingen's work force. The wings were reshaped for higher altitude and the fuselage was built with ribs/formers every six inches. The end result being that w/ the two stage blowers on the R-2800 P&W's, was a Bird that aggressively reached 41,000 ft! The cabin maintained 2000ft. @ 22,000ft.!

i am acquainted with the Gentleman who owns # 17 (last N# N130P)which is in ferryable condition @ present.

My Dad flew two different L-18 Lodestars...the first in San Antone, that was purchased thru Dee that was a mild mod (retained flap tracks) I used to go to Dee's shop w/ the old man. The second was More like a Learstar, extensively modded. It was one of three converted in late 50's for Gulf Oil and was so named "Gulfstar". 150,000 dollars of avionics loaded in,(by the then current market prices.) I flew this airplane a few times. she had to come across the fence pretty hot too. She had Curtiss Wright 1320 conversions. Dad did not like the Wrights very much. A corp. bought a Howard 350 and hired a veteran F-100 pilot out of Air Force to command the ship and sent Him to Dad to train for the type. I went on a IFR training session from TUC-LGB and back in some very serious weather.....oh it was one fast sob kids, and my impression from that ride was that the 500 @ 41,000 would have been unstoppable. Would blow a Citations tailpipes into the ditches. The outcome of the training was that Dad had to wash the pilot because He had never flown taildraggers, and He choked coming accross the fence everytime...he just couldn't get in front of the big assed double breasted Cub.

Unfortunately, the feds were backing Grumman's play (G-1, which the old man flew # 13 but tagged 14)and held up Dee's C of A until 1964, allowing the turbines to get a firm foothold. The feds as well restricted the Bird to 25,00 ft w/ PAX and 35,000 w/ cargo, hence only 17 of these magnificent aircraft were built. The Bird was ready in 1959, but payola sideswiped Dee and Ed.....typical fed bs.

I worked for Gordon Hamilton in 1975 when they were involved with the Beech 18 "Westwind" cargo conversions. pratt PT-6's, exterior spar straps, cargo doors etc. Hamilton had worked with On-Mark and did the STC for the mainspar "cradle" conversion, to gain usable interior space. Hamilton had worked closely w/ Kelly Johnson @ Lockheed during war. Hamilton actually built the 1st three L-18 exec conversions....with FULL approoval of the Lockheed board. Oh, the last "Westwind" Hamilton built was a D-18 twin Beech that was stretched 9 feet, split fore and aft of main spar, cabin raised 9 inches and Garret -10's. The legal payload was upped to 9500 lbs., but the bird could carry much more. This airplane was built for Connie Kallita, the drag racer who went into shipping.

My two all time favorites are the Martin B-26(yeah the old man was a test pilot w/ Martin in war after He was w/ Douglas) and the Howard 500. MENS airplanes....pure testoterone.

conniedriver749@hotmail.com ...the bladecutter

Bladecutter said...

The 500 is NOT a L-20 Ventura conversion. It is a HYBRID of Ventura/Harpoon components, although those are extensively re-engineered. The wings and fuselages were scratch built by Dee and Ed, for higher altitude and greater speed. The end result, a piston Bird that would make 41,000 w/ the 2 stage blown Pratts and hold a cabin of about 6,000 ft. grumman made sure that the feds held up the C of A until 1964, although Dee and Ed had the Bird ready in 1959.

The 350's and the single 400(pressure vessel test bed) were the ventura conversions...roughly 60 350's were built. I experienced one of those in weather....."Ballin' Jack"!

the bladecutter

tim said...

I polished her at Bagington & fell for her.24 hours of intimate love.

Such a beauty.


Steve Lora said...

I grew up in Findlay, Ohio, and worked summers at the Marathon Hangars. My Dad, "Bud" Lora was the Supv. of Flight Ops. at Marathon Oil Co. I spent many happy hours scrubbing the bugs off the leading edges of Marathon's Howard 500 (N-515). It was my favorite of the fleet!! Dick Yoakam & Bill Thomas were the dedicated pilots of N-515 which was Mr. Donnell's (Marathon's President) personal aircraft. I used to get to pull the plug of the GPU after they got those CB's started - what a thrill!! Do any of you out there remember Marathon's (formally Ohio Oil Company)Howard 500, N-515? After they sold the aircraft they kept the registration # and Mike Murphy, Marathon's Aviation Div. Mgr., put the number on his Bucker Jungmeister that he eventually donated to the EAA Museum in Oshkosh. Any info on what happened to Marathon's Howard 500 would be much appreciated. Thank you. Steve Lora, Show Low, AZ. lora1@cableone.net

mrhelio said...

More split hairs, let's start with this. The Howard 500 was a clean sheet airplane and not a hybrid either. Dee Howard and Ed bought additional tooling from Lockheed in Burbank to expand the wing span and including wet wings. The total built was 22 airplanes. I spent many hours at San Antonio, when Dee Howard interviewed me for the new FBO at Dee Howard Co. The Howard 500 used the Garrett unit from the P-3 Orion and CV-580 to pressurize the cabin @ 6.75 PSI allowing bleed air to fill the cabin and that unit was also extensively modified. The only component on the Howard 500 borrowed from any Harpoon was the gear legs to support a 35,000 pound airplane. 1556 gallons of 100/130 for the CB/16 and 2400 HP. DuPont Chemical was a long time customer that killed any hopes of Howard being more successful with the 500, and the FAA stalling it's type certificate. Dee Howard had so many STC's the FAA couldn't keep up with him. The type certificate was applied for in 1956 for the 500.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Helio, my name is jim stevens, i was born in San anTONE in 53, Dad was flying C-46's, non-sched cargo for Axxeco & rainmaking in a T-6 & Vultee BT-13, off San Antonio field. Around 56 He got a corp gig for Longhorn Portland & a C-18 Twin Beech under Him, couple years later they toook a second bird, an L-18 that was bought from Dee, w mild mod, retained flap trax, got square tip, three blade Hams.
All i can say is i stand corrected ,but i did say that the airframe was scratch built and clearly stated that the 500 was NOT a conversion,it was certed as a Howard.......however 500LN was RE-certed by Howard Aero for Dr Forrest Byrd...Bird? back to a PV-1 because the Doc wanted a SP Bird......& there is one other 500 certified as P-V1, as told to me by Tony Phillipi, they think there might be more 500's w the PV-1 cert.....i said 17 which is where the FAA is at......You say 22......could the difference be ones certed as PV-1's? I have FAA entirehistory of #14 N130P, which is only a 4K TTAF
At least we are close to the same page, knowing these Birds are their own Creatures.
Sounds like You are Old Skool, how about helping me sell this Puppy. Im hooked up with a crew that can put Bird back in air for very reasonable money, NOT in millions. You have an angle, call me @ Aero Propeller Company in Hemet, Cali. Owner wants a cabin class pressurized twin, preferably a King Air, but piston is not out of question.

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