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Waco Aircraft Company

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Title: Waco Aircraft Company  
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Subject: Waco CG-4, Waco S series, Waco F series, Waco CG-15, List of aircraft operated by Widerøe
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Waco Aircraft Company

Waco Aircraft Company
Industry Aerospace
Predecessor Weaver Aircraft Company
Founded 1919
Defunct 1965
Headquarters Troy, Ohio, United States
Products Light aircraft
Waco GXE (Model 10) of 1928 with Curtiss OX-5 engine
1929 model Advance Aircraft Company/Waco ATO 'Taperwing' of Vintage Wings of Canada.
Waco UPF-7, built in 1941, arrives at the 2014 Royal International Air Tattoo, England

The Waco Aircraft Company (WACO) was an aircraft manufacturer located in Troy, Ohio, USA. Between 1919 and 1947, the company produced a wide range of civilian biplanes.

The company initially started under the name Weaver Aircraft Company of Ohio but changed its name to the Waco Aircraft Company in 1928/29.

Company name

WACO (referring to the aircraft) is usually pronounced "wah-co"[1] (the first syllable pronounced as in "water"), not "way-co" like Waco, Texas, whose name is entirely unrelated. The name comes from a field near Troy, Ohio - Waco field, which in turn received its name from a local war-cry, which had several variations. Although an acronym, the company was universally referred to as "Waco".

Several companies operated under the Waco name, with the first company being the Weaver Aircraft Company, a firm founded by George E. Weaver, Clayton Bruckner, and Elwood Junkin in 1920 in Lorain and Medina, Ohio after they had already been collaborating for several years. In the spring of 1923 this became the Advance Aircraft Company in Troy, Ohio, after the departure of Weaver.

At some point (when is not at all clear from the records but 1928 or 1929) it was changed from Advance Aircraft Company to Waco Aircraft Company. The firm is often confused with Western Aviation Company, the name of four unrelated aircraft enterprises in Chicago, Illinois; San Antonio, Texas; and Burbank, California.


Waco's history started in 1919 when businessmen Clayton J. Brukner and Elwood Junkin met floatplane design was a failure, they went on to found the Waco company in 1920 and established themselves as producers of reliable, rugged planes that were popular with travelling businessmen, postal services and explorers, especially after the company began producing closed-cabin biplane models after 1930 in addition to the open cockpit biplanes.

The Waco name was extremely well represented in the U.S. civil aircraft registry between the wars, with more Wacos registered than the aircraft of any other company. Production types including open cockpit biplanes, cabin biplanes and cabin sesquiplanes (known by Waco as Custom Cabins) as well as numerous experimental types.

During World War II, Waco produced large numbers of military gliders for the RAF and US Army Air Forces for airborne operations, especially during the Normandy Invasion and Operation Market Garden. The Waco CG-4 was the most numerous of their glider designs to be produced. At the same time Waco produced over 600 of its UPF-7 open biplanes and 21 VKS-7F cabin biplanes for the Civilian Pilot Training Program, which supplemented the output of the military training establishments. 42 privately owned models of sixteen types were impressed into service as light transports and utility aircraft with the USAAF under the common designation C-72/UC-72.

Waco ceased operations in 1947,[2] having suffered the fate of a number of general aviation companies when an anticipated boom in aviation following World War II failed to develop.[3] The final Waco relied on an experimental Franklin engine which, with the cancellation of other contracts became so expensive, the Aristocraft, which relied on it, was cancelled.[4]

The Waco name was briefly revived for a scheme to produce a series of Italian lightplanes under licence in the U.S.

The WACO Classic Aircraft company (unrelated to the original Waco) began building its WACO Classic YMF in 1986, an upgraded version based on Waco's original type certified design.[5]

A large number of survivors exist, with the largest single collection residing at the Historic Aircraft Restoration Museum at Dauster Field, Creve Coeur, near St Louis, Missouri.[6]

The Waco facility hangars in Troy, Ohio is now the headquarters of United Technologies Aerospace Systems - Landing Systems business unit. It manufactures wheels and brakes for aircraft.


Note: Waco civilian designations describe the configuration of the aircraft. The first letter lists the engine used, the second the specific type, and the third the general series. The coding system was changed in 1929 with several letters reassigned, and later with the introduction of the Custom Cabin series, the third letter 'C' was initially replaced with C-S (Cabin-Standard) and finally S.[7] The numeral suffix represents the first year of production if it is 6 or higher (6=1936), or a sub type if 2 or less. Thus EGC-7 is a Wright R-760-E2 (350 hp (261 kW)) engined, cabin biplane airframe, custom cabin model first manufactured in 1937.[8]

Many Waco Cabin Biplanes that were originally sold as civilian aircraft, were impressed into military service in World War II. The United States Army Air Forces classified theirs regardless of type as Waco C-72s, with type letters identifying specific models. Other countries used other designations for their own Wacos.

Open cockpit biplanes and monoplanes

Waco Cootie
Single seat biplane/parasol monoplane, 1 produced, then re-built
Waco models 4 through 7
Used many Curtiss JN-4 parts with new interchangeable wing panels and powered by a 90 hp (67 kW) Curtiss OX-5.
Waco 8
First Waco cabin biplane, powered by 200 hp (149 kW) Liberty - 1 built
Waco 9
First mass-production model, steel-tube framing, powered by OX-5, equipped for EDO floats. Many re-engined. 270 built.
Waco 10 giving joy rides, c.1930
Waco 10
Most produced model of any Waco aircraft, 1,623 built between 1927 and 1933. Refinement of Waco 9 with 90 hp (67 kW) Curtiss OX-5 V8 engine. Redesignated GXE by Waco in 1928.
Preserved 1929-built JYM mailplane of Northwest Airways
Waco Mailplanes
  • Waco JWM :Straightwing mailplane with 330 hp (246 kW) Wright R-975 engine. Derivative of ASO with 14" fuselage stretch. 2 built.
  • Waco JYM :Taperwing mailplane with 300 hp (224 kW) Wright J-6-9 radial engine. Derivative of ATO with 14" fuselage stretch. 4 built for Northwest Airways
Waco PBA side-by-side biplane of 1932
Waco A series

Waco D series

Waco CHD
Multipurpose military biplane with 250 hp (186 kW) Wright R-760 radial engine. 6 built (may include JHD).
Waco JHD
Multipurpose Military Biplane with 365 hp (272 kW) Wright R-975 engine. 6 built for Uruguay.
Waco S3HD
Multipurpose Military Biplane with 400 hp (298 kW) P & W Wasp Jr. TB. 1 built.
Waco WHD
Multipurpose Military Biplane with 420 hp (313 kW) Wright R-975 engine.
Waco CMD
Multipurpose Military Biplane with 250 hp (186 kW) Wright J-6-7. None built.

Waco F series

Waco UBF of 1932 flown by Texaco in the early 1930s
A brand new 2006 model WACO Classic Aircraft YMF-F5C at Sun 'n Fun 2006
Waco QF2
Waco RNF

Waco CRG

  • 240 hp (179 kW) Wright R-760 radial engine, later a different Wright R-760.
Waco RPT-1
Low wing open cockpit monoplane trainer prototype, similar in concept to Fairchild PT-19. 1 built.

Waco Standard Cabin Biplanes

Waco UIC standard cabin biplane
Waco YKS-6 cabin tourer of 1936
  • Waco ZKC, Waco ZKC-S & Waco ZKS :with 285 hp (213 kW) Jacobs L-5 engine. 60 YKC built, 22 YKC-S built, 65 YKS-6 built; Several ZKS-7 built, one converted to HKS-7 (300 HP Lycoming R-680-13 in 1947[9]).

Waco Custom Cabin Biplanes (Sesquiplanes)

Waco CUC of 1935 showing the extended cabin and windows of the later C series models. Anoka-Blaine airport near Minneapolis, June 2006
Waco EQC-6 Custom at the Calgary Aerospace Museum in 1996 showing the longer cabin glazing of late C series aircraft

Waco S series (1935-1940)

Waco N series (1937–1938)

Waco E series (1939–1940)

Waco ARE on display


Waco CG-4A troop glider.


Northwestern XPG-1
Powered version of CG-4 Glider, 2x Franklin 6AC-298-N3
Ridgefield XPG-2
Powered version of CG-4 Glider, 2x Ranger L-440-1
Waco YC-62
All-wood twin-engine Transport (Not built)
Waco C-72
Waco Aristocraft
Monoplane pusher cabin transport with engine in nose. Last Waco design to be built. 1 Prototype only.


  1. ^ Kobernuss, P.4
  2. ^ O'Neill Sport Aviation March/April 1964
  3. ^
  4. ^ O'Neill
  5. ^ Waco Classic Aircraft Co. About Page
  6. ^ Donner, Brad Historic Aircraft Restoration Museum - List of Aircraft
  7. ^ Aerofiles 'That Waco Coding System'
  8. ^ Aerofiles Waco Page
  9. ^




External links

  • Waco Air Museum Troy, Ohio
  • Detailed listing of Waco models and specifications at Aerofiles
  • Waco type codes explained
  • The Spirit of Adventure: Flying the USA and Europe, low and slow in a Waco open-cockpit biplane
  • Wright State University's archive of Waco records
  • Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Waco Aircraft Company Archives
  • AeroSpace Show - (RTP-TV 2003) Video Story On Waco Biplane
  • Waco Classic
  • Waco ZQC-6 Photos
  • Historic Aircraft Restoration Museum - has more Waco's (restored) than all other locations combined
  • Alberta Aviation Museum
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