Bird Wing Imperial

Bird Wing Imperial
Role Biplane
National origin United States of America
Manufacturer Bird Wing Commercial Aircraft Company
Designer R. T. McCrum
First flight 15 July 1927
Introduction 1927
Status Out of business 1931
Number built 6
Unit cost
$2495 Model 1 $5200 Imperial

The Bird Wing or later, Bird Wing Imperial was a light sport biplane of the 1920s and 1930s.[1]


The first Bird Wing took McCrum and his assistants 63 days to build at a cost of US$12,000. The prototype flew over 5000 passengers over a period of 15 months. McCrum revised the plans for the Bird Wing again in the 1950s to install a 450 hp (336 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp Junior radial engine and a 3 inch fuselage widening to convert the design into an agricultural aircraft which never went into production.[2]


The biplane features welded steel tube fuselage with aircraft fabric covering and spruce wood spar wings.[3]

Operational history

Among the many pilots who flew the Bird Wing were Hap Arnold and Charles Lindbergh. McCrum offered comprehensive flight training courses which included flight training in a Bird Wing as well as construction of the aircraft from scratch. The Bird Wing Imperial was tested to meet a 1931 requirement for a United States PT trainer. 50 orders were placed, then canceled at the beginning of the Great Depression.


  • Bird Wing No. 2 - Upper and lower ailerons
  • Bird Wing No. 4 - 180 hp (134 kW) Hisso powered
  • Bird Wing Imperial - 1930 165 hp (123 kW) Wright Whirlwind R-540 powered. Max speed 118 mph (190 km/h)

Specifications (Bird Wing Model 1)

Data from Sport Aviation

General characteristics
  • Capacity: 2
  • Length: 23 ft 6 in (7.16 m)
  • Wingspan: 31 ft 4 in (9.55 m)
  • Wing area: 303 sq ft (28.1 m2)
  • Empty weight: 1,275 lb (578 kg)
  • Gross weight: 2,100 lb (953 kg)
  • Fuel capacity: 35 gallons
  • Powerplant: 1 × OX-5


  • Maximum speed: 74 kn; 137 km/h (85 mph)


  1. ^ Manufacturers Aircraft Association, Manufacturers Aircraft Association, Inc., New York, Aeronautical Chamber of Commerce of America, Aerospace Industries Association of America, Aircraft Industries Association of America. The Aerospace year book. 
  2. ^ Sport Aviation. December 1958. 
  3. ^ Sport Aviation. November 1958. 
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