The No. D4 Menasco Trainer kit was manufactured by the Paul K. Guillow Company beginning in the late 1930s. The date on the plans is 1939. It was given to me by Mr. Steven Krick from part of his very large collection of vintage model airplane kits. It might be one of the earliest surviving Guillow kits. The Menasco Trainer has a diminutive wingspan of just 7-9/16 inches.
No box accompanied the kit parts. The only balsa provided was square strips die cut from 0.050" (3/64") sheet, and a block for the nose. The hardwood thrust button arrived broken into four pieces, so I carefully glued it back together. The remaining parts including wing ribs, curved tip pieces, fuselage formers (0.032" material), and even the propeller blades (0.012" material) are printed on stiff card stock. The plans seem to indicate balsa for those pieces, but it might be that balsa shortages during World War II years dictated a switch to cardboard. A small cardboard tube is used for the prop hub. Very lightweight green and white tissue is included. The only thing missing appears to be the wire for forming the propeller shaft.
The plans feature the framework on one side and full-size patterns for cutting the tissue paper on the other side. Severe degradation of the paper had caused them to separate into four pieces. The edges were very fragile. In the interest in preserving the integrity of the remaining pieces, I carefully applied Scotch tape to reassemble the plans and to reinforce the ripped areas. I also covered all four edges because they were so fragile. Doing so might have violated a historical relic, but I figured it was better to protect what remains from further disintegration.
Menasco Motors Company was founded by Albert Menasco in 1928 as an air-cooled aircraft engine manufacturer. Not much history exists on an airplane made by Menasco. The only reference I could find to a "D4" is the 4−cylinder, 150 horsepower Menasco D4 Pirate. Most search results on "menasco trainer" returned references to the Ryan ST aircraft which used the Menasco D4 engine. Menasco did evidently manufacture a version of the de Havilland Tiger Moth (used by Canada), but it was a biplane whereas this is a monoplane. This model does not resemble the Ryan ST series.
Three vintage kits generously gifted to me by Steven Krick were offered to the Academy of Model Aeronautics' (AMA's) National Model Aviation Museum in Muncie, Indiana. I am happy to report that they now have ownership of the Parris-Dunn Helicopter Kite and the Guillows No. D4 Menasco Trainer. They were not interested in the Comet F−86D Sabre Jet.
Guillow No. D4 Menasco Trainer Plans (side A)
Guillow No. D4 Menasco Trainer Tissue Templates (side B)
Guillow No. D4 Menasco Trainer Cardboard Pattern Pieces
Posted July 20, 2019