Nautical and Aviation Art

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A number of my paintings are available as limited edition prints, in various sizes.
NOTE: Click on the image to display a larger image.

Magic Dragon: Islander Sloop at Captiva

A limited edition of 50 prints, based on a painting I completed in May 2004 (24" X 18", acrylic on gessoboard) . An Islander yacht rests at its moorings at Captival, FL, serenely floating in its own reflection. 

Last of the Loghulled Bugeyes

Depicted is the Edna E. Lockwood, the last existing log-hulled bugeye, at her berth at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, St. Michaels, Maryland, where she was restored.  Built in 1889, her hull is hand-hewn from nine pitch pine logs. For most of her career, she was used to dredge for oysters in the winter, and haul freight for the rest of the year.  Eventually replaced by smaller, easier to build skipjacks. the Edna E. Lockwood is the last of a sailing fleet of bugeyes that probably harvested more oysters than any other type of vessel. 

The First Ercoupe
Fred Wieck flies the first production Ercoup 415 over the ERCO factory.

Erco had brought in the innovative aeronautical engineer Fred Weick to design a safe and easy to fly everyman’s aircraft which they called the Ercoupe. Production was suspended during WW II, while Erco produced gun turrets and other aircraft equipment for the Navy.  After V-J Day, production resumed, with almost 5,000 Ercoupes being produced, until demand dried up in the post-war general aviation bust. Erco went out of the aviation business, but other companies continued to market it as the Aircoupe.

Depicted is the first Ercoupe 415 (NC16962) flying over the ERCO factory in Riverdale, MD, circa 1941, with the aircraft’s designer, Fred Weick, at the controls.

Through the Gloom: Bellanca Pacemaker

Depicted is NS-8, a Bellanca Pacemaker CH-300, operated by the Aeronautical Branch of the Department of Commerce for the Bureau of Standards Radio Section, as it leaves a fog-shrouded College Park Airport en route to Newark, New Jersey, March 20, 1933.  Completely equipped for instrument flying, the aircraft was piloted by James L. Kinney, Aeronautical Branch test pilot, and carried as passengers Harry Diamond, the lead scientist with the NBS aeronautics radio team, and Radio Technician William LaViolette. Scheduled as a routine flight to support the blind landing trials being conducted at Newark Airport, the flight went ahead despite the adverse weather conditions. Navigation during entire flight was conducted using radio range and localizer beacons, including the instrument letdown to a normal landing at Newark, where visibility was only about 100 feet.  Along with the successful tests at Newark, this flight helped establish the basic principles that resulted in the development of practical ILS systems.

Planes & Trains:

Inspired by a contemporary photograph, the painting depicts a ‘race’ between the Army’s first aircraft, the Wright Military Flyer, also known as Signal Corps 1, and a B & O locomotive on its scheduled run between Washington, DC, and Baltimore, MD, October 16, 1909.   According to the New York newspaper story accompanying the photograph, Wilbur Wright was piloting the craft, although other stories put one of the Army pilots he trained at College Park at the controls. The reporter proclaimed the Wright aircraft the winner, although its top speed was only about 55 mph, and trains of the period were capable of twice that. Since the specific B & O equipment involved is not identified, the locomotive shown in the painting is a generic American 4-4-0, a type commonly used by the B & O on their Baltimore-Washington run. Artistic license was used to eliminate the numerous telephone poles then lining either side of the tracks, which run along the east-side of the College Park Airport.  These tracks are still in use, although the Washington DC Metro now shares the right-of-way with AMTRACK.

Nautical Prints

NS-1 Ford Trimotor at Newark, NJ.

Depicted is NS-1, a Ford Tri-motor 5-AT-101-D operated by the Aeronautical Branch of the Department of Commerce for the Bureau of Standards Radio Section, as it lands at Newark Airport, Newark, New Jersey, during March 1933. NS-1 was completely equipped for instrument flying to show that the latest in commercial airliners could utilize the new blind landing system installed at Newark Airport, one of the first commercial airports in the country to so equipped. James L. Kinney, Aeronautical Branch test pilot, Charles Lindbergh, and several senior airline pilots participated in these tests, which were carried out despite stormy and inclement March weather.  In conjunction with other successful tests, the more than 200 blind landings made by NS-1 demonstrated to the public the basic principles that resulted in the development of practical ILS systems.

Curtiss A1, First Wings of the Fleet

The Curtiss A-1, the first aircraft purchased by the United States Navy, shown at North Beach, California, in early Spring 1912.  Built by Glenn Curtiss at Hammondsport, New York, A-1 was delivered to the Navy in July 1911. At the controls is Lt. Theodore G. Ellyson, Naval Aviator No. 1, and beside him is Lt. John H. Tower, Naval Aviator No. 3.  Along side the aircraft is Chief Gunner’s Mate H. H. Wiegand, one of the first Navy enlisted men assigned to aviation duties.  A-1 was first used by the Navy’s pioneer aviators at the Naval Aviation Camp, located at Greenbury Point on the grounds of the Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland.  The inclement Maryland winter necessitated its transfer by train to the North Beach Naval facility near San Diego, California, where it was used for testing and training until it was returned to Annapolis, April 1912.

Planes & Trains: The President and the Cub

This limited edition of 50 prints is of a painting I completed in August 2006 (18" X 24", acrylic on gessoboard.)    It shows a Brinckerhoff Air Service Piper J-3 Cub flying over a Baltimore and Ohio Railroad express train on its run between Baltimore and Washington around 1940.  The pilot, George Brinckerhoff, operated the College Park Airport in Maryland for several decades. The locomotive is the "President Harrison," a Pacific P-7 (4-6-2) depicted in its original green and gold livery. It was one of a series of B & O locomotives built by Baldwin in 1927, and named after U.S. presidents.  These classic steam locomotives were gradually replaced by diesels in the 1950s.

All images on this website are copyrighed by Chas Downs, and may not be used without permission.