Model Airplane News
October, 1958

Model Airplane News Cover for October, 1958 by Jo Kotula Consolidated Model 14 Fleet Biplane

Consolidated Model 14 "Fleet Biplane"
Model Airplane News Cover Art for October, 1958
by Jo Kotula
Click to Enlarge

Consolidated Aircraft of Buffalo N. Y. produced a successful Husky series of military training aircraft. They developed the "Fleet" in 1928 to target the civilian market. The biplane was named for Maj. Reuben Fleet who was a war hero and director of Consolidated Aircraft. Fleet Aircraft Inc. was set up as a subsidiary corporation headed by Larry Bell, who was later to become famous for the P-39 Airacobra and other military aircraft.

The Consolidated Model 14 Fleet Biplane and PT3 Husky      The Consolidated Model 14 Fleet Biplane

Consolidated Model 14 "Fleet Biplane"
Left picture: Top: Model 14 "Fleet" Bottom: PT3 "Husky"
Click to Enlarge

In order to attract the civilian buyer the plane was designed around a relatively inexpensive 110 hp engine especially for a machine that would only be used to teach flying. The engine initially chosen for the Fleet series, the Warner "Scarab", was probably the best of the new engines then appearing on the market in the 90-120 hp range and the Fleet found widespread acceptance very quickly as a civilian training machine. Formally the planes were known as the Consolidated Model 14.

Throughout the 1930s Fleets were common everywhere in the United States, but they were particularly popular on the coasts. In the east, for example, the Roosevelt Flying School of New York operated Fleets for many years. In Southern California, Fleets were available at almost every airport where, quite unlike today, a considerable number of impending bankrupts, called "fixed base operators," scratched a precarious living renting them out to "Sunday Flyers" and providing flying instruction (of a sort) in half-hour increments. The rental was almost always the same whether the owner-operator went along to provide "flying instruction" or not. His services came free. The charges for Fleets ranged from $6 to $8 per hour with the poorer Los Angeles area fields like Dycer or Culver City offering the lower prices.

Here is a video of a restored Consolidated Model 14 "Fleet Biplane":

Click Here for more information about the Consolidated Model 14 "Fleet Biplane".

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