The Story of an Original Super Ace
Submitted by Robert Keahey of Plano TX

I will give you a brief overview of my Dad's plane and then will probably write more later.

My father is Harold V. Keahey (age 84) who lives in Bastrop, La. In 1939 or 1940 (can't quite remember, but I will verify this against his army records) he bought an already-built Super Ace from a Mr. Stephen Gill in Dumas, Ar. My father lived in Pickens, Ar at the time.

Dad has always been fascinated with flying (really anything mechanical, but especially planes). He built several wooden models as a boy that were amazingly realistic. In 1935 he attended an aircraft mechanics school at Dallas Aviation at Love Field, Dallas, Tx. In the spring of 39 or 40 he saw the Corben Super Ace at an airport in McGee, Ar and decided he had to have it. Sold his car and negotiated a price for the plane. Mr. Gill delivered the plane to my grandfather's farm and then drove back to Dumas. Dad was out plowing one of the back fields and when he got to the house the plane was out in the pasture. His father told him to "leave that thing alone for awhile" - the reason being that my father had never had any flying lessons. Of course, my father who is the epitome of impulsiveness could not "leave it alone."

He got in the plane and was taxing around the pasture - aka as the flying field. As he taxied, he got braver and before he knew it he had lifted off. Being trained on plane and engine construction, he was quite familiar with the essentials of flight. Getting the plane off the ground wasn't too much of a problem according to him. And, the flying part wasn't too bad either until he crossed the brake (similar to a small lake) and the thermals starting bumping him around. He decided he had better land and that's when the panic set in! He said he made a fairly decent approach, but since you can't see around the engine cowl, he looked over the side straight down at the ground instead of at the horizon. Everything was going ok until he looked up and saw the end of the field in front of him. Instead of killing the engine or going to full throttle and doing a touch and go, he gave it hard left rudder. Unfortunately, there was a fence and a steep drop-off directly in front of him. He went through the fence and ended up in the deep ditch with the tail of the plane sticking straight up in the air. Tore off the wings and landing gear and chewed the prop down to about 18 inches.

To make a long story short for now, he rebuilt the plane completely, went to Monticello, Ar and took 4 hours of flying lessons in a Cub. Had a fella test hop the rebuilt plane and then flew it quite successfully for several months. Broke the tail skid and when the welder was repairing it he caught the plane on fire and burned it up. Actually, the airframe survived fairly intact, but he was so distraught that he left the next day and joined the army. Was a B-17 mechanic for 4 years in England.

I have the propeller and landing gear. I think the fuselage is at my uncle's farm in Dumas. Don't know about the wings. Will try to locate them.

Well, that's about it for now. I will write more later. Hope you enjoy your plane. Dad said that once he got comfortable with the plane it was a real joy to fly. Very aerobatic.

Thanks Robert

Images and descriptions of Harold Keahey's Super Ace are located below.
Click on the thumbnails for larger images.

Waiting for the "test pilot" to take off.These pictures are of the plane after Dad rebuilt it after crashing. He decided to have a "test pilot" (who had a drinking problem as it turns out) test hop it for him. Dad is standing in the background.

Dad standing by the plane while the test pilot check out the instruments.

Running up the engine before takeoff.

Another view before takeoff.

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