Every Museum Artifact has a story to tell

From our Museum Director:

While researching a recent donation, happened across some great information and pictures of Orlan Corben.

Before Piper, Cessna, Kitfox, and Vans, before AOPA, CAP, EAA, and the FAA, there was Ace. Two decades after the Wright Brothers’ first flight, flying had become a rich man’s luxury. Mr. Orland G. “Ace” Corben saw the need for an aircraft that was safe, easy to fly, and inexpensive for the average person to build and operate.


In 1923, he began designing airplanes and five years later, he marketed the first homebuilt airplane, the Baby Ace, and with it, the Homebuilt Revolution began. A year later, Mr. Corben built the two-seat Junior Ace. These aircraft become the first popular homebuilt aircraft. In 1955, Mr. Paul Poberenzy, founder of the Experimental Aircraft Association, built a modified Baby Ace Model C as a three-part series in Mechanix Illustrated. The success of the articles caused an overwhelming interest in the renewed homebuilt aircraft movement which continues to this day.

– From the Ace Aircraft website http://www.aceaircraft.com/ who still sell these aircraft.


I found two great pictures of Corben with a compressed air model. First picture below is from Bert Pond’s book Expansion Engine Powered Model Aircraft , and the other is from the Instruction sheet for William Borthers’ 1:72 scale model of the Corben Super-Ace. Attached is the section from the book and a snippet from the instruction sheet.

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