Acquired by Yanks: 2021
The conclusion of the Great War in 1918 saw the rapid rise of general aviation. While the veteran Curtiss Jenny dominated the post-war skies, by the late 1920’s pilots were seeking a design for purpose-built sport aircraft. The Great Lakes Aircraft Company responded with the 2T-1 in 1929. Lighter and smaller than many of its contemporaries, with a swept wing and rated for up to 9 positive g’s, the 2T-1 quickly became a favorite among stunt pilots like the famous “Tex” Rankin who in 1930 completed 19 consecutive “outside loops” thus setting a world record. He would repeatedly break his own record over the next few years. Sales for the aircraft would likely have been greater had the onset of the Great Depression not forced the company to close in 1936 with hundreds of orders never being fulfilled.
Love for the aerobatic qualities of the 2T-1 saw its revival in the 1960’s when the rights for the 2T-1 were privately acquired and the plans made available to home builders. Subsequent production runs of the 2T-1 were attempted by various individuals and small companies with rights to the design changing hands several times. In 2011, the WACO Classic Aircraft Corporation acquired the rights and began reproducing the T2-1A. The classic design, nearing one hundred years old, remains a popular choice for sport pilots to this day. While originally powered by Cirrus engines, many 21-1’s have now been re-engined with other 4 cylinder, in-line engines. This 2T-1A was equipped with a Menasco D-4 Pirate. This aircraft was acquired by Yanks in 2021.