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1920s - The Beginning of Ace Aircraft

1920 - At the age of 16, Mr. Corben co-purchases a Curtiss Jenny and begins making aerial newsreels for Selnick Studios and barnstorming. [1][2]

October 1921 – Aeronautical Digest Publishing Corporation begins publishing Aeronautical Digest magazine.

1923 - Later Corben marketing materials will claim that in 1923, Mr. Corben starts the Corben Aircraft Company and begins designing his first aircraft. [3] However, nothing is known about this company or the aircraft he designed.

March 1924 – Aeronautical Digest Publishing Corporation ends publication of Aeronautical Digest magazine.

April 1924 - Aeronautical Digest Publishing Corporation begins publishing Aero Digest magazine.

May 20, 1926 - The Air Commerce Act becomes law and creates an Aeronautics Branch under the U.S. Department of Commerce.

January 1927 - The U.S. Government begins assigning registration numbers to aircraft.

August 1927 - William B. Ziff creates Popular Aviation magazine.

1928Aeronautical Bulletin 7A is published by the Aeronautics Branch of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Aircraft which meet the requirements of this document are issued Approved Type Certificates. Approved Type Certificates incorporate both aircraft design approval as well as aircraft production approval.

December 21, 1928 – The Topeka Aeronautical Service announces it will be manufacturing a parasol monoplane beginning in January. The aircraft will sell for $850. [4]

1929 - Department of Commerce aircraft registration records indicate that an aircraft listed as "Topeka #1" is registered to O. G. Corben, 631 Jackson Street, Topeka, KS. The aircraft is assigned registration number NX582.

May 1929 – The open cockpit Baby Ace appears in Aero Digest. The article claims that the Baby Ace was designed by the Topeka Aeronautical Service. The Baby Ace is powered by a 27 hp Henderson engine. It has a top speed of 70 mph, cruised at 60 mph, and landed at 30 mph. [5]

Span – 25 ft.
Chord – 4.5 ft.
Length – 16.5 ft.
Height – 6 ft.
Wing Area – 108 sq. ft.
Empty Weight – 300 lbs.
Useful Load – 200 lbs.
Gross Weight – 500 lbs.
Fuel Capacity – 5 gals.

July 17, 1929 - Ace Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation is incorporated. Twenty-five thousand shares are issued at $2 each. Governor Clyde Reed and Senator Henry Allen serve as members of the board including Mr. Corben, George Siedhoff, C. A. Noll, Hal Black, and Arnold Todd. [6] The company is initially located at 500 E. Harry Street. Ace Aircraft is the 16th airplane factory in Wichita, KS. It is claimed that the Baby Ace was previously manufactured in Oklahoma. [7] Sources in Oklahoma have been unable to confirm this claim.

1929 - Mr. Corben sells the Baby Ace as the first popular homebuilt aircraft. The aircraft was available as a kit or could be built from plans. The number of factory-built aircraft is unknown but considered to be at least 5. [8]

November 1929 – The Baby Ace appears in a full-page advertisement in Aero Digest. [9]

December 1929 – Ace Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation moves to 1016 S. Santa Fe, Wichita, KS.

December 1929 – The Baby Ace appears in an advertisement in Aero Digest. The flyaway (ready-to-fly) price is $1,895. [10]

1 http://www.aviationhalloffamewisconsin.com/inductees/corben.htm
2 Dzik, S. "'Ace' Corben and the 'Baby Ace' Story," Sport Aviation, August 1965, p. 6
3 Corben Aircraft, the final (Blue Cover) catalog of the Corben Sport Plane Company, Madison, WI
4 “Tiny Topeka Ship To Sell For $850,” Eve Eagle, December 21, 1928
5 “Baby Ace Monoplane,” Aero Digest, May 1929, p. 108
6 “Wichita Plane Firm Approved,” Wichita Beacon (Eagle), July 7, 1929
7 Western Flying, October 1929
8 Rowe, J and Miner, C., Borne on the South Wind, Inside Cover, 1994
9 Aero Digest, November 1929, p. 169
10 Aero Digest, December 1929, p. 277


Page last updated: Tuesday, October 30, 2012