As It Was: Pilots of Homebuilt Airplanes Become “Oregon Outlaws”

Jun 8, 2018

In 1921, Oregon became the first U.S. state through its State Board of Aeronautics to begin licensing pilots and certifying handmade aircraft.  Five years later the federal Air Commerce Act declared the aircraft “unsafe and illegal,” and those who continued to build and fly them became known as “Oregon Outlaws.”

Things changed in 1947 when George Bogardus assembled and flew a modified Long-Wimpy aircraft from Troutdale, Ore., to Washington, D.C., under a special license.  Finally convinced that homebuilt airplanes were safe and reliable, the Civil Aviation Authority created an “Experimental Aircraft” category.  For the first time, pilots could legally fly aircraft they had built themselves, and Bogardus eventually joined the Oregon Aviation Hall of Fame.

An aviation museum at Cottage Grove, Ore., houses artifacts for display and seeks to preserve the state's aviation history.  The museum is in the Jim Wright Field Hanger at 2475 Jim Wright Way.

Among the six pre-war homebuilt aircraft collected or being restored is a 1931 Springfield Cadet model, designed and built in Springfield, Ore., by Jim McManiman.  The aircraft is destined to be a static display and never fly again.

 

Sources: "Preserving Oregon's Rich Aviation Heritage for Future Generations." Oregon Aviation Historical Society. Accessed 24 May 2018; "Oregon Department of Aviation." Wikipedia, 15 May 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oregon_Department_of_Aviation. Accessed 24 May 2018.