APM Welch OW-8
Donated By: John Schildberg
The perky little Welch OW-8 now a part of the APM collection has been known to the AAA for many years. Its donor, the late John Schildberg of Greenfield, Iowa, was one of the premier antique airplane collectors in the country.
An early AAA life member, John always supported AAA/APM Fly-Ins big or small and hosted Iowa AAA Chapter activities at his private museum located on the Greenfield, Iowa Airport. The Welch that the APM now has was owned at one time by Ben Keillor (AAA M-126) at that time living in Canada and the Welch once Canadian registration CF-PMH. In an early issue of Antique Airplane News, Ben did a two page story on his efforts to restore and certify this particular airplane. Over the past 15 years this Welch artended most of our Annual Fly-Ins at Ottumwa and at Antique Airfield.
"Ace" Cannon AAA Life Member M-8598 who worked on most of John Schildbergs restorations bought the Welch over to many of our events and the black and orange Welch has been a popular exhibit. It is to our knowledge the only Welch in any air museum in the world. It is one of three known examples still in existence. Another Welch (complete) is in Minnesota and another basket case has been reported in Arizona.
Total Welch production is not known to us but Drina Welch Abel the sister of founder Orrin Welch is AAA Member M-13165 and has been dutifully researching the history of the company. Orrin Welch was lost in WW II while flying the Hump for the U.S.A.A.F.
Some highlights are in order to better understand the significance of the APM's acquisition. In the mid 1920's a company called the Anderson Airplane Company built airplanes at Anderson. Indiana. The APM has in its collection an Anderson Biplane but alas there is no connection, as our Anderson Biplane was built in Minnesota. A pioneer aviator by the name of Fred Parker was the main figure behind the Anderson Airplane Company of Anderson, In. Strangely enough Fred Parker (now deceased) also operated a flying service briefly sometime in the 'twenties at a long forgotten airport site near Ottumwa. He once attended one of our Annual AAA Fly-Ins at Ottumwa in the 'sixties. Possibly Orrin Welch was also involved in the Anderson Airplane Company.
After the Anderson Airplane Company folded, Orrin Welch started the Orrin Welch Aviation School at the same location. This developed into Welch Airplanes, later to move to South Bend, In. In 1940 it was known as Welch Aircraft Development and was located at Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
The Welch Airplane has numerous unique features including tires built by Welch. Drina Abel recalls assisting in the manufacture of these tires.
The Welch also featured the Welch 0-2 engine, a 2 cylinder of 45 h.p. similar to the Aeronca E-113 engine. The Continental A-40 or Aeronca E-113-A was also optional equipment. The APM's OW-8 has 55 h.p. Franklin installed. Ben Keillor did this conversion.
Often mistaken by museum visitors for a C-3 Aeronca the Welch is an entirely different airplane. It has some similarities but has its own personality and construction features. On 55 h.p. its a fair performer solo but is dreadfully blind and the overhead control column is somewhat peculiar. The APM Welch is in excellent condition and requires only TLC to keep it as an active part of the APM.
John Schildberg donated it to the APM only a few days prior to his untimely death in December of 1981. We are very proud to have the Welch and will maintain it as a memorial to John Schildberg and a tribute to Orrin Welch who concieved this design and despite the enormous problems of the great depression managed to produce and market an impressive number of Welch airplanes.
(Specifications for OW5M, Continental A-40 powered aircraft.)
Continental A-40, 37 HP (Welch O-2, Aeronca E-113-A also used)
(APM aircraft converted to 55 HP Franklin)
Weights and Capacities
Empty Weight: 515 pounds
Useful Load: 410 pounds
Payload: 210 pounds
Gross Weight: 954 pounds
Fuel Capacity: 10 gallons
Oil Capacity: 1 gallon
Wing Loading: 6.6 lb/sq. ft.
Power Loading: 23 lb/HP
Maximum Speed: 93 MPH
Cruising Speed: 83 MPH
Landing Speed: 29 MPH
Rate of Climb - first minute, sea level:350 ft/min.
Service Ceiling: 11,000 feet
Absolute Ceiling: 15,000 feet
Cruising Range: 250 Miles
Finish: Loening Yellow/Black Trim
Instruments: Altimeter, Tachometer, Oil Pressure, Oil Temperature, Switch, steerable tail wheel.