This article is from Terry Bowden's Blog Barnstmr's Random Aeronautics, who has kindly granted permission to re-publish on

This month I'm posting the the following text and a few photos from Richard Epton of his Curtiss Robin J-1, NC781M. The following was originally published in the 3rd quarter 2008 issue of the Curtiss Robin Flyer.

Many of you may remember that Ron Waldron (and Harry Wooldridge) had been working on the restoration of a Robin J-1. What a beautiful job in completing this airplane! It was soon sold. The lucky caretaker of this wonderful bird is now Mr. Richard Epton of Brooks, GA. Here are some excerpts from Jim Haynes’ email, Jan 19, 2008:

"Hi Jim. Thank you very much for the call. I am very pleased to become involved in the Curtiss Robin ‘family’ following my purchase of N781M from Ron Waldron last year—My name is Richard Epton. I came to the USA from England in Jan 1980 and have lived just south of Atlanta ever since. I run a company based in Fayetteville, GA. I currently still own a Bucker Bu.181 Bestmann and the Curtiss Robin and my son owns the Twin Navion."

"When I collected the Robin from Ron, the wind was blowing pretty strong but straight down the runway. I asked Harry what rotation, stall, and over-the-fence speeds were and got the only response that a seasoned flier could give me.. 'It will tell you—you will know'. We lined her up and slowly advanced the J6-5 and sure enough, by the time the throttle was at the stop, the tail had come up on its own and we were airborne. Around the patch and setting her up was extremely easy with the elevator trim being very effective. Strong legs and arms were a benefit when I played sport and they came in handy with the Robin! A gentle giant and paperwork done took off for FZG (Fitzgerald) at 1800 rpm with the help of the headwind I saw a groundspeed of 53 mph. Arrival at FZG was uneventful and a crowd gathered immediately— She’s a hit wherever taken.

Robin had only 3-1/2 hours on the airframe and engine since restoration by Ron and his friend Harry, now has approx 12 hours on it. The presence of exhaust fumes in the cockpit was very noticeable after the collection flight. This became worse and eventually noticed that where the exhaust pipe (positioned under the engine) is welded to the collector ring, a weld had failed. Actually, whilst the weld was exceptionally pretty, there simply was not much of it and suspect that was not the required penetration. Prop and collector ring taken off for re-welding. Cracks were starting to go into the collector ring itself. The collector ring was new. The action of the exhaust pipe, going up and down, had created a crease on its sides which had also cracked. Had someone been pulling up and down on the exhaust pipe and caused this, I do not know, or was it simply the engine vibration—. Our answer was to re-weld and strengthen the attach point to the collector ring and to attach supports to the exhaust pipe from the engine sides, through the cowling, to a sleeve around the exhaust pipe underneath in the belief that the exhaust would then move with the engine in unison. — All comments welcome. Looking for any and all assistance re comment, ideas, tips, etc. etc.” —

Since 2008, Richard and his Robin have been active and flying around the Georgia area and seems to be a fixture at the Peach State Aerodrome. On 9-27-2011, Richard emailed me saying that he is planning to do an engine change on his Robin. He is putting his J6-5 engine up for sale (See the Curtiss Robin Page for details). The next time you see Richard and his Robin, it may be flying overhead with a Curtiss OX-5 engine.

To inquire about the J6-5 engine for sale, contact