1948 Temco Swift GC-1B


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1948 Temco Swift GC-1B
1948 Temco Swift GC-1B

My current aircraft and work-in-progress is a 1948 Temco Swift GC-1B. I have owned it 15 years and fly it as often as my schedule permits.

The Swift is a two-seat (side-by-side) taildragger with a classic mini-fighter look. The most distinctive part of the aircraft is probably the grill work on the front cowl that almost makes the plane look like it is grinning. Another distinctive feature often commented-upon is the fixed slot on each wing just aft of the leading edge which matches the length of the aileron. It has hydraulically-operated retractable main landing gear and flaps.

This Swift, serial number 3580, is a Temco rather than Globe Swift, having been built after Temco Aircraft took over the Globe assets in a bankruptcy purchase. It is what people generally call a ‘Super Swift’ due to it’s larger engine. Swifts were manufactured with either an 85 HP Continental (GC-1A) or a 125HP Continental (GC-1B) engine.

Supplemental Type Certificates (STCs) may be obtained from the FAA by individuals or organizations which can legally modify the original Type Certificate used by the manufacturer to produce the aircraft. As you can imagine, obtaining an STC for an aircraft is an extensive and often exhausting process involving reams of paper and seemingly endless testing. Even so, the original Type Certificate Data Sheet (TCDS) for the Swift is A-766 (pdf) probably has one of the most extensive lists of available STCs of any of the Classic era aircraft.

This aircraft has more than ten STCs installed along with a few additional modifications added through the FAA Field Approval process.

Probably the most obvious modification is the installation of the Continental IO-360-KB engine, a fuel-injected, 6-clyinder opposed engine that produces 195 HP. The Engine drives a McCauley D3A36C436/74S three-bladed constant-speed propeller. This Swift is one of only 3-4 Swifts in the country which has a 3-bladed prop installed.

A gross weight increase STC is installed to take advantage of the greater horsepower. It raises the maximum take-off weight from the standard 1710 LBS to 1970 LBS. This was accomplished by installing stronger outer wing attachment fittings. This then permitted the installation of an outer wing tank STC that raises the fuel load from 26 GAL to 52 GAL to cover the higher fuel use of the larger engine.

Some other modifications include a one-piece windshield, larger P-51-style main landing gear doors, Cessna C-150 seats, a conversion from the original control yolks to stick controls and an electric pitch trim system.

The aircraft is polished with red trim. Thanks to the dry climate in Reno the polishing process only has to occur once or twice throughout the year. Of course, appearing at airshows where it rains can rapidly modify that schedule – as can failing to remove hand and fingerprints from the polished metal after an airshow. It doesn’t take long at all for the oils transferred from a person’s skin and left on the bare surface to oxidize the aluminum and turn the surface white. The Swift is polished using an electric Cyclo Polisher using very soft cloth (similar to un-dyed sweatshirt material) with Nuvite Aluminum Polish (generally Grade S).  The polisher and polishing materials are available at PerfectPolish.com, a West Coast Distributor.

The Swift Type Certificate is owned by the Swift Museum Foundation, Inc., the membership organization or Type Club for Swift owners. Some years ago the Foundation membership purchased the STC, the original tools and dies to manufacture parts and all of the parts inventory from Univair Corporation in Denver, CO. The Foundation now has its own parts store for the Foundation membership.