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Title Northwest Airways Waco 125 Biplane
Date 1928-1936
Collection Aircraft & Flight Simulators
Object Name Airplane
Catalog Number 2011.103.1
Description Waco 125 aircraft, wood and chrome-molybdenum steel tubing frame covered with linen and epoxy painted in Northwest Airway black-and-gold livery with name "C.W. Holman" stenciled on fuselage.
Registration No.: NC4546
Serial No.: 1397
Manufactured Date: March 14, 1928
Manufacturer: Advanced Aircraft Company, later Waco Aircraft Co., of Troy, Ohio
Wingspan:30 ft., 7 in. (upper wing)
Length:23 ft., 9 in.
Height:9 ft.
Range:575 statute miles
Cruise Speed: 96 mph
Occupants:2 passengers and 1 pilot
Maximum Weight:2,060 lbs
Engines: Siemens-Halske SH-12 built in Berlin, Germany; distributed in U.S. by Ryan Aeronautical Co.
Thrust:125 hp
Propeller: Hamilton Standard
Fuel Capacity: 54.5 gallons with added center-section tank
Materials: Wood and chrome-molybdenum steel tubing frame covered with linen and epoxy
Price when New: $12,000
Height (in) 108
Length (in) 285
Width (in) 367
Provenance This aircraft is a rare version of the Waco 10 biplane built with Siemens-Halske SH-12 engine. It is the only aircraft of its kind remaining in the world.

Advanced Aircraft only made about 21 of these “Siemens-Waco” planes. The combination of 125-horsepower, 9-cylinder radial engine with the popular Waco biplane performed well, but the German engine was costly at $2,970, and various American radial engines in this power range were starting to appear.

Northwest Service
Purchased by Northwest Airways (later Northwest Airlines) in 1928, just two years after company's founding. Briefly operated, in its factory red-and-cream paint, for charters and sales demonstrations—Northwest had a Waco dealership—and flight instruction. Never used for scheduled Northwest mail or passenger service.

Northwest's Wacos
Northwest did fly Wacos in scheduled service, primarily to carry air mail, until 1936. Fleet included a Waco 10W, later modified into aerodynamic "taper wing" CTO model, and several taper wing Waco JYMs.

Waco mail planes initially flew between Chicago and Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, and between Milwaukee and Green Bay, Wisconsin. When winter storms covered runways with snow, Northwest outfitted its Wacos with skis.

Restoration & Donation
Retired Captain Daniel F. Neuman donated Waco 125 to Northwest in memory of his wife Vona Jean Neuman in 1985. Their son Dan Neuman, Jr., also a Northwest pilot, tells how his parents worked together on the restoration:

"My dad purchased the Waco biplane on March 18, 1957. The fuselage frame was being used as a windmill tower and due to rust it needed extensive rebuilding...My parents completed 95% of the restoration in three to four years. My mother worked alongside my dad during the restoration completing all the fabric work and the interior."

Paint Scheme
Initially restored to its original factory paint job of Stearman Vermillion Red and cream. Repainted in 1985 in vintage Northwest Airway black-and-gold livery. Name "C.W. Holman" stenciled on fuselage honors Northwest's first chief pilot Charles "Speed" Holman, a famous acrobatic flier.
People Holman, Charles Willis, 1898-1931
Search Terms Waco 125
Northwest Airlines
Northwest Airways
Subjects Aircraft
Air mail service
Credit line Gift of Daniel F. Neuman in memory of Vona Jean Neuman to Northwest Airlines