The Great Great Lakes!

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Some of the pilots who made the Great Lakes famous:
Tex Rankin and Dorothy Hester
Harold Krier
Lindsey Parsons and Rod Joyceln 
Mel Barron and Hank Kennedy
Charlie Hillard and Frank Price
Betty Skelton and Joyce Chase 
Duane Trenton 

Eliot Cross and Paul Fiala a man from Texas who is one of the few who uses a Great Lakes to do airshow work today.

Tex Rankin was probably the first to make the Great Lakes Sport Trainer famous for Air Show work.
He set the record for most loops, inside and outside with 90 hp.  His GLST was built with some stronger and heavier.
Eventually he put in a super charged 150 hp  Menesco Engine.
Link to a page about this plane     
For more info and pictures on this great plane click on the picture above.   This plane is being rebuilt by a group out in Oregon.
Thanks go Bill Larkins for the pictures.  Dorothy Hester would work airshows with Tex for a time and she flew his plane.

Harold Krier was national aerobatics champion for many years.  He flew a modified Great Lakes with a 180 hp Warner Radial engine.  For a while he even had a wing walker platform on the top of the top wing and had a wing walker in the act!
Harold was from Kansas.  The plane is still in exhistance today in Kansas.   It was said of Harold ...his aerobatics were SMOOTH
Harolds plane in the earlier years    Harold Krier from Above...Mr Smooth     Mary Jo Peterson flew this in airshows for a while. This is the same plane Krier flew
Mary Jo Peterson is pictured on the right with the plane in recent years. She flew it in airshows for a while.

Lindsey Parsons and Rod Joycelyn went to one of the World Aerobatics contest in the early 1960's.  They both
had flown in airshows and competition in Great Lakes bipes.  They had Nick D'Appuso built a PJ-260 for that contest, but it
was destroyed in an accident on the ground.  So they flew someone elses GLST at the contest that year.

1962 World Aerobatic Contest
This is the plane Lindsey and Rod flew in the 62 world aerobatics contest in eastern Europe. This is a 1932 Lakes with a Warner Radial put on.   Here is Lindsey's personal Great Lakes he flew until he got the PJ-260. 
This is either Lindsey or Rod ready to go fly at the 62 World Aerobatics contest.  You can read more about what Lindsey had to say about the 62 contest at this page This is a picture of young Lindsey with the PJ-260.  The PJ-260 is NOT a modified Great Lakes. It uses the same airfoil,  and similar look to the wings, but that is where the resemblance ends.
It is built heavier and specfically for Air Show and competition work.


Mel Barron was a test pilot for several companies, including Pitts aerobatics.  But the plane Mel had for his own to play in was a Great Lakes sport trainer.  Mel flew in some airshows and just plane loved his Lakes.  It was powered by a 180 hp Warner radial and covered with Razorback materials. It had a very distinct paint job as you can see. The plane today is sitting in a hanger in pieces at The Antique Airplane Museum in Blakesburg Iowa awaiting for someone to restore it.

Mel out practicing in Wyoming when he had his GLST 
Click on picture to read articleCllick on picture to see page 2 of article click on picture to read page 3 of article
Thanks to EAA for this article on Mel's Great Lakes.  Click on each page to read it.
A picture of Mel out practicing in Wyoming.  Mel is retired and lives in PA now, and he still wishes he had this plane. He absolutely loved it!  

Airshow page 2 click here