1937 Waco Added to Spirit of Flight

Nampa, Idaho, Monday, January 15, 2024:  The Spirit of Flight Foundation museum announced that a rare 1937 Waco EGC-7 Cabin class biplane has been donated to the museum collection.

“The Waco Aircraft Company in Troy, Ohio only built 38 EGC-7 biplanes in 1937 and 30 of those went to Brazil,” said Gordon Page, President of the Spirit of Flight Foundation. “None of the Brazilian aircraft are known to still exist and only seven other examples are known to have survived,” he added.

Waco Aircraft produced the “Custom Cabin” biplane in the late 1930s and a buyer could specify almost any available engine at the time to power their plane.  The Custom Cabin series was known as a sesquiplane, meaning the lower wings were significantly smaller than the upper wings.

Mike and Sherrie Walton of Cave Creek, Arizona purchased the Waco EGC-7 in 2020 as a project with a goal to restore it to original, flying condition and fly it to airshows and gatherings around the United States.  After transporting the Waco to Arizona, Mike began work immediately and completely disassembled the plane, down to the steel tube fuselage frame. Repairs were made to the fuselage while landing gear and other components were overhauled.

“The Waco was ahead of it’s time,” said Mike Walton.  “It was like a business jet is used today, hauling executives and celebrities, just a lot slower,” he added.

Walton knew that the Spirit of Flight Foundation had a Waco on their wish list and he contacted the museum in 2023.

“We really like what the Spirit of Flight Foundation is doing to save history and felt like the Waco would be a great addition to their collection,” said Walton.

He and his wife decided the Waco was ready to go to a new home where the restoration could be finished, so they donated the rare biplane to the museum.

“I think every pilot or aviation enthusiast who has ever seen a Waco Cabin biplane falls in love with them,” said Gordon Page. “I never thought we would be able to add one to the Spirit of Flight museum, but thankfully Mike and Sherrie made a wish list item come true,” Page went on to say.

The Spirit of Flight Waco EGC-7 was ordered new in 1937 by Glover Ruckstell, who was the inventor of the Ruckstell Axle used in the Ford Model T and Model T Truck. He was the President and General Manager of Grand Canyon Boulder Dam Tours of Boulder City, Nevada when Ruckstell ordered the plane by from Waco. The plane was impressed into World War II and was later owned by Charles Babb, signer of Amelia Earhart’s pilot’s license.

Spirit of Flight recently transported the Waco biplane from Arizona to Nampa, Idaho for restoration.

“It’s like a big, wooden jigsaw puzzle, but we have all of the plans and some skilled restorers on our team to help get it back it the air,” said Gordon Page. “I am looking forward to flying it and thinking about the aviation pioneers who flew it before me.”

Waco #4588 EGC-7 NC17749 1940s
Waco 1937 Cabin