By STAN KASPRZYK

FlightLog Archive


Flying the 1946 Swift - Nov 2004

While in California for work, I had been discussing flying with Jim Cummiskey, who has been involved in some projects with our extended team in the past. Jim's the proud owner of a Globe Swift, and he suggested that we get together sometime for a flight.

As my project work in California was ending, I contacted Jim and we set aside a few hours for a flight and lunch, before I headed north from LAX. I met Jim just before noon on a gorgeous November day, and followed him to John Wayne/Orange County airport.

Arriving at Jim's hangar, we proceeded to pre-flight his beautiful Globe GC-1B Swift. Built in 1946, the Globe Swift was first produced to take advantage of the post-World War II demand for personal aircraft with fighter performance.

The airplane was originally designed to use only 85 hp, but the 125-hp, six-cylinder O-300 Continental quickly became the standard. Jim's Swift is powered by a 210HP Continental IO-360, nearly double the airplane's original 125 HP. This and other modifications have earned the 'Super Swift' moniker on Jim's cowl. Jim mentioned that he'd like to replace his current yoke configuration with sticks, but that mod is still on the future list.

Airplanes that are pleasing to the eye are also sometimes a bit hard to get into, and the Swift is no exception. The Swift has a unique hinged overhead panel that we popped in place after we got in the cockpit, plus side windows that slide up into place. Jim cranked the engine and we had a short taxi between airliners as we made our way to Runway 19 at John Wayne airport.

We accelerated quickly on takeoff, and Jim handed over the controls right after takeoff. We were cleared for a VFR departure to the west, so I turned toward the coast in the climbout. The Swift has some very nice aileron forces, giving the airplane a very responsive feel. Visibility is quite good from the cockpit, even in the climbout. We continued out over the Pacific, then headed northbound toward LAX.

Over the water, Jim demo'd the Swift's responsiveness with a rapid aileron roll - nice maneuverability. We then headed north just west of Long Beach, overflying the Queen Mary, and getting an in-flight look at the Goodyear Blimp, which I'd had the pleasure to fly the month before.

We requested an LAX overflight en route to Santa Monica, and were cleared for the LAX Mini-Route. Visibility was gorgeous as we crossed over the east end of LAX at 2500 feet, and I then let down for a visual approach into the Santa Monica airport. Since my taildragger time is still way too low, and since Jim wanted to keep his baby safe, I transferred control after flying the pattern and establishing the Swift on short final for Runway 21, where Jim made a beautiful 'showoff' landing.

We taxied up in style to the now closed Typhoon Restaurant, and enjoyed a delicious Thai/Pan Asian feast while enjoying the flight activity at Santa Monica airport. I had to use a taxi to catch my return airliner flight from LAX, but not before saying a fond goodbye to the Swift.

Thanks for the taste of the Swift, Jim. Let me know when the stick modification is complete, and I'll be back!