Staggerwing & Weary Triumph
Classic Lithographs Museum Quality Aviation Litho Prints
Painted in oil by R. A. Benjamin
Examples of Benjamin's work are on display in the San Diego Aerospace Museum--the Pearson Air Museum in Vancouver, Washington--and the U.S. Air Force Program collection. He is also the artist behind a sizable collection of art work to be displayed in the AMA Museum in Muncie, Indiana.
What many people did not realized is that Benjamin is as dedicated to model building as he is to aviation art. Starting out in 1950 with simple solid models, he progressed through a succession of control line aircraft and a few free flight ones, then began flying RC in 1962 with the single-channel equipment that was commonly used at the time. While he continues to create scale like sport designs for relaxed flying. Benjamin's primary involvement today is with RC Scale. He also has become committed to electric power, having used it exclusively for the past several years.
In 1991 Benjamin became the first modeler to qualify for and compete in the Scale Master Finals using an electric-powered model.
The Beech 17 "Staggerwing" - This beautiful piece of artwork depicting a Staggerwing Beechcraft, is the a fine aviation print. Depiction of the classic Beechcraft Model 17 "Staggerwing" creates an appreciation of the glamour of the big, beautiful cabin biplane and of the command of the sky that went with flying it. At the same time, it evokes the nostalgic appeal of aviation in a simpler time, when navigation consisted of accurate course and time keeping and a good eye for landmarks. In a day before VHF Omni ranges existed and when radio navigation equipment of any kind was uncommon in a private airplane, the pilot of this Staggerwing, on a long cross-country flight, has descended over a hole in towering later afternoon clouds, where his navigation said the airport should be, and sees the welcoming flash of the airway beacon glowing out of the gathering darkness. Soon the big radial engine will rumble to a stop and begin to cool in the still evening air, the sleek Beech will be fueled and tied down for the night, and her pilot will relax and savor the rewards of good airmanship.
The Staggerwing recreated here is a model F-17D, powered by a 300-horsepower Jacobs engine. While the Model 17 existed in several variations differing mainly in the engine installed, the F-17 is typical of the series. This variation was produced between 1938 and 1942, with most being built during 1939. An expensive, state-of-the-art private and business airplane in its day, the Beech 17 is now a highly prized antique actively sought by collectors and restorers.
The current status of NC 18786 is not known by the artist. In model form the Staggerwing has always offered great appeal, but its complexity has kept it from becoming a common sight at flying fields, as a skilled touch is required to reproduce the design as an accurate flying model. For most modelers who have acquired the design as an accurate flying model. For those modelers who have acquired the requisite mastery of skills and patience, the Beech 17 promises the reward of honest flight characteristics and the superb appearance of true classic.
Appeared on the cover of the April 1993 issue of Model Aviation Magazine
24" x 32"
From a distance of 50 years, we can at best imagine the sense of apprehension with which the men of TF17 went forth to meet the enemy.
The isolation of that time and the knowledge of our eventual victory of this war tests our ability to appreciate the uncertainty, the fear and the dedication to their mission that these men experienced.
Hopefully, this painting will enable us to focus our imagination on the numbing fatigue, the pain at the though of friends newly dead in battle, and the soaring joy of having met and vanquished the enemy.
That and more must have crowded the minds of these few Naval aviators at the moment the returning SBDs located Enterprise in the gathering dusk and circled into a landing pattern above the carrier
Appeared in the centerfold of Model Builder in May of 1993
22" x 28"