Originally Posted by Harris Hawk
That is the Hortman Triplane, built by Norman Hortman on Long Island. Cole bought that one from Hortman's widow, (he was killed flying another plan he had built, no further comments needed here!) and wanted to install a rotary engine. The one Cole built was taking a beating flying and he thought this would be the replacement. It was originally equiped with a radial, and Cole thought the conversion to a rotary would be quick and easy. It wasn't. He soon found that there was not enough room for the carb, and the project became more than he was willing to do. Enter the Winter triplane, aka the one Heater crash. Around 1988 or 89, New England Air Museum took the plane on loan, and I think it's still there. Someone did some work on it there, it looks a bit less tattered than the above photo shows. It remains "lightly built" and I would think Cole's decision not to fly it was a wise one. Hortman did fly it once with the radial engine, Cole said, but he collapsed the gear on landing. Hortman re-built the gear, but parked it and went on to his next, and presumably last, project.
I know this response is late, but the post was just brought to my attention. I am Norman's son Herb, and I thought that I would update some wrong information for the less than informed poster.
1. Norm lived in Pennsylvania. He owned and operated 2 airports (Flight schools and charter operations) there. He did have ties to NY as a senior Captain for TWA flying B707s and B747s with over 45,000 hours (1938-1973).
2. Cole purchased the aircraft in 1969 or 1970 from my father, not my Mom.
3. The gear on the triplane did not collapse during a landing. While performing a high speed taxi test, the airplane caught a gust of crosswind. Due to the inherent instability of the airplane, it ground looped. (I have the 8mm film that shows the whole episode.) The aircraft flew twice since that incident, but my Mom insisted that Norm not fly it again.
4. Norm's next project was a J3 Cub that he completed (N91938).
5. Norm was not killed in the Cub, but rather in a PA 32-260 Cherokee Six (N5507J, view the NTSB accident report). He took the aircraft in trade on a Grumman AA5 (N5887L). While bringing the Cherokee Six back from Nashville after the trade, he succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning (bad muffler) and crashed into a hill in West Virginia on 4/22/1974.
6. My Dad and Cole remained good friends until my Dad's death and spoke often of the triplane. The only reason Cole elected to end the project was the sheer amount of work & expense to switch the engine.
It would be nice if you would research your facts!