15AC-288 – OB-LBE (06)

Below is Bub Borman's fascinating report about this 1948 Sedan and others that were used in South America:


"Hi Matt, I think I can help you on the “Knockers” that the Jungle Aviation and Radio Service (JAARS) flew in Peru. JAARS is the air service arm of a larger organization, Wycliffe Bible Translators and its sister organization, the Summer Institute of Linguistics. I’ve been a member of Wycliffe Bible Translators since 1949. I went to Peru in 1950 and worked with the JAARS program there until 1953. Hence my acquaintance with 15AC-288 (N1273H, OBM-255/OB-LBE), 15AC-296 (N1280H, OBM-245/OB-LAY/CP-659), N1310H (OBM-277/OB-LBP) and N1400H. I married in 1953 and my wife and I moved to Ecuador where we began a Bible translation project with the Cofan people. We had both felt the call of God to translate the Scriptures for a Bibleless tribe, and this took precedence over my desire to continue in aviation work. With the arrival of N1400H, I did work part time with JAARS, assisting our pilots in maintenance. I mostly did maintenance and flew co-pilot on our larger planes, but eventually did solo H1400H off Limoncocha, our lake where we had our jungle center in EcuadorAs for our Bible Translation project, we finished and dedicated the New Testament in 1980. Further work on the Old Testament resulted in a book with about a quarter of the Old Testament which was combined with a reprint of the New Testament in 1998. We have since retired and live in DallasTX I’m 84 now, but have a lot of good memories.


OBM-255/OB-LBE's history with JAARS: In 1950, registered as N1273H, it was donated to the JAARS as a gift from students of the Missionary Union at the Biola College of Southern California. Frank Mathis flew it from Los Angeles to Panama, where he was met by Larry Montgomery to take it to Pucallpa, Peru. It became Peru's second Aeronca (after 15AC-296), was registered as OBM-255/OB-LBE and flew there for five years, until May of 1955, when it initiated the Bolivian flight program. (It had been rebuilt in 1952; I worked on this rebuild.) It then flew in Bolivia with no registry change, until March 1958, when it was returned to Peru and continued to serve four more years, until 1962, when sold to a missionary in Brazil. Later, it was again purchased, brought back to the United States and restored by the Missionary Maintenance Service in Coshocton, Ohio, to be placed on display in the hangar at the JAARS-Townsend Airport (N52), Waxhaw, North Carolina, where it may be seen today (photo 06). 


I dug out two pictures of our work on restoring the plane, back in 1952. In the jungles of Peru in those days we didn't have any FAA inspectors to even think about, so we just did what was to be done, as we saw fit. OBM-277/OB-LBP had arrived with a second door on the left. We decided to add one to OBM-255/OB-LBE, too. We made it a bit smaller. Jim Price is welding in the door frame (photos 02, 03). Even the metal we used would have been frowned on by the FAA – it was cut from discarded gas drums! I am glad to say that, today, JAARS is compliant with FAA regulations, but those were the real "bush" days!


Of the two planes flying over our Yarinacocha base and the Ucayali River near Pucallpa, Peru (photos 04 and 05), the one on the right is OBM-255/OB-LBE and the one on the left is OBM-277/OB-LBP. 


Bub Borman"


(This page last updated: 12/2014)


Click on the thumbnails to view the pictures in full size.

Photos © Bub Borman (01-03, 06), Swiss Foto (04-05)

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