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Northrop Y1C-19 “N” Listings Northrop Beta 3D

Northrop Beta 3
Two-seat all-metal low-wing sport monoplane


Archive Photos

Northrop Beta 3, X963Y, c/n 1, mfg 4/4/1931 (Northrop)

Northrop Beta 3 Overview


After the Northrop Alpha, the next design of the Northrop Aircraft Corporation was a trim low-wing all-metal two-seater. With private and personal aviation slowed by the onset of economic depression, it appears to have been a poor time to introduce a new plane "for the sportsman pilot." Still, there were some who had survived the stock-market crash and were willing and financially able to obtain the latest in airplanes just to fly for fun.

The new small tandem-seat Northrop plane continued to the Greek-letter sequence and was called the Beta. In another collaboration with Northrop, Al Menasco supplied one of his C-6 Buccaneer engines to power "the sportsman's version of the Northrop Alpha." The planes monocoque fuselage faired neatly with the six-cylinder in-line engine. A special cowl, incorporating an air scoop, completely enclosed the 160-hp Menasco. The Beta's clean lines and Alclad natural-metal skin, left unpaid, was enough to attract potential buyers at any airport. The shiny ship resembled a racer.

Test flights and evaluation trials were performed by Edmund T. Allen, long associated with the Boeing airplanes and the United Aircraft holding company. Allen made a fast run from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City and then onto Detroit in only 15 hours and 43 minutes flying time. Bundled in the open-cockpit ship, he cruised "the high altitude route" over the Rockies at 145 mph, and "with no effort." This performance and the subsequent exhibit of the plane at the Detroit Air Show caused a minor sensation.

On 8/12/1931, during a Department of Commerce certification flight, Lester J. Holoubek, the department's resident inspector, took the shiny little Beta 3 up for a series of certification flights. During the flight, Holoubek had trouble with the ailerons and found the ship unmanageable. Allen had experienced the same problem during an earlier flight and was able to land the aircraft safely. However, unlike Allen, Holoubek had no great affection for the little airplane and elected to leave by parachute. The little Beta 3 augured itself into a Glendale hillside and was completely destroyed.

Specifications and Performance Beta 3


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Credits and Works Cited



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