Buhl-Verville CA-3 Airster

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CA-3 Airster
J4 buhlverville.JPG
Role Utility aircraft
Manufacturer Buhl
Designer Alfred Verville, Etienne Dormoy
First flight 1926
Number built 20[1]

The Buhl-Verville CA-3 Airster (also known as the J4 Airster, after its engine), was a utility aircraft built in the United States in 1926, notable as the first aircraft to receive a type certificate in the US,[2][3][4] (i.e. A.T.C. No. 1) issued by the Aeronautics Branch of the Department of Commerce on March 29, 1927.[5] It was a conventional single-bay biplane with equal-span unstaggered wings and accommodation for the pilot and passengers in tandem open cockpits. Marketed for a variety of roles including crop-dusting, aerial photography, and freight carriage, only a handful were built, some with water-cooled engines as the CW-3, and others with air-cooled engines as the CA-3 . One CA-3 placed second in the 1926 Ford National Reliability Air Tour.[6]

1926 Ford Air Tour, piloted by Louis Meister, and another (designated the CA-3A) placed third in the 1927 Air Derby, piloted by Nick Mamer. One CW-3 and one CA-3 each were evaluated by the United States Army as trainers, but neither were purchased.



  • CA-3 Airster (1926) aka J4 Airster or B-V Airster
    • 200 hp Wright J-4 (a.k.a. J-4 Whirlwind)
    • Folding wings
    • awarded the first ATC ever issued, March 1927 (ATC 1, 2-6)
    • one modified under ATC 2-6 as 2p with 220 hp Wright J-5 as a trainer for Army trials
  • CA-3A Airster (1926)
  • CA-3B Airster (1926)
    • one built
The CW-3 OX5 Airster (1925) with folding wings


  • CW-3 OX5 Airster (1925)[7]
  • CW-3 Wright Trainer (1926)
    • 220 hp Wright J-5
    • useful load: 885 lbs
    • range: 450 miles
    • one built for unsuccessful military trainer trials

Specifications (CA-3)[edit]

General characteristics

  • Crew: One pilot
  • Capacity: 2 passengers
  • Length: 24 ft 4 in (7.42 m)
  • Wingspan: 35 ft 8 in (10.87 m)


  • Maximum speed: 125 mph (200 km/h)
  • Range: 440 miles (710 km)
  • max useful load: 885 lbs

See also[edit]

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Verville Sport Trainer AT". Aviation-history.com. Retrieved 2014-05-09. 
  2. ^ "The First Federal Aircraft Type Certificate" (PDF). www.faa.gov. 1927. 
  3. ^ "ATCs". Aerofiles.com. Retrieved 2014-05-09. 
  4. ^ http://www.hoaircraft.com/VintageBuhlpdf.pdf
  5. ^ http://www.faa.gov/aircraft/air_cert/design_approvals/transport/Cert_Update/Edition01-10/media/Edition05.pdf
  6. ^ Forden, Lesley. The Ford Air Tours: 1925-1931. New Brighton Minnesota: Aviation Foundation of America, 2003, First edition 1972. No ISBN.
  7. ^ "Flight Global Magazine, April 8th, 1927, page 209". Flightglobal.com. 1926-04-08. Retrieved 2014-05-09.