Vance Viking

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Role Racing aircraft
National origin United States of America
Manufacturer Vance Aircraft Company
Designer Claire K. Vance
First flight July 1932[1]

The Vance Viking, also called the Vance Flying Wing Express, and the Texas Sky Ranger, was a single seat, cargo and racing aircraft.[2]

Design and development[edit]

Vance founded the Vance Aircraft Corporation to build the "Flying Wing" design.[3] The aircraft was designed though a series of hand-carved wooden models before drawings were made, with the intention of it being a high speed, high altitude air-freighter with storage in thick wing lockers. Its short air racing history was interrupted by the 1932 death of its designer Clare Vance[4] who struck a fog-covered mountain at Rocky Ridge.[5]

The "Flying Wing" was a conventional long-range aircraft for the period with the exception of the two large booms aft of the cockpit supporting the twin tail surfaces and twin rudders, rather than a conventional fuselage. The tandem seat aircraft was converted to a single pilot aircraft that featured a radial engine, conventional landing gear (one tailwheel for each boom). Fourteen fuel tanks totaling 1,200 U.S. gallons (4,500 L; 1,000 imp gal) were interconnected inside the cantilevered mid-wing. The aircraft was of mixed construction, with an aluminum-covered welded steel tube fuselage. The wing used wooden wing spars with plywood covering. A forced air induction system was built into the wing roots with exhausts mounted near the trailing edges.[6]

Operational history[edit]

In 1932 the Viking dropped out of the Bendix Trophy race following fuel system issues.[7] In 1933 it was entered, but did not compete in the Bendix Trophy race.[8]

In 1934 Lt. Murray B. Dilley purchased the aircraft and production rights from Claire Vance's estate for $10,000 with the intention of racing the aircraft in the 1934 England-Australia MacRobertson Air Race.[9] Dilley only paid $2500 of the amount owned, and abandoned the aircraft in the desert near Palm Springs, California. During 1936 The Flying Wing was bought at auction in 1936 for $2500 by the Mason Aircraft Corporation. Clyde Pangborn planned on using the aircraft for a Dallas, Texas to Moscow Flight.[10] Later the aircraft was returned to tandem configuration, a radio compass was installed, it was re-painted red and white and christened "The Texas Sky Ranger". Roland W. Richards sponsored the aircraft as part of a publicity campaign for the Texas Centennial Exposition to fly to New York, Paris, visit London, Amsterdam, Madrid and Brussels and then return on a non-stop Paris to Dallas flight with Pangborn and Mony Mason as pilots.[11] Mason backed out by not meeting a commitment, but the flight was planned to continue independently with Pangborn with newspaper sponsorship.[12]

Specifications (Vance Viking)[edit]

Data from Flight

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Wingspan: 60 ft (18 m)
  • Fuel capacity: 1,200 U.S. gallons (4,500 L; 1,000 imp gal)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Pratt & Whitney Wasp Radial, 660 hp (490 kW)
  • Propellers: 2-bladed Hamilton Standard


  • Maximum speed: 174 kn; 322 km/h (200 mph)
  • Cruise speed: 139 kn; 257 km/h (160 mph)
  • Range: 6,517 nmi; 12,070 km (7,500 mi)
  • Service ceiling: 35,000 ft (11,000 m)


  • Automatic Pilot

See also[edit]

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
  • Emsco B-8 Flying Wing


  1. ^ Air pictorial: journal of the Air League, Volume 36. p. 64. 
  2. ^ Flying Magazine: 44. May 1948.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ "Claire Vance". Retrieved 30 December 2011. 
  4. ^ William T. Larkins, Ronald T. Reuther. San Francisco Bay Area Aviation. p. 41. 
  5. ^ "tailless aircraft in the USA". Retrieved January 30, 2011. 
  6. ^ "tailless aircraft in the USA". Retrieved January 30, 2011. 
  7. ^ Don Vorderman. The great air races. p. 187. 
  8. ^ "1933 National Air Races". Retrieved 30 December 2011. 
  9. ^ "The England-Australia Race". Flight. 23 August 1934. 
  10. ^ "Vance Flying Wing Plane Brings $2500". Berkley Daily Gazette. 2 June 1936. 
  11. ^ Jay Wells (17 July 1936). "Pangborn Plans Paris to Dallas non-stop flight". Berkley Daily Gazette. 
  12. ^ "Drop Sponsorship of Atlantic Flight". Berkley Daily Gazette. 20 July 1936. 

External links[edit]