The home of everything related to Twin Navion and Camair aircraft
You're right. I did obtain my multiengine rating in a Riley Twin Navion, N119N (TTN-51). It was owned by
the Acme Meat Packing Company in Los Angeles, and I was retained to fly cattle buyers to various feed lots in California and
Arizona. I did this while going to college for about two years. After that, the owner traded the Twin Navion for a Cessna
310, so I only flew it for about 2 years (1956-1958).
It was a beautiful airplane, red and white with a gorgeous red-and-white interior. I wish that I had taken more photos of
the airplane. I have only the three that I attached to this email.
In the third photo, you'll notice a large hole on the right side of the nose. This was the result of the right engine
throwing a propeller blade. I don't know much more about the incident than that, because it happened a few months after Acme
sold the airplane. I would imagine, though, that the event grabbed the pilots attention.
At one point, the owner of the airplane, Paul Blackman of Acme Meat Packing, was landing at the Imperial County Airport,
which is south of the Salton Sea in Southern California. When he lowered the nose after touchdown, the nose gear simply
folded into its wheel well. Both engines had to be majored and the props had to be replaced. A couple of months later, I
flew to Imperial in a Bonanza Airlines' DC-3 to pick up the repaired twin.
I took off from Imperial with the mechanic and made a short local flight to ensure that all was okay before bringing the
airplane back to Santa Monica. We landed and guess what? The nose wheel collapsed again. You cannot imagine the frustration
of all involved (including the insurance company).
The third takeoff from Imperial was a charm. After the engines had been majored and the props replaced for the second time,
everything worked well, and I made it back to Santa Monica safely.
I truly enjoyed flying the Twin Navion, but I was already a devoted Navion fan. Prior to buying the Twin Navion, the owner
had owned a 260-hp, single-engine Navion (N5227K) that I got to fly quite a bit.
Purchased new, N119N replaced a single Navion before being replaced by a Cessna 310.
Photo courtesy of Barry Schiff