By Randy Dufault
Dave Reichard wasn’t looking for a rare airplane when he began searching for a plane to exercise his newly minted sport pilot certificate in. At the time, an Aeronca Champ seemed like the logical choice since that was his mount for most of his training.
A for-sale listing changed that decision.
“I have a friend who looks at all the antique listings,” Dave said. “He told me one day, ‘Hey Dave, there’s a Porterfield for sale.’ And I said to him the same thing that everyone says to me when I say I have a Porterfield, ‘What’s a Porterfield?’”
A trip to a private airstrip in Kentucky followed, and Dave purchased the plane.
“My friend that told me about it has lots of tailwheel time in lots of different types. A friend who is my mechanic and is an IA and I went down … and we checked it out,” Dave said.
After some back and forth over the paperwork, Dave paid for the craft. Test flights demonstrated it had no bad tendencies and was a sweet-flying airplane.
A 7.3-hour cross-country effort brought the plane here to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2017 from its current home in the Dayton, Ohio, area. Eighty mph cruise speeds, and a particularly short range, make such trips a lengthy affair.
Dave last brought the plane to Oshkosh in 2014, shortly after he purchased it.
“In 2014, I met several other Porterfield owners, and one of them told me that there were 24 flying examples in the world,” Dave said. “A fellow I met this past [weekend] has one that’s bent, so there might only be 23 right now.”
“I have not met another Porterfield owner, except online or at AirVenture,” he added. “I’ve not seen another Porterfield [airplane].”
Porterfield built airplanes for a short period before World War II, and this LP65 (Lycoming powered) model was one of its last efforts. A tornado damaged this particular craft in the 1970s, and, according to Dave, it spent nearly 30 years of its 77-year life not flying. Restoration eventually happened, and the completed project appeared in the September 2008 issue of EAA’s Vintage Airplane magazine.
All Porterfield models are compliant, type-certificated light-sport aircraft.
Dave has added about 100 hours, half of his total time as a pilot, to the LP65 since he purchased it. He enjoys bringing it to fly-in events around the Dayton area, and is always ready and willing to answer the “What is it?” question.
“That’s what happens when you own a rare airplane,” Dave said.