1929 Brunner-Winkle "Bird", BK
The original Brunner-Winkle company was formed in 1926 as the Royal Aircraft Factory located at Roosevelt Field in Garden City New York. In 1928 A. Brunner along with William E. Winkle renamed the company the Brunner-Winkle Company and moved the headquarters to 17 Haverkamp Street in Glendale New York with Winkle as president and Brunner as secretary. Brunner was also involved with a major portion of the financial aspects of the company. In 1930, the company was reorganized as the Bird Aircraft Company with former commandant of the First Pursuit Group Major Thomas Lanphier as president. Continued financial difficulties forced the owners to sell to the Perth-Amboy Title Company who renamed the company (again) to the Speed Bird Corporation and relocated the headquarters (again) to Keyport New Jersey. The company closed for good in 1931.
The Brunner-Winkle "Bird" is a three-seat, open-cockpit biplane designed to earn its living as a utility aircraft. It possessed good short-field characteristics, good rate of climb, pleasant slow-speed characteristics and adequate cruise performance. Its short-field performance was so exceptional it approached that of an autogiro with a take-off run of 100 feet in no wind conditions and full control climb-out speed of 40 MPH. This overall performance combined with its gentle handling characteristics made it a joy to fly, especially for women pilots. Charles Lindbergh of New York to Paris fame was so impressed with the aircraft that he bought one for his wife, Anne Morrow Lindbergh. The durability of and popularity of this aircraft is shown by the fact that out of 220 Bird models of all types built, 70 are still in existence.
The Brunner-Winkle "Bird" was originally designed around the eight-cylinder water-cooled Curtiss OX-5 engine of 90 H.P. As stocks of that engine became depleted, the Brunner-Winkle firm standardized production of the "Bird" around the five-cylinder air-cooled Kinner K-5 engine of 100 H.P. Factory price was $4,095, and finally dropped to $3,895 at the depths of the Depression in 1930.
The 1929 Brunner-Winkle "Bird" at the Virginia Aviation Museum is on loan from Lt. Dolph Overton of Naval Air Station Kingsville, Texas.
Original Brunner-Winkle Bird "A" with the OX-5 engine.
Brunner-Winkle Bird "BK" with the Kinner K-5 engine