There are certain airplanes that, once you get a desire to own one, nothing else will do. The Temco GC-1B, also known as the Swift, is one of those airplanes — just ask Dan Cammack of Dodge City, Kan.
“I have owned a J-3 Cub and Beech Bonanzas, but this is my first Swift,” he said.
Cammack, who has owned the Swift for eight years, estimates he puts about 50 hours a year on the plane, mostly taking it on short trips to visit family and to air shows and fly-ins where people gather around it like it’s a rock star.
When the Swift first rolled off the assembly line in 1946, it became a favorite of men who had flown the high-performance P-51 during World War II, so much so that in some circles it became known as “the poor man’s Mustang.”
Cammack’s Swift originally had a 125-hp Continental engine, but when it was rebuilt in 1991 by the previous owner, it became a Super Swift, boasting a 210-hp Rolls Royce engine, a sliding canopy, a stick instead of a yoke, and P-51 landing gear doors. “Because of the larger engine, it got a weight increase and a change in CG,” he said. “Basically, it looks like a little hot rod.”
Cammack’s contribution was upgrading the avionics, adding a KLN 94 and Garmin 496, which help him fly in instrument conditions. “There’s nothing more that I want to do with the airplane,” he said. “I have it the way I want it. I am done!”
Keeping the plane gleaming takes a lot of elbow grease, he said, noting its finish is a combination of teal used in the automotive industry and polished aluminum.
“When I need touch-up paint I go to the Chrysler dealership,” he said. “About once a year I tape off the airplane with 2-inch masking tape and spend a month in the hangar buffing the aluminum.”
Is it worth it? “You bet,” he smiled.