MOONEY M-18, NUMBER 1
This item was submitted by Frank Badalson of Richmond, VA. Frank is the nephew of Charles Shearer, one of the owners of N3199K, Serial Number 1, as mentioned in our article about the airplane.
My first recollection of “The Mooney” was in our basement at 322 Irvington St in Eastover/Glassmanor, MD. It must have been 1959-60, possibly earlier. Uncle Chuck (Charles D. Shearer) would often talk to us (his son, my cousin, David and me) about The Mooney. I, of course, had no idea what Mooney was. To me it was the name of a plane in the basement workshop, in many pieces. I had no idea it was an official name.
Uncle Chuck worked for United Airlines at the time, and at the family restaurant at Eastover Shopping Center. He was an excellent mechanic and could build and/or fix anything, and he was detail oriented. He often brought us United Airlines “stuff”. I still have some of that memorabilia. We knew he was a pilot and often talked to us about flying. Uncle Chuck also often gave us gold and black AOPA stickers and decals. They were sort of a “winged” decal and they intrigued us. David and I went flying with Uncle Chuck on several occasions. I cannot remember the different planes, but I do recall they were mostly four seat, single prop planes. He would often let us take turns flying. It was Hyde Field we flew from and it was always a big thrill for us on any Saturday that we did this.
We often helped Uncle Chuck work on the Mooney. I clearly remember the wings, the fuselage in two pieces, wheels, tail, prop, gauges and many parts. I remember he always had “dope” around. we thought it was some sort of paint and we always got a kick out of the stuff being called “dope”; I do remember it smelled awful. David and I would often play in the front seat. It was a one-seater so we had to take turns “flying” it! The whole plane was in the basement workshop.
Over time, as the assembly of the Mooney progressed, I do recall Uncle Chuck stating that it was nearing time to move the Mooney. It had reached a point where no more assembly could take place in the basement. I recall a time when someone came over with an open trailer and we helped load the assembled parts on the trailer. Everything was removed via the basement entrance, which was a full size door. I do not recall whom it was that helped and I do not recall where the Mooney went. (We assume it had to be Hyde Field)
Uncle Chuck’s second son, my cousin, Danny does recall the Mooney, mainly in later years as Danny was a bit younger than David and I. Danny clearly remembers the Mooney being housed at Hyde Field (Clinton MD). I am sure Danny may have “worked on and flew” the Mooney as well.
The one photo I have always had shows Uncle Chuck in the Mooney, most likely at Hyde Field; the engine is obviously running. In the background there is what appears to be a 62-64 Chevy Nova?? This may be a clue as to who may have taken this picture. I do not remember anyone in our immediate family having a Nova or vehicle this color. I am not really certain when this photo was taken. To our knowledge, this is the only family photo that exists of Uncle Chuck's Mooney.
During this period Uncle Chuck had a 1961 or 1962, white Ford Mercury Comet with blue interior; (his next vehicle as I recall was a 67-68 fastback Mustang, which was “Legend Green”, I do recall Uncle Chuck being a Ford man all the way!). The Comet is the main vehicle I remember riding in all the times we went to Hyde Field. We did go to Hyde Field at times and did not fly.
As stated elsewhere in the History of M-18 Number 1, Uncle Chucks’ nephew, Tim Shearer recalls an engine being delivered to the family restaurant in Eastover Shopping Center. As mentioned above, we did indeed have a family restaurant at that time, Eastover Restaurant and Delicatessen, open 7 days a week.
7622 Whitepine Rd
Richmond VA 23237
804 275 2155