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Vintage Bi-Plane Takes Flight

For Richard Unander, the long hours and the painstaking restoration of his N3N bi-plane were rewarded on July 31 as he and his plane taxied to the runway and took off from Van Nuys Airport.

Unander realized his dream of restoring and flying the former Navy training plane known in aviation circles as the “Yellow Peril.”

The open-cockpit bi-plane, designed in 1934, remained in active service with the U.S. Navy until 1961. The N3N featured a unique, all-metal frame construction, a single integral top wing and five removal panels on the left side of the fuselage, giving maintenance personnel easy access for inspections.

The name "Yellow Peril" was not the official name of the aircraft, but rather a generic name applied to several primary trainers including the Boeing/Stearman NS and N2S Kaydets. The name originated from the fact that all naval trainers had been painted orange-yellow since 1917 as well as from its use in Naval Aviation Reserve bases, where prospective Aviation Cadets received their first training. In the event that a cadet failed to solo within a certain period of time, he was in “Peril” of not being appointed an Aviation Cadet.

Congratulations to Richard for preserving this wonderful piece of aviation history and for doing it at Van Nuys Airport!