Woody Edmondson & "Little Butch’s" Shared History

Recently checking the Museum’s Twitter account, @LburgMuse, we noticed Smithsonian Air & Space Museum tweeted about Little Butch, a Monocoupe 110 Special that was donated to them in 1981. The Lynchburg Museum has a one-quarter scale model of Little Butch “flying” in the Lynchburg Life Gallery…you may be wondering why the Lynchburg Museum has a replica of an airplane belonging to the Smithsonian.

 

Woodrow W. “Woody” Edmondson was born in Halifax County, Virginia in 1913 and began taking flying lessons at age sixteen, by the time he graduated high school he could fly solo. Woody planned to become a dentist, but after only one semester at William & Mary dropped out to continue flying. On his way to class he would notice a pilot from the nearby airport doing stunts. After receiving his commercial pilot’s license, he began teaching himself to do stunts. Woody entered his first airshow at Richmond, Virginia in 1936 and realized he could make more money doing airshows than transporting passengers, which he did for $1 per person which is equivalent to about $17 today. In 1937 Edmondson began managing the Lynchburg (Preston Glenn) Airport.

The Monocoupe 110 was built especially for racing and aerobatics in Florida and test flown in February 1941. Before Woody purchased the plane it had three previous owners and had been crashed twice. Woody initially purchased the plane for transportation to airports around Virginia and North Carolina while he operated pilot training programs. He named the plane Little Butch because he thought it looked like a bulldog.

 

 

In 1946 Woody, again began flying in airshows, installed a Warner 185hp Super Scarab engine and a Koppers Aeromatic pitch propeller on the Monocoupe. The new engine and propeller allowed for inverted flying. Woody distinguished himself as an aerobatic pilot in 1946 and 1947 by placing second at the Miami Air Maneuvers aerobatics competition, in 1948 he won the first International Aerobatic Championship. Woody continued his airshow acrobatic flying during the 1950s, and in the early 1960s he sold the Monocoupe to another airshow pilot. In 1979 Woody was inducted into the Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame.

 

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After being restored in the late 1970s, the Monocoupe was donated to the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum in 1981. It is on display at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia near the Washington Dulles International Airport.