Developed as a civilian sports and executive aircraft in the mid-1930’s, the Stinson Reliant was popular in the private and commercial market in the U.S. and overseas. In 1936, a new, higher lift wing was fitted, and the new series became known as “gull-wing” Reliants.
When America entered World War II, production of civilian Reliants ended, and some were impressed into service with the U.S. Army Air Corps. The Reliant was used by the Army as a utility aircraft, designated UC-81, and as a trainer, designated AT-19. Also during the war, the British government ordered 500 Reliants for training and utility use. These were used by the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force for light transport and communication duties. After the war, about 350 of the 500 British Reliants were returned to the U.S., and many were sold as surplus. They were known as the model V-77.
The V-77 was a version of the SR-10 civilian model with a 300 hp Lycoming R680-E3B engine, a single door on the left side and a simpler smooth cowl. Internal structure was beefed up significantly over the commercial models.
As many as 100 V-77 models are still flying in the United States, plus many pre-war production Reliants.
This “gull wing” V-77 Reliant was owned by Tuskegee Airman Frank Macon. He presented it to the museum on November 11th, 2019.