THE cessna T50 BOBCAT "P-51" EXPRESS


Finished the efforts for the war and with a company that returned to focus on the production and distribution of the «51» pen, during the summertime of 1945, we had news of this new aircraft and the incorporation of John C. Fredendall, former group commander flying instructor during WWII, to Parker’s staff as their pilot. Fredendall was also appointed as manager of the new Rock County airport in 1946, under construction, until 1959. Parker Pen Co. acquired the Parker “51” Express, a Cessna AT17 twin-engine adapted for civil aviation as T-50, predictably bought through the Surplus Property Board program, conducted by the Reconstruction Finance Corp. who in those months after the end of the WWII offered for sale more than 20,000 warplanes.

Parker Pen Co. Cessna T-50 Bobcat pilot John Fredendall

The Cessna T-50 is a low wing, five-place cabin monoplane powered with two Jacobs R-755-9 engines seven-cylinder, air-cooled, radial piston engine, and 245 hp. each. It can be flown and climbed on either engine without difficulty. A takeoff runs 520 feet and landing run of 630 feet together with a low landing speed of 55 mph. thanks to electrically extended wing flaps permit and easy accurate approach in small airfields.


The twin-engine weight 3,500 pounds when empty and can carry a useful load of 2,200 pounds. The cruising speed of the ship was 191 mph. at 75% hp. with gasoline consumption at this power of 29 gals/ hr. The monoplane had a service ceiling of 20,000 ft.


Thirty-two feet in length and with a wingspan of 41 ft., the cabin is luxuriously large for the comfort of both, pilot and passengers with its rear seat of 57 inches wide.

Cessna T-50 control panel (2).

Equipped with retractable landing lights, the instrument board carries a complete blind flight group consisting of the compass, sensitive altimeter, airspeed, rate of climb, turn and bank next to a complete set of engine instruments.


The monoplane was housed in the new private hangar that Parker finished building at the end of 1945 at the new Rock County airport.

1947 Cessna T-50 ad(3).


(1)           Photo collected from a Parker Pen Shoptalker (August, 1945).

(2)           “Cessna  model  T-50.” (January 1, 1940). Aviation Week, p. 47.

(3)           Flying Magazine (August, 1945), p. 131.  





In the spring of 1946, once the long runways of the new Rock County Airport and Parker’s private hangar were finished, the company acquired a Beechcraft D18S twin-engine, serial A-113, whose production had started late 1945, the first to be issued to any post-war aircraft. It was registered in the Civil Aeronautics Administration with license number NC-5151 as tribute to Parker “51” fountain pen. The monoplane was housed in the new private hangar that Parker recent finished building at the new Rock County airport.

The Twin Beech “51” and Parker´s pilot Lee Haynes standing up front their private hangar(1). c. 1950.
Kenneth Parker and wife Mildred Gapen Parker on executive trip(1). c. 1950.

The Beechcraft D18S, also known as Twin Beech, is a luxurious low-wing cabin with toilette in a separate compartment, soundproofing throw-over control column, heating, and ventilating system and individual adjustable seating for two crew members and six passengers with reading light, powered with two reliable Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp Junior 450 hp., nine-cylinder, air-cooled, radial piston engines connected to controllable pitch Hamilton propellers. It was priced at $54,750.


A Beechcraft Co. ad with Kenneth Parker and the Twin-Beech "51" as motive(2). 1950.

According to material released by the company maximum speed is 227 mph. being cruising speed at 75% horsepower 182 mph. and a service ceiling of 20,000 ft. Normal range at 5,000 ft. and 50 per cent power is 1,100 miles with a fuel tank capacity of 206 gallons. Full load the aircraft had a takeoff run of 1,460 feet and landing running of 1,660 feet.


The Twin-Beech weight 5,770 pounds when empty and can carry a useful load of 2,980 pounds. Thirty-three feet in length and with a wingspan of 47 ft., The cabin is luxuriously large for the comfort of both, pilot and passengers with its rear seat of 57 inches wide.

Instruments standard on this model was clock, sensitive altimeter, air speed indicator, two tachometers, ammeter, composite engine gauges (fuel pressure, oil pressure and oil temperature), turn and bank indicator, compass, vertical speed indicator, two head temperature gauges, two manifold pressure gauges, gas gauge, temperature gauge with 4-way selector switch for carburetor, outside and cabin air temperature, vacuum regulator, fuel pressure warning light, elevator tab position indicator, flap position indicator, cabin door ladder, folding wing walks(4).

Special features were retractable landing gear and tail wheel electrically operated with auxiliary hand control, trailing edge wings flaps electrically operated or dual pilot control(4).

The local newspaper reproduced it this way: «Parker Buys $65,000 Plane. A new post-war model low-wing monoplane, purchased by the Parker Pen Co. has just been flown to the Rock County…. The sleek new silver twin-engine Beechcraft D18S, came off the assembly line just this week, replacing a smaller five-passenger Cessna aircraft. The plane is to be stored in a new hanger built especially for the Parker Pen Co. (5).»

John Fredendall and Lee Haynes were its pilots. Clayton Hansen, Arthur Hodge and Walter Jensen were among its co-pilots.

The sober but elegant style with which the Beech «51» was exteriorly decorated, maintaining the natural aluminum silvered of its fuselage with «wings» painted in yellow gold tones and golden touches in careen engines and the nose, would soon extend to the Parker «51» Flighter.


This plane belonged to Parker´s fleet until 1956, when it was transferred to Champion Paper & Fiber Co., Hamilton, Ohio.

A current recreation of a Parker "51" flight. Artwork and photo-composition by the author. 2019.
A Parker "51" set inspired by Parker´s "51" Beechcraft.
  1. “Pen Air” (September, 1950). Skyways magazine, p. 28-29.
  2. Aviation Week (October 4, 1948), p. 44, back cover.
  3. Photo collected from National Air & Space Museum.
  4. Popular Aviation (August 1940).
  5. «Aviation Week» (January 21, 1946).   

©Ramón Campos. Registro Propiedad Intelectual V-1132-19 de 27.09.2019 —  Code Safe Creative 1909061851196 06.09.2019.