In 1954 a comfortable and splendid Douglas DC-3 would replace the Lockheed Ventura.

The Parker DC-3, license number N-51A, could accommodate twenty-eight passengers and flew about 350 hours a year being indispensable in territorial sales meetings and promotion programs. Its biggest mission was a 12,000-mile tour, called the “Publithon” to help to introduce the new fountain pen known as “Parker 61, designer for de air age” (1), but also go out east and pick up hundred thousand dollars’ worth of gold for use on pen casings and points or helping the promotion and development of Janesville by bringing notable people or government cabinet members. In 1954 Roy Coyle and Clayton Hansen, was the chief pilot and co- pilot, respectively. In May 1955 Walter A. Jensen, mechanical engineering and former flight instructor at the Mason City airport would replace to Hansen as Parker’s official co-pilot.

Parker pilot, Dick Wixom (right), incorporated in 1958, and co-pilot Bob Jensen, incorporated in 1955, beside the Parker DC-3 N-51A (2).

The DC-3 introduced new levels of speed, comfort, and range introduced some basic features of modern commercial aviation as autopilot, full duplication of cockpit controls and indicators, as well as the exterior and interior lighting needed for night flights. The structure and coating were metallic, had landing gear that would retract into the engine nacelles and could maintain the control during takeoff with a single engine, , even could be screened in-flight movies being the most luxurious aircraft in the world. The design of the DC-3 was so perfect that it made all other contemporary commercial airplanes obsolete.

The twin-engine DC-3A was optional powered by two Pratt & Whitney twin-row Wasps SBG types 14-cylinder radial engines, or two radial engine Wright Cyclones G series 9 cylinder, single-row, air-cooled radial engine. Pratt & Whitney develops 850 hp. either one with 950 hp. available for take-off. The Cyclone G5 develops 800 hp.

This multi-spar wing had 95 ft. of wing-span; a length of 65 ft., with an empty weight of 15,750 pounds was designed for a useful load of 9,155 pounds. Its maximum speed at critical altitude was 216 mph. and the cruising speed was 184 mph. with a maximum range of 2,150 miles. Its landing speed was 65 mph. Depending on its motorization, had between 22,100 and 24,100 ft. as a service ceiling (two engines).

DC-3 Cockpit (3).

Thus the press picked up one of the first services of the Parker DC-3 to the community: “Benson arrives by plane. Stepping out of the Parker Pen Co. plane at Rock County Airport this morning  Ezra T. Benson, secretary of agriculture, is welcomed to the county by William Merriam, left, Jim Swan, Robert McMillan and Arthur MacArthur, all of whom met him in Chicago as he stepped from the plane which brought him from Indianapolis, where he appeared with President Eisenhower. Benson is the first cabinet member to visit Janesville in 30 years. He addressed the crowds at the National Corn Picking Contest this afternoon at Tracy Farms. Enroute here he was able to view the corn picking contest site from the air as the huge DC-3 plane circled the field (4).”

1937 Douglas ad (5).
  1. Dubacker, H. (November, 1959). “Airborne Penmanship”. Flying magazine, p. 40.
  2. Photo collected from
  3. Photo collected from
  4. Benson arrives by plane (October 16, 1954). Janesville Daily Gazette, p. 1.
  5. Aviation, p. 107 (April, 1937).                                 


THE twin bonanza


Parker Pen operated three airplanes in 1955; a Douglas DC-3, a twin-engine Beechcraft, and a single engine Bonanza. After that, the job was done more efficiently with only two, the big, comfortable and economical DC-3 for long flights and heavy loads, and a twin-engine, six-passenger Bonanza for short trips.

The pen company employed two full-time pilot, they was chief pilot Roy Coyle and co-pilot Walter Jensen. Parker hires Art Hodge of the Janesville Flying Service to pilot the twin Bonanza on a quick trip to Chicago or elsewhere.

A 1950´s Beechcraft Twin Bonanza (1).

The Twin Bonanza was a twin-engine powered by two six-cylinder, horizontally opposed fixed-wing, Lycoming GO-435 C2. Each develops 260 hp. This 5,500 lb. gross, tricycle gear low-wing craft had 45 ft. of wing-span; a length of 31 ft., with empty weight of 3,750 pounds was trained for a useful load of 1,750 pounds. Its cruising speed was 191 mph. with a maximum range of 1,005 miles had 20,400 ft. as service ceiling (two engines). Engine controls are grouped on a lower portion of the panel just left of center. Radio control panel is just right of center.

1950´s Twin Bonanza instruments panel (1).

Its usefulness in the distribution chain was expressed by American Business: «A few years ago, for example, a big pen promotion was scheduled shortly before the holiday season. Because of transportation difficulties Parker dealer where faced with the prospect of trying to sell pens which as not shipped from the factory The Twin Beech solved this problem neatly loaded with extra supplies from Janesville(2).”


“One of the most air-minded concerns in Wisconsin is the Parker Pen Co. which now operates two planes an average of 5,000 passenger miles per month. They are a Douglas DC-3 and a new twin-engine six-passenger Bonanza. Roy Coyle, at right, is chief pilot. He has been with Parker since 1952. The co-pilot is Walter Jensen, left, who came here a few weeks ago from Fairmont, Minn. He has a record of 5,200 hours of flying time. Roy Coyle was born in Wynnewood, Okla., May 3, 1913. He’s been flying through the air with noticeable ease since 1.935 and all 19 years’ experience is put to the task when he bringing a plane in to land. Jensen was born in 1919 at McCallshurg, Iowa, and began flying immediately after completing study in mechanical engineering at Iowa State. That was 1940. In 1941 he became flight instructor at the Mason City airport where he had learned to fly. (3).”

Coyle came to Parker in May of 1952. Walter A. Jensen joins Parker Pen Co. as pilot in firm’s aviation department in May 1955.

1951 Twin Bonanza ad (4).
  1. Photo collected from Aviation Week (November 06, 1950), p. 28-29.
  2. American Business (1954), Volume 24, p. 43.
  3. The Janesville Daily Gazette (July 02, 1955), p. 5.
  4. Ad collected from Flying Magazine, (June, 1951), p. 10.