Pshaw, pronounced "shaw" is a word used to express irritation, disapproval, contempt, or disbelief.
Arlo's plane bears a paint job similar to that of the old Army Air Corps Curtiss Hawk P-6E.
Back in the 1950's, Arlo Schroder saw George Meyer's Little Toot biplane in an early edition of the EAA magazine which at the time was called the "Experimenter". Intrigued, he picked up the phone and called George to find out what it would take to get a set of plans so that he too could build a Little Toot. George evidently hadn't planned to do anything beyond the construction of his own personal airplane so he was surprised to have someone call asking for a set of plans. George told Arlo that all he had was a bunch of rough sketches. Arlo told George that he had a great airplane and that he needs to get busy and draw up a set of plans. Fortunately, George agreed and Arlo's airplane, the HAWK PSHAW was built and flown.
Countdown In Kansas - By Kathryn Schroeder
All the countdowns at Cape Canaveral couldn't beat the excitement at the Newton, Kansas Municipal Airport, Feb. 19, when Arlo Schroeder launched his biplane, Hawk-Pshaw, and went into a three mile orbit of the field. The large group of relatives, friends and fellow members of EAA chapter 88 were treated to a top-notch, first flight performance by the flashy little plane which bears a paint job similar to that of the old Army Air Corps Curtiss Hawk P-6E.
From the start of the Continental C-85 engine until the plane was brought in for a neat landing, it proved to be all the pilot had hoped for and his undisguised pleasure was the final seal of approval. As a testimonial on the ease of flying the aircraft, Arlo had logged only 63 hours of flight time when he made the test hop.
The sunny, windless chill of the big day came on the heels of the most miserable experience this homebuilder encountered during his two and a half years on the project. After 3,000 hours of loving labor, he found himself unbelievably in possession of a completed plane, a certificate of airworthiness, the blessings of the FAA, and three days of the worst possible weather. It was a delay that seemed endless. Yet, when the big day finally arrived the anxious spectators were kept waiting at the airport while the pilot calmly watched a 90 minute air show on television.
George Meyer may have known what our family was getting into when he mailed his Little Toot plans in Sept., 1958, but back then we hardly noticed the subtle change as the little biplane began to take us over. Even the fact that the prospective builder stayed up all night admiring the plans, failed to warn us properly. After that he wasted just enough time to assure a wavering wife that the airplane would take only a reasonable amount of money (he undershot by about half), and an even more reasonable amount of time (he missed on that one by 17 months).
Work began in the basement with a maximum of enthusiasm and a minimum of tools. It can honestly be said now that the enthusiasm never waned even as the months stretched into years. As the airplane began to take shape the house shook with hammering and riveting and reeked of zinc chromate, and even the new baby in the family thrived on it all. When the time came to move the aft six foot section of the monocoque fuselage from the basement to the garage, a few friends and skeptics managed to be on hand to supervise the event. The ease of this well planned maneuver made believers of them all.
Our garage filled the two requirements for airplane building. It was there and it was large enough. To provide ideal working conditions our homebuilder installed an air conditioner and later, a heating system, while the car sat out in the Kansas weather season after season.
It wasn't long until the project reached "the first plateau", the stage when the pilot could prop the fuselage on sawhorses and precariously fit himself into the cockpit framework. For obvious reasons, a little time was lost at this point. The biggest time consumer, however, was the fiberglass cowling.
It began with a plaster of Paris cast formed around the carefully wrapped engine. The cowling was made from this mold. Sanding the plaster and then the fiberglass, created the biggest mess of the entire project but the results were rewarding. Fiberglass was also used for the gas tank and for the wheel fairings which were made from molds of Doyn Aircraft conversions of the Cessna 172 nose wheel. As the supply of fiberglass material diminished a major crises arose in the household. With an attitude typical of the species, the experimenter began sizing up the fiberglass draperies in the living room and only the veto power of the spouse saved them from becoming part of the airplane.
Operations moved back to the basement when the wing work began and the whole family got into the act briefly on the sanding and fitting detail. The theory seemed to be that no one was too unskilled or too young to use sandpaper.
There was a big delay about this time when the chief of operations got tangled up in the Shop-Smith and had to take time off from everything while his finger grew back together. There followed some debate as to whether or not the medical bills should be added to the cost of the airplane.
The woodwork on the wings was responsible for a large part of the total construction time but a record may have been set on the covering, rib-stitching and doping. Bob Stephens of Wichita, builder of the Stephens Special seen at many EAA fly-ins, arrived for a visit and brought along a Simon Lagree-type whip to make sure there was no lost motion in finishing the wings. Since he worked harder than anyone, the family was forced to keep pace.
However, if Bob got in a lather, it served him right. He was the character who fanned the embers of a dormant dream into the blaze of action that resulted in this beautiful homebuilt. Today we view Bob with mixed emotions. Should we thank him or ban him from the property? With the wings completed, Hawk-Pshaw was really on its way. The "odds and ends" and "finishing up" categories took several more months before the plane was towed to the airport for final assembly.
The vacant garage still looks strange but the thing we miss most is the steady stream of visitors who were drawn by the fascinating biplane. There were the regulars who made periodic progress checks; the unbelievers; the droolers, many of whom were also regulars; and the wives who were brought along "to see what someone else has to put up with." We enjoyed them all.
Rumors say that a plane isn't ready to fly until the paper work matches the weight of the aircraft. Since this airplane weighs 856 pounds and much of the typing was done on onionskin, this proved to be somewhat of an exaggeration. The chore was made even lighter by a congenial FAA staff which was prompt and thorough in answering inquiries about the necessary forms. We experienced very fine cooperation with the FAA throughout the project and consider the inspection visits by Jay Whoolery of the Wichita office, a valuable experience.
The method of construction on this aircraft is the same used on George Meyer's Little Toot with the exception of the fiberglass and addition of fairings on the landing gear struts. The profile of the rudder was changed in that the upper and lower edges are straight. Wheels and brake assemblies were from a Culver V.
At present Hawk-Pshaw has no battery or starter and weighs about 100 pounds less than the original Little Toot. Stalling speed is 55 mph; indicated cruising speed is 120 mph at 2400 rpm and tops out at 135 mph at 2700 rpm. Hawk-Pshaw has dived to 180 mph with subsequent 5% G pull out.
Requests to compare flight handling characteristics with popular ATC'D aircraft is difficult due to the limited number of aircraft flown prior to Hawk-Pshaw. It approximates the Cessna 140 rather closely with the exception that roll out after landing requires a bit more attention. Successful landings in 90° 20 mph crosswinds on concrete have been made and produced no "shook" effect on the pilot. In flight only a very slight movement of controls is required to get the desired effect. Also the glide angle is considerably steeper and once on the ground it stays put.
To sum it up — when you're sitting in the cockpit of a biplane as snappy looking as this one, with the reassurance its sturdy construction and fine handling characteristics instills, the Meyer Special fulfills all the wildest and fondest dreams any homebuilder could ever envision.
For someone who wants more than just the ordinary run of the mill biplane, Little Toot more than fills the bill. Now that we've been through the whole bit and can look at the situation calmly, several facts stand out. Through it all the Schroeders have somehow managed to maintain their sanity, solvency and sense of humor. With the launching of Hawk-Pshaw the fun has just begun. After two years at Rockford as "lookers" we're looking forward to being "participants" in August.