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  • Wittman Buttercup




    The Wittman W-5 Buttercup is a two place aircraft designed and built by Steve Wittman in 1938.

    General Information

    The Buttercup was considered as the basis for a four place certified production model by Fairchild Aircraft. Fairchild executives were impressed with the aircraft that chance landed at their factory airport in Hagerstown, Maryland. Wittman sold production rights, but Fairchild did not pursue the effort due to wartime production obligations.


    Sylvester "Steve" Wittman built two types of airplanes: Racing machines and Travel machines. The ancestors of these two blood lines were Chief Oshkosh and Buttercup. The Buttercup was built as a utility hauler, and there was only one made, in 1937, NX/N18268. Initially powered by a 50hp Lycoming O-145, then an 85hp Continental A-85, he flew it all over the western hemisphere, from Alaska to Bermuda, Florida to Oregon. The Buttercup almost made it into production (cancelled due to WWII) coming to the interest of Fairchild as a four-place project, called the 'Big X.' One plane was built for them by "Witt" - a 4-place, 6 cylinder, 130 HP Franklin powered prototype.

    The real genius of the Buttercup design is Wittman's claim of 38-40 mph (indicated) slow-flight speed and a near 150 mph top speed, and all on 85 hp! The high speed is vintage Wittman, the low speed is due to an ingenius flap-coupled, retracting lead edge design (seen in today's airliners). Earl Luce of LuceAir, Inc. has 'revived' the Buttercup, featured in the April 2003 issue of Sport Aviation. Kits and fabricated assemblies for the Buttercup are available from Aircraft Spruce.


    Designated as the Buttercup Model W, the original aircraft is housed in the Experimental Aircraft Association, EAA AirVenture Museum in Oshkosh, WI. The Buttercup led to the design of the Wittman Tailwind.


    The photos below are of the replica kits from Aircraft Spruce.



    Wittman Buttercup front.jpg

    Wittman Buttercup N818KB WING TOP.jpg

    Wittman Buttercup N818KB.jpg

    Wittman Buttercup N18263.jpg

    Wittman Buttercup.jpg


    Capacity: 2
    20 feet 3 inches (6.17 m)
    30 feet 0 inches (9.14 m)
    5 feet 9 inches (1.75 m)
    Empty Weight:
    690 lb (313 kg)
    1390 lb (630 kg)
    1 x 85hp Continental A-85
    145 mph
    Cruise Speed:
    123 mph
    Stall Speed:
    40 mph
    540 sm

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