During early in the history of the Curtiss Wright Junior, there was an issue concerning aft balance problems when completing spins. Because of this safety issue, the Civil Aeronautics Commission (CAA) issued a bulletin that required the airplane be flown solo from the front seat. The circular also stated that if a spin was performed successfully from the rear seat solo in view a CAA inspector, a wavier to allow solo from the rear could be issued.
I have a letter from a pilot who completed the required spin testing under the observance of the CAA Inspector Before beginning the maneuver, the pilot said he managed to make it to about 6800 feet above the airport after an hour or so. He stated that he wanted “as much space between himself and mother earth as possible.” Under the CAA observation, he began the test by entering a power off-spin.
In his words;
“The Jr. made a little over a half turn and went flat. It was so flat and seemed to be descending so slowly, I believe if I had come all the way in, it would have only blown out the tires. All controls had absolutely no effect, and the Zekeley (engine) had quit. Therefore I had nothing left to make a recovery with. I didn’t want to bust (the owners) new airplane or my butt, so, since I was descending so slowly, I decided to remove my chute and climb around the cabane struts to the front seat. I hardly had time to fasten my belt (in the front seat) before the Jr’s nose started down into a normal spin. I landed, dead stick, on the airport. Needless to say, (the CAA Inspector) didn’t lift the spin restriction.”
I believe it must have been and interesting ride.