current past airport classified events links contact
April/May 2000

Table of Contents
Palo Duro Canyon, TX
Wings Over the Rockies
Air and Space Museum
Alexander Eaglerock
The $100 Hamburger
Payson, Arizona
Back To Basics
Hangar Flying:
Aircraft Tools
Legal Perspective
Heading Systems
Lighting Remote
SWAV News Update
From the Editor

Enter zip code
or city, state
or city, country
Interested in an aviation-related book? Find it at... logo
Enter book

SW Aviator Magazine
3909 Central NE
Albuquerque, NM 87108
Phone: 505.256.7031
Fax: 505.256.3172
Alexander Eaglerock Biplane
by Ronald E. Newberg, Exhibits Manager, Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum

The Eaglerock biplane, made famous by barnstormers during the 1920s, was manufactured in what is now downtown Englewood, Colorado, and later in Colorado Springs, by the Alexander Aircraft Company. Barnstormers landed the Eaglerock in farm fields across rural America in the 1920s and '30s, giving rides in these "new flying machines" to the brave souls willing to take the risk of flight. Ten-minute rides sold for 50 cents to a dollar.

The Eaglerock’s builders, the Alexander brothers, began establishing themselves as businessmen by selling street advertising. After a brief detour into the chicken raising business, they founded the Alexander Film Company, specializing in screen advertising. The success of the Alexander Film Company rapidly necessitated an increase in staff, and a relocation from their original home in the State of Washington to Englewood, Colorado. The Colorado location was more central to their film advertising business.

It was J. Don Alexander who came up with the idea of equipping his growing sales force with airplanes. This would serve two purposes: first, it would attract attention, and second, it would expedite distribution of the advertising films. The first plane, purchased by older brother S. Don Alexander, was a 1920 Laird "Swallow," powered by an OX5. When the Swallow arrived in Denver it landed at Lowry Field, located at 38th and Daliah Streets in Denver. The next additions to the Alexander aircraft fleet were Longren biplanes.

J. Don Alexander wanted to purchase some forty to fifty planes for his salesmen. However, no one, not even the government, was buying that many aircraft in the 1920s, so the existing aircraft manufacturers would not take Mr. Alexander’s proposal seriously. This prompted him start his own aircraft manufacturing company.

Colorado’s Alexander Aircraft Company built over 900 airplanes in the 1920's and 30's. The factory was initially located at 3385 South Broadway, just south of the Denver, Colorado city limits.

One of the early Alexander Aircraft Company employees, a 19-year-old youngster name Al, had a job at the factory building aircraft wing ribs. Al was instrumental in the early success of the Eaglerock, his suggestions resulted in some significant design changes to one of the Eaglerock airplanes under construction. This youngster, Al Mooney, went on to found his own successful aircraft company.

The Eaglerock was popular with well known aviators of the day, including a noted early flyer known to some as "Slim." The Eaglerock was in the running with Bellanca as the aircraft-of-choice for Charles A. Lindbergh’s historic New York to Paris flight. It was only due to both factories already being buried with production orders that "Lucky Lindy" ended up with the successful Ryan monoplane.

With their aircraft business expanding rapidly, and new designs being considered, expansion of the Eaglerock factory was necessary. Forced out of the Denver area by a landowner’s refusal to sell the land needed for expansion, Alexander Aircraft relocated to Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The Alexander Aircraft Company went on to build the unsuccessful "Alexander Transport," a high wing, seven-passenger monoplane. However, other more successful models followed. In the 1928 - 1929 time frame the Alexander Aircraft Company was the largest aircraft manufacturer in the world, with the capacity of manufacturing eight airplanes a day.
It is estimated there are some 24 Alexander aircraft still around as fliers, on display, or in the process of being restored. At least one Alexander Bullet is being constructed in Longmont, Colorado. The oldest known surviving Alexander Eaglerock, a 1926 Long Wing, is on display at the Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum. Another Alexander Aircraft Eaglerock biplane is on display at Denver International Airport, at the west end of United Airlines' Concourse B. This is the aircraft that appears on the Museum's logo.

A limited number of books, "Alexander Eaglerock," are available at the Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum gift shop. Call (303) 360-5360 for more information.

Click here to return to the beginning of this article.

The material in this publication is for advisory information only and should not be relied upon for navigation, maintenance or flight techniques. SW Regional Publishing, Inc. and the staff neither assume any responsibilty for the accuracy of this publication's content nor any liability arising out of it. Fly safe.