Book Review: It’s a Funk

It’s a Funk

Beach, G. Dale

1985

This book came to me via an acquaintance with a long history in general aviation who pressed it in my hands and told me I needed to know the story of the little airplane that could have been.

Joe and Howard Funk were twin brothers from Akron, Ohio.  Mechanically inclined and largely self taught, they fell in love with aviation.  After their first flights in 1926, they joined a local gliding club and embarked with passion on this new found pastime, eventually designing and building a glider to overcome the weaknesses of the ones they had experience with.  That led into deciding that they could design and build a powered airplane, which they did.  Unsatisfied with the engine, they developed their own based on a Ford block, eventually going on to certify both the engine and the airframe and developing a corporation to make them in the midst of the Great Depression.  Following some trials and tribulations they moved operations to Kansas and were starting to become a strong player in the industry when World War 2 broke out and, with personal aircraft production suspended, shifted their capacities to the war effort. Following the war they had a brief surge in aircraft sales followed by a slump they were unable to recover from when the government released surplus aircraft onto the civilian market.  The brothers shifted gears into other manufacturing fields and hoped to resume production, but a fire in the warehouse housing the holdings of the aircraft side of their business put a definitive end to that plan.

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