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Artifact Friday: Varga 2150 Kachina

Updated: Feb 15, 2023

Happy Friday folks! Today we are going to talk about a rare civilian aircraft known as the Varga 2150A Kachina. The museum has the privilege of storing this aircraft for a short period of time in our White Hangar!

While the history of the “Kachina” is very brief, it is still an interesting aircraft to see and fly.

This plane’s story began in 1948 when designer William J. Morrissey decided to build a simple wooden and fabric aircraft to sell. However, the design did not catch on, thus he kept working on his aircraft and eventually produced an all-metal plane with more speed. In 1958, his company (Morrisey Aviation Inc.), used his final design to produce the Morrissey 2000, later the design improved with the Morrissey 2150-an a metal, low-wing aircraft powered by the Lycoming O-235 engine. The company made nine of these aircraft before selling the design and building rights to Shinn Engineering Inc. Under this company, the aircraft changed to the Shinn 2150A. The Shinn 2150A had the same low-wing design, but the engine was replaced with the Lycoming O-320-A2C. (Side note: this engine is still used today in Piper Cherokees and Cessna 172s, the variants only differ by horsepower 150 or 160). The Lycoming in the Shinn 2150A was 150 horsepower.

Shinn Engineering Inc. produced this aircraft until 1962 when the building rights again changed hands. This time it was bought by George Varga who created the Varga Aircraft Corporation. He took Shinn’s design and created the Varga 2150A Kachina. Over 100 of these aircraft were made and sold for seven years (1975-1982). Varga Aircraft Corporation also built the Varga 2180 with a 180-horsepower Lycoming engine.

While there are more Varga 2150A Kachinas flying in the United States, the one housed in the museum is one of the rarer versions of the Varga 2150A Kachina. It is in fact the 1960s Shinn 2150A.

While the Varga 2150A Kachina changed names several times, it still remains the same reliable civilian aircraft. I am excited to have the chance to be able to be up close and learn about this aircraft every day! Please make sure to stop by the museum as soon as possible to get a look at this aircraft!

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