Rearwin Sportster 9000 displayed in the Drage Airworld museum at Wangaratta, Victoria, Australia in March 1988
Role Sporting/Touring monoplane
National origin United States
Manufacturer Rearwin Aircraft & Engines
Designer Henry Weeks
First flight 1935
Number built ca 273

The Rearwin Sportster is a 1930s American two-seat, high-winged, cabin monoplane designed and built by Rearwin Aircraft & Engines for sport/touring use.


The Sportster began development while Rearwin was still certifying the previous model: the Rearwin Speedster. The Speedster had been designed for performance, so the company focused on another, more basic, model to provide reliable income.[1]: 123 [2] This model was to become the Sportster, with design work beginning in 1934.

As the Rearwin company was occupied trying to certify the Speedster, initial work was contracted out to Henry Weeks of Stevenson-Weeks Air Service.[3] The resulting design first flew on April 30, 1935.[1]: 125–127 

The design of the Rearwin Speedster bore a coincidental resemblance to the competing Porterfield Flyabout. The Flyabout had started as the Wyandotte Pup, designed by engineer Noel Hockaday and built by students at Wyandotte High School.[4] Ed Porterfield had seen the finished design, bought the rights to it, started the Porterfield company to build it, and hired Hockaday to develop the plane into the Flyabout. Hockaday had previously assisted engineer Douglas Webber at American Eagle Aircraft Corporation, both of whom later moved to Rearwin Aircraft. Their influence at Rearwin resulted in design elements that were used in the Sportster, thus resembling the Hockaday-designed Flyabout.[1]: 101, 127–128 

In 1936, the Sportster was certified to take pontoons at the request of George B. Cluett. This required enlarging the vertical tail after the test aircraft nearly failed to recover from a flat spin.[1]: 130–131  The final modifications to the Sportster occurred in 1939 to reinvigorate sales. The demands of World War II forced production of the Sportster to cease in 1941.[1]: 141 


The Sportster was a two-seat braced high-wing cabin monoplane. The pilot and passenger were seated in tandem. Both seats had flight controls, but only the pilot had an instrument panel.[5]

The conventional landing gear used a fixed tail-skid instead of tailwheel and came without brakes at first, although a tailwheel and brakes were later offered as options. Skis and pontoons were also available options, although the Sportster's vertical tail had to be enlarged to maintain its spin certification in case pontoons were fitted. A Deluxe model included wheel pants, navigation lights, radio, and optional skylights; later modifications to the design included a one-piece windshield.[1]: 129–130, 141 

Initial versions of the Sportster were powered by a 5-cylinder LeBlond radial engine of 70-85 hp. The third model of the Sportster offered either the Warner Scarab or LeBlond radial engine (renamed as a Ken-Royce engine when Rearwin bought that company). Both produced 90 hp. Initially the engine was left uncovered but Townend rings and a propeller spinner were an option on the Deluxe model; a 1939 redesign introduced the streamlined NACA cowling. Range was about 500 miles for all versions.[1]: 130–131, 141 


1936 Rearwin 7000

All Deluxe models were updated in 1939 to offer NACA cowling, one-piece windshield, and improved cooling.

Rearwin Sportster 7000
Initial production variant of 1935-1936 powered by either a 70hp (52kW) LeBlond 5DE or LeBlond 5E radial engine, 75 built. A Deluxe model was offered beginning in 1936 with optional Townend ring, propeller spinner, wheel pants, navigation lights, and radio.[1]: 130 
Rearwin Sportster 8500
Variant with an 85hp (63kW) LeBlond 5DF introduced in 1935. The plane's gross weight decreased by 85lbs. A Deluxe model was offered beginning in 1936 with optional Townend ring, propeller spinner, wheel pants, navigation lights, and radio.[1]: 130 
Rearwin Sportster 9000/Rearwin Sportster 9000-W
Introduced in 1937 powered by a 90hp Warner Scarab engine. A Deluxe model was offered with optional Townend ring, propeller spinner, wheel pants, navigation lights, and radio.[1]: 130 
Rearwin Sportster 9000-L/Rearwin Sportster 9000-KR
Introduced in 1937 powered by a 90hp LeBlond 5DF (renamed Ken-Royce 5DF after the LeBlond Aircraft Engine Corporation was sold to Rearwin Airplanes). A Deluxe model was offered with optional Townend ring, propeller spinner, wheel pants, navigation lights, and radio.[1]: 130 
Rearwin Sportster 9000-KRT
Sportster 9000-KR modified by Rearwin into an instrument trainer.[1]: 223 
Götaverken GV-38
Designation for the 14 Sportster 9000-L built by the Swedish A. B. Götaverken Shipbuilding Company between 1938 and 1943. Powered by either Warner or Ken-Royce engines, one (SE-AHG) was later fitted with a horizontally-opposed Continental O-190.[1]: 141 [6]
Designation of two Sportster 9000s impressed into military service during World War II.[7]


Military operators

 New Zealand
 South Africa
 United States

Civil operators

 United States[1]: 142 

Aircraft on display

Numerous models of the Sportster survive in museums. Ken Rearwin purchased the prototype Sportster and donated it to the Airpower Museum in Blakesburg, Iowa.[8]

Specifications (8500)

Data from [9]

General characteristics



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Wright, Bill (1997). Rearwin: A Story of Men, Planes, and Aircraft Manufacturing During the Great Depression. Manhattan, Kansas: Sunflower University Press. ISBN 0-89745-207-0.
  2. ^ Auliard, Gilles (December 2015). "The Rearwin Speedster" (PDF). Flight Journal: 59–61. Retrieved 24 December 2018.
  3. ^ "Sulzbacher v. Travelers Ins. Co., 137 F.2d 386 (8th Cir. 1943)". Justia. Retrieved 24 December 2018.
  4. ^ "The History of Our Public Schools" (English). Retrieved 2014-06-30.
  5. ^ Deb, Rich. "Biggin Hill Notes". Transports of Delights (And Other Things). Archived from the original on January 11, 2017. Retrieved 24 December 2018.
  6. ^ Comstedt, Johnny. "Götaverken GV 38 at Gothenburg Aero Show 2010". Retrieved 24 December 2018.
  7. ^ Johnson, E.R. (2013). American Military Transport Aircraft Since 1925. Jefferson, NC: McFarland. p. 167. ISBN 978-0786462698.
  8. ^ "APM Rearwin Sportster". Airpower Museum. Retrieved 24 December 2018.
  9. ^ Mondey, Dave (1985). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aircraft. Orbis Publishing. p. 2792.

Further reading

Media related to Rearwin Sportster at Wikimedia Commons