|Rearwin Sportster 9000 displayed in the Drage Airworld museum at Wangaratta, Victoria, Australia in March 1988|
|National origin||United States|
|Manufacturer||Rearwin Aircraft & Engines|
|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.: 123  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. The resulting design first flew on April 30, 1935.: 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. 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.: 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.: 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.: 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.
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.: 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.: 130–131, 141
All Deluxe models were updated in 1939 to offer NACA cowling, one-piece windshield, and improved cooling.
Numerous models of the Sportster survive in museums. Ken Rearwin purchased the prototype Sportster and donated it to the Airpower Museum in Blakesburg, Iowa.
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