Mel Clark's Thorp


N551CM GOYA Bird - Thom Steury 

N551CM is a S18 two seat sport airplane designed by John Thorp and built by my dear friend and fellow EAA chapter member, John “Mel” Clark.   I had the opportunity to buy Mel’s plane and to “keep it in the chapter” so to speak, when, at 81 years young, he could no longer fly the plane by himself.   I’m keeping it at EAA Chapter 92‘s Builders Center at Chino Airport.   An earlier version of the S18 was built by another chapter member Don Taylor.   Don flew his Thorp T18 around the world in the early ’70s.  In doing so, he was the first person to fly a homebuilt aircraft around the world. 

N551CM Thorp S18 Homebuilt Airplane outside Chino Hanger

Mel started building the Thorp from plans in January of 1984 after retiring from McDonald Douglas Aircraft of Long Beach.  This photo is of Mel hanging the Lycoming IO-320 engine on the fuselage in February, 1990.   Mel named his Thorp Goya Bird out of respect for his commander of the 551 Parachute Infantry Battalion, LtCol Wood Joerg.  (If you take the link, you’ll see that GOYA is an acronym.)

Mel Clark and Goya Bird

Mel Clark and Goya Bird