The Yakima Clipper was designed and built in 1931 and 1932 by Washington State native Charles McAllister. Based on German gliders he saw in a 1929 National Geographic article, the Yakima Clipper is made of wood with fabric-covered wings. With McAllister at the controls, the sleek glider was flown in an attempt to break the world soaring endurance record in June of 1933. After a Northwest record of 8 hours and 52 minutes aloft, the wind abated and McAllister was forced to land short of a world record. The Yakima Clipper has made over 40 flights and has been part of the Museum's collection since 1987.
Charles McAllister's Yakima Clipper was the first licensed glider in Washington. He held the state's first glider pilot's license and his first aviator's license was signed by Orville Wright. At age 15, McAllister built his first glider from a 1918 Popular Mechanics article. In 1926, he formed McAllister's Flying School in Yakima, Washington and was a founding member of the Yakima Glider Club, established in 1930.
Charlie said that building the Yakima Clipper took two years. Made mostly of sitka spruce and plywood, he designed the fuselage tall and narrow, "so I could see better," Charlie said, "very safe, very sturdy." How sturdy? The wings each took 1,000 pounds (450 kg) of weight in load tests and bent about three feet (.9 m) with no signs of breakage. "In flight," commented McAllister, "I could never get them to bend over a foot." Flying the Yakima Clipper was tricky. Charlie said that without lots of flying experience, his first flight may have been a crash. "She had poor aileron control" said Charlie, who soon mastered the glider and logged around 100 hours of flight time in it. The Yakima Clipper has been flown by only one pilot -- Charlie himself.