Ping Zhao and her new Great Lakes

Holy begebees, I LOVE getting news like this! Lady taildragger pilot Ping Zhao and husband Steve Cooper are the proud owners of this recently restored 1930 2T-1E Great Lakes. Ping is based at KSQL, San Carlos Airport, San Carlos, California. Check out this beautiful bird and the history that came along with it. Ping Zhao Great Lakes Beauty Ping reports: We have a 1930 Great Lakes now, in addition to our 1949 Piper Clipper. Ping Zhao f3

We got the Lakes from our friend Michael Araldi – who restored it to a beautiful condition. Steve had to truck the plane back from Florida in a big truck as the weather was very bad… (that is another story).

The Lakes has a great history – as its first owner was T. Claude Ryan of Ryan Aircraft Company at San Diego. Over the years, the plane was owned by many including Charlie Hillard and Harold Krier. We also discovered one of the old timers here at San Carlos flew the very same airplane with Krier when he was 16 years old! We are obviously just the custodian… Ping Zhao black and white

The plane flies great. It has been lots of fun to learn how to fly a bi-plane with a round engine in front. We have been taking lessons at Attitude Aviation with Rhett Boeger in a 1972 Great Lakees (so that we do not destroy our Lakes with messy landing 🙂 )



Great Lakes 2T-1E 108CH

Manufactured – 1931

Serial Number – 235

Engine – Warner 165

Cruise – 120 mph

Restoration – Michael Araldi

Ping Zhao Great Lake Airborne


The Great Lakes Aircraft Corporation of Cleveland, Ohio produced a design for a small two-seat sports/trainer in early 1929, with the first prototype flying in March 1929.The resulting aircraft, designated 2-T-1 was a single bay biplane of mixed, fabric-covered construction and a tailskid undercarriage. The aircraft was powered by a single 85 hp Cirrus III engine. The initial testing showed that the aircraft was tail heavy. . After the first four aircraft were built, the upper wing was redesigned and swept back.

Ping Zhao Great lakes

The 2-T-1 proved very successful, with about 250 built before construction ended in 1931. The aircraft was highly maneuverable even on the relatively modest power of a Cirrus engine. One aircraft held the world record for consecutive outside loops – total of 131 – for many years.

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