This particular aircraft was used by the Great Lakes company in their advertisements in various aviation magazines of the 1930s. The registration number, NC304Y is clearly recognizable in these advertisements. It went on to be used as a trainer at the Bridgeport, CT airport in the 1930s. The Great Lakes was a favorite of Cole Palen’s and other famous pilots such as Paul Mantz and Tex Rankin.
Cole Palen found the Great Lakes in the body of a wrecked tractor-trailer where it had been stored for approximately 25 years. It was restored by Cole, Mike Lockhart and Andy Keefe in Florida in the early 1970s and has been a regular performer at the Aerodrome ever since. It is powered by a 125 HP Menasco Pirate engine.
As seen in the slideshow above, Cole Palen flew the Great Lakes in a 1970s Mounds/Almond Joy commercial, during which he displayed candy bars while performing aerobatics.