The Gordon Bennett Air Race 1911 Part 4: Wright R Baby

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7 months 3 weeks ago #435 by Stevef
Evening All,

AT LAST! I am now back into my comfort zone building a model of a real aeroplane ie a pusher! It has been around 20 months since I completed one, so it is high time that I started another and got back to normal. Pushers are basically wire entanglements with an engine and undercarriage attached, which makes them simultaneously simple to make the parts for, and interesting to look at. In terms of scratch building they have few complex components and are interesting to assemble. Only the rigging presents a challenge but even that can be overcome with a systematic approach.

The 6th machine to compete in the Gordon Bennett air race in 1911 was a "Baby" Wright model R. Only two of these machines were built: the first, also called the "Roadster" was constructed in the USA in 1910 for racing. A. Ogilvy flew it in the Gordon Bennett air race held at Belmont Park in New York and then had it shipped to the UK where he flew it from his private landing ground at Camber in south Kent, and later in the GB race at Eastchurch in July 1911. A second smaller variant called the "Baby Grand" was also built by the Wright brothers for the Belmont race but it crashed and was wrecked at the end of October 1910. It was rebuilt with longer span wings and a 4 cylinder inline engine and flown for exhibition shows.

Originally the "Baby" Wright was powered by an 8 cylinder engine, but after Ogilvy brought it to the UK he replaced the engine with a 50hp NEC 4 cylinder V two stroke engine. It was with this engine that he flew it in the 1911 Gordon Bennett race. Like most aeroplanes of this period changes were regularly made and this, combined with a lack of drawings, makes building a model a little tricky. However there are several photographs of both machines, but importantly there are sufficient photos of Olgivy's machine taken at Eastchurch to make it possible to build a reasonably accurate replica.

Photographs of the Roadster and Baby Wright can be found at: www.wright-brothers.org/Information_Desk...irplanes/Model_R.htm

and of Ogilvy's machine at Eastchurch at: flyingmachines.ru/Site2/Crafts/Craft28506.htm

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7 months 3 weeks ago #436 by Stevef

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Evening All,

I started as usual by cutting out the wings and tail surfaces from 30 thou plastic card whcih had been curved by immersing the card in boiling water in a length of pipe:



The propellors were a strange shape so I experimented by carving one from plastic strip, and then from a scrap of wood to ensure that my method worked. Finally I cut two lengths of wood to carve the propellors for the model:



I made the tyres for the wheels by winding some 25 thou rod around the handle of a small paintbrush. The diameter of the handle was slightly smaller than the wheel disc so that the tyre will spring on to the disc. The rod was immersed in boiling water for about 10 seconds.



When the plastic has cooled it can be removed from the handle and cut to the required length:



I cannot find a clear photo of an NEC engine so I am using what information I can glean from photographs and modellers license. I have made an engine block and added the cylinders as a start: more details will follow:



Thanks for looking.

Stevef.

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6 months 3 weeks ago #437 by Stevef

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Evening All

I have been away from home recently, and in addition managed to make a set of booms which were too small so I had to make a second set! This time I decided that I would make the upper and lower sections from brass bar and join the cross pieces in the middle and rear, also from bar, before I epoxied them to the wings. In the past, (and on the first attempt), I just epoxied the booms on to the wings and then soldered the cross pieces on afterwards, at the risk of melting the plastic of the wings. Much easier to make the booms separately first:



After priming these were epoxied to the wings.

The engine and radiators were attached to the lower wing and pipes joined the engine to the radiators. I cannot see the exact arrangement of the pipes from the photos that I have - they are either in shadow or in one photo which was taken from the rear, someone was standing right in front of the engine blocking the view! What is clear however is that the radiators on the day of the race were not where they had been when other earlier photos had been taken: this aircraft seems to have been in a continuous state of change.

With the engine and radiators in place it was time to put the top wing on. The outer wing struts were set on to the lower wing and while they were still moveable I put cement into holes in the upper wing and gently lowered it on to the struts. Now the tricky bit: I had to cut to length two struts to fit at the rear of the booms and CA them into place. The structure was supported by my standard mk. 1 jig of paint pots while the cement set overnight:







As shown in the photos, the structure is quite stable and strong and can be easily handled without fear of collapse or damage. It was now quite a simple process to add the remaining boom struts and the inner bay struts: I have left off the innermost pair of struts as I need space to be able to add the drive chain covers and propellor shafts:





Thanks for looking.

Stevef.

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6 months 2 weeks ago #438 by Stevef

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Evening All,

I find that once I have the spare wing(s) on my models, the rest of the build frequently goes much more quickly and this one was not an exception. First parts to go on were the propellor shafts and their supporting struts, followed by the chain drives. These had to be inserted before the inner interplane struts because they would not have been accessible otherwise:



(NB the tweezers are the pair that my father gave me 60 years ago - I use them all for the time!)

The innermost interplane struts followed, and the the main undercarriage legs. The latter was made from 20 x 30 thou strip cut to size - it was not filed to aerofoil section as contemporary photos show that the sections were square. The skids were curved by running the plastic strip between the edge of a knife blade and my thumb. The axles were wire cut from a paperclip:





The tail skids were also made from strip and CA'd to the rear. Rigging of the wings and boom followed, then the fins on the undercarriage and struts. The elevator was added and rigged almost at the end to save me knocking it off when handling the model. Finally the undercarriage was rigged and the wheels added. Final details included the propellors, what I think is an early form of pitot tube to the left of the pilot, and a gauge on the pilot's platform and cable from the engine from stretched sprue.











Thanks for looking.

Stevef.

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