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ScaleBirdsScott

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Feb 10, 2015
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Uncasville, CT
The 2 seater, with some tweaks, in the same way the Timber Tiger is a slightly smaller Ryan with some tweaks, would make a pretty fun retro 2-seater.
 

BJC

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Oct 7, 2013
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11,223
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97FL, Florida, USA
It always looked to me like it would still fly without the wings!
The fuselage produces lift, and has a greater projected area than the wing. Having seen Delmar perform a sustained climb in knife edge, I can verify that it will, indeed, fly on the fuselage with enough airspeed.
The story is the Smithsonian Institution gave them permission to take pictures and measurements of the original one so they could built the replica.
I recently discussed with Steve the differences between the original airframe and Delmar’s. (Steve jokingly tells people that Delmar’s wing span is 1/4” less, because “I got a little too enthusiastic when I was sanding the tip bows.”). Actually, the wing is the same as the original. The claim some have made that the airfoil and or the LE radius was changed is wrong.

Differences:
Fuel injection rather than a carburetor to avoid carb ice when flying CC to airshows and for aerobatics.
Naugahyde upholstery rather than leather.
Swiveling tail wheel, again, for airshow operations.
Bench seat cutout in the front-center to give easier access to the pitch trim wheel located under the seat. The trim is unusual in that the HS pivots about the LE.

I’m hoping that Steve will convince Delmar (who lives a couple of hours south of here) to come for Friday coffee with us. About a dozen of us would love to talk to him.


BJC
 

TFF

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Apr 28, 2010
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13,013
Location
Memphis, TN
From what I hear if you want to talk solar and wind power, Delmar will perk up.

The whole point of Delmar’s version was to prove it was not a fluke plane but well engineered. I think brakes and stearable tail wheel is the only differences. I use to have his book, but can’t find it now. It went into a lot of what he thought it flew like. Really it’s about training. When those were new, you saddled up and you were either good enough or not. Today I can walk to the hangar next door with a wad of cash and rent the T-6. Unluckily no wad of cash, but acclimation is no big deal today. I think in his book he compared flying it to a Pitts with worse vision.

That’s the picture the Smithsonian has not the plane. The Smithsonian did allow the guy who built the Howard Hughes racer access. I remember his quote was it was a lot nicer than he expected it to be. He thought it was going to be a hacked together prototype and it was like a show plane. Unluckily he and it crashed coming back from Oshkosh.

The guy building the new R has a build thread on the Biplane Forum. He has a biplane too. He went into how it was to find the information along with Kevin Kimball and it’s a trial of seedy weirdos to give up the tidbits they hold. At some point the legwork is enough to allow you into the club and you become one of them. Then they allow you access to the good stuff. It’s what Steve Wolf and Delmar B had to do and if you want one, you have to go on the journey. No one allowed a shortcut. If you are not willing to travel to some garage shrine in Iowa just to look at a bracket and get the next clue, you will never build one. The wing at the Oshkosh museum I think is the biggest artifact of GeeBees. Covering is ripped so you can see inside. Nothing extreme. Like like the inside of a Smith Mini wing.
 

bmcj

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Apr 10, 2007
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13,381
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Fresno, California
I’ve watched Delmar fly his on several occasions, and I’ve also seen Bill Turner (from Flabob Airport) fly his Gee Bee Z quite a bit. At one time, Bill also held the title of most time in a Gee Bee (more than all others combined), though I can’t tell you how many total hours he flew it before it was finally put on display in several major museums.
 

Victor Bravo

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Jul 30, 2014
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KWHP, Los Angeles CA, USA
I had been under the impression that Benjamin had changed the airfoil slightly to unload the tail and settle the airplane down a little bit, but that's something I heard instead of something I know. I saw it fly at Reno once or twice, very impressive.
 

TFF

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Memphis, TN
His book said no changes aerodynamically. I don’t think there was a need. The Z replicas had mods although probably not worth it. The engine was the bigger issue. The R-1340 was not as reliable so they went with the R-2 instead of the R-1. Save some fuel too. The short fuselage causes the rudder to oscillate so feet have to be kept on the pedals all the time. Not flutter. Aerodynamic buffet of sorts. The R crashes while under Granville ownership were because of small grass fields. They were landing these things on 1000 ft mud patches. Really. Delmar almost crashed his trying a short three point landing during his phase test flights. Wheel landings from then on. No problems from then on.

The pig of the replica racers is the Laird-Turner. Supposedly if feels like it is stalling when going 250 level. It survived and is in the Smithsonian. I think the replica was a disappointment that it was not as flyable as the GeeBee was.

When Delmar and Steve built theirs, Pete Miller was still alive. He still had his engineering notes from the time. He loved to show that his slide rule calculations were within a half a percentage of computer remodel.
 

TarDevil

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Jun 29, 2010
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556
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Coastal North Carolina/USA
Turner's Z isn't accurate, the one from Kimball is. Delmar's wife told me Delmar said the Z was a "pussycat" to fly.
I had a rather heated discussion with Kermit about the R2. He told me he did a shake test on the R2 and it would self destruct above 250 MPH. In a conversation about this with Mac, Kevin said the shake test was done on the Z, not the R2 because the R2 has never been reassembled to flight condition.
Mac said Delmar dove test the R2 to 300 and Mac planned to use that as his VNE.
 

Tiger Tim

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Apr 26, 2013
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Thunder Bay
The pig of the replica racers is the Laird-Turner. Supposedly if feels like it is stalling when going 250 level. It survived and is in the Smithsonian. I think the replica was a disappointment that it was not as flyable as the GeeBee was.
That’s incredible considering Laird’s contribution to the Turner Meteor was a new wing when as originally built (by Brown) it was apparently nearly unflyable.
 

BJC

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Oct 7, 2013
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11,223
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97FL, Florida, USA
I had been under the impression that Benjamin had changed the airfoil slightly to unload the tail and settle the airplane down a little bit, but that's something I heard instead of something I know.
Steve said that he has heard that so many times that he has given up on trying to educate / correct people.


BJC
 

flyinut

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May 1, 2008
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34
Location
GLD
I’m hoping that Steve will convince Delmar (who lives a couple of hours south of here) to come for Friday coffee with us. About a dozen of us would love to talk to him.


BJC
Tell Delmar (and Steve) I said Hello!

Mark Dickey
KGLD
 
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