Ford Flivver (again?)

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ironnerd

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I didn't want to necro-post, so I started anew.

Original thread: [LINK]

One of the originals Flivvers (268) is on display near my in-law's house in Detroit at the Henry Ford Museum (I have never had the opportunity to see it, but will try yo make time in my next trip up).
While I was off in the Army, some guys at the EAA chapter in my home town (Midland, MI)built a replica of the 268, but used a different engine, it is in the EAA museum.
Another variant of the same plane (3218) is (I think) on display at the Florida Air Museum. It is the 3218 variant, powered by a 2-cylinder 40 hp engine (with which it dragged the 500 lb airframe, pilot, and 50 gallons of fuel into the air).

According to Wikipedia, Charles Lindbergh said it was one of the worst airplanes he ever flew... And the guys in Midland only seem to have flown it for about a year or two before handing it over the the EAA museum.

I'm just wondering if anyone has any idea as to how well the crazy thing flew.

We get a few hints from articles about what Henry had in mind: [LINK] [LINK] [LINK] [LINK]

This video gives some interesting details:
 
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Dana

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One wonders about the engine: 40HP two cylinder opposed, same as the 40HP Mosler in my Fisher, but the Ford is 143 cu. in. vs. 66 cu. in. for my Mosler. I wonder what the engine weighed? Certainly it would be much slower turning, so it could swing a larger more efficient prop.

Dana
 

choppergirl

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The Flivver may have been a Flop, but the Ford Trimotor... not really a Ford, more a Stout / Junkers... iconic plane

Stout, a bold and imaginative salesman, sent a mimeographed form letter to leading manufacturers, blithely asking for $1,000 and adding: "For your one thousand dollars you will get one definite promise: You will never get your money back." Stout raised $20,000, including $1,000 each from Edsel and Henry Ford.[2]
Well, that's how you fund an aircraft design...

With the first aerial refueling test successful, the pair of pilots set out for Fairbanks, landing first at Burwash Landing, Yukon Territory, Canada, on August 15, 1937, but the (Ford) Trimotor ran out of fuel and crashed in inclement weather the following day. The Trimotor was abandoned on the tundra. Wynne 1987, p. 53.

Hmm..... *raises eyebrows* abandoned on the tundra... my kind of price
 
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BJC

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The replica in Florida used a Franklin 2 cylinder, of, IIRC, 60 HP. Some friends researched the Flivver design and built it, and another friend from many years ago flew it, but I don't recall what he said about it. The tubing in the fuselage was much larger that one would expect, but correspondence with Ford's engineer confirmed it to be the authentic size, so it probably was a good deal heavier than it could have been.


BJC
 

TFF

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I think the best description is not sporty. For the time it was very small and short coupled. Add 3 ft to the fuselage and 50 more horsepower and it would have been a different airplane.
 

ironnerd

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Regardless of how it flew, there are better alternatives today.
You're super gifted...

If it flew well and went 100 mph on 40 hp while sucking down 2 gph, what's better?

Yeah, the state of the art has progressed in 89 years. Now I can drop $42k on a kit and engine for an RV-12 and dedicate the next five years of my life to bucking rivets. I can buck rivets at work, thank-you... I'll pass.
There are still people building Flying Fleas, Sopwith Camels, and even Volksplanes and Flybabies, all can be outperformed by a slew of aircraft (homebuilt and certified).

Better alternatives...
 

TFF

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I think he means the Flybabys and VPs are better alternatives. A Camel is at least a noble build. A Fliver is more like the flatulence of airplanes.
 

Turd Ferguson

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You're super gifted...

If it flew well and went 100 mph on 40 hp while sucking down 2 gph, what's better?
A plane with good handling qualities. The C-172 is not the most popular airplane in the world because it's economical.

I recall Dr. Otto Koppen said in a magazine interview once that the only design criteria for the Flivver was that it would fit in his bosses office. So he measured Henry Ford's office and made the plane to comply with that mandate, even if it meant sacrificing in other areas.
 

Battler Britton

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building again a Flivver, is just a matter historic minded way to fly slow plane . be part of airshow...try to cross country , the old way . I find it cute
it could be interesting with a Werner!

I love this iconic american airplane

Fliver31-550x318.jpg
 

ironnerd

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Define "Better".
Is an RV-9 better than an Aircamper? Is a CH-750 better than a Kitfox? Is a Rans S-7 Courier better than a J-3 Cub? Is and Osprey 2 better than a EAA Biplane? Is a C-177Rg better than a PA-28R-180? It all depends upon what you are looking for in a plane. Long Cross Country - Not an Aircamper. Puttering around local grass strips - NOT the C-400.

Define "Flatulence of Airplanes".
Personally I find a lot of better planes (New Mooney... anything by Rutan or Heintz) to be butt ugly.

Turd's point was that no matter how well it flies, there is something better out there. He's correct, but the same can be said of every airplane ever built (ever).

Right now, I am looking at a Hi-Max, but I think the Flivver could be a really cool (second) project. It's a good looking little plane, has nice classic lines, and acceptable performance - could use a bit more power or a bit less weight, but what plane can't? It even has an open cockpit for flights on those sultry Georgia evenings.
 

Victor Bravo

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There is nothing that flies better than an S-1S.

RV-3.

I have no S-1 time, so I absolutely cannot say from direct experience, but I'll still bet the house on the RV-3 winning a comprehensive competitive analysis by qualified test pilots as the better overall flying airplane, all things considered.
 

BJC

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RV-3.

I have no S-1 time, so I absolutely cannot say from direct experience, but I'll still bet the house on the RV-3 winning a comprehensive competitive analysis by qualified test pilots as the better overall flying airplane, all things considered.
Can you be out by the end of next week? Just leave the key to the front door under the Welcome mat.


BJC
 

Victor Bravo

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Ground handling characteristics and control sensitivity on takeoff and landing, groundloop resistance, ability to be safely operated by a pilot of average skill, flight stability when used for short VFR "$100 hamburger" cross country flights, cruise speed per unit horsepower, service ceiling on a given installed power, ability to operate from short fields......... those are a part of "overall best flying airplane" every bit as much as roll rate.
 

ironnerd

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So... you guys would use an S-1S or RV-3 for flying passengers into rough gravel strips?

If nothing flies better than an S-1S or RV-3, why did Randy and Dick build all the other planes in their fleets?
 

BJC

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So... you guys would use an S-1S or RV-3 for flying passengers into rough gravel strips?

If nothing flies better than an S-1S or RV-3, why did Randy and Dick build all the other planes in their fleets?
'Cause sometimes you need a pickup truck, even though it handles like a pickup truck.


BJC
 
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