World Cruiser Replica Makes First Flight

Discussion in 'Hangar Flying' started by Wanttaja, Jan 12, 2015.

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  1. Jan 12, 2015 #1

    Wanttaja

    Wanttaja

    Wanttaja

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    It's one biiiiig homebuilt.

    Last month, Bob Dempster's replica of the first airplanes to fly around the world made its first flight in Seattle. It's a huge biplane, powered by a Liberty engine just like the originals. And it's homebuilt.
    cruiser.jpg
    It's not just a "look alike," it's full scale, only modernized where necessary for safety or reliability issues. The wings even fold.

    Bob intends to re-create the flight of the four original Douglas World Cruisers (at least, the two that made it). This has been a labor of love for Bob, not a big corporate project.

    Here's an EAA piece about Bob and his project...

    Ron Wanttaja
     
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  2. Jan 12, 2015 #2

    BJC

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    Congrats to Bob. That is a big project. Thanks Ron.

    Looks as if it might have been raining out there. :)



    BJC
     
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  3. Jan 12, 2015 #3

    FritzW

    FritzW

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    Got any construction photos? I bet the wings are something are something to see.
     
  4. Jan 12, 2015 #4

    bmcj

    bmcj

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    Interestingly enough, my grandfather flew one of the original World Cruisers and was slated to be the pilot of one of the four planes for the mission until the Army big brass decided at the last minute that the pilots should all be commissioned officers... my grandfather was one of the flying NCO's (both pilot and mechanic) that the Army had at that time.
     
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  5. Jan 12, 2015 #5

    fly2kads

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    That's just plain (plane?) awesome!
     
  6. Jan 12, 2015 #6

    Wanttaja

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    Bob has construction photos up on the World Cruiser web page:

    Wings

    Bob used to bring strips of wood and the rib template to group meetings (including EAA Chapters), and we'd all gather around and build a rib. He even talked his mail deliverer into coming in and helping on a rib (the picture is on the web page).

    I want to emphasize, again, that this was basically a personal project (more like obsession) that has been Bob's passion for the past ~15 years. Tons of volunteer helpers, of course. He also had some corporate help, in the sense of donated equipment and services, but not sponsorship.

    For example, Bob needed a big hangar to for a long period. Boeing was getting ready to tear down its historic Plant II at Boeing Field (Where the B-17s came from...that's the factor where they built a fake city on the roof) and let Bob use it for year or so.

    Bob had a good joke along that line: He says the last new airplane to roll out of Boeing's most famous factory was a Douglas....

    He's one of the coolest figures in aviation, around here...funnier than heck to listen to. But he's not just talk, obviously....

    Ron Wanttaja
     
  7. Jan 12, 2015 #7

    plncraze

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    Thank you for sharing this. The rib stories are great!!
     
  8. Jan 12, 2015 #8

    BJC

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    It looked big in the photo that you posted Ron, but not as big as it clearly is in the photos.

    Wow!

    Where will is end up? Museum?


    BJC
     
  9. Jan 12, 2015 #9

    Wanttaja

    Wanttaja

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    I've never asked Bob that, but I think it's a good bet it will (eventually) end up in Seattle's Museum of Flight. Bob has a close relationship with the museum with most of the public events scheduled there (for instance, me and Shawn Duffee watched the first flight from the museum and heard Bob talk in the museum theater afterwards.

    Bob *does* intend to fly it around the world, though. If you watched the EAA video, he talks about when he and his wife flew most of the route in his Super Cub. A lot of the issues that have delayed completion have been regulatory for the countries they'll have to fly through. One of the countries require that both pilot seats have full instrumentation....If the back seat has an EFIS, the front seat must have one, too. I haven't seen the inside of the cockpit (the rim is about eight feet from the ground!) but I've heard they have an electronic panel. Remember, this isn't just a putt-putt around the neighborhood museum piece. Bob is going to recreate a flight that had 50% losses of aircraft.

    The choice of the Liberty may seem perplexing. Bob looked for alternatives, but didn't find any. The Vickers Vimy replica used BMWs, but BMW got out of the aviation business in a big way and refuses to support any projects. And the Cruiser *is* a single-engine airplane. It's going to fly a long way over water; no place for an "experimental" engine.

    Getting an airworthy Liberty has been a trial; he's been buying/trading parts from museums, private collectors, etc. There's still a lot of data on Liberty reliability and maintenance issues. But it's a long way around the world. I believe the original airplanes changed engines out at least three times. So he's either got to pre-ship rebuilt engines, or be prepared to have repair parts overnighted to him if there's a problem (not an option the original pilots had!).

    I was there for the first public Liberty start, two years ago. I do a closeup on the valves about halfway through this video... kind of fun to watch.
    [video=youtube;TavzFAzSMOw]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TavzFAzSMOw[/video]

    Ron Wanttaja
     
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  10. Jan 12, 2015 #10

    Joe Fisher

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    Way Cool !!!!!!!!
     
  11. Jan 13, 2015 #11

    bmcj

    bmcj

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    I love his choice to mount the test stand on a vintage truck.
     
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  12. Jan 13, 2015 #12

    Joe Fisher

    Joe Fisher

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    One thing in his favor today. Good oil. Today the oil we drain out used is better than the best new oil they could get in the 1920's.
     
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