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Thread: Aerobatic WWI Fighter Experimental Kit

  1. #1

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    Aerobatic WWI Fighter Experimental Kit

    Hi


    I am looking for an aerobatic WWI fighter kit to build.



    So far, I have found Clifford Aviation - a SPAD replica, and also Aerodrome - they have several replicas.

    Neither offers kits that are aerobatic, as the actual fighters were.



    Would anyone know of any manufacturers that would have such a kit ?



    I am to the point where I think this becomes a "plans built original replica" option - but that is well over my head.



    Thank you for your help!

    AMS

  2. #2
    Adam Smith's Avatar
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    Hmmm, interesting question. I can't immediately think of any kits that meet your requirements.

    How about a Boredom Fighter? Not a kit but has a great WWI feel and an active builder & support community. Similar for a Flitzer. The 7/8th scale Replica Plans SE5a might be another option that's a bit easier than doing a hardcore replica.

    Another way to go would be to just take a "regular" homebuilt open cockpit biplane (I'm thinking of things like the Starduster, Skybolt, Hatz, EAA Biplane) and put a WWI paint scheme on it. Like what Steve Culp did with his "Pup"... bore almost no relation to a Sopwith Pup, but certainly looked very cool. Some of these options might open up more of an aerobatic envelope, if that's what you really want to do. The true WWI replicas will all be "mildly" aerobatic at best.

    Good luck in your search for a project! We need more WWI style planes out there. I was just down at the WWI fly-in at Dayton. There is something of a renaissance happening in this area of aviation.

  3. #3

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    Thank you for your for your reply! Been looking for some time and thought I would try the experts. A good suggestion about modifying an open cockpit biplane, but I am on a mission of sorts. I will continue the search! Thank you again.

    AMS

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by ams View Post
    I am looking for an aerobatic WWI fighter kit to build.


    So far, I have found Clifford Aviation - a SPAD replica, and also Aerodrome - they have several replicas.

    Neither offers kits that are aerobatic, as the actual fighters were.
    Devil's advocate here: What makes you think the actual WWI fighters met present-day aerobatic structural requirements? Would an original Nieuport 11 have been able to withstand 9 Gs for three seconds? I have my doubts.

    Your best bet would be a build a plane with known aerobatic capability and apply the appropriate cosmetics (reshaping, paint, etc.).

    Ron Wanttaja

  5. #5

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    Good point. I should have specified - I was looking for a kit that met the capabilities of a WWI fighter - not a modern aerobatic aircraft. They were capable of basic aerobatic maneuvers such as loops rolls, etc, where the kit planes mentioned are not. Thank you.

  6. #6

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    The problem you're runnning into is the fundamental design choice of the WWI representational aircraft* kits available today, namely tube-and-gusset. They just aren't suitable for full aerobatics (though the test pilot for the Lee Graham N11 famously put the prototype through WWI style aerobatics without the permission of the designer and it is highly discouraged).

    The best bet is to call Robert Baslee at Airdrome Airplanes and talk to him about taking his full size Pup (or similar) kit and beefing it up for appropriate stresses. The Pup, for example, uses a welded steel frame. I'll bet he'd chomp at the bit to come up with a one-piece spar and correct carry throughs and mounts for the wings. The guy is an amazing engineer and if it can be done he's the guy to crunch the numbers and figure out the design parameters.

    Quite a few of his available kits (like the Camel and the Sopwith Baby) started out as phone calls from customers requesting one be designed and built.

    I also strongly recommend taking advantage of his builder's assist program. A word of caution: it isn't lovingly referred to as the House of Pain for nothing. YOU build, he and his worker, Jim, assist, guiding and teaching along the way (and checking your work). In the four days I spent up there I went from being able to identify a rivet gun from a random selection of tools (and not much else) to knowing how to make gussets, measure and fishmouth tubing, drill and rivet, anneal aluminum, and a bunch of other stuff. They feed off of one's enthusiasm and work ethic - the harder one works the more they throw at you.

    * Representational versus replica is an old saw. My Nieuport 11 is representational in that looks like a Bebe on the surface, but underneath is very different - not just in scale (mine is 7/8ths) but in materials and construction techniques. The guys planing spruce and steaming plywood are building replicas, some of which are probably closer to the plans and intent of the originals than the stuff that came out of the workshops during the Great War itself.
    The opinions and statements of this poster are largely based on facts and portray a possible version of the actual events.

  7. #7

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    Thank you Frank - particularly for clarifying 'representational' and 'replica'. I was trying to take a shortcut - after reflecting on your information, I think I'm going to have to do more homework and come up with some plans for a replica. And figure out how to use a wood plane.

  8. #8
    You might want to look at a Fokker D VII based replica. It was reportedly the only WW I fighter that flew like a normal airplane. It had thick airfoils instead of the undercambered bird wings of the others. Might want a bigger tail for acro. Steel tube fuselage.

  9. #9

    Aerobatic WW I Drawings

    A source for drawings of WW I fighters is at www.replicraft.us.fm . If you have the skills, tools and time to build a replica, the plans are complete enough to do so. The drawings are marketed to builders of scale models and replica builders and the price is very reasonable. I look forward to receiving my copy of his Camel drawings, which I ordered today.

  10. #10

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    Great idea but most WWI birds were not very aerobatic largely because of the airfoils but there are other issues. However the Fokker DVII may be a good option but I have not flown one to give personal experience as to handling. I have flown full scale replica Fokker DrI with a Warner 145 and it flew great. Performance good and handling aerobatically not bad either with good airfoil and very fast roll rate (for the vintage) the only thing that is wierd is it has little to no yaw stability. If you take your feet off the rudders it will go sideways one way or the other you just dont know which. Keep you feet where they belong and it is OK. Have also flown Neuport 24 bis in airshows too but it needs a delicate hand because of its very thin airfoil. These planes though mean you'll have to get out the plans and start from scratch. Have FUN!!
    Steve

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