Maiden Flight at the field after over 30 years. Some Old School RC flyin’ from Jim Grants Fleet. Dad scratch built this Gee Bee from plans back in the early 90’s and it hung un-flown on the ceiling of his shop until yesterday! I went through her earlier this month, updated the electronics, and ran the engine in on the test stand till I was confident she was ready. I maidened her yesterday and like the full scale Gee Bee, she was an absolute missile! You could tell she was made for racing. After I trimmed her out she rounded the pylons at 80-90mph with knife edge turns tighter than 15′ radius! She flew so well that I’m sure Granny Granville rolled over in his grave with pride! Two flights proved that she is not only airworthy but Race-Worthy so I retired her back on the display wall with the other vintage aircraft built by Dad. I love having the memories of flying them but these planes are too sentimental to destroy. This one flew so well and had such an awesome presence in the sky that I might have to build my own version!
The old monochrome photos on the left are Granny Granvilles actual Model Y and the others are of Maude Tait, Mary Haizlip, and Florence (Tree-Tops) Klingensmith the beautiful flying legends of the 30’s.
The full scale plane was a sport racing aircraft built in the late 20’s by the Granville Brothers (registration X11049) and was designed specifically for the legendary female aviator of Springfield Mass and all around super hottie / sexy fast racer Maude Tait.
In 1931 Maude flew this Gee Bee in the 50 mile Springfield Mass Dash averaging 187.5 mph, beating Emelia Earhart by 10mph and missing the men’s record by only 1 mph. Maudes plane was underpowered compared to the men’s, showing how awesome of an aviator she was compared to them. Earlier In 1929, Maude set an unofficial altitude record for women by flying at 16,500 feet in this very airplane, open cockpit, without oxygen. After Maude used it for air-racing, the plane served as a support aircraft for the Gee Bee R-1 and R-2 racers. A second Model Y (registration NR718Y) was built for the Cord Auto Company to be used as an engine testbed for the Lycoming R-680 engine rotary engine and later was updated with 2 cockpits, 1 for the pilot and 1 for the engineer monitoring the engine.
The same aircraft was later refitted with a Wright Whirlwind of nearly double the power of its original powerplant where it almost exceeded the 300mph barrier. In this form, it was flown by Florence “Tree Tops” Klingensmith of Fargo, North Dakota, Florence (Shown standing next to her Waco Biplane at the 1933 Chicago International Races) was a barnstormer known for her low, treetop high aerobatics performances and was a flying legend like so many other female pilots of the 30’s. The beautiful and daring Florence won second place in the Women’s Free-For-All behind Mary Haizlip shown below.
These models are so much more significant when they are based on historical feats of aviation, and when they were hand built by people you love its even more awesome! Thanks Dad! She flew great! Although the Pumbaa in the cockpit isn’t near as beautiful as the flying legends of the past!