|Empty Weight:||1,840 lbs.|
|Gross Weight:||2,415 lbs.|
|Maximum Speed:||296 mph|
|Powerplant:||Pratt & Whitney R-1340-51-01 Wasp|
|Year:||1990 (Original 1932)|
The iconic air racer of the Golden Age of Flight, the “Gee Bee” Supersportster R-1, was built in Springfield, Massachusetts by the Granville Brother Aircraft Company which was located at the now gone Springfield Airport. The Granville racer designs had thick stout fuselages, with low monoplane wings and lack of a conventional empennage (the arrangement of the stabilizing surfaces at the tail of an aircraft). The design philosophy was to fit the most powerful engine available into the smallest aircraft with a teardrop shape to reduce drag as much as possible. Its small wings and extremely low polar moment of inertia (an object's resistance to bending), allowed the plane to be able to made rapid turns, but also caused inexperienced pilots to easily lose control. But in the hands of Jimmy Doolittle, it set a new world land plane speed record of 296 mph and went on a few days later to win the 1932 Thompson Trophy Race at a speed of over 252 mph. He was quoted as saying. “She is the sweetest ship I've ever flown.” And, “I think this proves that the Granville brothers up in Springfield build the very best speed ships in America today.“
The Granville's donated their plans to the New England Air Museum stating that they would be flattered if we saw fit to replicate their airplane, but stipulated that we never fly it and never loan the plans to anyone who wanted to build a flying replica. With this in mind and a lot of help from Howell “Pete“ Miller, the R-1's designer, the museum built this plane using as closely as possible 1932 vintage materials and work methods. An engine was located whose serial number is only two digits away from the original, and the rare propeller was donated by its manufacturer, Howard Smith.
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