Monday, November 30, 2009

Classic Racer Replicas

Here are a few of Dick's photos of American racing planes of the 1930s, most of them modern replicas but some original. Although many of these replicas have been built, it's a little surprising that there aren't more of them. They have much of the beauty and romance, and some of the performance, of World War II fighter planes, but are much smaller, simpler to build, and use less thirsty, more parts available engines. I guess two reasons why these racers are not more popular with amateur builders are, first, that it is often not clear how to build them, because the originals were one-off products and complete construction drawings have not survived or never existed; and second, they were never made to be easy to fly and all of them are demanding, even dangerous under some conditions. Fortunately, enough intrepid builders have completed them to give us all an insight into what air races of the 1930s were like.

Finally, a picture of Matty Laird, builder of the originals of a couple of the airplanes above, shortly before his death in 1982.

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