Scale Models From The Golden Age Of Air Racing

Gee Bee R1 Flight Simulation

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Just Imagine

1939 Thompson Trophy Race

Folkert's SK-3

Steve Wittman's Bonzo

Turner's Meteor

Howard's Mike

Shoenfeldt Firecracker

Harry Crosby's CR-4

Art Chesters Goon

Caudron C-460

Gee Bee R1

Grumman Gulfhawk

Davis Monoplane

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You are now visiting a new site devoted to scale airplane models from the Golden Age Of Air Racing. This period of aviation history preceded WW2.

I am integrating photography along with my skills as a model airplane builder. The model airplanes described here are static display models of the racing airplanes from a period of the mid 1930's until 1939. They are exact replicas of the actual airplanes at 1/12 scale (one inch = one foot). So far I have built seven of these replicas. Photoshop has been available tool to enlarge drawings and making racing and registration numbers and letters.

This period of time was an instrumental part of my interest in aviation. As a teenager living close to the Cleveland, Ohio airport, I spent as much time as I could there. The National Air Races were held in Cleveland until 1939, when the US was focusing on the war in Europe. I was an avid model builder then and rekindled my skills about three years ago.

The photographs you will see here are of actual racers from that period and of the scale models that I have constructed. I have also tried to add some historical information about the pilots and the airplanes they flew. This period is from the mid 1930's until 1939 when the last National Air Races were held in Cleveland until after WW2. The National Air Races drew spectators like the NASCAR races do now.

Even in those formative years I was interested in photography. Several of the photos you will see are photos I took in 1938. A lot of the photographs that I took are lost or have been destroyed.

I started my own career in aviation when I joined the US Navy in 1943, and continued until 1959 when I came to the Cape Canaveral Missle Test Center in Florida, with Martin Marietta (Martin Aircraft Co.)

Some of my models have been "built from scratch" where I had nothing but three view drawings and photographs from the internet. Others were from plans obtained from Cleveland Model Supply, a company that has been in the model airplane business since the mid 1930's.

I found valuable information in two books: "Thompson Trophy Racers," by Roger Huntington, and "The Great Air Races," by Don Vorderman.

There were also two men with a vision to improve aircraft construction and design, Louis Greve and Charles Thompson, who put up trophies and prize money for the Greve Trophy Races and the Thompson Trophy Races. Prior to this period airplanes were wood and fabric "crates" These two men provided inspiration to develop aluminum and plywood airplane construction as well as inmprovement in aircraft engines.

By 1939 Most of the racers were capable of speeds of three hundred MPH and more. These were speeds far in excess of anything the military had until 1940. Externally braced wings and fixed landing gear had given way to cantilever wings and retractable landing gear.

Bob Paty

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