Saturday, November 18, 2017

Poplar Grove Airport (C77): World War I biplane project getting off the ground



POPLAR GROVE — The team building a World War I-era biplane remains on track to get the craft in the air sometime in 2020.

Nine aviation experts at the Poplar Grove Airport have been using original 1916 blueprints to build from scratch a fully functional 1916 Curtiss JN-4D biplane, known as a “Jenny.”

The planes originally were built by the Curtiss Aerospace Company in Buffalo, New York, and were flown by North American pilots when the United States entered the war in 1917. After the war, the Jenny was used by barnstormers and mail carriers and even flown by Amelia Earhart.

This new Jenny will be powered by a 100-year-old engine and will have no electrical system, starter or brakes — just like the original.

Since June, the volunteers have acquired parts and assembled portions of the $75,000 plane.

“I’m very excited about the progress,” said project manager Don Perry of Chicago. “Last time, it was just a stack of wood. Now there are wings and instruments.”

Here’s a look at how the project is shaping up.




Wings

You can’t have an airplane without wings, and the Jenny’s are taking shape.

So far, the top two wings on the biplane have been built and are ready for the fabric covering. It took six months to cut the wings from a wood pattern and bolt them together.

“The time it took to make the pieces was short,” said Frank Herdzina, a Poplar Grove resident and airport volunteer. “It took more time to assemble than it did cutting them out.”

The team has been meticulous about measuring the wings.

“Measurements are important,” said Steve Langdon, a Rockford resident who volunteers at the airport. “The more precise it is, the better it will fly.”

Fuselage

Attached to the wings is the fuselage, where the pilot sits and maneuvers the plane.

“It’s the main body,” Langdon said. “Everything (connects) to it.”

The sides of the 23-1/2-foot fuselage frame have been constructed. Crews are building the fuselage upside down because it’s easier to work that way.




Tailfeathers

The tail of the Jenny will contain five main components: fin, rudder, horizontal stabilizer and two elevators. So far, volunteers have constructed a rudder and two horizontal stabilizers, one of which “will go on display in the museum,” volunteer Dave McAllister said.

Instruments

The team has acquired a compass, tachometer, altimeter and clock for the fuselage. Unlike the rest of the plane, however, no assembly was required. The instruments came fully intact from an aviation-restoration organization in California.

Engine

Volunteers acquired an eight-cylinder, 500-cubic-inch, 90-horsepower OX-5 Curtiss engine believed to be about 100 years old and used in other biplanes. It will power the newly built Jenny — after it is sent to Virginia for overhaul. The engine arrived from Alva, Oklahoma, a couple of weeks ago.

“We have been keeping track of it for the last 14 months,” Perry said. “When it finally became available, we snatched it up.”

Said Langdon, “All the pieces (of the engine) need to be reworked and made airworthy.”

Story and photo gallery ➤ http://www.rrstar.com

Maule MX-7-235 Star Rocket, C-GMCY: Incident occurred November 18, 2017 near Langley Regional Airport, British Columbia, Canada







The occupants of a plane were uninjured when it made an landing in a farmer’s field adjacent to the Langley Regional Airport Saturday morning.

A witness said the Langley Township fire department was dispatched at about 11:30 a.m. on Nov. 18 for an aircraft crash south of the Langley airport on Fraser Highway.

Crews arrived to find a small aircraft had made an emergency landing in a field nearby after engine failure.

Two occupants were uninjured.

Story, video and photos ➤ https://www.langleyadvance.com