On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff
RECENTLY I WAS IDLY LEAFING through Douglas Rolfe’s Airplanes of the World when I realized how many of my GMax projects had been rendered in Rolfe’s illustrations. Indeed, his book was published in 1954, years before GMax, years before Microsoft Flight Simulator, years before computers.
The dustcover reads, “This book contains over a thousand drawings of just about every airplane that was ever built.… And there is no finer gift for the model maker—or for anybody who is filled with wonder about how airplanes got the way they did so quickly.” This probably explains my copy’s lack of secondhand price marking; I’ll bet it was a gift in 1954, the same year I started reading R&T.
Here, in Parts 1 and 2 today and tomorrow, is a selection of Rolfe’s illustrations, its pages chosen by overlap with my GMax modeling.
1912 Avro. Rolfe doesn’t identify it as the Type F, but he describes “This experimental mid-wing cabin monoplane with radial engine gives some idea of the scope of some designer’s imagination more than forty years ago.” Make that more than a century ago today.
As noted in Wikipedia, “On 1 May 1912 it became the first aircraft in the world to fly with a completely enclosed cabin for the pilot as an integral part of its design.” Imagine the racket of the Type F’s five-cylinder radial, the flutter of its fabric and cellon windows, the singing of its wire bracing.
1919 Navy Curtiss NC-4. World War I greatly accelerated the pace of aircraft development. The 1919 Curtiss flying boat had “Four 400-h.p. Liberty engines. The big NC boats had a wingspan of 126 feet, stood 22 feet high….”
A trio of NCs undertook a transatlantic route traced by 22 Navy ships from Trepassey Bay, Newfoundland, to Horta, in the Azores. However, as noted here at SimanaitisSays, “350 miles of the Azores, the trio got separated in heavy rain and fog. NC-1 and NC-3 were forced down onto the ocean. The crew of NC-1 was taken aboard the Greek ship Ionia; their flying boat sank in heavy seas. The NC-3’s crew kept their flying boat afloat, weathered the storm for 62 hours—and taxied 200 nautical miles (!?) to Ponta Delgada in the Azores.”
NC-4 reached Horta 15 hours and 13 minutes after leaving Canada.
Tomorrow in Part 2, we’ll see more Rolfe illustrations, including three represented in my GMax time-gobbling.
© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2022