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THE AIRCRAFT DRAWINGS OF DOUGLAS ROLFE PART 2

YESTERDAY IN Part 1, we examined two of the aircraft illustrated by Douglas Rolfe in his Airplanes of the World: 843 Planes, From Pusher to Jet 1490-1954. Here are two more meeting the selection criterion of having been GMax projects of mine, and a third that even predates GMax.

1930 Blériot 125. Aircraft enthusiasts are familiar with Blériot’s Type XI, the first aeroplane to cross La Manche/The English Channel. Less familiar, perhaps, is his 125, flown in 1930 and looking like sci-fi at the time. 

This and the following two-page spreads are from Airplanes of the World.

The 125 was the culmination of Louis Blériot’s passion for carrying passengers in the air. True, his 1908 Type XI was a single-seater (occasionally converted to dual tandem seating). But by 1911, he had built and flown a flying Limousine for Henri Deutsche de la Meurthe. Near the end of his career (he died in 1936), Blériot devised a commercial airliner, the innovative twin-boom, tandem-engine, 125.

My GMax Blériot 125.

Alas, first flown in 1931, the craft displayed less than satisfying flight characteristics. Subsequent development failed to achieve certification and the sole prototype was scrapped in 1934.  

1934 De Havilland Rapide. Rolfe chose to illustrate the D.H. 86, an early version of the company’s Rapide series.

I was attracted to a later variant, the D.H.89A Dragon Rapide as flown for the Prince of Wales, ever so briefly King Edward VIII prior to his abdication to marry Wallis Simpson.

My GMax D.H. 89A Dragon Rapide in its Prince of Wales livery, above Brooklands. 

1935 Luton Buzzard. Rolfe identified this as “Another small British light plane, 25/35 h.p.” He included the Luton on a two-page spread replete with odd aircraft. (The Waterman Arrowplane is on my GMax to-do list.) 

The Dunstable Sailplane Company reasoned that its products would be more practical were they not requiring a tow to soaring altitude. A logical solution for G-ADYX was fitting a secondhand Anzani two-cylinder, the engine originally powering a Morgan trike sports car. 

My Luton L.A.3 Buzzard, a pre-GMax rendition.

Its Little Red Blockhead pilot identifies this as a pre-GMax effort. Early on, modeling software had severe parts limits that fostered his cubist characteristics. 

It’s good fun to use the Anzani to attain an altitude of 2000 ft., say, then switch it off and go thermal hunting. My Microsoft Flight Sim has a default Schweitzer sailplane; so it can be done. ds 

 © Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2022 

5 comments on “THE AIRCRAFT DRAWINGS OF DOUGLAS ROLFE PART 2

  1. Robert Tondevold
    June 30, 2022

    Hi Dennis, thank you so much for sharing. I love vintage aircraft whenever I get a chance I fire up my Golden Wings install on FS2004 and imagine what it must have been like to fly these aircraft. Do you share any of your renditions?

    Thank you again for such a wonderful site.I can tell I’m going to be spending more time here.

    Rob

  2. simanaitissays
    June 30, 2022

    Hello, Rob,
    Thanks for your kind words. Indeed, I shared a bunch of my early aircraft at Flightsim.com and then also at The Old Hangar. Lately I’ve not posted them, but shared them individually when fellow simmers express a specific interest. I believe the Luton and Rapide are at Flightsim.com. I haven’t uploaded the Blériot airliner anywhere.

  3. Robert Tondevold
    June 30, 2022

    Thank you Dennis, I’m going to take a look. I think the Blériot 125 is an interesting concept and maybe ahead ft it’s time. I wonder how it would have fared if it had been a twin engine or maybe a tri-engine similar to the Junkers 52. Thanks again for sharing. It has rekindled my interest in vintage aircraft.

    • simanaitissays
      July 1, 2022

      Hello, Rob,
      Note, the Bleriot 125 was twin-engined, a tractor and pusher in that central pod.

      • Rob Tondevold
        July 1, 2022

        Thanks Dennis, I must have missed that earlier but see it now.

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