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18. Latest News


With all this retrospection and looking back, I don’t seem to have talked about where the actual project’s up to very much.

We’ve set 2012 as the year to concentrate on the project and get it completed if humanly possible. We’re certainly starting to see a lot more parts coming together, but there’s a very long way to go yet, and time will tell whether we achieve that ambition.

We always knew that the most insignificant-looking parts – the metal fittings – would be the most time-consuming element in the airframe, and that an engine (and, if possible, original instruments) would be the most difficult bits to source. But engines exist, and I always felt that it would be better to crack on with the airframe and that engines would be more likely to appear once we’d got something to put it in!

So – back to the airframe. We saw in chapter 9 that Theo Willford has made a cracking job of the woodwork for the wings. But that was last year, and he’s sat on his laurels since then waiting for us (my brother Rick and I) to get on with the metal bits. We had a good collection of metal parts cut out by waterjet from Dave Graham, and those we’ve now got folded and welded (see chapter 16). But when I started ticking  things off on the master spreadsheet, there were a good many blanks, and in recent weeks we’ve been back to Derek Walton at Defra Design to get the remaining pieces drafted in AutoCad so that they can be waterjet cut. Well, Derek’s finished and the pieces are with a local outfit called Fabrite to be cut, as soon as we get the metal sheets. The intention is to spend a week from 7 May – all of us together for the first time in the project – building wings.

It needs quite a lot of bits to come together. Theo’s done most of the woodwork; we’ve got the tube that goes rounds the outside and forms the outline of the wing (though we’ll have to bend it down there), and we’ve got the welded metal fittings where the struts between the wings fit. We’ve also got loads of other metal fittings to attach the internal bracing wires to, and – I hope – the bolts we need.

We’re still missing some metal fittings, but Fabrite’s Mark Ethelston is pulling out all the stops to get those done in time, and we’ll need loads of wire cable and tensioners, which should be delivered Without a problem – except paying for them, which is pretty eye-watering!

Meanwhile both Rick and Theo are practicing their wire splicing, since we’re going to need quite a bit of them. And when it’s finished, it should look something like this:








All of a sudden, things are beginning to hot up. If, and it’s a BIG if, we can get four of those made up by the end of a week, we’d have completed pretty much all of the flying surfaces, which would be a huge psychological boost.

Aviation has more aphorisms per square foot than any other activity.
One of those aphorisms is that when you reckon you’re nearly finished building, there’s only another 90% of it to go, and we’re well aware of that. Nevertheless, we’re all looking forward to this week with great excitement!


From → Building

  1. Dan Ellis permalink


    I came across your site after searching for more info on the Bristol Scout. I downloaded an old WW1 Aero magazine from 2008, I believe, that has your article describing your grandfather’s aircraft. I am following your progress with great interest. I’m interested in building a Bristol Scoul C or D and have both the Teachman & Barnwell drawings supplied to me generously by WW 1 Aero. I’m not interested in reproducing the aircraft as built originally but replacing certain items for strength and reliability as the intent would be to fly it on a a regular basis – that’s the general idea. Beyond replacing thre airframe with a steel tube structure, I was interested in replacing the powerplant with a modern choice for reliability and cost considerations. It’s the engine replacement that presents the real challenge to me in doing this project as there aren’t a lot of alternatives that fit the airframe dimensions. I find this to be a disappointment as I would really like to move forward with ther Bristol – it’s a friendly looking little plane that has, as far as I’ve read from different sources, very good flying characteristics. Anyway, if not a Bristol, perhaps a Sopwith Pup or, more ambitiously, a Sopwith Triplane.

    I look forward to more posts and I hope you wouldn’t mind if I ask the odd question as you move along with your project.

    Dan Ellis
    Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

  2. Sue permalink

    Hi Dan you may also like to follow on Twitter:
    Kind regards
    Sue Bremner

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