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265. Here and There


You might have thought that with the building done, the cost of owning and operating the Scout would decrease. And it has, but I still need to earn a penny or two to pay for it, so I’m currently in the USA on business.

But before I went, I had a phone call from Central Wheel Components to say that our wheel was repaired and ready for collection. I dashed over to collect it, and was very proud that I was able to refit the tyre by myself.

2016-08-14 Beaded Tyre

A beaded tyre is quite different to a modern one, the rim being hooked so that it grabs the bead moulded into the tyre outer. They are regarded with considerable suspicion; here is what’s on the website of vintage tyre specialists Longstone Tyres, who supplied our inner tubes.

‘Beaded edge tyres or clincher tires are an unreliable technology, which is why they stopped using Clincher rims and Beaded edge tyres. Please bear in mind that in period beaded edge tyres (clincher tires) regularly punctured and came off the clincher wheel rim.

‘For example; in the French 1908 Grand Prix run over 769.88 km which is only 478.38 miles one of the reasons that Christian Lautenschlager won in his 140hp Mercedes which was using beaded edge tyres (or clincher tires) was because he only had 22 punctures.’

Despite this, our tyre had remained attached to the rim despite all the bending, and was clearly good to use again. I posted the inner tube into the outer, and started fitting the outer to the rim at the valve. Because there is no steel cord inside, the whole exercise can be done with your bare hands, and inflating the tyre forces the beads into the rim.

Then I met up with Theo on my way to Heathrow and left all the bits with him.

While I’ve been away, he’s managed to refit the wheel using manpower from the Newton Peveril flying club and had the cowling repaired and refitted it, and so we’re virtually ready to fly again.

And I’ve taken a diversion from my work to fly to Seattle to see their excellent aviation museum adjacent to the Boeing factory.

The whole museum is a delight, with some very interesting aircraft there, but my attention was almost entirely focussed on a single aircraft – the Caproni CA20.

This amazing machine was designed and built in 1914 – exactly contemporaneous with the Scout prototype. It was intended from the outset to be a fighting machine, and the monoplane layout was used to keep the speed as high as possible. And to get round the lack of synchronising gear, a Lewis gun was mounted on the top of an extended kingpost, with a simple mechanism to allow it to be trained by the pilot.

The Italian government were only interested in bombers, however, and the prototype languished in the back of the works. It was flown, and converted from wing warping to ailerons. But it ended up in Count Caproni’s estate, housed in a monastery, whence it was recovered by the Seattle museum after 85 years, entirely untouched. It’s the only aircraft with its original covering still in place, and for that reason I was particularly keen to study it close up.

2016-08-12 CA20

As you can see, although it looks as if it’s covered in clear doped fabric, it looks nothing like ours. It’s not in the slightest translucent, and it has a light fawn colour which doesn’t seem to be the same as the colour of the base fabric, judging by the edges of raw fabric visible in places.

2016-08-12 CA20 fabric

I have contacted the museum curator to see if they can shed any light on the fabric and dope used, and we shall wait to see what that brings.

Come what may, it was a fantastic day, and the CA20 is endlessly fascinating, with its unique low-drag spinner, monoplane layout and very modern look. The rest of the museum was splendidly laid out, with a great number of very interesting aircraft to see, and I spent a happy day exploring.

In the entrance is this beautiful replica Rumpler Taube which was used in large numbers by the Germans in the early days of the war.

In the entrance is this beautiful replica Rumpler Taube which was used in large numbers by the Germans in the early days of the war.


From → Research

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