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Vickers F.B.5 GunBus

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Roger Poyner
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#1 Posted: 11/20/2009 10:53:58

OK folks.  I may need some help here.  I am working on building  a replica of a Vickers Gun Bus.  Anyone have any sources of plans?  The plane will use aluminum tubing instead of steel and wood and roughly folow the Aerodrome constuction thechniques.  Engines are up for grabs at present.  Any ideas?  Roger



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Adam Smith
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#2 Posted: 11/20/2009 23:03:13

Roger, a man after my own heart!  A replica Gunbus sounds like a fantastic idea.  (I am slowly doing a Sopwith Pup).

The only F.B.5 that I'm aware of is in the RAF Museum in London, a replica built in the mid 1960s.  The records show that restoration was done using original plans from the Science Museum but other people have tried to locate them and failed.  I'm told that British Aerospace (which Vickers eventually merged into) have the original plans to all the WWI designs but will not release them for liability reasons.

The 80% DH-2 that Robert Baslee did is not totally dissimilar to the F.B.5, might give you a start on some ideas... perhaps if you scaled that up to 100%?

RAF Museum Gunbus:

vickers-gunbus-02.jpg

Baslee DH2



Roger Poyner
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#3 Posted: 11/20/2009 23:46:11

I have been in email contact with Dick Starks about the DH2 as well as Harvey Cleveland.  I will be using the wing profile from the Starflight line of ULs due to its high lift.  The plane at present will have a 30' span.  Engine option is a bit up in the air but I am leaning toward the Valley Engineering premier VW.  The plane should cruise around 50 and stall in the 20s.  Or it might be a yard ornament.  A little early to tell.  I chose the starflight wing because I am very familiar with it and actually started to think about this from my starflight DBL



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Geoff Gregg
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#4 Posted: 12/8/2009 11:47:44 Modified: 12/10/2009 09:34:22

I stumbled across yr query totally by accident, looking for a photo of the GunBus as currenyly in the RAF Museum.

I was the project leader on that aeroplane, 40+ years ago.

The info on the RAF Museum site isn't correct about drawings sources/whereabouts. We started with just 13 General Arrangement drawings which the Vickers historian (Charlie Andrews) had rescued from the tip some years earlier and kept for his own researches - which were actually of the FB9 model but gave us a fair start - along with some photos of crashed/shot down a/c which we got from the Imperial War Museum and a former RFC pilot who'd flown and been shot down in a GunBus.

I'd guess that, in total, there were rather a lot more than 600 new drawings needed for the replica. I gave some of them to Brooklands Museum several years ago and have got a further boxful here (in the Cotswolds in England).

For a couple of years I've been meaning to get down to Brooklands, to get the whole lot catalogued and see whether there is a complete set.

Our aircraft was probably 95+% authentic, with Monosoupape rotary. There are numerous articles around from the 60s reporting on the project.

But if you are seriously looking to build then this material can be available (tho' I'd have to go outside to make copies of the large drawings, beyond my home copier size capacity!).

Feel free to contact me.

Geoff Gregg
 

Post of the Week: 12/11/09
The discovery of drawings for the GunBus is being described in our hallways here in Oshkosh as "historic", but it's your willingness to share them with a prospective builder that exmplifies what this community is all about. Welcome to Oshkosh365, Geoff, and thank you for your contribution!

Hal Bryan
EAA Online Community Manager



Roger Poyner
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#5 Posted: 12/8/2009 18:55:10

Thanks Geoff.  Yes any help or plans you have would be greatly appreciated.  That is great work on the plane in the museum.

My main goal is to build a flying aircraft that will retain as much of the Gunbus looks as possible while using light weight tubing to lower the overall weight.  Just let me know how much you need for the cost of the copies of your plans and articles.  That will save a lot of design mistakes on my part.  It looks like the plane will be powered by a VW engine with a PSRU.  It's a shame to put a German engine on a British plane but it seems to fit the power requirements.  Thanks for your time.  Roger



Roger Poyner
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#6 Posted: 12/8/2009 19:16:13

I forgot to ask if you have any photos of the front and rear cockpit lay outs.  Thanks



Roger Poyner
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#7 Posted: 12/11/2009 02:21:39

My intent with this plane is not to reproduce the great looking version in the museum.  It is to build a plane that can be flown daily.  Now that I have found a great contact I want to build a plane that looks as close to the real thing but be lighter and fly with a modern engine.  Good used rotaries are hard to find.  I know it will not be a speed demon but should fill the niche that it found in WWI as a trainer and just have fun with.  Access to the pilot reports and plans is a boon and a half.  No sense reinventing the wheel when some one else figured out how to make a rock round.  The gunbus has intrigued me for a couple of reasons.  First it was the first purpose built fighter aircraft in production and used in combat.  Second it follows the lines of my Starflight (Sort of , almost but not quite.).  It looks like a plane that needs to be in the air again.  I am curious if the plane in the museum was flown and wonder how it handled.



Mike Kukulski
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#8 Posted: 12/18/2009 17:33:39

Not exactly what you are interested in (this being a FE-2b, and a very exacting reproduction at that) you may find the discussion of the building and flying of the superb example built by The Vintage Aviators, Ltd. of New Zealand of interest and inspiration.  This organization has been well funded by Peter Jackson  (of Lord of the Rings fame) and has focused on very exacting reproductions of WWI types.  Website on flying the Fe-2b is as attached below -- the entire site is worth surfing.

...Mike

http://thevintageaviator.co.nz/projects/fe-2b/flying-fe-2b 



Mike Kukulski RV-4 N96MK Skyote Builder
Adam Smith
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#9 Posted: 12/19/2009 19:10:55

Thanks for that great link Mike!



Roger Poyner
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#10 Posted: 12/19/2009 21:14:00

That is one heck of a site.  I think the most interesting part to me was the flight reports.  While the planes share a general lay out they are quite a bit different.  The attention to detail for an exact replica is amazing.



Jim Hann
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#11 Posted: 12/19/2009 22:46:54

Really cool website!  Thanks!!

Jim



http://sites.google.com/site/jimscavaliersa1025/ http://picasaweb.google.com/CozyCanard http://sites.google.com/site/cavalieraircraft/
Alice Cornwell
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#12 Posted: 12/20/2009 09:24:02

I really want to visit that place in New Zealand now!



Roger Poyner
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#13 Posted: 12/20/2009 15:33:24

The more I explore this site the more interesting it is.  While their goal is much more involved than mine with the gunbus their construction techniques have given me a lot of insight into the project.  Good viewing for anyone interested in replicas and restoration.



Corey Butcher
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#14 Posted: 12/23/2009 21:42:40

Roger,

You may be aware of my Voisin project, but just in case you are not, I wanted to offer my experience in building a one-off WWI replica.


OshkoshReadyVoisin.jpg

I call my airplane a representative proof-of-concept replica. It definitely has features of a 1915 Voisin 3 and 5, but I wanted to make sure it flew too, so I took lots of artistic liberty in the design and build. It surely is not an exact replica, but it sure does fly! Just as you are doing now, I did a lot of research and also started with what was familiar, an EasyRiser ultralight. I ended up designing a different wing, with Graham Lee's help, but it was all a part of the design challenge. Very similar construction to the GL/Baslee method. It took me about 6 months for the initial design, and over 1200 hours with the build, which included a bunch of RE-design time (not to mention the sit-and-look/think about it time).

Flew it to Oshkosh from Iowa in 2008 and had a blast. It was my intention to fly to Gardner this past June, but the weather was awful. I am trying again in 2010.

Anyway, if you have any questions, I lurk around. (I see you on the VULA, and other groups too.)

Corey Butcher

www.voisin35.com

 



Mike Whaley
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#15 Posted: 12/24/2009 21:59:44

There is a guy named Marc with a hangar at Dunn Air Park (X21, Titusville FL) who's recently built his own design of this airplane, as an ultralight. When I saw it early in 2009 he was working out the last details before flight. I know he did things a bit differently than the Aerodrome version, I believe he used aluminum tubes joined with steel fittings. He also had a couple other UL replicas including an SE5 (I think) and was working on one of the "Question Mark" racer. Sorry I don't have his full name but I suspect that you can make contact with him via EAA Chapter 866.

 

-Mike



Roger Poyner
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#16 Posted: 12/29/2009 20:02:55

Where are you located Corey and what engine did you use?  Roger



Roger Poyner
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#17 Posted: 12/29/2009 20:09:20

 

Like you I am using a wing section that I am very familiar with.  I am using a modified wing patterened after the wing from my Starflight DBL to use on the Vickers.   I am very familiar with its construction as well as its performance.  For those not familiar witn the wing the group link below will show a good example of the wing.

 

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/StarFlight-UL/

 

I will have to move the rear spar forward to give the sharp trailing edge and a mount point for the ailerons.  It is a high lift wing that should adapt well to the biplane set up.  Since the company is about to go back into production getting jig formed ribs is no problem.   I will be looking at a 30' span and still have a 2 place machine that should stall in the low 20s and cruise around 50.

 



Roger Poyner
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#18 Posted: 12/30/2009 02:22:33

Geoff has a wealth of information that will help more than I ever dreamed of I hope he is not too disappointed if my first attempt is a bit smaller in scale.  About the 85% scale to start with.  I want a low and slow plane that retains as much of the original looks as I can have.  I am a bit obsessed in two areas. Looks and weight.  The wing profile is based on one that I know and like and can be made light.  Engine choice is a bit of an open option.  Period rotaries are out for several reasons.  Like availability and cost.  Radial is another option that most folks would not notice as being out of place.  The Jabiru, Rotax and VW are all options that each have their own cooling and installation problems.  I am not new to aircraft and have earned my A&P restoring aircraft and have been lucky to work on and fly several different types.  These planes have been both GA and UL aircraft.  The present one I own and have in the shop to modify and restore is a 1985 Starflight DBL that is actually the inspiration for this project.  When I first bought the plane my little brain gears started to turn and wonder how much it would look like a WWI pusher with two sets of wings and a tailwheel.  I love a good challenge and hope my wife does to.  She better.  She married one.



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Corey Butcher
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#19 Posted: 1/5/2010 19:44:50

Roger,

I am in Central Iowa.

I used a Geo 1.0 with the SPG-2 Russian redrive.

Corey



Roger Poyner
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#20 Posted: 1/6/2010 02:54:26

I have looked at your web site and know we will be in touch.  I got the rigging instructions from Geoff for the front view as well as the incidence for the wings.  I have also layed out a starflight rib on the workbench to figure out the spar spacing.  With that known I now can start to build the fuselage or at least lay it out to begin construction.  About a million things to figure out yet but it is a start.   I think I will stick to an air cooled engine just to avoid plumbing problems.  Plumbing issues around the house and on autos only work for me if I plan on a bunch of trips to the store.  Construction is pretty straight forward.  Make the tubes fit tight and add brackets to the sides to hold them there like the aerodrome planes.  Make the plane look close to the original from about 20 feet away is simple enough (Short of the labor involved).   Hide how much I am about to spend from my wife?  I need a creative finance type or just hope she is sleeping when I buy stuff.  (Don't tell her I said that.)  If anyone tells I will swear that my address was attacked by hackers.