Admit it... we're fanatics. We eat, live and sleep flying. People see that I'm consumed with my passion of flight. You just can't shut me up once I get to talking about planes, and the conversation eventually turns towards me
building my own biplane.
Here's a snipit of a conversation, which answers many of the FAQs.
Q: Are you really building an airplane ? A: Yes, a biplane.
Q: A biplane ? A: Yes, a biplane.
Q: What's a biplane ? A: An airplane with two pairs of wings. One set here (raising hand high) and one set is here (lowering hand.)
Q: Is it one of those stunt planes that does loop-de-loops ? A: It's stressed for aerobatics, yes. I'll be able to do loops, rolls, spins, Immelmans, Cuban Eights...
Q: What is it made of ? A: It's a tube and fabric airplane, a tube skeleton with a fabric covering.
Q: Like one of those model airplanes ? A: Yes, but on a much larger scale.
Q: Is it a kit you're putting together ? A: No I'm fabricating all the pieces myself out of raw material, lengths of wood and sheets of metal. Every piece is cut, drilled and bent by me.
There's no pulling a part out of a box and attaching it to another part. I'm learning a lot of new skills. I taught myself to weld over the past year and plan on welding the fuselage.
Q: How long will it take ? A: Estimated time is 2500 hours, probably more.
Q: Where are you building it ? A: In my garage and basement work shops.
Q: Isn't it too big to build in your basement ? A: Geez, I never thought of that. Guess I'll be sitting in it making airplane noises and playing a DVD of Fly Boys. Real A: I'm building it in pieces and will take it to the airport to put it all together.
Q: What kind of motor are you going to have ? A: The engine that I bought is a Jacobs R755. It's a radial engine. It's big and round (shaping my arms in a big circle.) It weighs about 500 pounds and it will be putting out between 275 and 300 hp.
I need to completely disassemble it and replace any parts that need replacing.
Q: Are you going to be doing that yourself ? A: I plan on doing most of the work myself with an A and P mechanic looking over my shoulder as I do it.
Q: (turns to Denise) And you're going to fly in it ? ! A: (Denise) Yes I am ! I'm going to be his first passenger !
Why did I want to fly ?
I've been asked quite often who inpired me to take to the air. Who was your mentor ? None of my family memembers were even slightly interested in flight.
It was Christmas of 1966, I can still remember sitting in my Mother's living room, the lights of the tree on, me in a big overstuffed chair with a book in my hand. The book was Snoopy the Flying Ace. At the age of eight, I wanted to be just like him.
Later on, at the age of 12, I can remember being at the Jersey shore, at a friends house in Sea Isle City, his Grandmother was a member of the "The Book Of the Month Club." Laying on the table was a book with a seagull on it. I opened the pages and the words of Richard Bach just drew me in.
I could somehow identify with what Bach was saying, at a 12 year old's level. It was the only book I can remember sitting on that coffee table.
Might seem kind of strange that I choose these as reasons why I started my love of flight. It wasn't a man in his forties that got the inspiration, it was a child of seven that wanted to take to the air like the Flying Ace of WW I. It was a young boy, not even a teen, that could see what Bach was saying through Jonathan Livingston Seagull.
It was my Grandmother that helped me along, helping me pay for my early lessons, flying at Bridgeport Airport, in Bridgeport, NJ. I can remember sitting on the front porch, the blue skies of summer, a plane flying by... me reading my text book on flying. All I wanted to do was fly. all I wanted to do was fly...