Gathering of Fokker DR1's

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MIflyer

1st Lieutenant
6,404
12,438
May 30, 2011
Cape Canaveral
From Avweb:

Probably the first gathering Fokker Dr1's powered by rotary engines since WWI was held at the Golden Age Air Museum in Bethel, Pennsylvania in September. Also present was the Old Rhinebeck Airdrome's Sopwith Pup. Incredible they got that many rotaries flying at the same time! I am amazed they even got them there!

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Imagine what the smell was like.

WWI rotary engines used castor oil for lubrication, because the lubricant and the fuel were all mixed together in the crankcase and petroleum-based lubricants would have been washed away by the fuel. This meant that copious amounts of castor oil came out the exhaust pipe. The castor oil costs typically exceeded fuel costs and the US had to start a castor bean growing industry to produce sufficient quantities for WWI, despite the fact that the country did not use many rotary engines in the war. The Thomas Morse Scout used a rotary engine made by the Union Switch and Signal Company, but most US production was of other airplanes and engines, like the OX-5 and the Jenny and the DH-4 and the Liberty.

At Sun and Fun one year the had a Swedish rotary engine WWI vintage fighter and they started it up and ran it every day. The smell brought back memories of gas-engined flying models and I noted that the airplane was coated with a heavy layer of varnish, which was in reality the castor oil the engine was spewing out.

Of course the castor oil coated not only the airplane but the pilot, which explains those long scarfs they wore as well as their heavy consumption of alcohol; you had to get rid of the stuff somehow.
 
That would have been a great show to witness, seeing those rotaries buzzing about. I've watched the Omaka crowd fly their seven Dr Is, all of which are radial as opposed to rotary radials, but there was often a rotary powered Camel in the mix and it always sounded so different to the others.

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Camel-1

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Camel-4
 
That laminate propeller is a thing of beauty.
A friend of mine, owner of a storage unit/industrial facility got a beautiful Sensenich wooden prop in a trade for some homebuilt stuff one of his renters had left. He installed it on a Waco biplane he had rebuilt and made a short test flight. Afterwards I pointed out that it had a split along one of he laminations.

He called Sensenich and asked them about it. They replied that some of their WWII props might have a tendency to do that.

He split the prop open with a butter knife, applied some glue, and clamped it. Then he put the prop back on the airplane and ran it up on the ground; it split in another spot. The prop was sold as a wall-hanger decoration.
 
A friend of mine, owner of a storage unit/industrial facility got a beautiful Sensenich wooden prop in a trade for some homebuilt stuff one of his renters had left. He installed it on a Waco biplane he had rebuilt and made a short test flight. Afterwards I pointed out that it had a split along one of he laminations.

He called Sensenich and asked them about it. They replied that some of their WWII props might have a tendency to do that.

He split the prop open with a butter knife, applied some glue, and clamped it. Then he put the prop back on the airplane and ran it up on the ground; it split in another spot. The prop was sold as a wall-hanger decoration.

That's okay. It's still beautiful.
 

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