December 11, 2008


Earlier this year a forum post caught my eye. A very nice scale replica of a Macchi seaplane was pictured and the pilot posted his comments. Thanks for Roger Cain for the pictures and Eric Presten for the commentary and their permission to post it here. To see all the pictures and comments click here.
Eric writes... "I did the first three flights on the Macchi M-5 that are shown in the pictures above. It was built by Jason Petrolje in Holland, Michigan. A man of amazing talent. He has also built, an Albatros and a Spad over the years, both of which have since been sold to other owners.

The craftsmanship on this airplane is exquisite and it looks like a Garwood clear varnished boat with a set of Nieuport 17 wings bolted onto its top deck. The airplane performs well, but due to limited aileron travel, I was only able to do flights down the lake in ground effect on the first day. It has since been flown to altitude, and we are planning a week of flying this summer to find our way around it’s envelope.

I call this airplane a lawn chair airplane. It is so beautiful you can just sit in your lawn chair and watch it floating in the water in front of you. Flying it is just a bonus. It has fantastic lines and gets out of the water easily on only 125 hp. The missing outer struts are now installed, and the airplane was built from a very complete set of original plans. It even has the original airplanes folding wings. The landing gear shown is only a beaching gear, as the airplane is a true seaplane. The reason for building the airplane in 7/8 scale is unique to seaplanes. Hangers next to the water with easy access are very rare. Jason had a friend who used to have a Volmer Sportsman. He had sold the airplane, but the hanger remained. Jason had to scale down the airplane to fit in this existing hanger. This modification also helped with the fact that the airplane was to be powered by an engine of less horsepower then the original."

Great looking machine. Thanks Roger and Eric for sharing the experience!

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