February 20, 2011

Inspiration in Aircraft Design

The fascinating aircraft designs that came out of the 1930s were truly remarkable.  Who dreamed these aircraft up, put them on paper and then built them!?  Where did the designers get their inspiration?

When Zantford "Granny" Granville and Bob Hall walked past the early Gee Bee's sitting in the Grandville Brothers hangar and made their way back to the work table what was on their minds?  Large radial engine, yes.  Small airframe, yes.  Short wings, yes.  Streamlines wheel pants, yes.  Then what!?  I am sure they both sketched out some quick ideas on paper.  Some say early aircraft designs were drawn in chalk on the hangar floor and then actually built right over the lines!  Creativity must have flowed freely and the gears in their brains must have been grinding.  What they designed in a few short months was one of the fastest airplanes in 1931.  The Gee Bee Model Z, Super Sportster.  One of my favorite Golden Age air racers.  Pictured above is the Eicher/Kimball Gee Bee Model Z replica.  A beautiful aircraft that resides in Kermit Week's Fantasy of Flight Museum in Florida.

I sit here tonight at the computer with the gears in my mind grinding away.  A web site is what I am designing.  An aviation web site.  One dedicated to vintage aircraft.  The design possibilities are endless.  Mr. Granville and Mr. Hall might have thought the same way.  What will it look like?  What is its purpose?  My inspiration is coming from a class I took at the local Apple store over the weekend.  Hopefully I can start laying out the design that is in my head and get it on my iMac screen within a few short days.  It might be easier to find some chalk and start drawing it on the wood floor in my office!

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