Sunday, January 24, 2010

Second as opposed to Last Post

Having mastered(?) the first effort, let's try a second one. "Why a Nieuport 16?" I hear you say. Apart from the obvious "Why not?" the main reason is that we got it cheap! The guy we bought it from had only bought it himself to get the engine, so wasn't too fussed about the rest of it. It is actually a 7/8th scale Nieuport 17 but the dimensions fit nicely for a full size '16'. Again I hear the cry "Why?". Apart from it being an overpowered '11', it was used by a notable English RFC pilot called Albert Ball, VC. And we plan to honour him by painting it in his colours.

My bookshelf is rapidly filling up with books about the Nieuport concern, the aircraft it built and the pilots that flew them. Where did this zeal come from? My 'work' at the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre ( has sent me down the research path finding out interesting snippets about the exhibits (well, I think they're interesting, even if everyone else doesn't). The most interesting thing for me is discovering just how clever, innovative and resourceful our forefathers were. Just one example: the cylinders of the rotary engines were milled from solid metal to make the walls just 1.5mm thick. I think we'd be hard pressed to do that these days with all our high-tech equipment; it's hard to imagine how they could do it back then.

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