How do Airdrome Aeroplanes various kits compare?
It is interesting that you
I always have to soak on
things and fly things several times to let the reality set in. Every time I fly
something new there is some feature or quality that sets it apart from
Take the Airco
It was different from all the
rest of course duh. It's a pusher.
All the rest of the world
sees the shape, paint scheme, smoke and hear the sounds and note the speeds and
rate of climb.
With the DH I was kinda disappointed that it didn't break ground and head for
the stars like all the rest of Rob's designs.
Even though that isn't a
positive thing it does set it apart from the others.
What I did like so much about
the DH was the lack of prop blast in the face, the ability to sustain flight
with very low power settings, the unlimited view, the feel during taxi and
landing was nimble and light, the sound of the piccolo exhaust was easy on the
ears and of course It has a very unique shadow.
As much as I love the DH I
had to keep going over and over in my mind.
The question kept haunting me
is the same question that potential builders always ask.
"Whatís your favorite of
all Baslee's designs?"
Thatís a really tough
question to answer and I am obviously wrong according to his sales history.
I think his best seller is
the Fokker D-8.
Itís a nice flying machine but it looks too modern for me and the
top wing is kinda in the way while getting in and
Now I really liked the
prototype with its 18' wing or something really short.
Rob never told me not to roll
itÖ he just said to be carefulÖ so I rolled it very carefully several
times. Wow what a hot rod. Too hot for most potential customers, Rob
figured, so he doubled the wingspan and now you have a truck like glider in comparison.
I love the looks of all the
round cowled biplanes and triplanes
and they fly nice and are very controllable yet not real snappy.
Just the thought of how much
thrust is lost to frontal area seems like a real waste to me. I think the
FAA's term "view limiting device" comes
I always liked the Eindecker for its buildability.
All ribs the same size, square fuselage, good visibility and cockpit access, full
span ailerons and its light!
I will never forget the first
launch of the prototype, it was a rocket ship. The whole plane had a negative
power to weight ratio until I got in it.
I never could really bond
with it because the plane would not talk to me. It went where pointed and
performed very wellÖ almost too well as some thought we were showing off a time
I know why the plane had no
feel after flying Capt. Ronís EindeckerÖ I realized
the aerodynamic counterbalance ahead of the hinge line was too large.
I can't wait to see what
a new set of tail feathers does for the feel.
You were asking the same
question I have been asking myself since Saturday.
What about Butches D-VII?
The first thing, is that the
valley 2280cc motor and drive system totally makes this plane. What it is and
would make it even better with the 96" prop.
When you open the throttle
you hear a sound totally unique but very promising. I can't quite
describe it. Itís not loud, just very serious like it means business.
Acceleration and directional
control is very positive as I think it took 6 seconds to hit 40 and
rotate. Someone with a camcorder could go back and time it.
It would climb out at 35 but
I'm sure 40 or better would be smarter to not be hanging on the prop.
The second thing that
comes to mind as a pilot is that it has very light, very responsive ailerons.
I don't like trucks and this ain't no truckÖ this plane
is pure sports car.
What I would like to know is
what it would be like with gap seals.
I have already got a quote
from a vendor that would make foam rubber gap seals for all aircraft of that typeís
ailerons. I will have to pay a pretty hefty tooling fee but I think all of robs
builders deserve the enhancement it would give. I will get rolling on
The visibility is better than
it is with the round cowl planes at least while looking out the sides while
What I didn't care for was
the hard plastic tail wheel. It is just not adequate on asphalt. A
certain improvement would to add a 6" solid Matco
Ed, Dave and I went out to
check out the skid marks on the runway where I exited with the help of
The fully deflected tail wheel
left a very pronounced sacrificial trail of black, however it had no traction
to help guide the plane.
I thought the rudder could
have been more effective but if the plane had a good Matco
tail wheel you probably wouldn't need any more rudder.
I think I need to make a deal
with Rob and maybe blow the dust off his prototype D-7 as I now think itís
probably his best design.
The difference between
Butches D-7 and Robs D-7 are night and day. Butch is the superior
craftsman. Rob told me so 2 years ago when he showed me the detail in Butches
Nieuport or variant of it. The throttle and
Stick and seat are the things pilots touch and those in Butches plane could not
have been nicer.
All Robís planes are bare
metal, no seat cushion, no extra baggage.
It would be interesting to
compare the weights of both D-VII's.
(Roberts is 169 lbs lighter)
I think rob sold the Hirth out of his D-VII so it is ready for a Valley monster.
I don't care for all blue
airplanes so I would want to do something like Butch did for color.
My only worry about Butch's
plane is the CG.
It balanced perfect with me, I
wish I had brought my car scales so we could have recorded where perfect was.
I guess Butch could put 160#
in the seat and reweigh the plane.
You only get one chance with
a tail heavy airplane and I've used up my 9 lives in that department.
All in all, and what I've
been thinking is that I think the D-VII with the Valley Monster
is the best combination that could only be made better with the 96" prop, Matco tail wheel, and the foam rubber aileron gap seals.
I truly think itís my
favorite replica fighter.
This is a pilot report
written by Harvey Cleveland comparing several of the Airdrome Aeroplanes to each other.