Saturday, July 16, 2011

1920 Dayton-Wright RB-1

Dayton-Wright RB-1 was built in 1920, a racing aircraft developed in the United States to participate in the 1920 Gordon Bennett Cup air race. The aircraft was a high-wing monoplane with retractable landing gear undercarriage operated by a hand-crank making it one of the first instances of undercarriage retraction for aerodynamic benefit alone, clearly ahead of his time. With a monocoque fuselage and cantilever wing (built of solid balsa wood covered in plywood and linen) that incorporated a mechanism to vary its camber in flight. Unfortunately he was unable to fully participate in the race, getting off the highway due to technical problems. After that the aircraft was taken to the Henry Ford Museum.
The pilot had no forward visibility, but was provided with side windows. Cockpit access was through a hatch in the top of the fuselage.

Dismantled and shipped to France, the RB-1 was flown by Howard Rinehart in the September 28 race, but was forced to withdraw from the competition due to mechanical failure in flight. It was returned to the United States, where it is preserved at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.

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