26th July 13:20
Weddell-Williams racer #121 Gilmore Red Lion
Three replica model 44 Wedell-Williams aircraft were started at the
same time in the 1970's. These were being built by A North Carolina
man with design work by another guy. #44 was completed first and #121
was about half done later to be owned and completed by a man in the
northeast with final details done at our shop. #92 never progressed
beyond a basic fuselage frame I think.
The #44 replica was a handful to as mentioned in this thread. However,
the original was not so bad according to records. Keep in mind that
these replicas were not accurate. Many, many changes were made by the
designer and builder for various reasons. The ****pits was raised,
landing gear moved, wing airfoil changed, thicker wing, longer wing,
larger tail feathers are some of the changes. Others include simply
over building creating a very heavy airplane. The red and black one
ended up with a very aft, that is way aft, CG problem as well as the
wing was set at a lower than designed incedence. These things made it
very hard to fly along with the shape changes.
So, after it was damaged by hurricane Andrew, it was rebuilt to get it
to a proper CG and was found to be quite nice to fly. The #121 replica
used a different method of CG change. Put a bigger engine on it,
bigger yet tail and thicker wings. That too worked. But in both
cases, the airplanes are not true to form model 44 Wedell-Williams
airplanes. They are homebuilts that are similar is shape and paint
I have often wanted to replicate a Wedell accurately as we did on our
Gee Bee replica. When we built the Gee Bee, many people told us to
change this or that. No one will know. However, we decided to build
it as close to original as we could determine just as Youngkin did with
his replicas and Delmar and Steve with their R2. We ended up with a
great flying airplane and learned what a Gee Bee Z was instead of
learning what a spezio tuholer with a replica paint job was like.
My personal favorite form of WW racer is the Utican which was #92 later
in life. All white and had nice fairings. If I were approached to
build a WW, this is the one I would go after.
I suggest contacting the WW museum in Patterson, LA. It is located
just feet from where all the WW airplanes were born. A visit there
would be a big help in your quest for WW info as they have replicas of
the airplanes there. http://lsm.crt.state.la.us/wedellex.htm
I think the replica 121 is currently in Kissimmee, FL at Tom Riley's.
You can visit it there.
Another suggestion is to visit the Crawford Museum in Cleveland. There
you can see the original #121 as it still exists. It is in the later
form of #57 but it is the actual airplane.
By visiting these places and seeing the replicas and then seeing the
real thing in Ohio, you will be able to note the many changes that were
made. As it turns out, the boys back then wern't as dumb as some would
have you think. The airplanes worked, were fast and made money.
One last note before I end this long post. Be prepared to spend about
$150k in parts and materials to build a WW plus about 6000 hours of
labor if you do find enough data to build one. Engineering costs would
be additional to that number.
Happy holidays to you all.