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Home »  Collection »  Flying & Static Aircraft »  Granville Brothers R-1 'Gee Bee'

HISTORY

  • Following the success of their Models Y and Z, the Granville Brothers of Springfield, MA developed the R-1 and R-2 models for the 1932 air racing season. (Gee Bee is a "spelling out" of the brothers' GB initials.) The aircraft were similar, differing chiefly in powerplant and cowling design. Both had fabric-covered welded-steel fuselages and wooden wings and tail surfaces with Haskelite covering.
  • Although appearing somewhat stubby, the airplane's fuselage had a nearly perfectly teardrop shape. The wing was mounted midway between the low-wing and mid-wing positions. The aircraft had small control surfaces, and the cockpit was mounted far to the rear, with the canopy faired into the vertical stabilizer. Every aspect of the R models was designed to reduce drag.
  • The R-1 was built specifically for the Thompson Trophy pylon race, while the R-2 was built for the Bendix Trophy cross-country race, carrying a much larger fuel load.
  • As the 1932 Cleveland air races loomed, the Granvilles found themselves with a fast plane but no pilot. Fate intervened when Jimmy Doolittle was forced to belly land his Laird Super Solution during a test flight. Doolittle was unharmed, but the Super Solution was too damaged to compete. He agreed to fly the R-1 in the Thompson race, and on 5 September he won the race at a speed of 252.7 mph. Meanwhile, the R-2, piloted by Lee Gehlbach, developed an oil leak resulting in a last-place finish in the Benix race.
  • Sadly, both the R-1 and R-2 were lost to crashes in 1933.

 

SPECIFICATIONS

Status: Replica
Manufacturer: Granville Brothers Aircraft
Year: Replica based on 1931 aircraft
Model: R-1
Registration Number:
Serial Number: 
Crew: 1
Max T/O Weight: 2,415 lb.
Span: 25 ft. 0 in.
Length: 17 ft. 9 in.
Height: 8 ft. 2 in.
Maximum Speed: 294 mph
Cruise Speed: 260 mph
Rate of Climb: N/A
Power Plant: 1 × Pratt & Whitney Wasp Sr. R-1340 air-cooled 9-cylinder radial engine.
Range: 925 mi
Service Ceiling: N/A
Armament: None

 

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