Scratchbuilt Hulburt 1909

Gallery Article by Gabriel Stern on Mar 25 2010

   This article has contents known to the State of California to produce modeling disorders such as (but not limited to):

  • MI (modeling itching) symptoms: you feel like having to build something, right now.

  • MSE (modeling sudden evacuation) symptoms: you go and sweep clean your building board in preparation for that next project.

  • MAD (modeling aesthetic disorder) symptoms: you find the material aesthetically horrifying thence you finish your beloved and much more beautiful ongoing project.

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   In the same concept group as the Flick-Reinig Apteroid
and the Argentinean Correa

the negative aspect ratio (span shorter than chord, or a “lengthwise plane”) Hulburt of 1909 adds to the formula the complexity of a tandem propeller arrangement.

   Powered by a very optimistic 3 cylinder Anzani this machine -which I found on the Aerodrome forum- has been waiting to be modeled since a time ago. The material sent by Paul D. (thanks Paul), a fellow enthusiast, provided enough to develop a sketched 3 view to help construction.

   The building process, given the absence of “natural” parts like wings or fuselage, started by making the accessories, like engine, seat, wood props, gas tank, wheels, etc. The little Anzani was a fun adventure; it ended up having more than 30 parts. I received the help of fellow modeler Tom B. (thank you again, Tom) in the form of gears necessary to replicate the transmission and control wheel.

   Then the surfaces were made and their frames were added. Basic elements were mounted following a strategic plan depicted on the photos. All that trying to hold the delicate spider web without touching it. Or so it seemed. A remarkable number of struts and rigging wires made it somehow to their respective places and after the final touches the beauty of the design was revealed in 3d form.

   Resembling anything but an airplane -as we conceive it today-, the Hulburt nevertheless had more than a couple of interesting design features and last but no least its strange appearance tends to produce some interesting reflections about aviation aesthetics.

Gabriel Stern

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Photos and text © by Gabriel Stern