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    The Blue Dream will finally fly!

    Beautiful Bugatti plane designed 75 years ago is just weeks away from its maiden flight

    An engineering labour of love to bring Bugatti’s ‘Veyron of the skies’ to life is reaching the end of its journey.

    The beautiful replica 100P aircraft, dubbed Reve Bleu or the 'Blue Dream', is expected to make its maiden flight ‘a few weeks from now’.

    The plane is based on a design which had to be concealed from the Nazis during World War II and that would have made it the most advanced aircraft of the conflict.

    The beautiful replica 100P aircraft, dubbed The Blue Dream, is expected to make its maiden flight ‘a few weeks from now. It is pictured here at an engine test
    The beautiful replica 100P aircraft, dubbed The Blue Dream, is expected to make its maiden flight ‘a few weeks from now. It is pictured here at an engine test

    Italian car designer Ettore Bugatti believed the plane would reach 500mph (805km/h), beating the German Messerschmitt top speed of 469mph (755km/h) in 1939.

    The landmark aircraft is being re-created by a Scottish engineer working with a team in Oklahoma after a successful crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter.

    The team has crafted the replica aircraft using the same materials and processes that would have been used in the late 1930s and the plane is dimensionally and aerodynamically identical to the original. 

    This includes elements of the five patents that Bugatti was originally awarded for the 100P.

    However, instead of replicating the original engine, the Anglo-US team has used two Suzuki Hayabusa motorbike engines, generating 200BHP each to allow the design to fly at more than 200mph (322km/h) - slower than its designer intended.

    The replica plane (pictured) is based on a design which was never realised but would likely have made the 100P one of the most advanced and fastest aircraft of World War Two if it had flown

    The replica plane (pictured) is based on a design which was never realised but would likely have made the 100P one of the most advanced and fastest aircraft of World War Two if it had flown

     

    Engineers crafted the replica aircraft using the same materials and processes that would have been used in the late 1930s and the plane is dimensionally and aerodynamically identical to the original, including elements of the five patents that Bugatti was originally awarded for the 100P. A view from the cockpit is shown

    Engineers crafted the replica aircraft using the same materials and processes that would have been used in the late 1930s and the plane is dimensionally and aerodynamically identical to the original, including elements of the five patents that Bugatti was originally awarded for the 100P. A view from the cockpit is shown

    The plane is now largely complete and a successful moderate-speed test, as well as a high power engine test, has been conducted and filmed.

    ‘This is all part of an orchestrated test profile to ensure all systems are ready to go for the first flight a few weeks from now,’ the Kickstarter page explained.

    People who contributed more than $75 (£48) to the project will have access to a live video stream of the first high-speed test flight.

    The craft was not realised during World War II, because in 1940, Bugatti, who had become a French citizen, concealed his prototype 100P aircraft in a barn in the French countryside in a bid to stop the design falling into the Nazi’s hands.

    The French government were aware of the design but it was rumoured that Albert Speer - Minister of Armaments and War Production for the Third Reich – also knew of its existence. 

    WHO WAS ETTORE BUGATTI? 

    Ettore Bugatti was born in Milan in 1881.

    The father of six was a pioneering sports car designer.

    He built his first car before his 20th birthday and started his own company in 1910.

    According to the European Automotive Hall of Fame, ‘Bugatti's work was characterised by a unique combination of advanced yet simple engineering and artistic execution of all technical details.’

    He was known for creating every Bugatti model with parts that were used in other Bugatti models - meaning they were made not just in series.

    His company, founded in 1909, survives to this day, while he died in Paris in 1947.

     
    The craft was not realised during World War II, because in 1940, Bugatti, who had become a French citizen, concealed his prototype 100P aircraft (pictured) in a barn in the French countryside in a bid to stop the design falling into the Nazi’s hands
    The craft was not realised during World War II, because in 1940, Bugatti, who had become a French citizen, concealed his prototype 100P aircraft (pictured) in a barn in the French countryside in a bid to stop the design falling into the Nazi’s hands

    Experts believe that had the Nazis got their hands on Bugatti’s plane, it could have eliminated the Spitfire and even changed the course of the war.

    The plane survived the war but never flew, with the original being too fragile to ever be restored.

    Aeronautical enthusiasts have long thought it was an industry tragedy that the 100P, with its stunning design and ground-breaking performance, never got the chance to fly. 

    But this is about to change thanks to Musselburgh-born John Lawson, engineering director of the project dubbed Le Reve Bleu.

    Italian car designer Ettore Bugatti believed the plane would reach 500mph (805km/h), beating the German Messerschmitt top speed of 469mph (755km/h) in 1939. Here, a World War Two Messerschmitt 262 performs at the ILA International Air Show in Berlin

    Italian car designer Ettore Bugatti believed the plane would reach 500mph (805km/h), beating the German Messerschmitt top speed of 469mph (755km/h) in 1939. Here, a World War Two Messerschmitt 262 performs at the ILA International Air Show in Berlin

     

    The only aircraft built by Bugatti was resigned to history until a team of engineers and enthusiasts set about recreating the plane. A model of the 100P is pictured
    The only aircraft built by Bugatti was resigned to history until a team of engineers and enthusiasts set about recreating the plane. A model of the 100P is pictured
     
    Designed in collaboration with Ettore Bugatti and Belgian engineer Louis de Monge, the original 1937 Bugatti 100P (shown) is considered by many to be one of the most technologically advanced aircrafts of the era
    Designed in collaboration with Ettore Bugatti and Belgian engineer Louis de Monge, the original 1937 Bugatti 100P (shown) is considered by many to be one of the most technologically advanced aircrafts of the era

    Mr Lawson, 59, who runs his own model making company in Nottingham, is a former RAF engineer and used to work on the Vulcan bomber.

    The trained pilot has played a vital role in designing and building the complex gearbox for the model Bugatti plane.

    He said: ‘The Bugatti 100P was 85 per cent complete when the Germans invaded.

    ‘If it had flown in 1940 then it would have been a revolution. It was an incredible aeroplane and Louis de Monge, who worked on it with Ettore Bugatti, was a brilliant engineer.'

    The 100P design featured a twin, mid-mounted engine design. Both engines would be eight cylinder 4.9 litre race car engines producing 450hp each. 

    Experts believe that had the Nazis got their hands on Bugatti’s plane (a model is shown), it could have eliminated the Spitfire and even changed the course of the war
    Experts believe that had the Nazis got their hands on Bugatti’s plane (a model is shown), it could have eliminated the Spitfire and even changed the course of the war
     
    Bugatti was forced to conceal the aircraft (shown) by packing it up and hiding it in a French barn to prevent the German military discovering it.  It is thought Albert Steer, one of Hitler'­s ministers, was aware of the plane
    Bugatti was forced to conceal the aircraft (shown) by packing it up and hiding it in a French barn to prevent the German military discovering it. It is thought Albert Steer, one of Hitler'­s ministers, was aware of the plane

    The design was ground-breaking because the wings and fuselage were intended to provide high strength at a low weight and were constructed from a multi-layer wood laminate - a concept still used by many planes today.

    It also featured cutting-edge aerodynamics with forward pitched wings, a zero-drag cooling system, and computer-directed flight control. 

    The 100P would also have been more compact than most aircraft of the era, with a wingspan of nearly 27 ft (8.2m) and an overall length of approximately 25.25 ft (7.7m).

    ‘However, these days it is in a very fragile state and it doesn't have an engine,' said Mr Lawson, talking about the original which is in a museum in Oklahoma. 

    'Power was designed to be transmitted to the propellers using twin drive-shafts located just under the pilot’s elbows and attached to the double, counter-spinning propellers via nose-mounted transmission.

    Ettore Bugatti, who helped build the Bugatti 100P, is pictured with his son Roland in 1933. The plane would have been fitted with two 450 horsepower engines and was designed to reach speeds approaching 804km/h (500mph) - a feat which had never been achieved at that time

    Ettore Bugatti, who helped build the Bugatti 100P, is pictured with his son Roland in 1933. The plane would have been fitted with two 450 horsepower engines and was designed to reach speeds approaching 804km/h (500mph) - a feat which had never been achieved at that time

     

    THE BUGATTI VEYRON OF THE SKIES

    The 100P featured a twin, mid-mounted engine design. Both engines were eight cylinder 4.9 litre race car engines producing 450hp each.

    The power would have been transmitted to the propellers using twin drive-shafts located just under the pilot’s elbows and attached to the double, counter-spinning propellers via  nose-mounted transmission.

    The wings and fuselage were designed to provide high strength at a low weight and were constructed from a multi-layer wood laminate - a concept still used by many planes today.

    The plane also featured cutting-edge aerodynamics with forward pitched wings, a zero-drag cooling system, and computer-directed flight control.

    It would have approached speeds of 500mph, a feat previously only achieved by aircraft with twice the horsepower.

    The 100P was also much more compact than most aircraft of the era, with a wingspan of nearly 27 ft (8.2m) and an overall length of approximately 25.25 ft (7.7m).

    ‘I got involved with the project four years ago after I was sent a picture of the 100P and told some people were building one,’ he said in February last year.

    ‘I got in touch with Scotty Wilson and he asked me if I could build a gearbox. It is a very complicated drivetrain but I thought I could have a go at reverse engineering it from the plans and photos.

    ‘The plane was designed to fly very fast in a straight line but the gearbox wouldn't have much longevity. So I set about seeing what was needed to give it a few hundred hours of flight.

    ‘It took a while but I managed to design one in computer aided design (CAD) software. I also had help from a group of engineering friends who were gearbox experts.’

    After suffering some setbacks which delayed completion, a gearbox was finally manufactured before being sent out to the US

    Mr Lawson then met up with managing director Scotty Wilson, from Tulsa, Oklahoma and Simon Birney, a Briton who is the commercial director.

    They hooked the gearbox up to the plane and, to the delight of everyone involved, it ran perfectly.

    Musselburgh-born John Lawson, engineering director of Reve Bleu (a model is shown) is one of the driving forces behind the project dubbed Le Reve Bleu. The trained pilot has played a vital role in designing and building the complex gearbox for the plane

    Musselburgh-born John Lawson, engineering director of Reve Bleu (a model is shown) is one of the driving forces behind the project dubbed Le Reve Bleu. The trained pilot has played a vital role in designing and building the complex gearbox for the plane

     

    (source: Daily Mail)

     

    UPDATE: 9th August 2016

    Pilot Killed in Crash of Bugatti 100P Replica

    Air Force veteran and project leader Scotty Wilson was flying the historic recreation one final time before retiring the airplane to a museum.

    A quest to create the world’s only flightworthy Bugatti 100P replica ended in tragedy on Saturday when builder Scotty Wilson was killed in a crash of the airplane shortly after takeoff from Clinton Sherman Airport in Burns Flat, Oklahoma.

    Video of the takeoff showed the airplane struggling to gain altitude before it turned sharply left and crashed in a fireball in a field near the airport.

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    BUT

    They still have the original in the museum, so 

    START AGAIN !.

    Unlike the English , Fairy Rotodyne. which had all the paper-work, Burnt and all metal templates, parts & aircraft "steamrolled" flat !.

    "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairey_Rotodyne, "

    It would made a giant difference to regional air-travel.

    spacesailor

    Edited by Old Koreelah
    Restoring original post after accidentally damaging it.

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    It is the story that is interesting irrespective how old the story is...don't you think

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    BUT

    They still have the original in the museum, so 

    START AGAIN !...

     

    Spacey as one of many who put money into building this replica I disagree. 

    Quite a bit of Australian material and expertise went into the project and I followed progress closely. Far too late I started having misgivings about the stability of the design, which I shared with people actually qualified in these things. We may never know if these issues had anything to do with the tragic outcome, but I feel quite conflicted about my tiny role in supporting Scotty's efforts.

     

    I wouldn't like anyone else to risk their life again strapped between a pair of high speed drive shafts, with a pair of heavy hot engines behind their head. 

    Beautiful and innovative though she was, perhaps the museum is the place for her.

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     Quite a few older/ concepts were ruled out in the light of improved engineering understanding/knowledge. As an example the Wahl Giant German planes coupled their engines with extensive drive shafts with the view to being able to shut down and repair engines located centrally in flight. Coupling engines is full of difficulties, creating more problems than solutions. This plane had contra  props which may have been coupled but did not need to be. Drive shafts near people are OK if done properly and enclosed. You are just as dead if a driveshaft damages critical structure as it is when it damages you directly though SIMPLER is BETTER if there's two choices and either works well as there's LESS to go wrong, but redundancy and failsafe have a place in the discussion as well.   Nev

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