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On 22 July 1937, Arthur Butler completed the maiden flight of this aeroplane, shown in the latter stages of construction.

P3298-24/12 Photographic print, black and white, Arthur Butler's BAT monoplane ABA-2, c1937. Click to enlarge.

Butler designed the aeroplane and built it at the Butler Air Transport Company’s workshops at Cootamundra,  NSW. It was the first aircraft designed and built in Australia to be issued with a Type Certificate by the Department of Civil Aviation (now CASA), which had been formed in 1938. I have recently located the plans for the aircraft and maybe even its remains.

 

The question is: Should the aeroplane remains be restored, or is it lawful to use the plans to build Serial No 2?

 

SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Wingspan: 9.75 m (32 ft)
  • Length: 6.7 m (22 ft)
  • Height: 1.85 m (6 ft 10 in)
  • Wing area: 13 m² (140 sq ft)
  • Cruising speed: 161 km/h (100 mph)
  • Initial rate of climb at sea level: 122 m/min (400 ft/min)
  • Range: 1,207 km (750 miles)
  • Empty weight: 509 kg (1,123 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 771 kg (1,700 lb)
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If the remains of the original aircraft are substantial enough to be rebuilt, by all means, rebuild it. It will only take millions, so a wealthy backer would need to be found to provide the funding. Aircraft have been rebuilt from remains dragged from the sea, and from major fires, so it's entirely achievable.

 

However, the most sensible thing to do, is build a new aircraft from the plans. It's highly unlikely the plans are specifically owned by someone and that they could prevent the construction of another new machine. The original designer is dead, and any patents or rights to the designs have expired many years ago - and even if someone claims the rights to the original plans, they wouldn't have any worthwhile legal grounds to be able to stop the construction of another machine, or demand payment for the plans.

 

And as with the rebuild, the cost of constructing a new aircraft will run into millions, so a wealthy backer still needs to be found.

 

It's a very smart-looking little aeroplane, the lines are definitely very Auster-like.

 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/powerhouse_museum/5344846820/in/photostream/

 

 

Edited by onetrack
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I'm sure it could be built under EXP VH. I wouldn't bother IF the information you can obtain wouldn't Permit a faithful replica to be produced. What motor  was in it?. Nev

Edited by facthunter
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The performance figures are nothing special, so I reckon the engine would by an old DH Gypsy or similar. With a new engine it should achieve better performance. Of course if you build from plans, you may find some things specified to be better upgraded. That means it would no longer be the same deign, but only based on it.

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Yep. It's actually the BAT-2. BAT-1 was an earlier build that didn't go too well. Just grabbing a picture from my Butler material, I think this is BAT-1

 

image.thumb.jpeg.6a1c1ded4974a5de0ca048f9212c443c.jpeg There was nothing wrong with all things aerodynamic. It got damaged due to a lousy engine.

 

As you explore early aircraft you find that in most cases the design was OK, after the usual tweeks discovered during flight testing. It was the engines that caused all the problems. They just were not up to the standard of modern engines. But at teh same time, motor vehicle engines were not perfect either.

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3 hours ago, facthunter said:

What motor  was in it?

BAT-2 was a 2-seater and had a 60 kw (80 hp) Cirrus Minor four-cylinder in-line air-cooled engine. 91 kg. (  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackburn_Cirrus_Minor )

A Jab 2200 of 80 HP weighs 63 kg, so that's a likely replacement. That would bring the MTOW down to 743 kg. I suppose that some judicious use of materials could slim off those 43 kg to get it under the 700 kg limbo stick.

 

4 hours ago, onetrack said:

If the remains of the original aircraft are substantial enough to be rebuilt

Did you know that if all you had was teh manufactuer's data plate, you can build a whole plane around it?

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That's an upright Gypsy same as the Gypsy moth had which I have flown. Those engines date back to 1920 and are pretty reliable. Francis Chichester flew them everywhere.  Nev

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12 hours ago, onetrack said:

I like that little BAT-2, all the lines just look right.

Butler writes that the "machine proved to be easy to handle". During the test flying he investigated its spin characteristics. The aeroplane "had been designed so that it would not spin".  Testing that design feature  "the attempt was a failure, the worst the aeroplane would perform was a steep spiral". "Although the machine was by no means perfect (no aeroplane ever is), it was very docile and unlikely to 'bite' anyone who ventured aloft in it".

 

"With pride and satisfaction, I strutted away from the aircraft ... but my elation was tempered to a degree by the extremely vulgar comment of one of the 'lads of the village' who loitered about the precincts of the aerodrome whenever there was any flying activity."

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18 hours ago, facthunter said:

That's an upright Gypsy same as the Gypsy moth had which I have flown. Those engines date back to 1920 and are pretty reliable. Francis Chichester flew them everywhere.  Nev

There’s a story of how he navigated across the Tasman in his little moth. He deliberately aimed well south of Lord Howe Island and when he figured he was approximately on its longitude, he turned north. Brave man.

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17 hours ago, onetrack said:

He did a much better design job on BAT-2 than he did on BAT-1.

You have to remember that the BAT-1 was 1920's technology. Geoffrey de Haviland's 1920's products were not nuch different. Butler simply could not afford to buy the materials for 2 wings. 😀

image.jpeg.cef86e65e5af39745719b33abe2e5182.jpeg

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On 17/11/2022 at 1:54 PM, onetrack said:

 

And as with the rebuild, the cost of constructing a new aircraft will run into millions, so a wealthy backer still needs to be found.

I don't think it'd take millions.  I'll do it for half a million, OME.

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1 hour ago, Marty_d said:

  I'll do it for half a million,

There will be no cheap bastards working on this project!

 

I can't see how building, or restoring a simple rag and bone aircraft could tun into millions.

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On 17/11/2022 at 1:54 PM, onetrack said:

However, the most sensible thing to do, is build a new aircraft from the plans…

From the perspective of historic preservation, probably best to leave the relic as is.

A museum in NZ has the rusted remains of their first plane, with a replica nearby.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Pearse

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Croydon_Aircraft_Company

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1 hour ago, facthunter said:

Enquire from the people at Luskintyre

They maintain two Comper Swifts and do some fantastic work on other projects.

 

If one has the right contacts, all the restorer needs is patience and to set high-ish standards for the completed job. I've been thinking about how I would manage the project for the Museum and have figured out who I would call in to supervise the several stages. 

 

The BAT-2 was supposed to have been destroyed in a windstorm. If this is the extent of the damage: image.jpeg.e57cbb3153fc7332c3b260dfb18b9419.jpeg then it's do-able.

At the time it was damaged, maybe the owner didn't have hull insurance, or deep enough pockets. The fact that the aeroplane was kept for so many years, and accepted by a museum, makes me think that it would be a realistic project. I see the biggest costs as being some tubing, a heap of spruce, glues, fabric and dope. For such a unique and historic aircraft, I'm sure that I can find benefactors.

 

Sterp 1: Find your remains.

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I was once at a talkfest where Rod Stiff said that the trouble with the Jabiru kit was that any fool could build one, so he had to deal with fools too often.

This restoration will be a lot harder methinks, but the difference between the Jabiru kit cost and even half a million seems too much.

I say don't be too much put off by the cost as you start with a smaller bit, like the tailplane. Then you will know more. And remember what Confucious said... the main thing is to have fun!

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They've built a large number of Tiger Moths  too over the years to brand new condition.. Most of them were reselling for a bit over $100K. I don't know what the current values would be.. Nev

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Don't forget that the biggest cost of any project from house to boat to plane is the cost of labour. That's why people build their own aeroplanes in the garage. Fortunately, if this project goes ahead, it will be funded by donations from people with deep pockets, as well as from the "widow's mite". One thing I will be doing is getting the advice and guidance of my clients in the industry. That's where the money is spent if it can't be donated. There are some jobs (welding) that by Law will have to be outsourced to a CASA approved person.

 

If any of you has built their own aeroplane, answer me this: After you were shown the various techniques, was the actual completions of the task beyond the scope of the average person?

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DEPENDS HIGHLY  !.

on the ' average '  person .

I could already weld, ferrous & nonferrous metals from my apprenticeship with a Blacksmith tutor.

Loved ' elecronics ' by way of ' popular mechanics ' & similar mags. Aeronautical by aeromodling .

SO 

What is ' average ' .

I definitely FAIL at Buearocrasy . It took years to be ' given ' a drivers licence. 

spacesailor

 

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Welding can indeed be done by the amateur builder.

Many to most people who have built an aircraft have very likely not undertaken anything like it before, and they generally turn out the best work.

I built a wooden aircraft, I did need help with some metalwork machining and welding - those were beyond my capability and equipment.

Wood, fiberglass, fabric and paint, instruments and wiring, I did the lot.

 

I was gong to jump in earlier.

You can amateur-build Serial No. 2 off the plans you have, and you can change anything you need to along the way.

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