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Big Sky Stearman
flown by the ghost....
600 HP "Ghost
approached the test flight of the
Ghost Ship with some trepidation
because of its experimental nature:
Pratt Whitney R 1340 600 hp, 109” Hamilton Standard
prop, fuel injection, inverted
fuel and oil and clipped 4 aileron
wings. We made sure the CG was
in the forward part of the range
a heavy empty weight resulted in
a lowered Vne, and a restriction
against snap aerobatic maneuvers).
After taxi and engine tests we
were confident that it was running
right. I decided to use only climb
power for the takeoff, 32 hg, 2100
rpm and that was more than enough
for a dramatic takeoff and climb
reaching 5000 feet before I knew
it. I was very pleased to find
the ailerons very light and responsive.
The ship was balanced and the trim
was very effective. There was some
vibration so we will have a dynamic
prop balance done. The ship trimmed very well for a 70 mph short
final on the approach and finished the flight with a good three
point landing. Other than the fuel consumption
this aircraft will be a delight
to fly. The best part is takeoff, with so much extra horsepower
the acceleration and climb is dramatic. The noise is perfect,
recreating the sound of early biplane fighters with short exhaust.
The only purpose of this aircraft is to make lots of noise and
lots of smoke! I just need to find an aircraft carrier that I
can get qualified on!
"Many thanks to the Ghost
Ship skeleton crew for the assistance in the realization of a
dream. We are going to tell everybody
that we found it in a barn; it
could have competed with Boeing and Curtiss in Test Squadron
VX-1, Hampton Roads, VA!"
-Captain Cloud, alias John Pike
Creation of the "Ghost Ship"
We have all seen
pictures of the small sporty bi-wing fighters of the thirties
flying formation above some aircraft carrier in some exotic
locale. Well, be careful if you are flying along through the
clouds some day and a phantom ghost ship of the past slips up
along side you. Big Sky’s
1929 fighter factory (we are
80 years behind the times and proud of it!) is producing an X-plane
to terrorize the skies. It’s
a 600 HP bi-wing with bombs
under the wings and a Jolly Roger squadron insignia on the side.
Copying Stearman structural integrity we are fashioning a pre-war carrier based
biplane with the nostalgia of an early Boeing or Curtis. Using a Pratt Whitney
R-1340 engine of 600 horsepower and a Hamilton Standard 109 inch propeller
it will have incredible climb performance. The “look” will be obtained by
a Ford Trimotor ring cowl, a Norseman shutter winter front, large 32x6 wheels
with open Curtiss wheel pants. The upper wings will include 2 extra 15 gallon
fuel tanks. The fuselage will have a custom configuration that resembles
the early fighter biplanes. A “500 lb bomb” external fuel tank will hang
underneath. It will include an inverted fuel system and smoke.
Images for Larger Version
fuselage bulkheads and engine
winter front are being mocked
upper wing has a 12 gallon fuel
tank and shortened ailerons.
The upper wings and center section will have a full chord across the wing span.
The lower wings are clipped 18 inches and the lower ailerons have been shortened.
The landing gear being assembled with the 40 ton press.
The Pratt Whitney
600 HP engine cylinders being overhauled.