PFM Logo Fokker Triplane Model T Curtiss Canuck

March 7, 2008 Project Update

Starting the Triplane

WOW! What a day at Old Kingsbury Aerodrome. We had an excellent turnout of volunteers and all went to work on our various projects. The triplane has been very close to flying for several weeks, but today we finally finished the list of things to do that we made up after the last taxi test. We rearranged the throttle and mixture controls so as to increase the friction on both control arms. They now hold their settings even with engine vibration. The fancy wooden stick grip and blip switch was discarded in favor of a straight piece of tubing with the blip switch inserted in the top. This allowed much more up elevator movement--something that could be critical in landing. The piece that broke off of the tail skid during the first taxi test was reattached using epoxy and a large screw. In addition the metal shoe on the skid was rebolted, but shifted slightly to minimize any landing stresses.

When we were finally ready for the taxi test, we had to use a hacksaw to separate the plane from the taxi dolly! Roger gave the plane an unusually complete preflight for a taxi test. That should have been a clue. Ted readied the engine, propped it and got it to fire on the second try. Quite a change from earlier times. The engine was really running strongly so Roger commenced the first "taxi test" into a slight crosswind. The tail came up in one plane length and tracked beautifully. Everything happen so fast. It was airborne and climbing strongly before it passed the windsock without any urging from Roger! It just wanted to fly.

The Triplane in flight

After some testing and figure eights we expected an inspection pass down the field, but instead he brought it straight in for the one thing we all dreaded the most--the landing. The landing was a thing of beauty. Straight and steady with a little rudder dance, but not even a speck of dirt on the wing skids. Roger sat in the cockpit savoring the moment for quite a while--or maybe his just legs weren't working yet.

Here's the video: