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Published on Dec 23, 2009
A bit of modeling history was made on December 4th when Robert Cooper's twice-size model of Lou Proctor's "Antic" took to the air powered by a Blackmore-designed Bentley BR2 rotary aero engine. Dubbed the "GIGANTIC," Robert's aircraft lifted off at Hodges Hobby Shop (Andersonville, GA) at about noon with Mac Hodges at the controls. The engine and plane performed flawlessly, and although it was in the air for only a few minutes, we believe it may have set at least two world records. As far as we know it is the first model Bentley BR2 to take flight and the first ¼-scale model rotary engine to power a model airplane into the air.
Robert Cooper designed and built the aircraft, and Paul Knapp built the Bentley BR2. Ray Williams developed the fuel control system and assisted in all aspects of the engine installation. Ray Williams was the first person to successfully fly a model rotary engine when he flew his 1/3 scale model 160 HP Gnome in December 2001. His Gnome engine is on exhibit at the Craftsmanship Museum in Vista, CA. A stainless steel version of Paul Knapps Bentley BR2 is also on display along with many other engines and outstanding examples of miniature craftsmanship of all kinds. Visit the museum on-line at www.craftsmanshipmuseum.com. A tour of the Craftsmanship Museum can be seen on YouTube by doing a search for Craftsmanship Museum.
Congratulations to Robert Cooper for his beautiful 12-foot wingspan "Gigantic" and a successful flight. Special thanks go to Ray Williams for his expertise and assistance, Mac Hodges for his experience at the controls, Dale Cavin (Contest Director) for clearing the air for the Gigantic, and Glenn Torrance and Robert Warner who helped prepare the aircraft for its maiden flight. Video documentation by Paul Knapp.
NOTE: The first part of the video shows the initial runup of the engine. The actual takeoff starts at about the 6:30 point of the video. Except for one high speed pass, most of the flight was flown at 1/2 throttle. The 12.5 pound engine has plenty of power.