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Bearracing

Screenshot Tribute

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I'm absolutely enjoying the screenshot tribute to FS9, but found an error in the comments on the second part (Golden Age). In it, Mr. Cartwright states "The only pilot to have flown a GeeBee more than 15 hours of total flight time, and survive, was the equally famous pilot, Jimmy Doolittle (in all Jimmy Doolittle achieved 27 hours total flying time in his red & white No. 7 GeeBee, with which he won the 1932 Thompson Trophy)." This is true regarding the time of the air races, however, a pilot has flown over more hours in the GeeBee and even toured the airshow circuits in the late 90's and early 2000's doing aerobatics, yes aerobatics, in one. His name is Delmar Benjamin and he flew and raced the GeeBee R-2 Replica for five years before retiring it. I got to see him at AirVenture 2001 in Oshkosh and the show was just spectacular, especially if you know the history of the aircraft. His manuevers still put a shiver down my spine when I think of them.A pic of Mr. Benjamin next to his replica R-2 which is modelled exactly after Jimmy Doolittle's aircraft.http://k41.pbase.com/u41/staggerwing/large/26586076.DELMAR.jpg

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Mike,Actually we're both correct in my original statement! During the 1930s, when the original GeeBees were being raced, most had structual failures, in flight, due to high stress on the all wood construction materials. Delmar Benjamin's BeeGee was constructed using new materials and using modern design techniques to correct many of the original weaknesses of the aircraft. If the originals had been built as Delmar constructed his, I doubt there would have been the numerous crashes and subsequent deaths involving the GeeBee during the 1930s.It might interest you to know that I was involved (at a very minor level) with some of the wing details of Delmar Benjamin's GeeBee.Steve (Bear) Cartwright

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