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Book Review - International AeroPlans: Plans, 3 Views & Data, No. 8, 1909-1939 Air Racers (edited by Andrew C. Anson) : AVH

Originally published by Aviation History magazine. Published Online: August 11, 2001 
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International AeroPlans: Plans, 3 Views & Data, No. 8, 1909-1939 Air Racers, edited by Andrew C. Anson, International AeroPlans, 8931 Kittyhawk Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90045, $10.95 plus $2 handling.

International AeroPlans is intended for modelers–in particular, scratch builders–and aviation historians. The series provides detailed specifications and line drawings from at least three views of military and commercial aircraft. Each plan includes painting instructions, markings and, in many cases, tips on building a particular aircraft. Volume No. 8 is devoted primarily to racing aircraft, starting with the 1909 Curtiss Reims Racer. Flown by Glenn Hammond Curtis, the Reims Racer reached a top speed of 47.5 mph, winning the Gordon Bennett Race in 1909.

Another interesting and unusual racer illustrated here is the French Villiers-Santos VS-2 air racer, which dates from 1921. This short-lived aircraft was the brainchild of racing buff Etienne Villiers and pilot and mechanic Georges Santos. The Villiers-Santos team came up with a strut-based parasol aircraft, the VS-1. Although that design proved too slow, the VS-2, a biplane with a cantilevered wing and fitted with a Lorraine Dietrich V-12 Model 13 that produced 370 horsepower, was ready for testing in 1922. The plane reached a speed of 132.7 mph in trials, but it was destroyed when Santos, the pilot, was forced to make a crash landing in a forested area.

This volume provides plans for the Royal Aircraft Factory's SE-4 biplane, designed by Henry Folland, the fastest military scout of its time, which reached a speed of 136 mph in 1913. Then there is the 1920 U.S. Navy Loening M-8-1 Air Racer, a single-seat, high-wing monoplane that competed in the 1922 Pulitzer air races powered by a 300-hp Wright-Martin motor. Although the plane finished in third place due to overheating, the U.S. Navy ordered 83 of the promising racer.

Plans are also included for the Savoia Marchetti S-51 Seaplane Racer, the 1936 Polikarpov I-152 (aka I-15bis) biplane fighter, the Focke Wulf Fw-56 Falcon high-wing monoplane, the 1930s-vintage British Weston Widgeon III two-seater monoplane, the Avions Marcel Bloch 120 Ville de Paris dual-motor passenger and mail transport plane, and the German 1914 D.F.W. Mars Pfeil (Arrow) biplane. A gallery of photos of scratch-built models from AeroPlans readers rounds out this fascinating volume on racing aircraft, which is sure to interest air race enthusiasts as well as modelers.

Mark A. Keefe IV

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