Airborne Awesomosity

Congratulations! It’s Twins!

Ercoupe twin 1

Fodder’s post on the Ercoupe stimulated my research juices, especially that image of the twin, so it was off to the googles! This intriguing machine was the work of Grady Thrasher, of  the Thrasher Brothers Aerial Circus, back in 1946. It came about the way many such projects do, sitting around on a rainy day looking at your plane and the parts plane you bought, and thinking to yourself, what if I just stuck those together? Thrasher took the right wing off one plane, the left off the other, got a hold of some high strength bolts from a DC-6, and there you have it. Even back in that era, he did attempt to check the strength of the engineering prior to flight, even reaching out to ERCO to get the original engineering data (not forthcoming, according to Thrasher). The finished product ended up being quite successful, and as one of the first (or perhaps the first) light twin in the US, helped in the development of aircraft like the Beech Twin Bonanza. Check out the gallery below for more images, as well as a letter from Grady Thrasher discussing the project, and a portion of an article from Private Pilot magazine, and hit the just for a short video with some Aerial Circus action!

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Moments in History

Got Any Beemans?

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Beeman’s Gum was concocted in the late 19th century by a physician in Ohio named Dr. Edward L. Beeman.  The gum had the two primary ingredients of pepsin powder and chicle, and was originally marketed as an aid to digestion.  In 1898 it was purchased by the American Chicle company, which was later absorbed by Warner-Lambert.  The gum continued in production as Beemans up until 1978, when it was discontinued due to slow sales.  Now the rights to this gum are owned by Cadbury, and it is sporadically available as a nostalgia product.

Perhaps you are thinking to yourself that the packaging and name seem vaguely familiar, but you aren’t really sure why.  Beemans became popular with aviators in the early days of flight, as the antacid qualities of the pepsin helped to calm airsickness stomach issues in flight.  It also had the inherent advantage that any gum gives a flyer of helping to equalize pressure in the ears.  Whatever the exact reasons, it soon became affiliated with flight, and was considered by many to be a good luck gum.  This good luck angle figured into the film ‘The Rocketeer’, and the blockbuster ‘The Right Stuff’.  “Hey Ridley, got any Beemans?”

The retro-throwback versions of the gum no longer contain any pepsin, but it is pretty tasty if you can get your hands on some!  Now that you remember why Beemans seemed familiar too you, you might be saying to yourself, so what exactly does this have to do with this weekend?

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Airborne Awesomosity

Human Fly

1975-The-Human-Fly-On-DC-8-From-Side

When I say Human Fly, you probably conjure an image in your head of Brundlefly, from that hit film named, appropriately enough, The Fly.  Instead, what we have here is a throwback to the early days of barnstorming, a fellow who thought it would be a good idea to ride around on the back of a DC-8.  Even better, what was the real drama of those barnstormers?  Not so much that they were flying, I would say, or hanging on to a wing while someone else flew, but that they did those things close to the ground, where the crowds could see.

So where do you find a pilot willing to aviate your modern airliner down low to the ground for your Human Fly stunt?  Well, if is the year 1975, you find a fellow by the name of Clay Lacy, an air racer and all around airplane aficionado to be your huckleberry.  Thanks to Clay Lacy Aviation and airpigz.com, we can take a look at video footage of the adventures of these gentlemen. Hit the jump and enjoy!

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