Building A Dream

Editor’s Note: This story was submitted by our friend Jim Bruton.  Very inspiring Jim, thanks for the article, the story that goes with the article, and the amazing photos!

I am on the Board of WW1 Aero and this was the final article on my aircraft: a first-flight report.  There was a mid-construction [report] that came out in 2010 (I think) and I started a builders’ thread here back in 2004 – it’s the largest read thread on, by far.

[The aircraft] is a Ron Sands build from scratch – with a lot of details added, thanks to Fred Murrin and additional research.  I bought my Lycoming O-320 from Ron’s widow and son, as it already was configured for the rear mounted carb.  The prop was made by Culver Props and they are one of the best for price and perhaps the nicest to work with family-owned business in the Midwest!  I put a steerable tailskid in, as per a Sopwith Pup- idea given by the Mike and Paul in PA.

A few people ask about the paint scheme – why I didn’t want to go with something original.  I was going to, but changed my mind when I was “The Red Baron”. One of the CGI aerial battles showed a plane whipping by the POV with stripes painted on the side of the fuselage.  Really caught my eye.  That’s when I changed my mind and came up with this original pattern.  I’ve never seen exactly this pattern anywhere else and in that spirit, it is a “could have been”, since pilots did their own thing just like this.  Also, the manufacturer and serial numbers didn’t exist, as they fall in a gap of those issued.  These numbers are meaningful to me:  239/17 is the day [Werner] Voss died…

Due to the economy and wishing to begin building a Fokker Spinne, I sold my plane at the end of January.  I have a first right of refusal to purchase it back, which the owner estimates at 3 years, when he and his wife begin a family.  So depending on where I’m at with things, I could get my plane back with a lot more breaking in by a much more experienced pilot than me.  If it doesn’t work out, hell – I built and successfully flew a Fokker Triplane.  How many pilots can say that?

Editor’s Note: If you would like to download and read the WW1 Aero article in PDF format, click here.

Thanks again Jim, it’s awesome to see a man build something from scratch that eventually takes to the skies!