Sunday, April 15, 2007
Who is this man and how did he get so good-looking? Clearly he's thinking about a lot of things, like maybe a solution for world peace, or a cure for cancer. Some might say his expression is due to excess gas, but those people are wrong. Wrong and bad. Clearly this man is pleasing to all 5 senses. Oh, and I think there's an airplane in the background or something.
When we were passing through a resort area in Georgia last week we came upon this remarkable beast, a Boeing Stearman, which was built as a military trainer around World War II. This one is a total creampuff and is privately owned by some rich guy. Apparently the owner flies down in a Gulfstream and uses the Stearman to play around when he's here on vacation. Yeah, life is fair.
The Stearman has a beautiful old radial engine that provides 450 horsepower, which is twice what they originally came with, and I presume is more than enough to get this airplane up in the air and around the patch at a good clip even though it was designed years before wind tunnel testing and computerized drag analysis.
A huge chunk of the airplane is fabric-covered, like the wings, tail and fuselage. Only the areas around the engine were metal-skinned.
While it sits on the ramp it's attached to an oil can so that when it leaks oil out of the sump, it goes into the can rather than all over the clean ramp. Speaking of oil, I liked the fact that you can add it to the engine while you are sitting in the cockpit - it is a radial after all :)
I'm guessing the yellow circular thing that hangs under the fuselage between the landing gear is an oil cooler, but I don't know for sure. Does anyone out there know?
I took a video. A thousand apologies for the poor sound quality. I really have to upgrade my video capture capabilities soon.
The plane was absolutely immaculate up close.
The propeller was polished and chromed, and it reflects an image of some suspicious airport hooligan quite well. Or maybe that was Kitsch, I forget. But he looks hooligan-ish and that makes a better story, so I'm going to go with that.