Posted by on Friday, December 6, 2013
Filed in: Benoist 2014, Roberts Engine
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A Visit to Ohio

This week, Kermit and Andy headed up to Ohio to the engine shop to check out the first Roberts engine’s running characteristics and to pack up the components for the flight engine they’ll be assembling in Florida soon. The engine is a wicked-loud beast that rivals any dragster engine you’ve ever heard. Just check out this clip of her on the test stand. The train whistle signals the rest of the plant that the engine is about to be started so as not to startle anyone doing delicate work. You can hear why when she starts up!

Here are a few shots of the engine after test and tear down. No metallic debris was found on inspection, so things look good so far! Not much time left though…

E) Torn apart!

F) Cylinders

G) Pistons

H) Hardware

I) Crank and Case

 

Posted by on Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Filed in: Benoist 2014, Fantasy of Flight
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Hitting the Homestretch

As the holidays approach, the countdown to our New Year’s Day flight recreating the first commercial airline flight on 1/1/1914 is becoming almost audible. The entire Aircraft Department at Fantasy of Flight is working hard on making sure we have an accurate AND airworthy craft! The engine continues testing up in Ohio, the last coats of dope are covering the fabric on the wings and control surfaces, and soon it will be time to rig it up and test fly it!

If you would like to see details of the building process, Kermit is producing near-daily updates on his Facebook page so you can follow along.

For a quick summary of our progress to date, check out the video:

So will you be joining us for this historic flight from St. Petersburg, FL to Tampa, FL?!

Posted by on Thursday, November 7, 2013
Filed in: Benoist 2014, Roberts Engine
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Rounding the Last Turn?

Progress is happening fast now, with the whole Aircraft Department pitching in. Plus, our engine-making friends in Ohio have hit a major milestone by starting up the engine for the first time! Here’s a video of big moment… this is a sound that no one has heard for decades!
 

That massive engine tops 478 cubic inches, weighs nearly 300 pounds, and produces a whopping… 75 horsepower. Yes, apparently technology marched on and left the poor Roberts Engine behind. For a modern comparison, the 2013 Corvette Z06 has a 400-pound, 427ci engine that produces over 500hp! But hey, in 1914, this was the cutting edge.

Keep in mind this engine was built from scratch! Casting, milling… we had no existing engine, only a 4-cylinder reference model. Steve Littin and his team really produced a work of art! Have a look:

a1) Roberts

 

b1)

 

c1)

 

d1)

 

e1)