Our own Ken Kellett just got back from vacation and is beginning to plank the Benoist hull in earnest now as these updates from Kermit show:

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The front step area gets three layers of 1/4″ x 4″ spruce and the sides and bottom aft of the step get 2 layers. Here’s a closer view of the step area:

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Here’s a shot from the front:

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The side strips begin vertical and the next layer goes forward and aft. The bottom begins forward and aft because it ultimately gets three layers. Originally, in the construction of old boats and early seaplanes, fabric would have been glued under the last layer of wood to help seal the hull. Because you won’t be able to see it, we will use fiberglass cloth and epoxy glue, which is stronger and should seal it better.

In addition to Ken, we have four others focusing on cables, turnbuckles, a cable tension tester, the fuel tank, and the drive system. The engine guy up north is making progress and will also do the radiator.

Five months and counting! Tick… tick… tick…

We’re sorry about not posting for a bit. We’ve been rolling out a new website that is a vast improvement over our old one. We were going to move the blog of there eventually, but that’s taking longer than we thought, and you guys deserve an update, so here we go!
We had a meeting yesterday on where were are relative to getting our Benoist reproduction ready for the 100th Anniversary flight on January 1, 2014.

The clock is ticking and we’re beginning to feel we’re a bit behind the power curve.

A-Benoist-Progress

We’ve mobilized everyone in the Aircraft Department to begin making this our PRIMARY focus, as we’ve still got a lot of work to do. Anslo, our built from scratch Roberts engine has also become the top priority at the shop where its being constructed.
We got some sad news from our friends that built a “Lark of Duluth” replica. This was the airplane that eventually became our Tony Jannus airplane and flew during a Duluth, MN Festival during the summer of 1913.

B-Benoist-Progress

They missed flying their airplane for their 100th Anniversary event but finally got a chance to fly it last week . . . for about ten seconds!

It seems the pressure is on both our Fantasy of Flight CREW as builders . . . and on KERMIT as a pilot!

Here’s a video of our visit to see the progress of our Roberts engine being built by Steve Littin in Ohio. It’s a six-cylinder 2-cycle water-cooled engine that produces 75 hp.

benoist-travel-time-map

When people read the story of the first airline flight, they often wonder at the travel time of 23 minutes for a short trip across the bay. Why on earth would people pay for a 23 minute flight?

The reason becomes clear when you understand what travel options were available in 1914. Back then, there was no such thing as a “quick trip across the bay.” With no bridges and brand new automotive technology, a drive was an uncomfortable 20 hours! A somewhat more luxurious rail trip could range anywhere between 4 and 12 hours, and even the direct route across the water by steamboat would take you more than two hours.

Posted by on Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Filed in: Benoist 2014
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Benoist Visiting the Lark

The Duluth Aviation Institute is building their own replica of “The Lark of Duluth” which was the genesis of the Benoist Type XIV that we are replicating for the Benoist 2014 project, so we are comparing notes and swapping information with them as both projects progress. Their first flight will be about six months before ours, so we thought it would be good to drop in on them and check on their progress as 2012 draws to a close. Here’s a summary of that visit as Kermit Weeks takes you to visit the Lark:

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