Bugatti 100P Project Takes Center Stage at EAA Welcome Center
The separate fuselage/tail of the Bugatti 100P reproduction were mated to the wing this week.
The result is approaching a substantially complete structure, which AirVetnrue attendees can see in the Member Village next month.
Here's what they're aiming for: The original Bugatti 100P Racer, which resides at EAA's AirVenture Museum.
AirVenture 2011 attendees will have an opportunity to see the significant progress that's been made on one of the most incredible aircraft projects we've ever seen. The Bugatti Model 100P Racer reproduction project will likely be the first thing you see when you enter the EAA Welcome Center, located just west of ConocoPhillips Plaza. This international effort to recreate arguably one of the most elegant airplanes ever designed will be on display throughout the convention.
Scotty Wilson, EAA 572551, of Tulsa, Oklahoma, heads the project team, which aims to fly this ahead-of-its-time 1937 design. That's something the original never did, due to the onset of war and Germany's invasion of France in 1940. In June that year, just as builder Ettore Bugatti and designer Louis de Monge were getting ready to unveil this new racing plane, the Nazis were advancing on Paris. Instead of allowing their advanced, twin-engine aircraft to fall into enemy hands, Bugatti and de Monge had it stowed away in the French countryside, where it remained for more than 30 years. In the 1970s, after being reassembled, the wooden airplane that never flew found a home at the cradle of aviation - EAA's AirVenture Museum in Oshkosh - where it remains today on display next to the Spirit of St. Louis replica.
Wilson, a former Air Force fighter pilot, provided a progress report this week on the Bugatti 100P as work continues in a hangar at Tulsa's Harvey Young Airport. "By the time Oshkosh rolls around, attendees will see a substantially complete structure," he said. That means completed cockpit details, landing gear attached, and all flight controls covered with at least a first coat of Poly-Brush. On Thursday this week the wings were bolted to the fuselage.
Also a light primer coat will be applied throughout the structure, giving it a white-to-gray or yellowish appearance, he said. The actual spinner is likely to be installed, or at least a simulated one will be in its place.
And the props being custom-made by GT Propellers in Italy should be ready as well. Although not ready to announce the engines that will stand in for the original Bugatti 50B engines, Wilson says they'll be installed later this summer, meaning that the first flight could come as soon as the fall.
Bugatti and de Monge began construction of the airplane in 1937, which makes next year the 75th anniversary for the original project.
Wilson invites people to follow continuing progress of the Bugatti project through its Twitter page.