Bowlus SP-1 Paperwing

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SP-1 "Paperwing"
Bowlus SP-1 Paper Wing - Redondo beach - December 1929.jpg
William Hawley Bowlus launching in the Bowlus SP-1 at the Redondo Beach Glider Meet in December, 1929
Role Glider
National origin United States
Manufacturer William Hawley Bowlus
Designer William Hawley Bowlus
First flight January, 1929
Status Sole example no longer exists
Number built One

The Bowlus SP-1 Paperwing was an American high-wing cantilever monoplane, single-seat, glider that was designed in 1928 and completed by William Hawley Bowlus on January 1, 1929. The SP-1 was Bowlus' sixteenth glider, and was test flown at Lindbergh Field in San Diego in January, 1929.[1] Later tests were also made from hillsides near Bonita, California in April, 1929. SP-1 received identification mark "493" from the United States Department of Commerce and was one of the first licensed gliders in the United States. Many refer to the Bowlus SP-1 as the first sailplane of U.S. design and construction.[2]

Design and development[edit]

The SP-1 received two nicknames, the first "Old Number 16" as the sixteenth Bowlus glider, and "Paperwing" because its wing rib webs were fabricated from craft paper. The ribs of both the rudder and the elevator were also made with paper webbing.[3] Otherwise the aircraft was predominantly wood and doped aircraft fabric.[4] The aircraft originally had a 44 ft (13.4 m) span wing with a USA 35-A airfoil with conventional aileron control and landing wheels for the rough dirt surface at Lindbergh Field.[5] The wing was later redesigned to include tip-ailerons, extending the wingspan to 47 ft (14.3 m). The aircraft achieved a very low empty weight for its size of 160 lb (72.6 kg) and a matching low wing loading as well.[6]

Operational history[edit]

Bowlus flew the SP-1 in several regional glider meets in southern California including two at Pacific Beach, California and one at Redondo Beach, California in 1929. On October 5, 1929, Bowlus established a new U.S. soaring endurance record in SP-1 above the cliffs at Point Loma, California near the Old Point Loma Lighthouse with a flight of 14 minutes and 10 seconds. On October 19, 1929 Bowlus extended this duration mark to 1 hour and 21 minutes, establishing the first soaring flight over 1 hour duration in U.S. history.[7] SP-1 was used for glider instruction at the Bowlus Glider School in San Diego. Many of the first licensed glider pilots in the U.S. learned to fly in SP-1.[8]

Variants[edit]

The Bowlus SP-1 sailplane served as a prototype for a series of other Bowlus designs, first with the Bowlus SP-D, then the Bowlus model "A" and S-1000. Only the single SP-1 sailplane made use of paper ribs, all subsequent Bowlus sailplanes used completely wood and fabric construction.[9] The latter designs also used a larger 60 foot wingspan and were the type used by Charles A. Lindbergh[10][11] and Anne Morrow Lindbergh[12][13] to establish their glider licenses in 1930.[14] Bowlus later used a Bowlus model A sailplane design to set several other endurance records, while student Jack Barstow used a Bowlus model A to set an unofficial world record for glider endurance of 15 hours and 13 minutes at Point Loma in 1930.[15][16][17][18][19]

Many variants patterned from the Bowlus SP-1 through Bowlus S-1000 series were constructed, including the Silver King by Harland Ross, and the Nighthawk, a sailplane flown by William A. Cocke to a world endurance record of 21 hours 34 minutes in 1931. The Nighthawk is in the collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History and was, for a time, displayed at the Santa Monica Museum of Flying.[20]

Aircraft on display[edit]

Specifications (SP-1)[edit]

General characteristics

  • Crew: one
  • Wingspan: 44 ft (13 m)
  • Wing area: 179 sq ft (16.6 m2)
  • Aspect ratio: 11:1
  • Airfoil: USA 35-A
  • Empty weight: 160 lb (73 kg) with landing gear 180 lbs
  • Gross weight: 305 lb (138 kg)

Performance

  • Cruise speed: 22 mph (35 km/h; 19 kn)
  • Maximum glide ratio: 20:1
  • Wing loading: 1.7 lb/sq ft (8.3 kg/m2)

See also[edit]

Related lists

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fogel, Gary. 2000. Wind and Wings: The History of Soaring in San Diego. Rock Reef Publishing House ISBN 0-9670339-5-0
  2. ^ Benbough, Richard "The Paperwing Bowlus Sailplane" Soaring, May, 1982, pp. 85-90
  3. ^ Bowlus, William H. "How to Build the Bowlus Sailplane" Modern Mechanics and Inventions for January, 1930, pp. 140-148.
  4. ^ Bowlus, William H. "How to Build the Bowlus Sailplane" Modern Mechanics and Inventions for January, 1930, pp. 140-148.
  5. ^ Fogel, Gary. 2000. Wind and Wings: The History of Soaring in San Diego. Rock Reef Publishing House ISBN 0-9670339-5-0
  6. ^ Lednicer, David (2010). "The Incomplete Guide to Airfoil Usage". Retrieved 1 August 2011.
  7. ^ Popular Mechanics Oct, 1929
  8. ^ Fogel, Gary. 2000. Wind and Wings: The History of Soaring in San Diego. Rock Reef Publishing House ISBN 0-9670339-5-0
  9. ^ Benbough, Richard "The Paperwing Bowlus Sailplane" Soaring, May, 1982, pp. 85-90
  10. ^ Bowlus, William H. "Lindbergh Learns to Glide" Popular Mechanics April, 1930, pp. 530.
  11. ^ "Lindbergh Clips Wings and Flies His First Sailplane" San Diego Sun January 20, 1930
  12. ^ "Mrs. Lindbergh Awarded Glider Pilot's License" San Francisco Chronicle January 30, 1930
  13. ^ Fogel, Gary. 2014. The Torrey Pines Gliderport (Images of America Series) Arcadia Publishing, ISBN 9781467131360 pg. 16-17.
  14. ^ Teale, Edwin Way "How to Get Into Gliding" Popular Science April, 1930, pp. 24.
  15. ^ Teale, Edwin Way 1930 The Book of Gliders E.P. Dutton & Company, Inc.
  16. ^ San Diego Union January 7, 1930
  17. ^ San Diego Union January 13, 1930
  18. ^ New York Times, January 14, 1930
  19. ^ "Sets Glider Record in Nine-Hour Flight" New York Times February 25, 1930
  20. ^ http://esoaring.com/nighthawk1931.htm
  21. ^ San Diego Air & Space Museum (2011). "Museum Map". Retrieved 1 July 2011.