Granville Brothers Aircraft

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Granville Brothers Aircraft
TypeAircraft Manufacturer
SuccessorGranville, Miller & De Lackner
HeadquartersSpringfield, Massachusetts
Key people
Zantford, Thomas, Robert, Mark, and Edward Granville
Number of employees
Airworthy reproduction of the Gee Bee Model Z "City of Springfield" at the Museum of Flight in Seattle

Granville Brothers Aircraft was an aircraft manufacturer from 1929 until its bankruptcy in 1934 that was located at the Springfield Airport in Springfield, Massachusetts.[1] The Granville Brothers—Zantford, Thomas, Robert, Mark and Edward—are best known for the three Gee Bee Super Sportster racers, the Models Z, R-1 and R-2. Prior to building aircraft, Zantford ran a mobile aircraft repair service.


Data from:Aerofiles[1] The Granville Brothers completed 25 aircraft of which only two original aircraft are known to still exist.[2]

Granville Brothers Model A
Model name Engine Date No. Notes
Model A (biplane) various 1929 9 Survivor at New England Air Museum
Model X Sportster 95 hp Cirrus inline 1930 1 Entered the 5,000 mile Cirrus Derby,[3] finished 2nd overall, later converted to Model F with 135 hp Fairchild 6-390 engine
Model B Sportster 95 hp Cirrus Hi-Drive inline 1930 1 rumored sent to Spain for Spanish Civil War
Model C Sportster 95 hp Menasco B-4 inline 1930 1 [4][5]
Model D Sportster 125 hp Menasco C-4 inline 1931 1
Model E Sportster 110 hp Scarab radial 1931 4 One wing survives at the EAA AirVenture Museum
Model YW Senior Sportster P&W Wasp Jr./Wasp C radial 1931 1 Won more races and more prize money than any other Gee Bee, Maude Tait won the 1931 Aerol trophy, set the closed course speed record for women and won the Shell Oil speed trophy for women. It competed in the 1931 and 1933 Thompson trophy races finishing 4th and 5th
Model YL Senior Sportster Lycoming R-680/Whirlwind 1931 1 Lycoming test bed, later fitted with 575 hp Wright Whirlwind
Model Z Super Sportster 525 hp P&W Wasp Jr./Wasp Sr. radial 1931 1 1931 Thompson Trophy winner
Model Q Ascender Aeronca twin 1931 1 Canard[6][7]
Model R-1 Super Sportster P&W Wasp T3D1/Hornet radial 1931 1 1932 Thompson Trophy winner
Set world speed record, Shell Speed Dash winner
Model R-2 Super Sportster 525 hp P&W Wasp Jr./Wasp T3D1 1931 1 Cracked an oil line and did not finish in the 1932 Bendix, pilot Russell Thaw withdrew from the 1933 Bendix
Tiger/Mickey Mouse Genet radial 1932 1 Designed by Ed Granville
Dismantled after a few flights[8][9]
"Long Tail" Hornet radial 1933 1 R-1/R-2 Hybrid rebuilt from R-1 and 1932 R-2 wings
Named "Intestinal Fortitude" sold to Cecil Allen 1933
Aeromobile Menasco Pirate inline (1933) 0 Roadable airplane
Model C-4 Fourster Wasp Jr. radial (1933) 0 plans only, 4-seat airliner
Model C-6 Sixster unk. (1933) 0 plans only, 6-seat airliner
Model C-8 Eightster Hornet radial (1933) 0 uncompleted, 8-seat airliner
Model R-5 Hornet radial (1933) 0 plans only, Basis for R-6
Model R-6C Curtiss Conqueror V-12 (1934) 0 plans only, engine unavailable, Completed as R-6H
Model R-6H Hornet radial 1934 1 "Q.E.D." built for MacRobertson Race
Set Mexico City to Washington D.C. record as "Conquistador del Cielo". Survivor in a museum in, Ciudad Lerdo, Mexico

Replica and reproduction Gee Bee aircraft[edit]

Airworthy Gee Bee R-2 Super Sportster replica at Fantasy of Flight

A Model E replica was flown and wrecked before being donated to the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in McMinnville, Oregon. Another Model E replica was being built in Australia.[10]

A replica of Florence Klingensmith's Model YL was completed in 1984 powered by a 300 hp (220 kW) Lycoming R-680.

A Model Z replica first flown in 1978 was used by the Walt Disney Company in the film The Rocketeer (1991), which is now on display at the Seattle Museum of Flight. A second Gee Bee Z replica was sold to Fantasy of Flight.

The New England Air Museum and the San Diego Air & Space Museum have each completed replica R-1s with help from the Granville's under the agreement that the aircraft will never be flown. The Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum in Cleveland, Ohio also has an R-1 replica on display as of June 2018. The Springfield, Massachusetts Museum of Springfield History has a full size static fiberglass replica of the R-1 hanging in the atrium.[11] A Gee Bee R-2 Super Sportster replica flown extensively since 1991 is now at Fantasy of Flight.

A highly modified replica of the Gee Bee R-6 powered by a 1,425 hp (1,063 kW) Wright R-1820 Cyclone was first flown on 26 September 2013.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b "Gee Bee". Aerofiles. 2008-10-23. Retrieved 2015-08-15.
  2. ^ Graves, Darrell and Scott Brener. "The Granville Brothers Gee Bee.", D&C Aviation Limited, 1998. Retrieved: June 3, 2009.
  3. ^ "Local Flier Killed in Crash at Detroit." Springfield Daily News, December 5, 1931. Retrieved: December 26, 2008.
  4. ^ "The Gee Bee Sportsters - Holcomb's Aerodrome" The Gee Bee Sportsters - Holcomb's Aerodrome. Retrieved: October 22, 2009.
  5. ^ "The Gee Bee Model's B,C,D & E" The Gee Bee Model's B,C,D & E. Retrieved: May 13, 2013.
  6. ^ Harrison, Ronald W. Gee Bee Ascender, Journal AAHS Fall 1984, pp. 190–191.
  7. ^ Hannan, Bill, le Gee Bee qui volait a l'envers, Le Fanatique de l' Aviation, No 161, page numbers unknown.
  8. ^ Mendenhall, 1994, p.163
  9. ^ Granville, 2000, pp.123-124
  10. ^ "Dennis Emms Gee Bee "E" Model Project." Archived 2017-09-08 at the Wayback Machine, Rotec Engineering. Retrieved: June 3, 2009.
  11. ^ "Lyman & Merrie Wood Museum of Springfield History." Retrieved: August 30, 2010.


  • Benjamin, Delmar and Steve Wolf. Gee Bee. St. Paul, Minnesota: MBI Publishing Co., 1993. ISBN 0-87938-820-X.
  • Bowers, Pete M. The Gee Bee Racers — Number 51. Leatherhead, Surrey, UK: Profile Publications Ltd., 1965.
  • Granville, J.I. Farmers Take Flight. Springfield, Massachusetts: Copy Cat Print Shop, 2000. ISBN 0-9702493-1-4.
  • Haffke, Henry A. Gee Bee: The Real Story of the Granville Brothers and Their Marvelous Airplanes.Colorado Springs, Colorado: VIP Publishers, Inc., 1989. ISBN 0-934575-04-5.
  • Mendenhall, Charles A. and Tom Murphy. The Gee Bee Racers: A Legacy of Speed. North Branch, Minnesota: Specialty Press, 1994. ISBN 0-933424-05-1.
  • Schmid, S.H. and Truman C. Weaver. The Golden Age of Air Racing: Pre-1940, 2nd rev. edition (EAA Historical Series). Osceola, Wisconsin: MBI Publishing Co., 1991. ISBN 0-940000-00-8.
  • Those Incredible Gee Bees (VHS 60 min). Springfield, Massachusetts: Studio 16, 1992.

External links[edit]