Scratchbuilt 1/72 William Gary Hoople - 1910 -Looping the Loop-

by Gabriel Stern



   Mr. Gary had some ideas about how a plane should look. Or fly. Or perhaps roll.  To his creative mind we owe this remarkable example of early aviation design.  
   And before you say anything, yes, it did fly. 
The machine represented here was based on the only photo –badly retouched- I got of this series of planes, which run from about 1910 to 1913.
   Some of the attempts achieved sustained flight, although it is not clear which version achieved what. The Net had some written information available, most noticeable a press article which stated the span (or is it diameter?) as 20’ and how the Totowa, New Jersey dwellers were amused by the flights of this adventurous machine.

Click on images below to see larger images




   Now, mind you, 1910 was only 7 years after the Wright’s first powered flight. At the time I guess it seemed a good idea to get your own arrow and target together airborne.  Or perhaps the configuration had more to do with an apartment building-like airplane: First floor (where the pilot was) would be command and control; second floor (power plant) engineering; third floor (gas tank) supplies; fourth floor recreational area (for the pigeons and hens that is).

   Alternate original engineering requires equally alternate model building techniques. In this case the images illustrate the approach. Needless to say I had to start up by drawing my own 2-view. It ain’t pretty, as my good friend modeler-musician extraordinaire Vance Gilbert would say, but it did the job.

   And here comes the boring part that you can gladly skip (like “I glued this to that, etc.”):
   Once the basic structure –made with styrene sheet and fine rigid wire- was completed a Harrriman engine was scratched, together with the accessories (radiator, gas tank, wood propeller from popsicle stick, engine beams/tailboom). Then the four (photoetched + solder tires) spoke wheels and the tail feathers were dealt with. The basic pilot position was taken care of with a few more scratched parts and an Aeroclub bucket metal seat. The flying surfaces were painted before final assembly and then some rigging finalized the model.
   In the beginnings, when the airplane configuration was still in its ever-changing, Proteus-like form, the Hoople must have been a sight to behold. And still it is today.

Gabriel Stern

Click on images below to see larger images










Photos and text © by Gabriel Stern