Flight, July 1934
A HOME-MADE SINGLE-SEATER
Details of an Interesting Little Machine Built by a South African Enthusiast
AS British aircraft constructors are, apparently, doubtful of the commercial possibilities of a light single-seater machine for sporting
purposes, it is interesting to hear again that a young South African enthusiast has not only designed and built such a machine, but has flown it himself.
The name of this young enthusiast, who is only 19, is Mr. Lewis Noble, and the machine is a high-wing monoplane, powered by an A.B.C. "Scorpion" engine of 40 h.p. He built it entirely himself, and it would, perhaps, be best to describe the component parts in the order in which they were assembled.
The first part to be constructed was the fuselage, which consists of four longerons 1 in. by 1 1/2 in. spruce, braced with diagonal 1 in. by 1 1/2 in. struts, which are secured to the longerons by steel gussets and bolts. The whole is fabric covered. Next to be assembled was the tail unit. This is also of wood and covered with fabric. The size of the tail plane is 6 ft. by 1 ft., that of the elevator 6 ft. by 2 ft. 9 in., and of the rudder 8 ft. by 2 ft. The engine is well covered in and an oil tank of 1 gallon capacity lies immediately behind.
The centre section, which would be unnecessary but for a determination on the part of the designer to incorporate folding wings, was the next item to be constructed. This is attached to the fuselage by means of four streamlined steel tubes, each 2 ft. long, bolted at each end and braced with steel wire. Into the centre section is built a 10-gall. petrol tank.
The wings were the biggest job of all. They consist of two plain spars, 1 in. by 6 1/2 in. by 12 ft. and 1 in. by 4 in. by 12 ft. respectively, with twelve ribs, each made up from eleven pieces of spruce, glued and nailed together by plywood gussets. They are fitted to the centre section and braced to the lower longeron by four stout streamlined ash struts.
Steel ten-gauge tubing, 1 1/4 in. diameter, was used for the undercarriage, with two Baby Austin wheels, these being the lightest procurable in South Africa. The propeller was designed by Mr. Noble himself, and made out of laminated Stinkwood and White Elm, and the tail skid is built up in the usual way of a number of blades and fitted with a shoe. It was the designer's intention to build a machine inherently strong in every detail, so that it would stand up to any bumps and jars it might have to undergo while he was learning to fly it, and weight was not spared.
Mr. Noble commenced "instruction" by taxying his little machine about, doing short hops across the ground, but very shortly afterwards he took her into the air and found her very easy to handle, though on one occasion he turned the machine on her back - luckily with very little damage. When he was entirely satisfied with his work, the designer got into touch with Mr. Victor Smith, of Cape record attempt fame, who flew the machine on a number of occasions and expressed his complete satisfaction. The following performance figures were worked out and checked:-
Ceiling 10,000 ft.
Stalling speed 20 m.p.h.
Maximum speed 80 m.p.h.
Consumption 40 ml. to a gall.
Weight (loaded) 500 lb.
Wing loading 3 3/4 lb. per sq. ft.
Length of take off 100 yd.
Length of landing 75 yd.
Span 26 ft. 6 in.
Span (with folded wings) 10 ft.
Length 16 ft.