Filing More Than A Flight Plan

  • Apr 2, 2015 6:36am GMT

When Wright “B” Flyer Inc. takes its one-of-a-kind airplane to AirVenture 2015 in July, it will take a lot more than filing a flight plan. The modern lookalike of the Wright brothers’ first production airplane is tiring to fly. Instead volunteers will disassemble the 3,400-pound biplane, carefully load it into a custom trailer and have it hauled overland to Oshkosh—where they will put it together and fly it.

The organization is designing another one-of-kind flyer, this one designed for easy disassembly and scaled to fit in a standard shipping container that will allow the nonprofit to show and display the airplane worldwide. The new airplane will replace their current flying airplane, nicknamed the "Brown Bird," which you can see in the background of the cover image above. The Brown Bird is too big to fit into a standard container, so its very difficult and expensive to ship anywhere.

They have received more than $100,000 towards a $300,000 fundraising goal for the project, with a challenge grant to match up to another $50,000. The recent donation of a steel container by Benedict Tractor and Containers Inc. (BEI) of Monroe, Ohio has saved the campaign more than $4,000. “This container is exactly what we will need to represent America’s aviation heritage across the country and overseas. We’re extremely grateful for BEI’s support,” Wright “B” Flyer President William J. “Jay” Jabour said.

Like the current “B”, the new airplane will resemble the original, 1910-era Wright Model B Flyer, but it will use modern materials and meet modern safety standards. It will be built at the original Wright Company factory in Dayton with support from the National Aviation Heritage Alliance and the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA). The factory is where the Wright brothers produced the first Model B flyers more than a century ago.  In addition to the shipping container, Wright “B” Flyer’s “wish list” includes an engine, instruments, materials, tools, professional services and volunteers.

PHOTOS: The existing flyer and a composite illustration showing the next Wright "B" Flyer over the Wright factory as it might appear once restored as a National Park site courtesy of the National Aviation Heritage Alliance (NAHA).