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Boddo's Biggles Biplane

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Trevor Crook20/10/2019 19:38:18
868 forum posts
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This is probably old news to some of you, but I got the October issue of Aeroplane from the library last week, and there was an interesting article on the "Biggles Biplane", written by Matthew Boddington. The aircraft in question is a BE2 replica which was commissioned by Matthew's father, Charles, to feature in a Biggles movie about 40 years ago. Charles approached his brother David to design it, and despite only having model design experience, Boddo set about the task, basing the design on Tiger Moth components.

The film was never made, but the aircraft flew, and made its way to the USA. Unfortunately, it was crashed here, luckily with no loss of life. It was brought back to life about 10 years ago, and now flies on the show circuit.

Matthew states "It doesn't fly very well, but then a Tiger Moth doesn't fly very well, and this has more drag".

An excellent article about an interesting aircraft, which Matthew states is a lasting tribute to his father and uncle.

Kevin Fairgrieve20/10/2019 20:08:43
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I think this is it. A very poor picture taken by me at Cosford in 2014.

replica be2c.jpg

Kev

Tom Sharp 220/10/2019 20:52:15
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Lots of pollution there.

Kevin Fairgrieve20/10/2019 21:08:07
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Simulating the effects of an attack from the hunn!!

replica fokker dr1.jpg

Peter Christy20/10/2019 22:43:23
1583 forum posts

IIRC, there was a Biggles film made 30 or so years ago, but it was such a stinker that it sank without trace!

A great shame, as with a family of Boddo's involved, I'm sure the replicas must have been stunning!

As for Matthew's comments about it not flying very well, I remember hearing a talk from Brian Lecomber about flying a Sopwith Pup, complete with a genuine rotary engine, in answer to a question about the worst aircraft he had ever flown. However, he still rated a Cessna 150 as the absolute worst.....!

surprise

--

Pete

Geoff Sleath20/10/2019 23:19:10
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3434 forum posts
297 photos

I always understood the Tiggie is easy to fly but not easy to fly well. I'm sure a Pup with a huge and heavy rotary engine would have been a handful but I'm hoping the one I'm building will be a pussy cat with batteries and lead replacing the much of the rotary's weight.

I hadn't realised at first the BE2 mentioned in the OP's post wasn't a model but a full-size replica which makes it an outstanding achievement. A well-made Biggles film would be a treat but the chances of its being made are slim as mosy of the potential market are old men like me. I recently read the first Biggles book. I downloaded it from Kindle expecting a gung ho read but it surprised me with its thoughtful approach, especially as it was written so long ago but by a veteran of WW1. I think it would make a good film.

Geoff

Mike Blandford21/10/2019 00:09:51
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22 photos

Did Biggles ever fly a BE2, maybe he did very early on? As I remember, he flew FE2s when first posted to the front.

Was that first book "Biggles learns to fly"?

Mike

Geoff Sleath21/10/2019 00:39:31
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I'm almost sure that was the title, Mike. It was about a year ago (or perhaps more) so I'm not certain.

Geoff

Tom Sharp 221/10/2019 00:45:37
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3554 forum posts
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I've got a first edition of Biggles Fly's East. A bit tatty but still readable.

J D 821/10/2019 09:31:05
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1312 forum posts
78 photos

The Biggles film made some 30 years ago was a load of tosh with Biggles time traveling. Pretty sure they had him flying a Bell Jet ranger at one point.

Have only " had a go " at flying a Tiger Moth and a Cessna 150. Both were easy enough to steer around the sky but that's as far as my experience of both aircraft go's.

Saw something once about some uprated Tiger's made in the 50's [ May have been in Aeroplane Monthly ] They had more power, fuel tank moved to front cockpit so single seat, and I think ailerons on both upper and lower wings.

Story was by a fellow performing an aerobatic displayat a local fete in one and doing a boo boo resulting in a vertical plunge into the ground. Someone had taken a cracking photo of the Tiger with the nose a foot off the ground just before impact.

Pilot ended up in the ruptured fuel tank soaked in petrol but there was no fire. He was rescued by US AIR FORCE crash tender team who were also at the fete with just minor injuries. Lucky or what.

Have thought a model of the " Super Tiger Moth " would be good fun but have been unable to track down any further info about them.

FlyinBrian21/10/2019 11:22:07
522 forum posts

My ex Boss owned a Tiger Moth based at Sywell, Northants. I went up with him once and my recollection is that it seemed to take off, fly and land at the same speed!

FlyinBrian21/10/2019 11:22:26
522 forum posts

My ex Boss owned a Tiger Moth based at Sywell, Northants. I went up with him once and my recollection is that it seemed to take off, fly and land at the same speed!

Peter Christy21/10/2019 12:52:48
1583 forum posts

JD8: Yes, that was the film I had in mind! With so many good original stories, why on earth they had to do that is beyond comprehension!

I recall seeing a "Super Moth" at Dunkeswell many years ago. It was called "The ArchBishop" for some reason, and used for glider towing.

A propos nothing much, an old friend and work colleague was the chap who restored the only surviving (airworthy) Queen Bee to flying order.

--

Pete

J D 821/10/2019 13:53:59
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1312 forum posts
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Hi Peter, I was beginning to think the " Super Moth " was just a story but you have actually seen one.

There was a good feature about the restoration to flight of the Queen bee in Aeroplane monthly a couple of years ago.

It is thought the word " DRONE" in reference to a remote piloted aircraft comes from the time of Queen bee as a target for anti aircraft guns. The word "drone" is a reference to the male bee who makes one flight in search of the queen bee and then subsequently dies.

Cheers John.

Fun Flyer21/10/2019 14:41:32
288 forum posts
37 photos
Posted by Mike Blandford on 21/10/2019 00:09:51:

Did Biggles ever fly a BE2, maybe he did very early on? As I remember, he flew FE2s when first posted to the front.

Was that first book "Biggles learns to fly"?

Mike

I still have my hardback copy "somewhere". I read it so often I almost knew it off by heart.

John Bisset21/10/2019 14:55:54
193 forum posts

I think the 'Archbishop' was one of several Rollason's modified 'Super Tigers', which had full inverted systems and modified fuel tank positioning for aerobatics. They did have slightly more powerful engines - though my memory is that Gypsy Majors, like Renault 4PO engines seldom gave the nominal full rated power, or not for long once there were a few hours on the beasts. Any extra would have been helpful for glider towing; I recall a tow behind a standard Tiger many years ago in a fairly light but draggy wooden sailplane and it was a long laborious process to grind up to height. Having a tow pilot who understood where to find lift helped!.

Because the Tiger had only a single set of ailerons and also had cable operated controls which largely sat exposed to the breeze and the mud, they were quite sluggish or ponderous in handling compared to say the Stampe or the Jungmann. They also, like the Auster series, managed to develop an extraordinary amount of adverse yaw if insufficient rudder was used. That made it challenging for pupils to fly them well, but was good for training purposes. Despite frequently have the slip ball disappearing towards one wingtip or the other, they were very forgiving of the ham-fisted.

The Tiger Club had four special aerobatic Tigers I think, called the Deacon, the Bishop and the Archbishop. Can't recall the fourth name - maybe it was planned but never happened.

Mike Blandford21/10/2019 16:22:37
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534 forum posts
22 photos

I read "Biggles learns to fly", but I think my paperback copy is no more, although I have a number of other paperback Biggles books. I do have hardback copies of " "Biggles Pioneer air Fighter", "Biggles of 266" and "Biggles of the Camel Squadron".

I don't have anything to compare it with, but I found the Cessna 150 quite easy to fly, I did my first solo on one!

Mike

Tom Sharp 221/10/2019 18:21:58
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3554 forum posts
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I believe that the first Tiger Moth to have a petrol tank in the front seat position was used to fly inverted across the English Channel.

Trevor Crook21/10/2019 21:58:46
868 forum posts
65 photos

Just had the latest RCM&E delivered, and Shaun Garrity has a paragraph on the "Biggles Biplane". Spooky!

Dale Bradly22/10/2019 08:30:44
8 forum posts
4 photos

Re John Bisset's post above.

img_20191022_0001.jpg

The top wing looks quite good without the tank!

img_20191022_0002.jpg

img_20191022_0003.jpg

Pics all from "The Tiger Moth Story" by A.E. Bramson and N.H. Birch

Edited By Dale Bradly on 22/10/2019 08:31:17

Edited By Dale Bradly on 22/10/2019 08:48:53

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