The last Gee Bee
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The last Gee Bee
„The Gee Bee Q.E.D. (“Quod Erat Demonstrandum” – „it is proven” in Latin), aka Gee Bee R-6H, aka the “Conquistador del Cielo” (Sky Conqueror) was the last in a series of racing and touring aircraft from the Granville Brothers. Unlike the other famous Gee Bee aircraft, the Q.E.D had the distinction of never finishing a race it was entered in. The Gee Bee Q.E.D. was started by the Granville Brothers in 1933 prior to their October bankruptcy. On 11 February 1934, “Grannie Granville” died in Spartanburg, South Carolina delivering a Sportster E used to finance a new company based in New York and called Granville, Miller & De Lackner. The R-6H (Q.E.D.) was completed later in 1934 for customer Floyd B. Odlum, with Jacqueline Cochran chosen as the pilot. The touring aircraft was designed with large fuel tanks to compete in the MacRobertson Air Race from RAF Mildenhall in England to Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne. A Curtiss Conqueror was the specified engine, but a Pratt & Whitney Hornet was substituted to make the race delivery date. The Gee Bee Q.E.D. shares the same general shape as the Gee Bee R1 racer, but is nearly 10 ft (3.0 m) larger in span and length. The aircraft was powered by a 675 hp (503 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-1690 Hornet. The fuselage is steel tube with fabric covering. The wings used wooden spars and ribs with mahogany plywood covering. The aircraft initially was painted bright green with orange markings to match the sponsor “Lucky Strike” cigarettes.”
The plane was flown by numerous famous pilots in her moderately succesful carrier:
- 1934 Bendix Race - Pilot Lee Gehlbach drops out en route to the race at Des Moines, Iowa after the cowling hit the prop.
- 1934 MacRobertson Air Race - Jacqueline Cochran and Wesley Smith withdrew with malfunctioning flaps, after landing damage at Bucharest
- 1935 Bendix Race -pilot Royal Leonard forced down with engine trouble at Wichita, Kansas
- 1936 Thompson Trophy race - pilot Lee Miles dropped out after 10 laps. The aircraft goes into storage at Tucson, Arizona.
- 1938 Bendix Race - The aircraft is repainted cream and flown by George Armisted
- 1939 24 May, owner Francisco Sarabia set a new record for a non-stop flight from Mexico City to New York City in 10 hours and 47 minutes. He also set records for flights between Los Angeles to Mexico City, Mexico to Chetumal, Mexico to Mérida and Mexico to Guatemala.
- 1939 Pilot Francisco Sarabia was killed in the crash of the Q.E.D. at Bolling Airfield in Washington D.C. when a rag is ingested into the carburetor. Sariabia struck the center post in the cockpit when the aircraft went into the Potomac river, but the aircraft remained intact and was brought back to Mérida, Yucatán. In 1972, the Q.E.D. underwent a restoration in Mexico City, (however the restoration of the plane wasn’t particularly good and in several aspect just a remainder of the original) and is on display at the Museo Francisco Sarabia, Ciudad Lerdo.
About the model: just before I began working with SBS Model I seriously played the idea to jump in the cottage model making industry based on my handmade (strtachbuid) kits. It was a short lived attempt as nor my time nor my resources allowed product much kits for example I lacked some essentials such as good connection with decal makers just say one important thing. Fortunately – for my kits and me – Csaba Bordacs form SBS saw perspective in my handmade kits and offered a side product line for them which became the Plastic Passion (the name based on my short lived „company”) line for not 3D made kits (a little marketing here: ://www.sbsmodel.com/models/96/sbs-model/sbs-airplane-full-kits/1-72-scale-plastic-passion). This particular model was a part of my intention to build as much entries of the Macrobertson race as I can and the basics were finished several years ago and we took out and then selved the project several times as Csaba and me always found some room for improvement (for example the original canopy was vacform but Csaba wanted a clear cast resin one, Szilárd Jobbágy – SBS casting master – made a new engine cowling as he didn’t like the one I made and so on. The decals also occured some delays as more and more new information come to light about the airplane. Finally at the end of 2022 all seemed to come together and voila after seven years 😊 the kit is finished and hit the market. As they say better late than never. The beautiful fotos made by Gabor Foth (another SBS mastermind) who was also responsible for the graphics and building intructions. I built two kits in parallel one for me – naturally as a Macrobertson entry – and one for SBS which you can see here. In 1936 the QED participated in the Thompson Trophy race (r/n NR-14307, race no. 90) still painted Lucky Stike Green with painted over Macrobertson race number and white „90” race number in white. All the navigation lights were removed as the large landing lights from the wheel spats (the latters were simply faired over with unpainted aluminum sheets). Unfortunately the pilot Lee Miles has to be dropped out after 10 laps because of engine troubles.
If you are interested here is the original build from several years ago: https://imodeler.com/2015/04/granville-miller-delackner-r6h-quod-erat-demonstratum-172-scratch/
Hope you like it and happy model making time for you all!
13 additional images. Click to enlarge.