The ENGINEER :In the wings: recreating the Bugatti 100P
Almost eighty years ago aircraft design was still more art than science and what science there was revolved around slide rules and mechanical, even human, calculators, but they took chances and pushed boundaries.
This aircraft used the period’s (late ’30’s early ’40’s) advanced composite, plywood, made of hardwood and balsa wood as well as sophisticated aerodynamics to achieve a remarkable projected performance, 500 MPH, at a time when 300 was fighter fast. This aircraft had a cooling system similar to the breakthrough one in the P51 mustang, a half decade earlier, and the composites were used in the famous British strike bomber the Mosquito, also a half decade later. But the original of this remarkable aircraft never flew, being shipped out of the path of the oncoming Nazi army and ending up as decayed parts in the Experimental Aircraft Associations museum in Oshkosh WI. Now a team of enthusiasts are building a replica they expect to fly soon.