Gee Bee Aircraft Company, Granville Brothers in 1929

The Gee Bee Biplane First built by the Granville Brothers in 1929.

Farmers take flight, the gee bee aircraft story
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From the Book
Farmers Take Flight 
The Story of the Gee Bee Airplanes by J. I. Granville

The Granville Brothers, Zantford, Thomas, Robert, Mark and Edward are best known for the production of the three Gee Bee Super Sportster air racers, the Models Z, R1 and R2,

In March, 1929, work began on the first Gee Bee (Granville Brothers) airplane.  The talented brothers worked evenings, weekends, and whenever they could find the time.  My father, Tom Granville, once told me, "Every weekend, people jammed into our workshop to have a 'look-see' and watch the crazy Granville brothers."  Even though all the brothers were capable of any job, each took on a different task.  Thomas served as the master woodworker.  Edward welded tubing.  Mark installed the engine.  Robert provided supplies, and Zantford designed, supervised and pitched in wherever needed.  Granny's congeniality and humor kept the crew happy as they worked well into the nights.  The Granvilles were joined by an associate, Albert Axtman, who provided a 56 hp Vellie engine.

On May 3, 1929, their biplane (MA permit number: 3086) was ready for a test hop.  It had several unique features.  Movable sections ran the entire length of both the upper and lower wings.  Adjustments made by the pilot controlled wind resistance.  The "up" position added approximately eight miles to the plane's 100 mph cruising speed.  The "down" position decreased the landing speed to an exceptionally low 30 mph, a very safe landing speed.  Since rough landings often caused landing gears to rip away from a plane's fuselage, Granny attached his landing gear with bronze universal joints.  This allowed the gear to break away freely, without damaging the rest of the plane.  His idea later became very popular. 

The preceding two paragraphs are from the book, "Farmers Take Flight."  June is a very good writer and the book is full of surprises.  The Gee Bee airplanes that you see at the air shows today have a very different history than you would hear from talk among pilots.  I highly recommend this book because it's not only well written, it tells the whole story which is very little known to the average aviator.  C. Jeff Dyrek, webmaster

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Farmers Take Flight
The Granville Brothers First Biplane

by J. I. Granville

Gee Bee biplane first built by the granville brothers in 1929
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Scanned by C. Jeff Dyrek

Gee Bee biplane first built by the Granville brothers in 1929.

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Farmers take flight, the Gee Bee Aircraft Story





Gee Bee Airplanes, the Gee Bee Racer.

Gee Bee Racer

Book Description

Click Here's the inside story of the creation of the Gee Bee R-2 replica, written and photographed by the men who designed and built it. This star of air shows is followed from re-creating the original plans through all stages of construction; on its first test flights; and wowing the crowds at Oshkosh and other air shows. Packed with original color photography.

A Complete list of Gee Bee Racers
The Gee Bee Racers

Book Description

Revised and updated to cover the entire line of Granville Brothers projects, including all models of their sport and racing planes. Offers a discussion of the aerodynamic knowledge of the 1930s, versus the Gee Bee replica flown in 1994 in aerobatic demonstrations.

Granville Brothers Gee Bee R1 Racer Model

  Granville Brothers
Gee Bee R1 Racer

Product Description
This replica of the Granville GEE-BEE R1 aircraft is made from mahogany and very detailed. It is great for collectors or anyone fascinated by aviation. A museum quality model. This fantastic replicas is made from woods, resins, plastics and metals. This aircraft comes with a wood display stand that states the aircraft type and scale. 1/20 Scale 10.50 inches long 15 inch wingspan.


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