It all began in September 2009, during the Dayton Dawn Patrol Rendezvous; Great War Aerodrome (Rob Waring & Shelly Wells) met with Robert Baslee of Airdrome Aeroplanes to discuss the possibility of working together to build a two seat WWI replica. After talking for a few minutes we ran over Bill and Barbara Byrd’s ( BYRD AVIATION BOOKS
) booth and quickly found the Windsock mini-datafile on the Sopwith Tabloid. The wheels in Robert’s head were turning now and he agreed to consider the Tabloid as a project once he completed Russ Turner’s Camel project. We set a tentative start date of January 2010.
We’ve all enjoyed Russ’ Camel thread here, and as you know the Camel sort of took over Russ and Robert’s lives for the better part of 2010. So, starting work on the Tabloid was delayed a bit.
A benefit of this delay, however, was that Robert told Russ about the Tabloid concept. Just like with the Camel… Russ dived headlong into the mix. With two interested customers, and the Camel project on display at Oshkosh, Robert switched gears to the Tabloid. When Robert becomes focused on a project, he becomes a burst of energy… nearly unstoppable. It is a pretty amazing thing to watch and participate in this process.
It was Robert’s desire that we keep the project quiet for a while to give him time to work out the details and most of the structure. Therefore, the Tabloid became known as Project X. In reality, I think there are several “Project X’s” going on, but that is another story. At any rate, Robert is now comfortable with the design and progress of the project and has agreed to let us tell you all about it.
Like all Airdrome planes, this project does not use authentic materials and is not really an exact replica, but instead it provides the appearance of a WWI aircraft and we expect that it will generally provide similar performance. The purists out there will probably object, but we see this plane as a way to expand the interest in WWI aviation and bring more folks into the hobby.
The kit that Robert will provide from these prototypes will have enough flexibility built into them to allow one to build any one of the wheeled variants of the Tabloid / Schneider family. All of them fall into the same dimensional box with minor variations.
So... here is the story. We would like to give a special thank you to Robert Baslee for his endless energy and creative abilities and Russ Turner for his drive and desire to make it happen.