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Nieuport 12 Project
* Project Started - January 1998 *
* Construction Completed - August 1999 *
* First Flight - March 2000 *
* Corn Flight - July 2000 *

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Welcome to our madness! We hope to entertain and enlighten you throughout our building of the Circa Nieuport 12, a two seat, World War I fighter biplane, designed by Graham Lee. We have borrowed (stolen) many ideas from the people who have already built 12's and added some of our own. You will find links to suppliers, current 12 builders/owners, and people who know stuff about the Nieuport 11 ( the single seat version).

Many friends have asked pertinent questions such as:..."Butch, what the heck is wrong with you?" Or "Are you in a substance abuse program?" Or the ever popular, "When exactly did you suffer head trauma?"

Update August, 2000

The past 11 months have a real roller coaster of events for us. The highs have been of Everest quality and THE low, well does the Marianas Trench ring a bell? We saw the N12 fly for the first time, and that was more satisfying than ever I imagined. After the first rush of "My God it worked!" passed, the sheer beauty of watching the plane lift off and take wing was, the most amazing thing I ever saw. I was wise to have a test pilot, Karl Henning, make the historic flight. Why? Well I GOT TO SEE IT!!! No worrying about the myriad of things, flight jitters, or sweating profusely. I got to sit/stand/walk around and watch it happen ! I highly recommend a test pilot for your first flight. After building and slaving creating the project, one’s mind has way too much stuff buzzing around to truly enjoy the magnificence of the flight. You, the builder, will ALWAYS have YOUR first flight, it doesn’t have to coincide with the plane’s.

We had to experiment with the propeller a bit, and finally settled for a 78 x 40 as about the best for the Yamaha in second gear. We saw a tail up speed of about 30 mph, lift off at about 40 mph, cruise at 65-70 mph. Rate of climb was about 300 fpm. Approach to landing was made at about 60. At least those were the numbers during the final flight. In total we had four successful flights, and the fifth was a disaster, which we will discuss later on.

An Everest point was the Trip to Gardner KS for the Gathering of Eagles 2000. We had worked for two years toward this event and were not disappointed. The LOST SQUADRON was there!! We were able to emulate Dick Starks and his band of thugs, by nonchalantly swaggering around, casting sidelong glances toward our N12 and muttering, "damn that’s a good looking plane !"

"What happened ?" you ask. Honestly and truly, we are not sure. But, the plane was unable to make it back to the field, went down in a left hand turn into the corn, about one half mile from the strip. That was the most shocking, and saddest sight I ever have or will ever want to see in my life. The was a few milliseconds when a great silence fell over the assembled club members, then we heard "the noise". All were motionless for a few more milliseconds, then the "OHMYGOD!…KARL!!" reaction occurred. We sped over in the direction of "the noise". There I saw the most welcome, and happiest sight here to fore in my life…. Karl walking out of the corn giving a little wave. As I rushed up to ascertain his condition, Karl said," I’m O.K.," then thumbing over his shoulder toward the corn, he continued " but I wouldn’t go in there, it ain’t pretty." Karl is a master of understatement. The sight I beheld triggered an emotional plunge I have yet to recover, for buried in the corn was my heart and soul of the past 20 months. Mangled and bent beyond belief, the grand Nieuport 12, and my visions of strafing the trenches lay in ruins.

"What next?" you ask. Well I’m not sure just yet. We have to evaluate the remains and determine exactly what is salvageable. Is the engine O.K.?, the wings? Etc. etc. Once those details are worked out, we shall see. If all is reasonable we will probably rebuild. They say the second time around is easier, but ……

As always a big thanks to my best friend and wife, Marikay, for without your support and help, the project would not have happened, and I could not have born the loss of the Nieuport.

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Last updated August 4, 2000

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2000 Nieuport 12 Project