what our members are building & restoring
to use control rods was made to enhance safety. Cleveland
wheels and brakes replace the original mechanical brakes
as an aid to ground handling.
The original seat had a crank mechanism to lift the
pilot into the flying position after seated. Harold has
the seat welded into the upper position but thinks it
will be easy to get into flight position from the small
above-wing door, with “a little finagling.” On the door,
the Granvilles used a latch handle from a house door,
and Harold did, too—he found a similar-looking one at
an old hardware store. A big part of the project has been
His most recent sub-project has been the 50-inch-
long wheelpants. Like so many parts, the effort to make
a part is simple after much work goes into jigs and
fixtures. Not so the wheelpants, which have proven
intense both in fixtures and the final product. Harold
made a fiberglass positive of a wheelpant, and from
that cast inside and outside concrete negatives. He then
hammered 0.060-inch 6061 T3 into the concrete mold
to rough the shapes, a messy, slow, and noisy effort.
The finishing process of the four halves is just beginning, on an English wheel. Six months have been consumed with the wheelpants so far, and they still look
rough. This entire project is, after all, an after-work
Once it’s finished? Harold has no plans to race it;
that’s an era gone past. He hopes to inspire other builders to follow their dreams to the real airplane they want
rather than settling for a kit. Long-term plans? Harold
hopes simply to fly his Gee Bee R- 1 to Oshkosh.
To see more photos of Harold’s project, visit www.
To learn more about Gee Bee aircraft, visit www.