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Long, Les

In the 1930s, Les Long designed a couple of homebuilts. The Longster was one. Long even performed a trade study with the Longster…it started out as a mid-wing aircraft, but Long did some experimentation with wing position. He tried a parasol wing, and a low-wing configuration.  He decided the low wing was best.
His design work culminated in the Wimpy, which caught the imagination of an Oregon man named Tom Story, who built one just before World War II.  It had a welded-steel fuselage, tail feathers, and landing gear, and a wooden wing.  It used external wire bracing, like the Fly Baby, except the flying wires attached to a bit of structure behind the tires rather than through the wheel hub.
After the war, Story's airplane was bought by another Oregon man named George Bogardus.  Prior to the war, reaction against homebuilt aircraft had caused them to be banned in every state except Oregon.  Bogardus wanted the CAA to implement a new certification category that would overrule the state limitations.
Bogardus modified the Story Wimpy, calling it Little Gee Bee. He successfully flew across the country several times, and his efforts helped lead to the introduction of the Experimental/Amateur-Built category.

 


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