Nicholas-Beazley Pobjoy Special / Phantom I
The Nicholas-Beazley Pobjoy Special aka the Nicholas-Beazley Phantom I, aka the Wittman Phantom, aka the Flagg Phantom, aka the Reaver Special was a world record holding air racer of the 1930s
The Nicholas-Beazley Airplane Company had imported a Pobjoy engine with a gear reduction unit for use in its new design the Nicholas-Beazley NB3. Designer Robert T. Jones computed the weight and balance for the setup and proposed a new design as an air-racer. Claude Flagg and H. F. Landis built the aircraft in their spare time under the Marshall Aircraft Laboratories monicker and patented the wing design. The Nicholas-Beazley company conducted the tests and produced the subsequent engineering report on the machine, under the supervision of inhouse chief engineer T. A. Kirkup, who also designed most N.-B.
The fuselage is welded steel with fabric covering. The wings used an early application of lightweight aluminum construction with U shaped cantilever spars with wire bracing and fabric covering. The aircraft used wheels with small tires and without brakes. The cockpit was open and the engine was fully cowled.
The Phantom I was given an "R" license by the federal government and, piloted by Danny A. Fowlie of Morris, Illinois, was entered in the 1930 National Air Races in Chicago from August 23 to September 1.
In 1932 Ownership passed to Air Racer Steve Wittman. A Air Commerce inspector fronted the money, and had Wittman race the aircraft to avoid a conflict of interest. The Pobjoy Special is the only racer Wittman raced that he did not build or design himself. In 1932 the Pobjoy P engine was replaced with a Pobjoy R of 75 hp. The cockpit was also enclosed. In 1933 Wittman lengthened the fuselage by 21 inches, removed the engine cowling and modified the rudder (now called the Pobjoy Special). In 1946 The engine was replaced with a Continental C-85.
In 1937 the Pobjoy Special was flipped on its back. It was rebuilt sold, and stored until the end of WWII. It resurfaced in 1948 as the Reaver Special midget racer, with a 22' wing and the more powerful 85 hp Continental engine. John Reaver entered the aircraft as the Reaver Special in the new Goodyear Formula One races.
1930 National Air Races - Registered as R1W, pilot Danny Fowlie reached 115 mph placing third in class with a mismatched prop.
1933 Chicago International Air Races - Pilot Steve Wittman wins all races in the 200ci class with a maximum speed of 120 mph.
1934 New Orleans - Wittman wins the 100 km world speed record of 137.513 mph for aircraft less than 440 pounds.
1934 Cleveland Air Races - Wittman wins all races in the 200ci class with a speed of 129.440 mph.
1935 Cleveland Air Races - New owner Percy V. Chaffee wins all races in 200ci class.
In 1936 the 200ci class is eliminated, making the Pobjoy Special obsolete for racing.
1937 St.Louis - Last race of the Pobjoy Special.