N.B.Rich Airplane Co Twin 1-X-2 / Rich-Twin
Since soloing in 1931, Bud Rich had owned and flown many aircraft, and frequently considered the advantages of continuing flight should one of two engines cut out. He put ideas and sketches down on paper.
At that time, Nelson Barnard Rich was instructing a course in practical-applications for aircraft students at M.I.T. He found three graduate students shared his enthusiasm for his basic plan for a twin-engine airplane. Soon, they were supplying the needed engineering. Bud provided materials, mechanical skills and space at his "Government Approved Aircraft Repair Station #226" at the Boston Airport.
Those three young engineers were James (Jim) Kendrick (later with Lockheed); Holden (Bob) Withington (later V.P. of Boeing); and, in particular, William (Bill) Cook (also V.P. with Boeing and author of the incomparable book: "The Road to the 707"). The name "Rich-Twin" was given to it in Ohio by men from Lycoming who had generously provided its 75 hp engines and worked with Sensenich for efficient propellers. They had this name painted on the ship's smooth, yellow fuselage when Bud and his wife Alberta (Berta) had flown it to Cleveland's last Air Show before World War II.
A low wing cantilever monoplane. the fuselage is a fabric-covered welded steel tube structure, with an enclosed cabin. Rectangular welded-steel framework fuselage covered with fabric. The cabin is in the nose of the fuselage seating two side-by-side with dual controls. Large entrance door on each side of the cabin. Baggage space behind seats. The wings are full cantilever, semi-monospar of plywood with rigid box spar and nose section, nine-foot wing flap with three positions. Tail Group; fabric covered welded steel tube structures, twin fins and rudders, tail plane braced by Vee struts. Landing gear; tricycle type, steerable nose wheel, partly retractable landing wheels. Plexiglas windshield.
A rectangular centre-section carries at its extremities two pylons for the engines, which are braced to the top of the fuselage longerons, and the main landing-wheel housings. Outer tapered wing sections. Wing structure of wood with two spruce and plywood box-spars and plywood covering. Single three position landing flap of duralumin construction under centre section.
Braced monoplane type tail unit with twin fins and rudders, Welded steel framework with fabric cover.
Two engines mounted on welded chrome molybdenum steel-tube pylons, one on each side of the fuselage , at the extremeties of the centre-section and driving pusher airscrews.
Instruments: Compass, airspeed indicator, rate of climb indicator, sensitive altimeter, turn and bank indicator, electric clock, fuel pressure gauge and a standard group of engine instruments, including Waltham tachometers and oil gauges.
Test Flight - 1939
By pressing LEFT rudder pedal very lightly he is not surprised that his previously recalcitrant X-Ship responds immediately to correction of an attempted tumble to the right. No further tests are needed. It's evident that the near fatal lack of control had occurred because during final checkup before the test flight, a trusted mechanic had too smartly thought that the fuselage interior's carefully engineered CROSS-LINED control cables, should be more normally straight-lined. So, he changed - from correct to incorrect! Although now knowing that control cables are at fault, Bud faces the need to use right pedal for left turns, and left pedal for right turns. He manages an approach to landing, but is dismayed to have to abort it ... a learning experience.
Far from easy, he again circles the airport, and is delighted with a short landing run due to its design incorporating one of the world's first landing wheel on the nose. He taxies carefully back to the hangar. Many well wishers and reporters rush to greet him, but, scarcely noticing them, he immediately goes into the fuselage and returns the rudder cables to proper cross-line position.
Gasping surprise ripples through the onlookers as he re-enters the cockpit, starts the engines, taxies out on a runway and with notably short take-off run is again airborne.
Bud resumed his experimental airplane's test flight. Comfortably circling the field twice, he landed with ease and taxied back to the relieved group of onlookers. This time he talks good-naturedly with them, expressing appreciation for their interest.
After Bud had successfully test-hopped it in April of 1939, it was featured in publications such as Janes, Aerosphere, Aero Digest, and others. All of their original blue prints and drawings have been preserved.
Bud passed on peacefully at home in Titusville, Florida on March 15, 1998.