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Howard Wright Biplane

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In December 1908 Howard Wright was asked to build an aircraft for Malcolm Serr Keaton. The design was similar to the contemporary Voisins, a pusher biplane with a front-mounted elevator and a rear-mounted box-like biplane tail, but differed in some details, most obviously in having biplane front elevators and an undercarriage consisting of a single wheel carried by a pyramid of struts in front of the wings, with supplementary wheels on either wingtip.
 
It was powered by a 50 hp Metallurgique engine, which drove a pair of contra-rotating two bladed propellers. Lateral control was by means of four small ailerons fitted to the trailing edges of both wings.
 
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The two-seat aircraft was displayed at the 1909 Olympia Aero Exhibition and flown successfully at Camber Sands.

 

Leo and Vivian Walsh helped to lay the foundations for both military and civil aviation in New Zealand.
 
The brothers were determined to build and fly an aeroplane and succeeded in obtaining financial backing from Auckland businessmen A. N. and C. B. Lester and A. J. Powley. They then bought the plans for a British Howard Wright biplane together with materials and an eight-cylinder engine, worth about £750 in total. It took about 5½ months for the brothers to assemble the aircraft at their family home in Remuera. They were helped by fellow enthusiasts, and their sisters Veronica and Doreen, who machine-sewed hundreds of yards of material for the wings.
 
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Walsh Brothers aircraft Manurewa
 
The finished aircraft, named the Manurewa No 1, bore an inscription 'The Walsh Aeroplane Co. Aeronautical Engineers Constructors Auckland'. Beneath this was a crest and the words 'Aero Club New Zealand'.
 
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Walsh Brothers aircraft Manurewa

 

Walsh Brother’s Manurewa No 1 made the first undisputed powered flight in New Zealand - flown by Vivian Walsh on Sunday, February 5, 1911, from a grass field at Glenora Park, a total distance of 400 yards at a maximum height of 60 feet (flight data figures differ somewhat depending on the source).
 
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Manurewa No 1

 

Engine: Metallurgique 4 cyl, 50 hp
Span: 40'
Length: 43'
Weight: 1100 lb
Speed: 35 mph
Price: £1200

 

 

 

 


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