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Brotero Bichino




Designed as a private venture in the late ‘thirties, the Bichino subsequently served as a test-bed for the IPT (Instituto de Pesquisas Tecnológicas or Technological Research Institute) of the São Paulo State University. Four examples were built. In 1938, the IPT’s Aviation Research Department was, by a fair margin, the most important aviation research centre working in Brazil and had completed a long series of studies of the use of native Brazilian woods in aircraft. A special technique had been developed for producing in industrial quantities a new kind of plywood for aircraft using Brazilian pine, and studies had been made of freijo, a Brazilian hardwood 20 per cent stronger and heavier than spruce. One of the principal researchers at the IPT was Frederico Abranches Brotero, who was also a gifted aircraft designer. In company with Orthon Hoover, an American who had come to Brazil as a demonstration pilot for Curtiss in 1911 and had decided to stay, Brotero set about putting freijo and the new plywood to the test in a light aircraft. Work on Brotero’s tiny wooden aeroplane, designed around a 60 hp Walter Mikron engine, began late in 1939 in a workshop of the São Paulo Polytechnic School under IPT supervision and it was transferred to Rio Claro city aero club for completion and first flight. The latter was effected in 1940.


The Little Bug was of all wood construction, the cantilever low-wing being a two-spar structure with a Clark Y aerofoil; the spars were of paumarfim, ribs of freijo and covering of Brazilian pine plywood. Ailerons were fabric covered; fixed letter-box slots were incorporated ahead of the ailerons and split flaps extended along each trailing edge from aileron to fuselage. The wooden monocoque fuselage structure had guapuruvu longerons and freijo reinforcements with plywood construction. Tail unit construction was of freijo with fabric covering for the elevators and rudder; there was a controllable trim-tab in the starboard elevator. The fixed landing gear had rubber-in-compression shock absorbers and a steel tail skid. Phenolic resin was used to bond the wooden components. The open cockpit was just wide enough for a pilot of average build, but was comfortable and afforded good visibility. In 1943, the Bichino prototype (PP-THH) was purchased by the IPT to be used as a flying test bed and three more examples were put in hand, with some structural redesign to reduce weight and improve performance. The three new Bichinos had 65 hp, 75 hp and 85 hp Continental engines respectively. By this time, IPT had completed other prototypes designated the IPT- 1, IPT-2 and IPT-3, and the Bichino was consequently given the designation IPT-0, the three new examples becoming the IPT-0-A, -B and -C respectively. The fourth and last was completed in 1947 and proved to be the best performer and most pleasant to fly.



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