Triplane Builder

Poems by Triplane Builder - William (Bill) Woodall

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When first I thought about a build---a plane that I would fly,
I focused on the distant past---the first war in the sky.
One design, I came to find, seemed to draw me from the start---
And the derring-do of its few that flew--for me--set it apart.

It became a challenge-- I really wished to see,
How the handling of an OLD machine would really feel to me.
Welded tube would not replace, box girder styles of yore;
I'd learn to rig its "strainers"-(there'd be far more than a score).

No brakes to force spoke-lacing change, (needed to fight the twist),
(The blade on the skid will grab the sod)--- its "Palmer" wheels assist.
No change in the airfoil camber, (though it really is very thin).
If the old guys felt it flew OK, who am I to change its "skin"?

The engine had been a rotary-- (their legends now profane),
But that will be the kind I use---to power my "new" old plane.
So wood for wood and wire for wire the re-creation grew,
And to its faded blueprints I endeavored to be true.

Advice-there was aplenty--as the craft sat on its gear,
"Fin's too small"; "gaps too big", said many who came to peer.
"Aileron hinge is upside down, (from what we'd use today"),
But in its day, it rolled all right-- I'll just let it stay.

Its triple wings were braced with rod, (just like it still is done),
Though cable'd be much cheaper-- I'll keep what they'd begun.
The tanks were also made by me, of plate that's sheathed in lead;
Though aluminum seals much better- stayed with the lead, instead

Oh sure, I could have opted-- for modern power and prop;
Could've scaled the whole thing down-- to better fit my shop.
The fuselage, if made of steel-would've made a simple "mod",
Brakes and a wheel beneath its tail-(no need to hunt for sod).

But since no matter what -- my bird will show its age,
(Compared to those more recent types that set the small plane stage).
And since it's to be an oddity---(so tall in its own right),
I'll tolerate those double takes-- that occasion its first sight.

And when I fly this work of mine-may've nearly reached my goal.
Of knowing how the R.N.A.S. felt--- when they flew their's on patrol.
Can't argue utility-or the wisdom of my ways,
My Sopwith triplane "repro" though--pretty "pure" to bygone days.

Bill Woodall

All content and images on these pages are © 2019 - and William Woodall