Homemade Heroics: Watch A Wild Vertical Take Off Airplane Get Built At A Guy’s House In 1950s America


Homemade Heroics: Watch A Wild Vertical Take Off Airplane Get Built At A Guy’s House In 1950s America

This is one of those videos that makes you realize just how much the world has changed over the years, right? Yesterday we showed you Franklin Dobson and his cool hovercraft that you could have built from home. Today we look at video of what might be Dobson’s most impressive private project, although it’s never really spoken about in aviation history so we’re guessing it was a failure. This is a video documenting the construction of the prototype Dobson “Convertiplane” which was a VTOL (vertical take off and landing) aircraft that would lift off like a helicopter and then the props would level out and drag you around like a normal plane does.

The most awesome parts of this video are the actual machining and construction of the prototype. We see guys making stuff on lathes, welding by the swimming pool, fitting beautiful gears and differentials together, and the list goes on. It appears that basically all of this aircraft was built in either a single small home shop and backyard or a few home shops and backyards. Either way, this is the stuff people used to do before the internet existed. Who knows, these guys probably read books as well. Gasp!

A little more digging on Dobson seems to have turned up some interesting facts, like the idea that he was the designer of the most widely used glider aircraft in WWII, he got the boot from Germany in the 1930s while studying aeronautics and apparently getting a little bit too far ahead of the class, and the list goes on.

This video is a visual link to a world that seems so, so different than that of 2020.

Press play below to see our man Franklin Dobson creating an airplane at home!


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2 thoughts on “Homemade Heroics: Watch A Wild Vertical Take Off Airplane Get Built At A Guy’s House In 1950s America

  1. john

    Lohnes… You are like Lucy yanking the football from Charlie Brown! What happened with the “plane”? (and I do read) 😉

    Reply
  2. Loren

    Such things, once having demonstrated their unlikelihood of ever achieving actual controlled flight (possibly in notable incidents), tend to sit around in dusty corners behind chain-link fences forever. But that’s a guess. There are dates of 1977, and interestingly, “de-registration” in relatively-recent 2011 here: http://www.aviationdb.com/Aviation/Aircraft/8/N89P.shtm Somebody would have to find the guy’s grand-kids and ask.

    Google-Maps his house at 8205 Calmosa in Whittier and still see that rectangle swimming pool and piece of slab they used to work on that contraption 60+ years ago.

    Reply

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