Walter Brock was
an American that learned to fly in England in 1912.
He quickly moved on to becoming a flight instructor
and became the first pilot to deliberately take off in
winds of gale strength. Flying aircraft owned by Graham White, Brock became a famous
pre-war racing pilot by winning races all over the European
continent until the beginning of World War I.
The most famous and prestigious race he won was
on July 11, 1914 from London to Paris.
The aircraft he flew was a Morane-Saulnier H-type
monoplane powered by an 80 hp Gnome rotary engine. This
was a French design built by the Graham-White Company
With parts of his racer, he left England
for America by ship the day after England entered World
War I. The
British government recently issued an order stating that,
“Due to the war, all aircraft should be impounded and
their owners duly compensated”.
It is understandable that Brock might not want
to leave his famous aircraft in England to be possibly
destroyed for the 'British Cause'.
In 1916, using the parts he brought
back with him, Brock built this aircraft using a smaller
50 hp Gnome engine. How much of the racer he brought back is speculation.
This aircraft has almost the same lines as the
1914 racing aircraft, but is about 3' shorter.
Was the fuselage cut down to ship home because
of a size issue?
By renaming it the Brock monoplane, he may very
well have been covering for his friends back in England
that helped him get the aircraft out of the country.
Why the engine was not shipped is anybody’s guess.
Would it have been too obvious?
Or, did he feel that he could save on shipping
and get one in the U.S., which we did!
How much of the original aircraft is in this airplane
is anybody’s guess.
One has to speculate that, if he brought back parts
with the intention of building up another (or the same)
airplane, he would have brought back the components that
would be difficult to remake.
We may one day learn more when the aircraft is
restored back to flying condition.
has no ailerons to make the aircraft roll.
It uses the wing-warping technique, like a bird
that actually twists one wing up while the other
wing goes down!
As with all rotary
engines, the propeller is bolted to the engine and they
spin as one unit.
Fuel is feed in through the fixed crankshaft where
it enters the crankcase and is atomized by the hot moving
any engine, inlet valves open to allow the fuel mixture
to enter the cylinders.
After the inlet valve closes, the fuel is ignited
by the sparking plugs where the resulting explosion creates
the engines power.
Unique to the 50 hp Gnome is the fact that its'
inlet valves are located in the top of the pistons, not
in the cylinders as most engines. Because of this, carbon accumulates on valves and the engine
must be torn down and the valves cleaned every 10 hours
of running time!