E-mail from a VW hero

One of the coolest things about running this sort of specialist web page is getting mail from other enthusiasts, and better still, real experts. Bob Hoover (not that one, the other one) has been a VW mechanic longer than I've been alive.

Dear Ryan,

Nice page.

Coupla' points you might want to look into.

Among the many Jeanie's Teenie variants sold as original designs, there was a thing called the 'Christina' or something like that. Easy to identify by its B-25-type tail feathers :-)

The precursor for John (?) Taylor's 'Mono' was, I believe, the 'Titch'.

A distinctive feature of Druine's Turbi (ie, the 'Turbulent') was its letter slots and 'tractor' tires :-) (Actually, several different types of wheel/tire were used but wheelbarrow wheels with scrub-brakes were probably the most popular. Early post-war models of the 'Lambretta' motorscooter used aircraft wheels, eagerly snatched up by European homebuilders for their excellent brakes. At one time you could buy these wheels (...and bearings... and brakes...) from Sears(!)... who called the scooter the 'Allstate' [or something like that].) But with acres of war-surplus stuff still available, few American home-builders paid much attention to the Lambretta wheels.

The Turbi was designed to get off & on from sod and flew rather well with the little 985cc engine from a kubelwagen. (The 'big' engine -- a massive 1130cc -- was used in the amphibious kubel, the 'swimmer-wagen' or some such. This later engine was the precursor of the one used in the Volkswagen sedan.) A major reason for the Turbi's lack of acceptance here in the States was its massive use of light-gauge birch ply. Following the war, Finland was allowed to dump all sorts of wood products -- plywood among them -- on the European market as part of their war reparations (they had formed a reluctant alliance with the Germans against the Russians). American (and Canadian) lumber interests blocked the import of low-cost Finnish plywood. (I believe Finland was the only nation to fully pay the reparations levied against them following the war.)

I thoroughly enjoyed the two Turbi's I've flown. Glider-field stuff, just a few circuits in each case but I was impressed by their handling, probably a reflection of the letter slots and Frise-type ailerons. (The fact I managed very credible landings in each did much to bolster my impression :-)

I believe a fellow in India re-worked the design (D-cell wings, Warren-truss wooden fuselage) to allow fabric covering but I don't think any plans left the country.

-R.S.Hoover -EAA 58400

There was this follow-up:

From: Veeduber@aol.com Date: Wed, 9 Jun 1999 02:13:40 EDT Subject: Re: VW rant(s) :-)

In a message dated 99-06-09 00:02:37 EDT, you write:


Hi Ryan,

I'm happy you're thrilled, hope you don't lose any of the pieces :-) Actually, I've never had a web site. The 'Sermon' thing was done by others, at their expense but with my permission. Unfortunately, the more popular it became, the more anonymous hate-mail I got -- very well organized mail bombs and the like. I finally got tired of it, asked the file to be dismounted. But the original articles were uploaded to varioius VW-specific sites and most remain buried in their archives. I still get a nice message occasionally from someone who stumbles across them :-)


In so far as I know, 'Turbi' equals 'Turbulent' -- at least, it always has for me... and most of the folks I know. Druine had some later designs and I heard one of them referred to as the 'Super Turbi' but I've no idea what they were talking about -- two-place, high-speed or... whatever 'super' meant. Your description matches the planes I flew, except for the wet part :-) (They say there are times when it DOESN'T rain in Europe. Unfortunately, I missed it.)


Sounds reasonable but I really don't know. I do know the Finnish birch was available at give-away prices, according to French and British homebuilders of that era (sailplane in the case of the Brit) -- and that the American Plywood Association (or whatever) was dead-set against any of it coming into the country... unless it was taxed to the point where it would be too expensive to have any impact on existing sources (ie, Canadian birch & American fir plywoods). Reason I know is because my dad was trying to repair a Miles during that period. The plywood ended up costing more than aluminum.

<< Do you mind if I reprint your message in part or whole on my site for the info it includes ? >>

I've no objection.

-R.S.Hoover -EAA 58400

PS -- If you come across a set of plans for the Turbi -- or the real thing -- the landing gear is worthy of study (as is the entire design, if you hope to fly behind a veedub).


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