An 84-year-old former Boeing manufacturing engineering instructor says he hopes to finish a 60-year-old project this year with a flight in a replica of one of the most unusual homebuilt aircraft designs ever conceived. Ed Kusmirek built a replica of a 1924 Dormoy Bathtub aircraft at his home in Renton, Wash. According to a story in the Los Angeles Times (rerun from the Seattle Times) the project began in the 1950s when Kusmirek found an authentic engine for the type (actually a motorcycle engine) in Oklahoma. Since then he's plugged away at recreating the single place and very light aircraft, starting in his living room and moving to his garage. Now, he says, he's a few pen strokes away from flying it
Kusmirek has asked for an inspection from the FAA and he has to brush up his own flying skills. He has a pilot certificate but isn't current. In the spirit of homebuilt aircraft of the era, Kusmirek has used an assortment of adapted technology to create the aircraft, from bicycle spokes as tension wires to dirt bike wheels for landing gear. A rowing machine bungee provides the landing gear suspension. After six decades of development, he said he plans to fly it once and then donate it to a museum.
The Bathtub was developed by Etienne Dormoy, a French engineer at McCook Field in Dayton, Ohio. Dormoy would later design the Buhl Bull Pup.
The aircraft used a steel tube fuselage, with an exposed tail section. The parasol wings used wood spars with fabric covering supported by steel lift struts. The ailerons used steel control cables that were exposed in front of the leading edge of the wing. The engine was a modified Henderson motorcycle engine purchased for $325.
The Dormoy Bathtub competed in the 1924 and 1925 National Air Races, winning the Rickenbacker Trophy in 1924. The 1925 model featured a fully covered tail section, removing it's "bathtub" appearance.
An example of a 1924 Dormoy Bathtub fuselage with a Heath-Henderson engine is on display at the Motorcycle Heritage Museum in Westerville, Ohio. A large scale model of a 1924 Doromy Bathtub is on display at the International Sport Aviation Museum in Florida. ] A large scale model of a 1924 Doromy Bathtub is on display at the International Sport Aviation Museum in Florida.
Source: AVweb,Russ Niles, Photo: EAA Chapter 231
Gravity always wins!