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WHIMSEY AND SOME HISTORY

by Webmaster on May 24th, 2013

One of the things I enjoy about the B&M Operators is the humor we find during our operating sessions.

At times, at various railroads, it has been necessary for an operator, as one job is finished, to go on to another job. As an example, one of us finished taking a freight from East Lakeside to Essex, and the next job might be at Fort Fungus. So, Harvey might say “Take a taxi over to Fungus”.

A couple of times on Dividing Creek, I added, “No, don’t take a taxi, take the autogiro”.

Wouldn’t it be cool if I had a real (model) autogiro? Looking around, I found that Williams Brothers offered an HO scale Pitcairn Autogiro kit. My local hobby shop sort of indicated that they were really hard to find and/or Williams was no longer in business.

That’s too bad, I thought, Williams made some really nice HO vehicles, as well.

To the Internet! Williams Brother is still very much in business, so I ordered two Autogiros and some stake body truck kits from them.

I built one Autogiro decorated for Champion Spark Plugs and the other for Navy (what else would I paint it?). The Navy actually did have some they were looking at for us as observation craft, (XOP-1) X for experimental, O for observation and P for Pitcairn.

As you can see, the autogiro was an early form of helicopter. The rotor was essentially free-spinning to provide lift, although it was could be powered by the main motor to get it spinning before take-off. The rotor was supplemented by stubby, low-set wings for stability. The autogiro flew well at low altitudes, land and take-off from restricted spaces, as well as semi-hover.

There were only about 20 built.

So now, when a Dividing Creek crew has to go from Catherine St. yard to, say, Bennington, they can take the autogiro.

“OFF WE GO…”

Don Howd

 

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