Ernie Gann’s Derringer
Ernie Gann (yeah, that Ernie Gann… Fate is the Hunter, others…) came to the home drome (Santa Paula Airport in SoCal) many years ago to visit friends on the field. He arrived in his Derringer. It was a bee-you-tifully crafted airplane. The chem milled skins allowed good thickness for riveting while shedding the excess weight of the extra thickness where it was not needed. He was a nice guy, fun to talk to and he gave me an enameled pin of the Douglas A-4 in Blue Angels colors. Of course I still have it! In another life, I worked for a commuter airline that flew Handley-Page Jetstreams. They had chem milled skins and guesstimated it saved about 40 lbs. per airplane. The process is expensive. They formed the parts, did the chem milling majick, drilled and countersunk, then anodized each part. Then primed and assembled with chromate putty on the faying surfaces… and finally applied an epoxy paint to most on the inside surfaces. They were making dang sure it didn’t corrode like it’s predecessor, the Herald.
Ernie Gann's wife flew at least one cross country race in the Derringer.
Thorp Genius, The Derringer re-defined..
BTW the Thorp T-18 had RV "total performance" long before Van was tinkering in the barn with the RV-1. The Tiger is a superb Sport Aircraft that I personally (for pure flying qualities) prefer over my RV6.
Interestingly a good friend who constructed his Four at the same time as I built mine "annealed" ALL his rivets in a dental oven. One of several "reasons why" is that he'd heard a famous engineer (John Thorp) categorically recommended it as it had better strength (work hardening) and less fatigue.
Genius is timeless...
Wing Derringer (Thorp T-17)
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