Gee Bee Model X Racer Plane made by the Granville Brothers.

The Gee Bee Airplane Companies Model X Sportster Racer Plane.

Farmers take flight, the Gee Bee Aircraft Story and their Model X Racer Plane.
Tour Page 4

From the Book
Farmers Take Flight
The Story of the Gee Bee Airplanes by J. I. Granville

Because of the country's faltering economy, men of once moderate income could no longer afford the luxury of airplanes for pleasure.  Soon, rich men would not be inclined to spend money on pleasure aircraft either.  But Granny speculated that there still would be a market for sporting aircraft.  Even so, wealthy sportsmen would not invest in any plane that was less than spectacular.  With this in mind, he and Bob Hall designed a small low winged monoplane (single wing).  The "Model X" design had one seat and stood only six feet tall.  The planes wing span was only twenty-five feet.  They decided to use Chrome molybdenum steel tubing to make the planes fuselage light, but rigid.  Welded aluminum formed oil and gas tanks.  The plane had a hand wobble pump to bring the fuel from each wing tank to the fuselage tank.  From there, the fuel would be gravity fed to the engine.  The Model X Sportster's wing's ribs and spars were cut from Sitka Spruce.  The entire structure was covered with the finest Dartmouth textured fabric and then painted with nine coats of Berryloid pigmented dope.  The planes detachable motor mount allowed individual buyers to choose from four brand name engines (Menasco C4 with 125 hp, Warner with 110 hp, Fairchild 6-390 with 133 hp, or Cirrus Hi-Drive with 95 hp).  This plane was the Gee Bee Sportster X.  Granny extolled, "The Sportster is ideally adaptable for sport, speed, business or pleasure."  Click Here for the Gee Bee Model Plane Store Page.
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This is a photo from the Book

Farmers Take Flight
Gee Bee Model X Sportster

by J. I. Granville
 Fulcrum Jet Fighter

Gee Bee model X sportster Gee Bee Racer

Click Picture for Larger View
Photo Scanned by C. Jeff Dyrek

The Gee Bee model X Sportster Racer.

In 1930, the Granville Brothers  built the Gee Bee Sportster Model X to fly in the Cirrus Engine Company's "All American Derby."Gee Bee Model Z Sportster Racer Plane At 110hp, the Model X had a top speed of 140 mph, and was the fastest stock aircraft in the race, coming in second place to a custom-built machine. It was clear that the Gee Bee design was a winner, and the Granville Brothers fame spread quickly.  The name "Gee Bee" came from "G.B." or the Granville Bros.

The Granville Brothers were soon marketing new and improved versions of the Gee Bee Sportster: the Model C, Model D, Model E, Model F, and Model Y (The Senior Sportster).   As money got tight during the depressionthey were convinced to build even another racer to win the Thompson Trophy in Cleveland, OH, in 1931. The Gee Bee Model Z was the fastest airplane in America, and proved it by winning the race. 

First the Gee Bee Company started out building their biplane trainer which was an excellent flying machine. Then they built a special aircraft designed around the American Cirrus engine to compete in the All American Derby of 1930. This was a 5,541 mile race sponsored by the Cirrus Company to demonstrate the durability of their engine. Eighteen aircraft competed in this race that started in Detroit, the motor capital of the world, penetrated the deep South, went as far west as Los Angeles, and then returned to Detroit. The Gee Bee Model X, as this first low wing sport plane was called, flown by Lowell Bayles, finished second in the race and thus began a situation which was to make this company, formed by the five Granville Brothers (Gee Bee was the spelled out abbreviation for Granville Brothers) one of the most well known concerns in aviation history.

Following the success of the Gee Bee Model X Sportster in the Cirrus Derby, the company received many requests from sportsman pilots for one of the little single seat Sportsters. 


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Farmers take flight, the Gee Bee Aircraft Story

Farmers Take Flight by June Granville



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