May 1971 American Aircraft ModelerTable of Contents
Some things never grow old. These pages from vintage modeling magazines like American Aircraft Modeler, American Modeler, Air Trails, Flying Aces, Flying Models, Model Airplane News, & Young Men captured the era. I will be glad to scan articles for you. All copyrights are hereby acknowledged.
Here is a nice set of drawings for building a scale model of the Gere Sport biplane. The tail surfaces are large so that it would probably not be necessary to enlarge them as is often necessary for rubber powered models. The Gere Sport, with a wingspan of only 19 feet, was originally designed by 19-year-old Bud Gere (one foot per year, I suppose). An R/C version of the Gere Sport with a 36" wingspan was published in R/C Modeler in 1976.
The Gere Sport
So good was this Depression-era homebuilt that it inspired the EAA Biplane almost 30 years later. An ideal modeling subject.
By Robert Parks
One of the nicest-looking homebuilt biplanes, the Gere Sport never reached the level of popularity which the Heath Parasol and Pietenpol Aircamper enjoyed. Nevertheless, it was well-designed for cheap, simple construction and for good flying characteristics.
The original Gere was a Depression baby, born in the days of muslin covering and worn out auto engines. Its engineering was good in all respects except one: the powerplant, a four-cylinder overhead valve Chevrolet engine of 1927 vintage. As a result, the Gere wasn't a world-beater, but it did fly fairly well. What the engine lacked in power was made up for by a good airplane. So good was the basic design that, thirty years later, it was modernized and appeared as the EAA Biplane.
Designer of the original plane was a 19-year-old youth named Bud Gere, who never saw his plane fly. He was killed while experimenting with a powered iceboat. If this little biplane is any example of his engineering talents, his contributions to aviation would have been great.
The Sport has all the things that a good biplane should have: a fairly high aspect ratio, good gap-chord ratio, ample tail surfaces and ailerons, and a clean, straightforward structure. Of interest is the use of low pressure tires instead of the hard variety commonly used by the early homebuilders. Bud Gere took advantage of the Goodyear Corporation's development of soft, fat tires, which eliminated the need for shock-absorbing devices on the gear, a la Flybaby.
The entire airplane is a collection of straight tubes and sticks, which made construction simple and inexpensive for the Depression-style builder. It is strong for its size, with large-diameter tubing welded in the right places. The butt-welded wing-to-body fittings, however, are not in vogue today.
Welds loaded in tension can give up at the most embarrassing and disastrous times, especially when the ship is airborne.
The wings look as though they came from a beginner's stick model. All ribs are equally spaced at 12 inches and the tips just "happen" at the last .rib, which is covered with plywood. The USA 27 airfoil was quite popular at the time the ship was designed and is as well-suited for the Gere as it was for many other aircraft of the period. On the structural side, the unrouted spruce spars were extremely heavy for a little bird like this and easily could have been replaced by 3/4-inch stock.
The drawings depict the design exactly as Bud Gere executed it in 1933, except for the inclusion of Ford Model A power. He recognized the overweight, underpowered condition of the Chevy 4 and recommended that Pietenpol's Model A installation be substituted to increase performance. So, a Pietenpol-style Model A Ford engine, instead of the Chevrolet, is shown hooked up to the Gere's radiator system.
Except for a few details that need updating, the Gere Sport with the Ford up front would be a great little homebuilt to buzz around in today. But the model builder won't have to change a thing in the planform to build a nice scale RC or free flight. Only the short nose would need some added weight.
Gere Sport Biplane Plans
The AMA Plans Service offers a full-size version of many of the plans show here at a very reasonable cost. They will scale the plans any size for you. It is always best to buy printed plans because my scanner versions often have distortions that can cause parts to fit poorly. Purchasing plans also help to support the operation of the Academy of Model Aeronautics - the #1 advocate for model aviation throughout the world. If the AMA no longer has this plan on file, I will be glad to send you my higher resolution version.