Each Part Being Hand Made For The Replica Biplanes
At one time, the Avro 504 could be seen throughout Great
Britain. Built between 1914 and 1927, the biplane was used as a
primary trainier up to the beginning of WWII, and they gave
thousands of pilots their first taste of flight. Now, Blue
Swallow Aircraft in Keswick, Virginia is recreating two Avro 504s,
meticulously shaping each of the approximately 10 thousand parts
needed by hand, right down to the instruments.
"You can't buy instruments, this is a modern instrument, an
inclinometer and it tells the pilot whether he's slipping and
sliding in flight. They don't exist anymore, so we made our own
patterns and we cast them our self," John Gaertner, owner of Blue
Swallow Aviation told Charlottesville television station WVIR.
Avro Elevator Assembly Photo Courtesy
Gaertner told the station it takes about two years to build an
airplane like the Avro, because each piece must be hand-crafted.
For instance, he said each wing rib has about 30 individual
components, and there are 110 ribs in the airplanes two wings.
Avro 504 Photo Courtesy
Blue Swallow Aircraft specializes in building antique aircraft
for places like museums, and for individuals who love old
airplanes. Johnathan Fallon drives to Keswick once a week from
North Carolina to learn the craft. He's an aircraft mechanic for an
airline, but told WVIR "I'm learning a bunch of different things
that in school, this is stuff they just didn't touched on because
most airplanes today aren't made out of wood and fabric anymore so
this has really become a specialized area of aviation
As you might expect, a handcrafted antique airplane is not
inexpensive. The Avro's for instance, will set you back between
$225,000 and $250,000.
But what a head-turner it would be.