Modeler replicates father’s full-scale
The full-scale Golden Eagle Chief monoplane was designed and built by the R.O. Bone Company in 1929 and gained notoriety for being flown by aviatrix Evelyn “Bobbi” Trout.
Approximately 20 Golden Eagles were manufactured; 13
of them were registered, including serial number 805, which
belonged to Ed French’s (Cumming, Georgia) father, Horace
E. French Jr. It was powered by a 90 hp Le Blonde engine
with a full engine cowl and had an advertising slogan for the
Jesse French Piano and Radio Company painted onto the
Ed set out to build a scale model of his dad’s airplane. Because
he did not have a seven-cylinder radial engine for replication,
Ed compromised by using a five-cylinder ASP engine that
would have been representative of the early five-cylinder, 65 hp
models. He scaled the airplane around the engine, resulting in a
Little documentation about the full-scale aircraft was found,
but Ed was fortunate to meet Larry Case, Bill Rasmussen, and
Warren Gardner. Warren was the previous owner of the Golden
Eagle that Bill currently owns, and has a wealth of knowledge.
Ed used the knowledge, photographs, and dimensions that the
men provided, as well as information from the Smithsonian, to
construct the replica. “Without the help from these gentleman,
‘the Eagle would have never landed!’” Ed wrote.
The 98-inch wingspan model is covered with Balsa USA
Solartex, except for the nose nacelle, which is made from hand-laid fiberglass. Ed had a target weight of 22 pounds, but the
Golden Eagle came in at slightly less than 24 pounds.
Ed uses a Hitec Aurora 9 transmitter and Hitec Optima 7
receiver for control, as well as Hitec ball-bearing servos and a
McDaniel five-cylinder glow driver. At the time that Ed wrote
this, he had not completed a maiden flight, but noted that “it is
ready to go and all of the controls function properly.”
The entire build process took Ed nearly 14 months. “All of
the airframe parts are handmade, other than the ribs that I
had laser cut to ensure accuracy. The instrument panel is quite
representative to the full-scale one.”
Ed added, “Today there are two [full-scale] Golden Eagle
Chiefs still flying. One is owned by Bill Rasmussen in Mattoon,
Illinois, and the other by Larry Case in Greenville, South
“My dad met my mother in November 1930 when he flew
into Dannelly Airfield [now Montgomery Regional Airport] in
Montgomery, Alabama,” he wrote. “He took her for a ride in his
Eagle—she must have been impressed!”
The photos showcase Ed’s father’s full-scale Golden Eagle
Chief in late 1929 or early 1930, and Ed with his scratch-built
Golden Eagle Chief model.
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