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Jim Boyce's Realistic Action Erector Airplane Ride

Jim writes: "I just got into 'Erectoring' again after about a 55 year hiatus. I started buying sets at auctions and then 'discovered' Erector on eBay. My original thought was to pull together a few sets of each size in order to create ONE 'representative' display set of each type (at this point, I didn't know anything about Type I or Type III sets - as a kid I had gotten several of what are now known as Type II sets and which were the only ones I knew about). I planned to start out with a 12½ and work down. Various time-related circumstances forced me to start at the other end (6½). I couldn't find any decent cardboard for the representative set so while I looked, I decided to build something - the signature 6½ item - the Airplane Ride.

Realistic Action Airplane Ride

I also had 'discovered' Girders & Gears. Instead of the 'plain' 6½ ride, I thought I would try and duplicate Doc Prune's Musical Airplane Ride. When he referred to ' version is identical to the original...', I had no idea what he was talking about since I had never (at that time) seen a manual with his ride in it - so I built mine by enlarging Doc Prune's pictures, counting holes, guessing, trial and error, and so forth. I figured I would also vary the airplanes for a little variety, so I copied the bi-plane and one of the jets from David Emery's Duplex Airplane Ride (thanx David). The 2-engine piston plane and the single engine jet are just figments of my imagination. I also added the house and steps because all the amusement park models seem to 'cry out' for a ticket booth.

The Ride in Action

The ride worked beautifully BUT my grand- daughters said it was too slow and not like the rides they went on since the planes did not swing out as they sped up. Back to the drawing board. I changed the gearing in the gear box so that the large gear in the gear box drove a small P13B (7/32" 12-tooth) pinion gear.

The Planes

This worked erratically, to say the least. On startup, the whole tower vibrated and shook, the planes wobbled, the bevel gears jerked - but the planes started flying around pretty fast with about a 45 degree angle to the tower. However, the entire tower vibrated like mad (similar to an unbalanced fan) so that I had to equalize the weight of the planes (as closely as I could) with 'tucked up wheels' on the bi-plane, an extra tail piece here, extra screws and nuts there, etc. Improved - but still the same startup problems, some vibration at full speed; and, when I turned the power off all the planes wrapped themselves around the tower.

The Friction Drive "Clutch" Assembly

Back to the drawing board - I re-introduced the idea of a friction drive 'clutch' - I bolted the entire plane support arm assembly to a separate BN base plate free-floating on another BN base plate (the lower BN base plate was bolted to a BT pierced disc which was secured to the vertical drive shaft from the motor assembly). This worked very well - the motor and drive shaft started quickly, the planes started to revolve as friction took hold between the two BN base plates and the planes slowly got out to their 45 degree angle full speed - and when power was removed the planes slowly glided to a stop. This met with my grand-daughters' approval!!

The Extra Support on Base Edges

A few other details - even with the plane balancing I had to add BE 6" angle girders along the outside bottom sides of the platform because the single edge of the MF plates did not provide enough support and the tower wobbled a little at full speed - I had to replace the upper P15 coupling with two CJ gears bolted together also to reduce wobble - and finally, had to add a P37 collar on the shaft above the middle platform to keep the weight off of the bevel gears in the gearbox.

Thanx to Doc Prune, Gary Kagan, Bill Bean, Bruce Hansen, Klon Smith and David Emery for ideas and kindness - and to my wife, Bea, who thinks I have 'snapped'."