Tweet This!

Valid XHTML 1.0 Strict

Doc's Gilbert Erector Musical Airplane Ride

Hi folks, Doc here. After a long hiatus, it's back to the fairground for another model in my Amusement Park series. This time it's the Airplane Ride from the Musical Ferris Wheel set. My version is identical to the original with two exceptions: 1) The Erector sound kit is missing (I don't own one), and 2) I added 21-hole strips to the top of the model to help stabilize the arms which carry the airplanes.

The tower itself is constructed with square girders (bottom half) and DP 12" angle girders (top half). An MD 5" base plate anchors the center of the tower, an MY plate forms the tower top. More C 10" girders like those in the lower legs form the x-braces on each side of the tower. The base unit is primarily composed of 6 MN base plates; 4 MF base plates are attached to the lower sides of the base in order to increase the height. 4 MD plates and 2 21-hole strips form the ends of the base unit. The motor assembly, hidden within the base unit, is an A49 unit in the "no. 11" low-speed vertical drive configuration: an MZ bearing block and a pair of P48 mitre gears translate the horizontal rotation of the motor shaft to a vertical shaft which drives the airplane arm assembly at the top of the tower.

The airplane arm assembly consists of 4 square girders attached to a hub made from a pair of BN turret plates. The plates are placed concave faces together, then bolted together with a BT pierced disk. The square girder arms are unique, each one being composed of 2 C 10" girders and 2 B 5" girders. The ends of the C girders where they extend beyond the B girders are pulled together and bolted to the turret plate hub at the inner end and to the center of an A girder on the outer end; the airplanes are suspended from these A girders. A decorative "spindle" is formed atop the hub using 4 B girders bolted together at the top using M double angles and attached to the hub at their lower ends with CH angles.


Each airplane consists of a BE 6"angle girder for the fuselage, an MF base plate for the wing, and a G 7-hole strip for the horizontal stabilizer; an MV flat car truck is bolted to the fuselage beneath the wing. When the planes were hung from the arm assembly, they did not balance perfectly front to back, wanting to tip forward. Trying different holes in the wing from those specified in the instructions did not help, so I added a CH angle as a vertical stabilizer to the tail assembly. This addition provided just the right amount of weight to balance the plane.

This model was a lot of fun to build. It operates smoothly and at just the right speed. This is one that was designed to run all day! You can watch video of the Airplane Ride in action below.