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GOT: The Bugatti 100P

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#1 Romantic Technofreak

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Posted 23 April 2015 - 03:40 PM

The Bugatti 100P intended speed-record breaker is a special case . The aircraft is as historic as it is currently contemporary. Not only is the original sample restored to a fine static display appearance, but there is also a replica under construction (and nearly finished). So I thought the best way to create this GOT topic is to include a lot of hotlinks. I don't expect them to disappear very soon, so I hope this is alright.


Let us begin with the constructor of the aircraft. Count Pierre Louis de Monge de Franeau,


did not start his career by "making conventional parasol monoplanes", like stated in the article above. Well, there might have been one of these in 1914, as contributor *Bullethead* states in the link below, but his first remarkable entry into aviation history was the De Monge-Buscaylet experimental aircraft of 1918.


(please ignore the misleading caption, this picture I got from the Flickr account of the San Diego Air and Space Museum)



*Bullethead* states (http://combatace.com...sed-imaginings/, please scroll a bit):

"Looking further along the French aisle of the MDI's exhibits, you'll come across the De Monge 1918 Experimental. Note the date of 1918, by which time the basic parameters of sound aircraft design had been inscribed on the tombstones of countless previous failures, so that a man just coming into the trade could have avoided the obvious mistakes. But this didn't stop De Monge from reinventing disaster.

De Monge's job was designing props for other people's airplanes (mostly SPADs), but he just KNEW he could design a plane of his own, if somebody with more money than sense gave him the chance. He had, after all, built a parasol monoplane in early 1914 for Concours Securite', where a prize went to the safest design. De Monge had focused on eliminating the effects of gusts as much as possible, so built his plane with a "wobbly wing". IOW, the wing was loosely attached to the fuselage with springs and bungee cords so that gusts rocked it back and forth without disturbing the fuselage. At least in theory. Needless to say, De Monge didn't win the contest,

Finally, in 1918, De Monge convinced a certain Buscaylet to finance a new project, shown below. This machine's wings were only fastened on at the front spar, allowing the trailing edges to blow as the wind decreed, except for a variable incidence control on the upper wing. This, however, wasn't the plane's worst feature. The prop was amidships, requiring a bulky rear undercarriage to hold the rear fuselage and tail onto the plane. Also note the long boom extending forward from the upper wing carrying a canard elevator, which in use no doubt flexed the wobbly wing alarmingly, and the fully moving, center-pivot vertical tailplanes. I have no idea what the strange cowling on the nose was for. Unsurprisingly, the French air force wasn't interested."


Well, I mean the forward-protruding boom was a secret weapon to rip the skin of airships, but I might be wrong. You see, Count de Monge did not refrain from taking risks, he was a man to design unconventional aircraft.


He continued his construction career by designing aircraft of lifting-body shape, like the glider mentioned here:



and his motored models 7.4 and 7.5. See here a bit compact:



Meanwhile, engines produced by the Bugatti car factory were used for aircraft also. A detail is the use of counter-rotating propellers. De Monge employed Bugatti engines for his model 7.5, and at least at this time he must have come in contact with Bugatti. See here:



About the 100P itself, please read the Wikipedia entry about it. See


And even in more detail:



You may have seen that the websites bugattirevue.com is run by Mr. Jaap Horst, he also shares in bugattiaircraft.com. Mr. Horst wrote a book about our racer, I had the chance to take a look into it.

The book, of course, is a wonderful product. Additional information about the aircraft, nevertheless, in it is little. What I can say is the following:


Bugatti owned a castle in the vicinity of Paris (exact location mentioned in the last link above ). There the hitherto unflown aircraft was stored in a barn on the estate to prevent being confiscated by the Germans. The Germans knew about the castle, knew about the aircraft, searched for it, but were unable to find it.


Often the calculated maximum speed of the aircraft is given as 800 km/h and much more. This was not possible to be proved yet. In his book, Mr. Horst gives a top speed of 747 km/h for it. This is just 1 km/h more than the Heinkel He 100 V-8 had flown in 1939 and a bit less that the Messerschmitt Me 209 V-1 had done. But remember, the German aircraft both had used a special Daimler-Benz DB 601 engine (version Re/V), delivering 2770 hp. The Bugatti racer employs two engines of 450 hp each, so it flies with only 900 hp. What if the 100P had 2800 hp to its use?


A racer aircraft is thought to fly fast. But there is a phase when every aircraft has to fly slowly - for landing. One design flaw of the 100P is the small vertical fin pointing downward. Scientists found out the aircraft having unsufficient longitudinal stability at slow speeds, thus creating the danger of getting into a flat spin.


These are the informations I got from Mr. Horst's book. Personally, what I don't like about the aircraft is the engines not laying exactly in the longitudinal axis of the aircraft.


(picture from the oldmachinepress link above)



You need more fuselage length to do it the other way, and a more difficult drive system, but the speed result may be worth the effort. One should also consider to use a pusher propeller to be installed. But this would be a different aircraft.


Please have a look at:

http://www.bugattiaircraft.com/ (don't forget to proceed to the NEWS page, although the last entry is from Dec. 2014)


And get the latest news about the replica project here:



Hope the thing will fly soon! And the record attempt is stil to be expected!



Regards, RT



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Posted 23 April 2015 - 06:54 PM

Nice RT, thank you for posting that one. I agree with you about the cocked rear engine and drivetrains.

#3 ChrisMcD


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Posted 24 April 2015 - 01:59 PM

Mind you Bugatti did have some form with aero engines.  To quote LJK Setright on the 1918 quadruple Bugatti engine.


"That extraordinary monstrosity the Breguet-Bugatti multiple power plant which consisted of two Bugatti engines set in line and turned end for end, with the crankshafts of one at a lower level than those of the other and all four shafts geared into a common spur drive.


The basic Bugatti engine was odd enough. It consisted essentially of two 8-cylinder vertical engines sharing a common crankcase, their two crankshafts each being geared into a common spur wheel driving the airscrew shaft.






In fact it was two Bugatti straight-eights lashed together, and any Bugatti straight eight was odd enough in itself to stand out in any company. The cylinder heads, for example, were cast integral with the blocks, and carried 3 valves, l inlet and 2 exhaust. As applied to Bugatti's motor cars they gave such an engine a very respectable performance that his exquisite chassis could exploit to better purpose any than other of their kind, although the actual power output of his engines might not have been thought especially noteworthy by contemporary standards. 


As applied to aviation, however, Bugatti's extremely original designs left a certain amount to be desired, not least the need for the exhaust valve seats to divine the cooling water at a considerable distance, as the late L. E. Pomeroy put it. On the other hand Bugatti designs made no great demands on production facilities, a lot of skill and a few straightforward machine tools sufficing for even the most complicated products of this eccentric and artistic Italian's genius. His 450h.p. aero twin-8 cylinder engines flew quite a lot, but gave their full quota of trouble, and when arrangements were made for the Bugatti aero engines to be manufactured under licence by King in the USA, the Americans had to amend the design in several respects to achieve reasonable reliability


Perhaps we should not paint the Bugatti too black. After all, it was the Americans who chose it, not the French who forced it upon them when a military mission visited Paris in 1917 to choose engines for the US Army air force. The Bugatti was in fact the first aero engine in France to undergo a successful test run of 10 hours, and later was given an endurance run of 50 hours. Incidentally during this 50-hour test an American sergeant acting as observer for the mission went too near the airscrew and was killed – the first American airman to die on active service in the war. "


I think most of them ended up on his railcars



Edited by ChrisMcD, 24 April 2015 - 02:18 PM.

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