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The "Ascender"


As Described In The May 1933 Edition Of

Modern Mechanix & Inventions Magazine

Ascender

According to the magazine article, this craft is a mid-wing monoplane with a 30 foot wing span, and a 125 horsepower air-cooled engine. It could be converted into a streamlined automobile simply by removing its wings, and the rear end of the fuselage, using a proceedure that took about 20 minutes to complete. Also, according to the article, many months of pains-taking work had resulted in the completion of the first Ascender, which had "been built and flown enough to prove itself a most unusual craft both in the air and on the ground."

The magazine goes on to explain how to land an "Ascender" -

"Landing the Ascender is a simpler task than in the ordinary airplane. It is no longer necessary for the pilot to judge his speed and distance so that the ship will stop flying directly over the spot in the field where he wishes to land. With this craft, he need merely throttle the engine, point the nose down until the ship assumes a normal glide toward the field, and set the ship onto the ground at a speed much greater than is safely possible in the ordinary airplane. As soon as the two rear wheels touch the ground, the front one is forced down, and brakes may be immediately applied to bring the ship to a smooth stop."

Ascenderairborne
Ascenderonroad

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EDITOR'S NOTES

1. In case you think that this design somewhat resembles an aircraft you may have seen before, you are probably right. According to Modern Mechanix this convertible airplane-auto was designed by the makers of the famous Gee-Bee sportplane which won the Cleveland Air Races at 296 miles per hour. The Gee-Bee may have been fast, but was reportedly a difficult an unforgiving aircraft to fly.

AscenderGeeBeeAncestor

2. There seems to be no evidence supporting the contention that Gee-Bee actually built a prototype of the Ascender. News of a roadable aircraft design that has even a little success is usually covered widely in the press. This was particularly so in the early days of flying. In seven years of reporting on experiments of this kind, we have never heard of the "Ascender". A Google search took us to the website http://www.rareaircraf1.greyfalcon.us/UNITED%20STATES.htm It lists the "GEE BEE Q-1 ASCENDER", however the site shows under that title, only a picture of a small model of a canard-equipped aircraft.

3. The description above telling us how to land the Ascender must surely be a fiction. A landing like that would certainly take your breath away, to say the least.



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"Modular" Roadable Aircraft
May 2008