Perhaps by periscope as was the Spirit of St. Louis? It was of course a racing plane and in that era, creature comforts like pilot visibility were sometimes forsaken (GeeBee racer for example). I note large windows on either side of the cockpit. Doesn't appear to have glass from this picture. Perhaps during takeoff and landing the pilot leaned over and took a quick glance out one side or the other.
Graham Clayton, e-mail, 13.02.2021 08:50
The pilot was entirely enclosed in the fuselage - how did they have any forward vision?
Charles Martel, e-mail, 24.04.2016 20:56
Dayton-Wright also built the OW.1, a greatly modified deHaviland DH-4. It was the first plane designed by Orville Wright (hence the OW.1). It had an enclosed cabin for four and set an altitude record. It set the pattern for subsequent cabin bi-planes built by WACO & others. Details available at Wikipedia.
Joe Smith, e-mail, 14.06.2011 17:17
Milt, I have never seen this photo before here. But from the looks of the aircraft it is before it went to France. No numbers painted on it and no end plates on the tail. But it only has two of the control arms on the upper wing and I'm not quite sure when they took the other two off. So someone with a little more info then me might be able to date it and tell us where this is. The RB 1 was restored about 10 years ago to what is now displayed in the Henry Ford Museum. They had to reverse engineer it, because it was left sitting and many parts where missing. They did quite a creditable job with the limited amount of time & money available. They left the engine out, but you can't see it anyway, less strain on the airframe. They didn't get to work out all of the control gearing in the body of the aircraft. But they did remake all of the controls and push rods on the top of the wing. It is pretty amazing that the aircraft is still here after 90 some odd years. It's to bad it is not a more known aircraft. It really was a giant leap forward with all of it's modern features in one aircraft.
Milton Thompson, e-mail, 13.11.2009 02:53
Joseph, My grandfather, Milton Baumann, along with Howard Rienhart were the chief engineers on this plane. They built it at the Wright Aircraft Company. From articles I have seen, the city of Dayton OH raised $50,000 to build the plane for the race. I haven't seen the photo on this site and wasn't aware the the museum was exhibiting the plane. where is the photo from?
Joe, e-mail, 28.10.2008 19:01
This is one of the 3 USA 1920 entries into the Bennett Trophy Race held in France that year. It was the 1st aircraft with retractable landing gear that was not repeated until 10 years later in the Grumman FFs. The wing flaps and forward slats all worked together via a crank in the cockpit with the retractable landing gear a 1st not to be repeated until the 1950s on the F 104. The aircraft hangs in the Henry Ford Museum in Dayton, Ohio, USA. The plane did not finish the race because of a broken control cable. It had run a lap before the race doing 165mph without useing full throttle.