Fragment, Aeroplane

A wooden V-shaped remnant from an AVRO 504 biplane. It is hollow with remnant pieces of white fabric along two sides. A row of nails run along the outside edges on both sides. "Aeroplane / Smashed / 11th Nov 1920 Captain Russell / (3 killed) Miss Kathleen Warnock / Mr J Clarke" is written on one side.
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This fragment of a plane come from an ill-fated Avro 504K that belonged to the Walsh Brothers’ New Zealand Flying School. The plane crashed behind New Plymouth Boys' High School in 1920.The pilot – Richard Russell – and his two passengers, the Mayor of New Plymouth, James Clarke, and Kathleen Warnock, were all killed. They were the first civilian aeroplane fatalities in the country. The plane crashed while providing public flights from the New Plymouth racecourse.
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The fragment is the leading edge (front of the wing) gusset section of a wing rib. Ribs give the wing its aerofoil shape. Wing ribs for this aIrcraft were made of spruce strips top and bottom with cross pieces forming a girder structure and plywood gussets nailed and glued on the sides. The fabric strips are rib tapes. Their purpose is to stop the Irish linen that the wing was covered with from wearing through where it pulled tight over the ribs. The wing covering fabric was stitched to the wing ribs and another strip of fabric tape was doped over the stitching on the outside of the wing.

- Mike Mullholland posted 2 years ago.

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