First flying on August 22, 1931, the Gee Bee Z quickly proved to be tricky to fly, but fulfilled every expectation with regards to its speed. Flown by pilot Lowell Bayles, the Gee Bee Z established a world speed record for landplanes of 267.342 miles per hour (430.245 km/h) at the National Air Races during the Shell Speed Dash qualifying on September 1, then went on to win the Goodyear Trophy race, run over a course of 50 miles (80 km), the next day at an average speed of 205 miles per hour (330 km/h). On the September 5, the aircraft’s engineer, Bob Hall, flew the Gee Bee Z to victory in the General Tire and Rubber Trophy race, then won again the next day in a free-for-all event.
In the Thompson Trophy Race on September 7, Bayles was triumphant, winning with an average speed of 236.24 miles per hour (380.19 km/h), winning over competitors including Jimmy Doolittle, James “Jimmy” Wedell, Ben Howard, Dale Jackson, Bill Ong, Ira Eaker, and Hall, who finished fourth in a Gee Bee Model Y.
Following the Thompson Trophy race, the Gee Bee Z was re-engined with a larger, 750-horsepower (560 kW) Wasp Senior radial, in preparation for an attempt at establishing another world speed record at Wayne County Airport in Detroit, Michigan. Unofficially clocked at 314 miles per hour (505 km/h) in early trials, the record attempt on December 5, 1931, would end in tragedy, the aircraft suffering a wing failure and rolling into the ground, killing Bayles.
It was suspected that the Model Z’s crash during a speed run in December 1931 was due to an unexpected failure of the gasoline tank cap, which may have come loose and passed through the windshield. A bullet-proof windscreen and internal fuel caps were part of the new design. Analysis of motion picture film of the event examined frame-by-frame, is inconclusive. Control surface flutter is a more likely cause. It struck the pilot and incapacitated him, causing a sudden upset in pitch that led to uncontrolled flutter in the right aileron which imparted undue stress on that wing, causing it to pitch up sharply and fail. In addition, tests of a reproduction aircraft have shown that the Gee Bee Z was susceptible to aerodynamic flutter at high speed. The 1932 R-1 and its sister ship, the R-2, were the successors of the previous year’s Thompson Trophy-winning Model Z.
The Free Flight for FSX
To replicate the first flight, you need of the original Alabeo Gee Bee Z Model. So, we assume you have already the plane installed in your FSX Fleet.
– Download the free flight from here and install it.
– You have to copy everything in your Microsoft Flight Simulator Files, under Document and Settings main folder
– Run FSX
– From the main Free Flight screen, click on Load, than choose Geebee Z First Flight
Now you are at Cleveland Airport. Takeoff and try to fly at the best speed you can, then go back and land safety.