Home' Aerogram : Aerogram 2008 1 March Contents Aerogram March 2008
Despite repeated Thompson
Trophy attempts in 1938 and 1939,
the now bright yellow Marcoux-
Bromberg would never again be so
close to winning. The fastest
recorded speed it flew around the
Cleveland course was 307 mph in
1939 with a new Twin Wasp Jr.
X8B4 engine and a Hamilton
Standard constant speed propeller with more blade area and
reduced diameter. By then, however, the rumblings of war were
spelling the end of circuit aircraft racing. When the Marcoux-
Bromberg was rolled into a hangar at Cleveland Airport for
storage, the engine had less than 40 hours flying time on it.
After the war was over, two brothers from Cleveland bought
the Marcoux-Bromberg intending to install a larger engine and
race again, but Orton advised them the plane was probably at
the limits of its design capabilities and would not be able to
safely take further modifications. The plans were shelved.
Stored in a leaky hangar, the plane became damaged as water
dripped onto the disassembled wing and began to rot the
In the mid-1950’s, Rudy Profant discovered the Marcoux-
Bromberg packed in pieces in a trailer and bought them
intending to restore it. He stored the parts safely in a barn, but
never quite got around to working on them. After being
approached by the New England Air Museum, he gave them
first option on the plane should he ever feel he could not
complete his project. The Museum finally obtained the plane in
1978 with the financial assistance of United Technologies
Corporation and their Pratt & Whitney Division.
Restoration began immediately on the disassembled aircraft.
The wood rot was halted and the engine went back to Pratt &
Whitney to be overhauled. In 1981, the Museum opened their
new Main Exhibition Building and restoration continued on the
Marcoux-Bromberg in earnest until work was completed in
The Marcoux-Bromberg joined the museum display in excellent
company. Next to it sits the Laird Solution, winner of the first
Thompson Trophy in 1930, and on the other side is the North
American P51-D that captured the Thompson Trophy in 1948.
Even though it never made the journey to Australia in the end,
the Marcoux-Bromberg Special is a miraculous survivor of a
unique group of aircraft and of an era in aviation history that
provided an important impetus to the development of aircraft
design and technology.
My thanks to Barbe LaPierre at the New England Air Museum
for her kind assistance with photographs and information about
the history and restoration of the Marcoux-Bromberg Special.
Chrystopher Spicer is the author of Clark Gable: Biography and of
the soon to be re-published Duchess: The Story of the Windsor
Hotel, and is a contributor to The Encyclopedia of Melbourne.
The 1934 Marcoux-Bromberg Special
Press Release from Warbirds Over Wanaka,
25 February 2008
General Manager of Warbirds Over Wanaka, Gavin
Johnston, announced today that a warbird would feature in
a live gun-firing exhibition for the first time ever at an
airshow in New Zealand. “An Auckland based Curtiss P-40
Kittyhawk has been fitted with working guns. The guns will
be fired from the aircraft as it takes part in the show,” he
The Chairman of the Warbirds Over Wanaka Community
Trust, Garth Hogan, said “The P-40 will fire all six machine
guns in an historic re-enactment of attacks on shipping
over Rabaul during 1944. The public have never had the
opportunity to see such an exciting event. The sound from
these guns firing is seriously loud.
“As the aircraft passes along the display line at over
240mph (386 km/h) it will fire at the barge in 2-second
bursts. In that time the aircraft will have travelled over 700ft
and the guns fired more than 60 rounds.
“The sight, sound and smell of these guns firing is a unique
opportunity to see what it was like when these aircraft flew
in anger during the war,” Garth said.
“This event is exclusive to Warbirds Over Wanaka
International Airshow 2008. No where else in New Zealand
(or the world) will you see anything like it.”
The live firing exhibition will take place on both the Saturday
and Sunday of the show. New Zealanders in both the
Middle East and the Pacific used the Curtiss P-40
Kittyhawk extensively during World War II. Fitted with six
0.50 calibre guns, the aeroplane was very successful in
both the air to air combat and ground attack roles.
Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow 2008 was
held over Easter weekend (21-23 March 2008)
The RAAF Museum’s Technical Curator, Mr David Jones
commented: “(It’s) amazing that this event has been
approved. Our Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA)
would not approve this! Ed.
belts into the
wings of a
Exclusive Event at Warbirds
Over Wanaka International
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