Tuesday, July 14, 2009

"Famous Faces in Familiar Places"

The famous Granville Brothers, originally of New Hampshire, are known as the creators and inventive minds behind perhaps the most famous aircraft in aviation history. At age 19, the eldest Granville Brother, Zantford moved to Massachusetts and spent much time at the Boston Airport, taking flying lessons after becoming “bored” with his automobile business.

In 1929, Zantford founded an airplane repair shop in Springfield, Massachusetts, as it was the only area in which he could obtain financing. Zantford made a deal with another set of famous and wealthy brothers, the Taits. The Tait Brothers were owners of a large ice cream business as well as the Springfield Airport. The finance agreement enabled the purchase of a high-powered, more advanced engine. This repair shop later became the birthplace of a series of “Sportsters,” racing aircraft that would go on to win several prestigious National Air Races.

The Gee Bees, a series of 1930s racing planes, were thought to be the fastest aircraft and perhaps the most dangerous of its time. The Granville Brothers consisted of Zantford, Thomas, Robert, Mark, and Edward, all of which migrated to the Springfield, Massachusetts area.

The advanced aerodynamic design engineered by the Granville Brothers required only the most qualified and skilled pilots. In fact, the eldest Granville Brother, Zantford, died while attempting to abort a landing in South Carolina, ultimately causing the plane to crash.
For more information, please visit http://www.centennialofflight.gov/

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