View Full Version : Bamboo for aircraft construction

6th May 2006, 01:25 PM
Anyone here familiar with the use of laminated bamboo or other bamboo material in aircraft construction? Bamboo is rather light, even when solid, so I believe it does have aviation applications.

Thanks in advance.

29th May 2006, 06:44 PM
I just located this site today, since I have a 10 X 20 plot of bamboo in my back lot here in Northern California and I wanted to learn how to work with it.
I don't have an answer for you but I thought this was interesting: I have a book called "Vehicles of the Air' written in 1909 by Victor Lougheed (he later changed spelling to Lockheed) that has been in the family since new.
Bamboo is discussed as a possible material, and a couple of drawings show spars made of bamboo. I'm sure there must be more contemporary information out there somewhere. A related interest of mine is experimenting with the use of fabric over a bamboo frame to attach to the front of an old motor home to improve streamlining. Once the right shape got determined this way, a more sturdy unit could be built.

Mark Meckes
26th June 2006, 04:45 AM
Here's a couple of interesting articles ...

Dumont's Demoiselle Information (http://www.fiddlersgreen.net/AC/aircraft/DuMont-Demoiselle/info/info.htm)
"Santos-Dumont's crowning achievement, however, was the Demoiselle. He conceived it as a plane that anyone could use for personal transportation and willingly let others make use of his design. The fuselage consisted of a specially reinforced bamboo boom, and the pilot sat beneath the wing within the tricycle landing gear." See pic

Who invented the flex wing hang glider? (http://www.bchpa.org/newsletter/may04/hghistory.htm) - by Mark Woodhams
See picture of Bob and Chris Wills flying the legendary "Bamboo Butterflies" California - 1972

26th June 2006, 06:49 PM
Thanks, I've been sick but will look him up in the Lougheed book I mentioned when I get a chance. I know his plane is discussed in there.
IIRC, there was a replica of that plane in the movie "Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines."
Ray Mac

5th July 2006, 09:14 PM
Quoting from the Loughheed book, which also has a 3-view of the plane:
"...The main frame consists of three bamboo spars, widely spread in front and brought closely together at the rear. One of these spars is above and the other two are below, side by side. All three of these spars are cut so that the machine can readily be taken apart and reassembled by use of the tubular sleeves placed at this point. Closely applied wrappings of wire or cord counteract the tendency of the bamboo to split..."
That's all I can find. The plane is described as the lightest around, at the time (1909) and cheaper than a motocycle. IIRC based on model-building many years ago, we would now call these longerons rather than spars.
I'm thinking now about the practicality of building a pickup truck canopy out of bamboo to test different shapes that might improve economy by reducing drag on the truck. Some kind of wind tunnel setup would be the way to go, rather than trial and error, but the real test would be a light fabric-covered framework canopy--unless the fabric flapped and added to the drag!
Ray Mac,