Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Obtaining very old blueprints?

  1. Feb 5, 2007 #1
    Where would one be wise to look to obtain plans for old aircraft and parts - such as those last manufactured longer than fifty years ago? I ask because I'm curious about the technical feasibility of assembling a completely new replica of WWII aircraft to the original specifications. Are these materials likely to still exist, whether or not their owners are willing to disseminate them?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 5, 2007 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I would suggest that yes, many plans are still in existance. Unless they've already made it into the free market though, I would guess that it would be extremely difficult to obtain them.

    If you have a craft in mind, you could try writing to the relevant historical aviation organisations.

    It might also be worth getting involved with individuals or organisations who have already achieved such goals. One which springs to my mind is the Vulcan Restoration Trust (www.avrovulcan.com). Even if it's not the specific aircraft you're interested in, I'm sure that they have far bigger banks of resources than you'll find by internet searches.

    Stick around and see what Fred and Danger say on the topic.
  4. Feb 5, 2007 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Agreed, the best place to start are historical societies. Some companies also fund their own heritage/company history archives - e.g. see http://www.rolls-royce.com/history/heritage/

    You could also try companies that specialize in maintaining old aircraft - e.g. Marshalls at Cambridge in the UK.

    Remember that most drawings from even 25 years ago were produced on drawing boards not computer CAD systems. With luck, the master copies will have been microfilmed, but there may only be one or two copies of the films in existence so you will need some serious "street cred" to be able to get access to them. Established historical societies can provide that.

    Be aware you are talking about a HUGE quantity of drawings, if you are serious about replicating a complete aircraft. The joke that the first prototype of an aircraft cannot be cleared for takeoff untill the mass of the drawings equals the mass of the plane is a indeed a joke - but only just.

    There are certainly people who are flying replica Spitfires - so all you need is enough cash to fund the project...
  5. Feb 5, 2007 #4
    I ask because it's a far future ambition of mine to construct a replica De Havilland Mosquito from scratch - and I mean from scratch - as far as is possible. I'm not aware of any other such project so it would be unique. It may perhaps be an advantage that the engines were Rolls-Royce so if they could be persuaded to lend their plans for a heritage project, things may be go.

    On the Mosquito's 100th anniversary, I'll be 53. That's a realistic target to aim for.
  6. Feb 5, 2007 #5


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I really don't mean to belittle your ambition, and in fact I admire anyone who has the enthusiasm and dedication to set about such a task. I also assume you've given full consideration to the lengths you'd need to go to for achievement of your goal.

    But yeah, that's a pretty ambitious project! I wish you the best of luck with your endeavours, keep us updated with how it goes.
  7. Feb 5, 2007 #6
    Heh. I'm in no position to even think about starting such a project yet. It's just a pipe dream.

    What may end up more likely is a mosquito airframe - which was almost all wood, to the point that they were built in piano factories - with stock engines and such.

    So, I suppose a supplementary question is: Which contemporary aero engines available on the open market are suitable analogues to the Rolls Royce Merlin?
  8. Feb 5, 2007 #7


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    The foregoing advice is probably the best approach. I would also consider contacting the Experimental Aircraft Association and the Confederate Airforce.
  9. Feb 6, 2007 #8


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    You might be able to get a real Merlin engine from somewhere. RR were still selling them in the 1970s, for power boat racing. I expect a few of those are still around.
  10. Jun 6, 2011 #9
    Hello to all!

    My name is Manuel Thomas and I may be of great help to you . I am the owner of the following site.


    I digitally restore vintage blueprints and could be of assistance to you obtaining the prints you ae looking for .

Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?

Similar Discussions: Obtaining very old blueprints?
  1. Old Data (Replies: 1)