Model Airplane News
May 1933

Model Airplane News Cover for May 1933 by Jo Kotula Wedell-Williams racer

Wedell-Williams Racers
Model Airplane News Cover Art for May 1933
by Jo Kotula
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The Wedell-Williams Model 44 was a racing aircraft, four examples of which were built in the United States in the early 1930s. It began as a rebuilding of the partnership's successful "We-Will" racer of 1929, but soon turned into a completely new aircraft. It was a typical 1930s racer design, a braced, low-wing monoplane powered by a large radial engine and equipped with fixed landing gear in large spats.

Model 44s were raced in the 1932, 33, and 34 Bendix Trophy races, as well as the 1934 Thompson and Shell Trophy. In September, 1933 at the International Air Race in Chicago the 44 piloted by Jimmie Wedell set the new world speed record of 305.33 miles per hour.

The only surviving Model 44 is on display at the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum, Cleveland, Ohio. A replica Model 44 is on display at the Louisiana State Museum, Patterson, LA.

 The Wedell-Williams racer     The Wedell-Williams racer

Wedell-Williams Racer, No. 44
Drawings Courtesy of Byron G. Como
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The profile drawings come from Byron Como of from Patterson, Louisiana, who has a very interesting story. He writes:

"... My father, B.L. Como Jr., played tennis with Harry P. Williams in his youth. Harry P. Williams was the owner of the Williams Cypress Sawmill and was wealthy. He owned the Wedell-Williams Airlines. The Model 44 was an offshoot of Mr. Williams' aviation interests. My grandfather, B.L. Como Sr., was a sawyer in the cypress mill. That's how I came to be involved in creating the Model 44 artwork. I am an honorary board member of the Harry P. Williams Collection shown in the Louisiana State Museum at Patterson. The museum has several replica Model 44's and other aircraft and many artifacts from the sawmill. Every Spring there is a Cypress Sawmill Festival located at the Kemper-Williams Park in Patterson. This year the festival will begin on April 1. TThis is a grand event with many varied entertainments. There are provisions for RV's. Pilot's can fly into our airport. Have a seaplane? We can handle that too. There are several well-appointed Hotels in nearby Morgan City, just eight miles away. We are located on Hwy. 90 between Lafayette and New Orleans.."

Here is a video of the replica Model 44 is on display at the Louisiana State Museum, Patterson, Louisiana:

Click Here for more information about the Wedell-Williams Racers.

Our review of Popular Mechanics from 1932-1939 turned up several interesting articles on air racing.

Racing the Man-made Meteors from Popular Mechanics, February, 1937    Flying the Winged Bullets from Popular Mechanics, October 1938    Secrets of Speed from Popular Mechanics, November, 1938

Articles on Air Racing From Popular Mechanics
"Racing the Man-Made Meteors" (February, 1937)
"Flying the Winged Bullets" (October, 1938)
"Secrets of Speed" (November, 1938)
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We have scanned these articles anmake them available to you as free downloads

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