Model Airplane News
March, 1935

Model Airplane News Cover for March, 1935 by Jo Kotula Brown B-2 Miss Los Angeles

Brown B-2 "Miss Los Angeles"
Model Airplane News Cover Art for March, 1935
by Jo Kotula
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Larry Brown was a designer and builder of racing airplanes. His approach to aircraft design was "draw it on the hangar floor and weld it right there." Accordingly, there is little documentation of his work. Enthusiasts of racing aircraft design tend to agree that his most beautiful effort was "Miss Los Angeles" [Model B-2, R/NX255Y]. The design was conceived, built and tested in less than three months at Mines Field, Los Angeles, intended for the 1934 National Air Races in Cleveland. The tiny plane aroused curiosity due to its relatively small 290 hp engine -- the competition was Roscoe Turner's 1000 hp Wedell-Williams. Brown's response was always "Maybe it doesn't have big horse power, but it also doesn't have big weight! It'll go around pylons like it on a rope."

The Brown B-2 Miss Los Angeles      The Brown B-2 Miss Los Angeles

Brown B-2 "Miss Los Angeles"
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The 19 foot fuselage was fabric covered over welded steel tubing with spruce fairing; it had a small semi-enclosed cockpit with small windshield and streamlined head rest faired into the fin. The nose was streamlined with bullet-nose spinner that covered the entire propeller hub. The oil cooler was mounted along the belly of the plane nd consisted of three parallel aluminum tubes extending from engine compartment to the rear of the pilotís seat; The 19 foot Wing was fabric-covered with solid spuce spars The fixed landing gear was equipped with Goodyear airwheels which absorb landing shock. The maximum speed was 270 miles per hour; landing speed was 50-60 m.p.h. Fully loaded, the plane weighed 1,300 pounds.

In fact, "Miss Los Angeles" took second place in the prestigious Thompson Trophy race, beaten only by a second by Roscoe tuner's airplane with three times the power ó but not by much. All of the other "big bore" entrant quit, crashed or trailed behind the Brown Special. The career of "Miss Los Angeles" spanned six seasons from 1934 through 1939. The famous aviatrix Marion McKeen bought the B-2 in 1935 and finished in the money almost every year. The plane was originally painted scarlet red, it bleached out to dull rouge. The 1935 cover of M.A.N. has this latter color, although contemporary photos show the bright red scheme.

In 1938, in an attempt to update the aerodynamics, cantilever wing replaced the wire braced originals and retractable landing gear was added. The additional weight of these "improvements" was not matched in performance. During a practice session at the '38 Nationals, the gear wouldn't come down and the resultant belly landing precluded any chance of competing. For the next seasonthe plane was restored to original condition, butgiven an international orange paint job. The plane was destroyed at the 1939 Cleveland National Air Races, Pilot Lee Williams took a tight turn at too slow an airspeed it was only a matter of seconds until it was all over for both plane and pilot.

Click here for more information on "Miss Los Angeles".

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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