Model Airplane News
February, 1937

Model Airplane News Cover for February, 1937 by Jo Kotula Hawks-Miller HM-1 Time Flies

Hawks-Miller HM-1 "Time Flies"
Model Airplane News Cover Art for February, 1937
by Jo Kotula
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In 1936, Hawks approached Howell W. "Pete" Miller, chief engineer for the Granville Brothers and their famous Gee Bee racers, to create a racing aircraft to his own design. Hawks obtained sponsorship from the Gruen Watch Company and [appropriately] named the aircraft "Time Flies". The design featured streamlined lines including the unusual feature of a retractable windshield contoured to fit the fuselage. The M.A.N. Cover makes it look like there is no pilot at all!

The Hawks-Miller HM-1 Time Flies      The Hawks-Miller HM-1 Time Flies

Hawks-Miller HM-1 "Time Flies"
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In the early 1930s, Frank Hawks (in his Travel Air Texaco #13) attempted almost every record that could be broken. Hawks wanted to stay at the cutting edge of avaiation technology and reached out to Howell Miller, of the famous Granville Brothers aircraft company that had produced the phenomenal Gee Bee racers. Since both the Granville Brothers had been killed in racing accidents, Miller was left to carry on the tradition. Hawks simply asked for the "fastest airplane in the world."

Nothing in Miller's design induced drag. The landing gear retracted, something quite unusual in 1935. The wind shield was made flush with the top of the fuselage to eliminate any resistance. (For take off and landings, the seat was raised 12" by a hydraulic jack that pushed the cockpit cover upward to form a windshield.) The steel-tube fuselage followed the Granville practice of having its greatest cross section at a point near the mainspar; the skin was specially treated plywood. However, streamlining can only do so much -- the real secret to "Time Flies" was the engine. Hawks finagled permission was from the Army to use a top secret Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp engine rated at 1150 HP, giving the plane a top speed of 375 mph, an astounding number for 1936.

After the first flight (October 18, 1936), the plane was given registration number NX-2491. A few months later, in a well-publicized venture, Hawks flew from Hartford to Miami in just under five hours. He then flew from Miami to nNewark in 4.5 hours. Unfortunately, a landing accident at Newark, and broke a wooden spar in the right wng. Short of funds, Hawks decided not to rebuild the aircraft. Later, Miller rebuilt the aircraft as a two-seater, the Miller HM-1.

In a sad footnote, Hawks had a great interest in safe airplanes as well as racers. While testing the rather dinky Gwinn Air Car (intended for the masses), he hit a power line on takeoff and was killed. The HM-1 eventually flew faster than 500 mph, but disintegrated in flight. All that is left of either are the pictures shown above.

Click Here for more information about the Hawks-Miller HM-1 "Time Flies".

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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