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Artifact Friday: Bensen B-8

While acting as a tour guide, my most commonly asked question is "What is that contraption?" followed by "Did people actually fly that thing?". If you read the title or have visited the museum you know exactly which aircraft I am talking about.

The Bensen B-8 hangs inside the Historic White Hangar and it might be considered our oddest artifact. The Bensen B-8 was developed in 1955 and well... didn't have any other purpose other than to fly. The B-8 takes a fair amount of physics to fly. The rear propeller that is attached to its McCulloch engine pushes it down the runway which causes drag on the top rotor which causes the top rotor to begin spinning. This spinning then causes lift.

Though this aircraft is small in stature it has a max takeoff weight of 500 pounds (Empty weight 247 pounds). Now that may not seem like a huge number for the modern American that averages around 180 pounds but in 1955 Americans averaged only 150 pounds. The B-8 maxed out at a fast and furious 85 miles an hour (Imagine a bug hitting your font teeth at 85 miles an hour) and could fly up to 100 miles at a time.

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