|The aircaft initially carried the experimental registration seen here,but |
that was changed to a restricted-category registration by the time of
the 1931 Nationals, so these photos werelikely taken late in 1930 or
early in 1931.
The two photos featured today depict the first of two Gee Bee Model Y aircraft, also known as the Senior Sportster, which was Granville's first two seat model. NX11049 (YW-1) was designed by Gee Bee engineer Robert Hall for aviatrix Maude Taite, whose father owned the Springfield MA airport, and thus was the Granvilles' landlord; it first flew in late 1930.
|The cartoon bird painted on the side was the mascot of the Granvilles, and |
was patterned after the filaloola bird, which was noted by its call,
YW-1 didn't appear at the 1932 Nationals, but was entered in the 1933 races, where Marty Bowman took second in the Aerol (161.7 mph) and Zantford Granville flew it to fifth place in the Thompson (173.0 mph; it would have been 6th and last, if Roscoe Turner hadn't been disqualified for cutting a pylon). With the top race speeds increasing each year, it was clear that the Model Y just was not competitive any longer.
The plane continued to be owned by Gee Bee until their 1934 bankruptcy, when it was sold off along with many of the company's other assets. It finally met its fate later in 1934 while flying over the Atlantic off of New York City and shed a propeller blade. The pilot managed to bail out, but the vibration caused the engine to come off its mounts, and the aircraft entered a flat spin and was lost at sea.