McGilder Twist (or Turn)?

Discussion in 'Aerobatics' started by Tom47, Mar 19, 2019.

  1. Tom47

    Tom47 Filing Flight Plan

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    Hello,

    I'm not a pilot but I have a question about a stunt my great-uncle used to do. He was a stunt instructor in aerial gunnery in the Army Air Corps in WWI and, after his discharge, he put on air shows in southern California. According to a newspaper report on one of his shows, one of the stunts he performed was described as "the famous McGilder Twist." I have searched all over the Internet for information on this maneuver without result. I was hoping to find a video of someone doing this stunt or at least a verbal description of it. There was also a newspaper article that mentioned a "McGilder Turn," but I don't know if that's a different stunt or just another name for the McGilder Twist. My only interest is for curiosity but I'm hoping someone can shed some light on this matter.

    Thanks in advance for any help.
     
  2. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    That's a new one on me. Good luck with your search for information.
     
  3. Terry M - 3CK (Chicago)

    Terry M - 3CK (Chicago) Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    Is your (was his) last name McGilder?

    Could be something he did. Famous in the local area.
     
  4. Ryanb

    Ryanb Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    That was my first inclination as well. If I were a betting man, I'd say it's an original maneuver unique to him.
     
  5. RoscoeT

    RoscoeT Cleared for Takeoff

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    Interesting inquiry - hope you are able to find something. But aircraft of that era were fairly limited in ability and whatever this maneuver was (don't call 'em stunts) was probably standard fare. Marketing hyperbole was widespread in those days of course. Very cool history though. Do you have any idea what type of airplane he may have been flying?
     
  6. Tom47

    Tom47 Filing Flight Plan

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    Thanks to everyone who responded.

    The only information I have on this maneuver is from this article from the Blyth (California) Herald of October 13, 1919, transcribed below:

    Thrilling Air Program

    At noon the big crowd was thrilled by aerial stunts performed by Lieut. T. O. Paine, who brought his airship here from Imperial valley especially for the program. He circled to an altitude of 6000 feet and then turned the nose down into a series of acrobatics that ended 400 feet from Hobsonway. Six successive loops started the downward trip, and before the daring pilot had finished he went through several Immelmans, tailspins, the famous McGilder twist and, in fact, every stunt that an airplane can do.

    Paine devoted the remainder of the day to carrying passengers, and the throb of his ninety-horsepower engine could be heard above the noise in the streets all day as he circled overhead.

    ____________________________________

    He also sold aircraft for the Curtiss Corporation and had bought one for his business, so I'd guess it was one of their planes he flew.

    The above information may not be helpful in answering my question, but it might be mildly interesting.

    All the best,

    Tom Paine
     
  7. Unit74

    Unit74 Final Approach

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    https://cdnc.ucr.edu/cgi-bin/cdnc?a=d&d=MP19190430.2.73&e=-------en--20--1--txt-txIN--------1

     
  8. Tom47

    Tom47 Filing Flight Plan

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  9. ebetancourt

    ebetancourt Pre-takeoff checklist

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    As mentioned, airplanes at the time were limited and hype was rampant. My curiosity is high, but it could be anything from a steep turn to a chandelle or lazy 8 type of maneuver. Outside loops (civilian) and Cuban 8s came much later as did lots of other maneuvers. Darn though, I want to find an answer now.
     
  10. Tom47

    Tom47 Filing Flight Plan

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    That's me also. I'm curious and want to know. Granted that those were all low-performance aircraft in those days, it seems he was a rather daring flyer. Another newspaper report has him doing a "loop the loop" at a starting altitude of 200 feet so that at the bottom of the loop his wheels touched the ground. One woman spectator was reported to have fainted.
     
  11. alfadog

    alfadog Final Approach

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    My guess, they are the same maneuver.
     
  12. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    Hmmm, maybe it was supposed to be the McGlider turn, you know, fake news and all.
     
  13. alfadog

    alfadog Final Approach

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    LOL, I have been reading this as McGlider all along and just noticed my error. I even copied and pasted a search and read the old news article and still thought it was McGlider. Too many Big Macs, I guess.
     
  14. luvflyin

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    Last edited: Apr 8, 2019
  15. alfadog

    alfadog Final Approach

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    That one is named after Klaus Rurhtng. He was famous for his nose.
     
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  16. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Rurhtng... isn't that an Ikea end table?
     
  17. Tom47

    Tom47 Filing Flight Plan

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    I had a good laugh at the comments about the 'rurhtng' nose-dive. Truly funny.

    One good thing (perhaps) that came out of those jokes was my looking again at the newspaper article about the subject. It seems that the word printed in the paper was actually "ruching" which, although I initially thought it a typo, turns out to be a real word.

    Pronounced "roo-shing," it concerns a construction of fabric, such as a dress collar, and refers to the property of being crimped, curled, gathered, overlapped, plaited, puckered, ruffled, doubled over, or turned under, among other synonyms.

    How this term might describe an airplane's nosedive, I have no clear idea. It might merely indicate that the reporter considered the maneuver "complicated."

    How complicated could such a maneuver be? As others have pointed out here, those early airplanes were very low performance compared to today's aircraft. In the newspaper article, Sergeant Holte, who executed the 'turn,' flew a Curtiss JN-4. Top was most likely flying the same type of ship in September 1918 when he performed a barrel twist with such enthusiasm that he snapped two brace wires. So there were definitely limits.

    Thinking about these other maneuvers executed by the early fliers, I wondered, do aerobatic pilots today perform barrel rolls, tailspins, whip stalls, loops, side slips, Immelmann turns, and falling leaves? If so, is it possible they still do the McGilder Twist, but perhaps under another name?

    Just some random thoughts as I'm still searching all possible avenues for an answer to this mystery...so far without success. But if I do find out what it is from another source, I'll post it on here to satisfy any remaining curiosity.

    Best wishes and safe flying to everyone.
     
  18. ebetancourt

    ebetancourt Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Wikipedia lists Tail Spin as a movie. I couldn't find another reference. Doesn't mean it's not there. Whip stall is apparently a stall caused by raising the nose an exaggerated amount and letting the airplane slide backward after the stall. (I always thought it was a weird term for a snap roll.) My aerobatic Citabria is prohibited from tail slides, FWIW). All the rest are are current aviation terms. Side slips and falling leafs are not necessarily aerobatic maneuvers. Except for the falling leaf, I did all the others in my initial training. (In a T28A a long time ago.)

    Takeoffs and landings were probably aerobatic maneuver in airplanes of that era.

    I'm still curious about the McGilder twist; hope you find something.
     
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  19. Dana

    Dana Cleared for Takeoff

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    "rurhtng" or "ruching" is probably a typo for "rushing". "Tailspin" is just what we today call a spin. All the rest are still commonly done today. As others have said, the "McGilder Twist" probably a hyped-up name for something known by a different name today, or perhaps a combination of two or more maneuvers.

    The reference to the "throb of his ninety-horsepower engine" makes it likely he was flying a [Curtiss] Jenny, which had a 90HP OX-5 engine.
     
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  20. RoscoeT

    RoscoeT Cleared for Takeoff

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    OK, so a JN-4 "Jenny" has very long wings and primitive ailerons. This type of airplane is incapable of doing a plain aileron roll. Aircraft of this era could be made to rotate by spinning or snap rolling though, which involves yawing the airplane with rudder which along with angle of attack with the elevator causes lift differential between the two wings, which causes rotation. Since the maneuver is called a "twist", I'd be willing to bet that that it was simply some version of spin or very slow snap roll. With enough speed, I could see popping a wire snap rolling a Jenny. Otherwise, the Jenny would do extremely egg shaped loops and that's about it - none of the basic aerobatic maneuvers that involve the ailerons, i.e. rolls, Immelmans, Split-S, and Cuban Eights.
     
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  21. Tom47

    Tom47 Filing Flight Plan

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    While looking through some of Top's letters from when he was in flight school at Rockwell Field, North Island, San Diego in 1918 I came across this statement:

    I have been practicing stunts every morning with Mike Brown, the best flier in the country and we sure have a picnic. He taught me a new one Saturday. It is a spiral twist like a cork screw and it sure has a kick to it.

    I wish he'd included a more detailed description, but might this "spiral twist" be the mysterious McGilder Twist or is this a well-known maneuver with a different name?

    Still grasping at straws here.
     
  22. RoscoeT

    RoscoeT Cleared for Takeoff

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    Tom, see the maneuver at 1:21 in this video. In this case it's a low speed snap roll, but a spin entry looks much the same. I can't imagine a JN-4 doing anything other than a spin/snap that would be called a "spiral twist".

     
  23. Tom47

    Tom47 Filing Flight Plan

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    Roscoe,

    Thanks so much for finding this video for me. This maneuver certainly could be described as a "spiral twist like a corkscrew" and may be the one described in the letter. It might also be the McGilder Twist and may be as close as I will get to understanding what that was like.

    All the best.
     
  24. geezer

    geezer Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Gee, Roscoe T, I just learned that I may have done a McGuilder Twist!

    Thanks Tom, also, for stating this fascinating thread.

    I suspect you are right, That is what seemed to be logical to me. I thought at the time we just did a snap from a banked attitude.

    Those acrobatics in antique aircraft may not be a flashy as modern airshows, but they certainly twist my spine around as they wheel about the sky. Back in the Barnstorming days, that was plain magic to the population of middle America.

    Back in the '20's, there was an airport where the Pentagon is now, Hoover, I believe. A cousin took a sight seeing flight there in a Jenny, and the pilot rolled it on the way back to the airport. He was still excited about the thrill when he told me about it in 1947!
     
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  25. RoscoeT

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    I wish it was practical to reinstate required McGilder Twist training for student pilots. ;)