Author Topic: Belamich Racer  (Read 2295 times)

Offline apophenia

  • Patterns? What patterns?
Belamich Racer
« on: August 22, 2018, 06:58:22 AM »
Foreboding and Foreshadowing - A Racer's Tale

Régis Belamich was a haunted man. As he walked the streets of Oran, a voice in his head tormented him. The voice belonged to someone named 'Bruneau' or 'Bruno' - clearly a démon (or a shed, as the rabbi termed it). This démon was obsessed with designing a racing aircraft and with Régis going to Paris to build this design.

Monsieur Belamich was a watchmaker by trade. And what, in the name of HaShem, did a humble watchmaker know about building airplanes? But the voice of 'Bruneau' persisted and Régis knew that he must go to Paris construct this démon's airplane or he would surely run mad!

The racer design was sketched up in a rented garret in Billancourt, a suburb of Paris. When complete, Bruneau insisted that Régis present 'his' design to a neighbouring maker of aero-engines - the Société des Moteurs Renault-Aviation. Renault was already involved with racing aircraft through its subsidiary airframe maker, Caudron. Why, Régis wondered, would Renault be interested in a racing design from a complete unknown such as himself? Did Bruneau have some demonic insight into this which Régis lacked?

Balls Out - The Belamich Type de Course [1]

The sketch was drawn around the big Hispano-Suiza 12Y but, as it happened, Renault was designing its own high-performance liquid-cooled engine - the Renault Moteur 598 (or 12Tcr) V-12. Conceptually, the Moteur 598  was descended from  Renault's 1931 30.75 litre (1,876 cid) 12Ncr racing V-12, retaining that engine's 2-stage mechanical supercharger. At 30 litres displacement (1,830 cid), the new Renault engine was smaller than Hispano's 36 litre (2,200 cid) 12Y series but had a much higher compression ratio - 8.3:1 with 100-octane fuel versus the HS 12Y's 5.8:1. [2]

The Belamich concept intrigued Renault staff because lightplane-builder Caudron had no current experience in designing for such large powerplants. And, in any case, Caudron was absorbed with completing its new air-cooled racer - the Caudron C.561. To Régis' complete surprise, Renault was very much interested in this new 'Type de Course' design. Bruneau, seemingly unsurprised, 'said' nothing about Renault's acceptance of the racer design.

That single-seat design was radical - high-winged with a retractable undercarriage and radiator housings running along the fuselage sides. The pilot's cockpit was set well aft, just in front of the 'Y'-shaped tailplane. A retractable Messier main undercarriage was provided while a low-drag skid was mounted at the lower terminus of the ventral tailfin. The Renault Moteur 598 engine was very closely-cowled with streamlined exhaust ports venting above the high-set wings. One change to Régis' design was in the cockpit canopy.

In his sketch, Régis had drawn a one-piece, low 'bubble' canopy covering the pilot's head but allowing a degree of forward view. At Renault's insistance, la bulle was replaced by un cabine submergé based on that of Caudron's C.561. This revised cockpit featured long vision panels extending forward along the fuselage sides. With the design approved, actual construction began at the Caudron plant at Rue in the Somme. Work proceeded quickly on the relatively straightforward wooden airframe. Meanwhile, Renault rushed to complete its first fully-airworthy Moteur 598 V-12.

Fédération Aéronautique Internationale Speed Record

The prototype was rolled out in a Caudron racing finish on 20 February 1939. Renault's goal was to break the FAI World Record for Speed Over a 3 Kilometer Course record of 610.95 km/h - established by the German Messerschmitt Bf 113R (Bf 109 V13) in November 1937. While flight trials were underway, the Heinkel He 112U (He 100 V8) smashed that record with a speed of 746.6 km/h. With the Moteur 598 tweaked to produce up to 2,000 hp in short bursts, Renault believed that a new record speed was still achievable.

Régis was stunned that a modest watchmaker from Algeria should be involved in such a prestigious enterprise. That surprise was only exceeded when Bruneau congratulated Régis, addressing him as arrière grand père! On 01 April 1939, the Belamich Type de Course was damaged in a rough landing at Guyancourt. While repairs to the Belamich racer were underway at Rue, the Germans broke their own FAI record. On 26 April 1939, the Messerschmitt 'Me 109R' (Me 209 V1) hit a blistering 756 km/h. [3] Repair work on the damaged Belamich Type de Course stalled with the aircraft languishing at Rue until being destroyed by retreating French troops in June 1940.

The story of Belamich racers was over - for now ...


[1] Contrary to popular misperception, the expression 'balls out' sprang from full-throttle steam engines  ;)

[2] The Hispano-Suiza 12Y-21 model did have an increased compression ratio of 7:1. But, thereafter, the HS 12Y series - with their single-stage, single-speed superchargers - reverted to the original compression ratio of only 5.8:1.

[3] The DB 601R of the German Me 209 V1 (D-INJR) could produce up to 2,300 hp for short duration.
The doorbell's ringing, could be the elves
But it's probably the werewolf ...

Offline Brian da Basher

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Re: Belamich Racer
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2018, 07:23:54 AM »
That's absolutely gorgeous, apophenia!

It looks incredibly fast and certainly looks like it could be related to that famous racer!

Your treatment of the polished surface is a wonder to behold.

Pure eye-candy! I bet you could sell posters of it like hotcakes!

Brian da Basher

Offline LemonJello

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Re: Belamich Racer
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2018, 09:50:37 PM »
With very little work, that would make a gorgeous starfighter for a sci-fi build.

Offline elmayerle

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Re: Belamich Racer
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2018, 01:54:13 AM »
Beautifique!!  Be interesting to see a post-war derivative with a Chrysler IV2220 installed.

Offline Robomog

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Re: Belamich Racer
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2018, 05:22:38 AM »
wooo!  nice looking racer

Mostly Harmless...............

Offline apophenia

  • Patterns? What patterns?
Re: Belamich Racer
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2018, 05:26:26 AM »
Thanks folks!

Beautifique!!  Be interesting to see a post-war derivative with a Chrysler IV2220 installed.

I like it! Also wondering how she'd look with low-set wings.

Low set wings and spats!

Do eeeet. You know you wanna.

Brian da Basher
« Last Edit: August 25, 2018, 09:19:13 PM by Brian da Basher »
The doorbell's ringing, could be the elves
But it's probably the werewolf ...

Offline jcf

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Re: Belamich Racer
« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2018, 08:55:35 AM »
Stunning. Love to see a multi-view drawing with station drawings of the fuselage,
wings and tailplanes. Of course the drawing pack would include a centreline drawing,
internal layout schematics, engine installation, undercarriage, control surfaces and
their mechanism; scrap-view perspective drawings of the cockpit, radiator installation,
engine installation etc., etc.
 ;) ;D

Yep, balls out referring to a ball governor with the arms at full extension,
fascinating to watch, hear, and feel at close range.
 :smiley:  :icon_fsm:
“Conspiracy theory’s got to be simple.
Sense doesn’t come into it. People are
more scared of how complicated shit
actually is than they ever are about
whatever’s supposed to be behind the
-The Peripheral, William Gibson 2014

Offline apophenia

  • Patterns? What patterns?
Re: Belamich Racer
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2018, 06:16:17 AM »
Jon: Wouldn't that be lovely! Alas, this is the only multi-view I've been able to find of the Bellamich Type de Course ...
The doorbell's ringing, could be the elves
But it's probably the werewolf ...

Offline perttime

  • The man has produced a Finnish Napier Heston Fighter...need we say more?
Re: Belamich Racer
« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2018, 11:28:39 PM »
Ha! That is cool aged bash on the Bell&Ross racer concept

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Belamich Racer
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2018, 03:16:52 AM »
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

You can't outrun Death forever.
But you can make the Bastard work for it.