National Geographic : 1995 May
Seat-of-the-pants simple, Sthe 1919 Vimy cockpit (above)featureda compass for navigation;a rope tied to the steering wheel passedfor an autopilot. The new Vimy (right)was equippedwith radios, racing-carengines, and a computerizedfuel injection system, but its air frame was painstakinglyre createdfrom originalplans. "We had to build a 75-year old airplanefactory from scratch," says John LaNoue, theplane's chief builder.In a Californiahangar (facing page), craftsmen spent thou sands of hours riggingthe Vimy's 114 flying wires and lacing together the cotton fabricskin with some 10,000 stitches. "Seeing it fly for thefirst time," recalls LaNoue, "had to be one of the most emotional mo ments in my life."