Bowers Fly Baby 1A exhibit

The Fly Baby Biplane

In the December, 1962 edition of EAA’s Sport Aviation magazine, Pete Bowers wrote the following statement. “…when it was decided to use three different wing arrangements for versatility, the designation was expanded to “Fly Baby 1A” for the low-wing design, “1B” for the same fuselage with a new set of biplane wings, and “1C” for a strut braced parasol monoplane wing fitted to the biplane center section.” The “1C” was never developed, but the Fly Baby biplane (sometimes called the “Bi-Baby”) flew about six years later.

Many people refer to the biplane as being the monoplane (A1) with a set of added wings. This is actually not the case at all. The biplane configuration does not even use the monoplane wings as its lower set of wings. The lower wings are replaced entirely and a center section and two new upper wings are added. The four new wings are about 75% of the size of the monoplane wings. Bowers found that making the wings a scale version of the monoplane would have resulted in the top wings being directly above the cockpit, making access awkward. Bowers, instead, set the center section of the upper wings forward and added eleven degrees of sweep to them in order to keep the center of gravity (CG) of the airplane in the same place as the monoplane.

The biplane is about 70 pounds heavier than the monoplane. The biplane wings do not fold. If the monoplane has the appropriate fittings for the biplane included in its construction, the monoplane can be converted into the biplane configuration by two people in about two hours! Here are some of the biplane statistics. Length Just under 19 feet Wingspan 28 feet Empty weight 652# Maximum takeoff weight 970# Cruise speed 90 mph Stall speed 40 mph