What is the scope of the Hall Bulldog Project?
The Hall Bulldog Project follows aerobatic champion Jim Bourke, award-winning aircraft designer Tony Horvath, accomplished aviation historian Matthew Lawlor, and their team of aviation experts as they document this historic aircraft and produce a flying replica.
The Bulldog will be built as closely as possible to the original design, with concessions made where necessary for safety and to make the aircraft maintainable with today’s availability of parts and technology. It will be flown at air shows with an aerobatic performance by project lead and pilot, Jim Bourke. At the end of its air show career it will be put on display in a museum.
Why is the Bulldog worth rebuilding?
The V-2 “Bulldog” was a unique and extremely forward-thinking design for its day. Created by a man who is widely considered to have set the standard for racing planes in the golden age of air racing. Despite its shortcomings many aviation enthusiasts consider the plane to be the most beautiful design to come out during the 1930’s.
The Bulldog is also a key piece in the story of a man who’s career in aviation spans 40+ years. His designs begin in an age of planes built of wood and fabric, they help to win a world war, and end in the age of supersonic jet-fighters.
Further still we are left with many questions that we hope to answer when it comes to this plane. The Bulldog was only operational for roughly 3 weeks and had a less than 20 hours of flying time. Was Russ Thaw correct, was it a poor design? Or was it just his lack of experience? Was Bob Hall right? If the engine and propeller had performed as intended could the Bulldog have been a stronger contender?
“The Bulldog is an exciting project because it is a very complicated aircraft design that has never been replicated. Its underperformance at the 1932 Thompson Trophy race was tragic, and it existed only for a very brief period so not many people know about it. Still, there is no other airplane, not even the Gee Bee, that better celebrates 1932 design aesthetics.”
“The Bulldog is worth recreating so we can continue testing the design and see what it really could have accomplished. With only 8hrs on the airframe and many questions regarding the engine performance it will be neat to see how fast it can go when it’s making its true rated horsepower. Plus, who doesn’t want to see one again in person? No one has seen a bulldog in almost 90 years!
“Outside of the aviation community the design is mostly forgotten. For me personally I think it’s a shame that many members of my childhood hometown (Agawam) aren’t even aware that the Bulldog existed. I look forward to the spotlight that this project will shine on this piece of history. Hopefully inspiring more people to explore the incredible stories of the past.”
What are the challenges involved?
The most significant challenge with the Bulldog is the lack of information, but we were greatly assisted by the research of Jim Jenkins, who provided us with very important drawings and other data. We base our replica on Jenkin’s own replica project which unfortunately languished in a museum until we acquired it. While we are designing our own replica from the ground up we are greatly advantaged by his work.
Our replica is being built utilizing advanced computer 3D modeling mixed with original period photos and a small handful of original drawings. Given the short life span of the Bulldog and Springfield Aircraft Co., details about the original design are difficult to come by. We are always on the hunt for more information that can help us to make this replica as close to the original aircraft as possible.
The biggest unknowns will not be settled until the test flight phase. The Bulldog has a terrible reputation that we believe is unfounded based on model aircraft and software flight modeling, but we have no way to know for sure until that brave first step is taken in the air. The flight reports from August of 1932 are not encouraging as they required the vertical stab and rudder to go through several design changes and the aircraft demonstrated aileron control reversal, but the team is confident that with computer assisted engineering these problems are solvable.
When will the plane be finished?
We expect the aircraft to be done in time for the air show season in 2023!
Checkout the Bulldog Timeline for all of the latest updates!
How can I keep up with future developments?
The best way to receive the latest updates is to join the official Hall Bulldog Project Facebook group!
You can also subscribe to the Hall Bulldog Project on YouTube for interviews and in-depth discussions about Bob Hall, the historical Bulldog Racer, and the developing replica.
We will also continue to update this website as the project progresses and new details emerge, so please visit again!