Over the course of building my Balsa USA Fokker Triplane, I searched the web for suitable images and documentation for the triplane flown by Cole Palen at the Old Rhinbeck Aerodrome (ORA). Here a few of those images and the set of scale drawings I made for the “Bloody Black Baron or Rhinebeck’s show plane.
1/3-scale Fokker Dr.I Triplane. Built and flown by Gerry Yarrish
Next to the infamous Baron Von Richtoven, (the Red Baron,) one of the most widely-known and beloved characters to ever fly a Fokker Triplane, was Cole Palen, A.K.A. The Bloody Black Baron of Rhinebeck. The very heartbeat of the vintage Airshows performed at the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome in Rhinebeck, NY, Cole and his replica Dr.1 Triplane thrilled audiences at the Aerodrome flightline for decades. Cole’s Triplane was a real workhorse and it saw its fair share of wear and tear. It was repaired and recovered several times and there have been a few versions of the “Black Baron’s” first Triplane. I chose to model Cole’s 1967 era version which is most readily identified by its fuselage markings, overall red paint scheme and its two uncovered spoked wheels.
My Triplane is built from the Balsa USA kit and it is 1/3-scale. It is powered by a Zenoah GT-80 twin cylinder 80cc gas engine, and it is equipped with a Spektrum Radio system using a DX18 transmitter and dual AR9010 receivers and two NoBS A123 battery packs. The model is covered with Scale Stits fabric and finished and painted with Scale Stits Poly Tone paint.
Details include, an aluminum engine cowl, machine guns and spoked wheels all built from Arizona Model Aircrafters kits. The pilot figure is a wooden carved bust originally from Signature Pilots and modified with polymer clay to add the detailed leather helmet and vacuum formed goggles by myself. The clothing is from Perfect Pilots from the UK. The rotary engine is a resin cast Nick Ziroli Plans’ product that I modified by adding scratch-made spark plugs. My RC Fokker Triplane took approximately 500 hours to build, cover and paint and it was completed in June 2013. To see my Build-Along posts go to www. ModelAirplaneNews.com.
One of Cole Palen’s earliest additions to the museum was his Fokker Triplane reproduction aircraft. Powered with a Le Rhone 9J 110hp rotary engine, it was completely built by Cole Palen and was used in his weekend airshows as early as 1967. With FAA registration N3221, it was flown, during the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome’s weekend airshows up until the late 1980s. Cole flew two other Dr.I radial-powered reproductions for nearly 20 years. Cole’s first reproduction is now on display in the ORA museum, and the second radial-powered Triplane is on loan to, and can be seen at the New England Air Museum with a Le Rhône engine installed.
To download my 3-view Drawings of Cole Palen’s Fokker Triplane Replica click the link.