Description: This purchase includes three separate models of the Travel Air Mystery Ship racing plane (NR614K, NR613K, and NR1313). Color, specularity, bump, and reflectivity maps have been included.
History: I have modeled three of the five Travel Air 'Mystery Ships' that were built for racing purposes. The Travel Air 'Mystery Ship' aircraft were built by Walter Beech and two engineers: Herb Rawdon and Walter Burnham. They were created initially to compete in the 1929 air races at the Cleveland Airport. So much secrecy surrounded the building of the aircraft that the press dubbed them 'mystery ships' which is where it got its name. Even when the first aircraft landed at Cleveland for the race it was quickly wheeled into a hangar and had a tarp tossed over it. The 'Mystery Ship' introduced the NACA cowl and wheel pants to commercial aviation. On September 2, 1929, the first 'Mystery Ship' designated NR-614K (race no. 31) won the Thompson Cup Race with a speed of 194.9 mph. Several of the competition aircraft were military aircraft and this event marked the first time in history that a civilian aircraft beat military aircraft in speed races. Doug Davis was the pilot for this particular race. The NR-614K would spend the next two years doing demonstrations around the country but would crash during the 1931 National Air Races when the ship caught on fire. The pilot bailed out of the aircraft and survived. A second Travel Air 'Mystery Ship' (NR-613K) was fitted initially with a six cylinder inline engine but that engine was replaced afterward with a Wright J6-7 seven cylinder rotary engine. It was also fitted from time to time with a narrow cowl Townend ring to increase cooling and lower drag. Florence 'Pancho' Barnes purchased this aircraft and flew it to many records. She set the women's speed record (initially held by Amelia Earhart) in August 1930 at a speed of 169.19 mph. The aircraft was later purchased by Paul Mantz and used in many aviation movies. In 1930 a third 'Mystery Ship' (NR-482N) was ordered by the Shell Oil Company. It placed second at the 1930 National Air Races. It was piloted during its lifetime by Jimmy Haizlip and Jimmy Doolittle. The fourth 'Mystery Ship' (NR-1313) was purchased by the Texaco Company and might be the most famous of the 'Mystery Ships'. It was fitted with a fancy cockpit with long distance instrumentation, a streamlined canopy frame, structural changes to the fuselage, and a large cowling. Although it competed in the National Air Races it didn't place as well as the other 'Mystery Ships'. Despite this, the NR-1313 did set hundreds of records throughout the US, England, and Europe in cross country races. This aircraft had a quick turn around time and could set records day after day. Nothing in Europe at the time could match it. This aircraft actually crashed several times and was continually repaired to flight condition. NR-1313 now hangs at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. The fifth and final 'Mystery Ship' was built for the Italian government. The 'Mystery Ships' are famous in racing and commercial aviation in general due to innovative design features. In addition they set a trend in commercial and military aviation toward low wing aircraft design. Of of the five 'Mystery Ships' built, I have modeled three of the most important in Maya 2011 and can be seen on this page. NR-614K which has a number 31 painted on the side was the original 'Mystery Ship' that won the 1929 Thompson Trophy. N