A former Air Force pilot Kickstarted his way to an air-worthy replica of Ettore Buggati's 100P airplane

By Erika Owen
August 11, 2015
Credit: Mark Meyers

It's taken 76 years, but it seems that Ettore Bugatti's dream airplane is finally going to make its maiden flight. Well, maybe it won't be the exact model Buggati made, but the finished product is an exact copy from top to bottom. The 100P airplane is noteworthy in the same way Buggati's cars are eye-catching, but not as obviously so. The real intrigue comes underneath the aircraft's body work: The plane's two engines fuel cocentric propellers that work in opposite directions. This design move was made to help keep the engines cool while giving the aircraft a look worth remembering with its forward-swept wings.

Long story short, the plane never made it into the air. With World War II happening so close to the designing process, the project soon took a backseat. After many years of deteriorating, the plane was put on display at the EAA AirVenture Museum in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. In 2013, Scott Wilson—a former Air Force pilot—made a social attempt to revive this project on Kickstarter. He had already kicked off his own work creating his own 100P; one that would hopefully make it into the air. The "Reve Bleu" (Blue Dream) Kickstarter campaign turned out to be a success story, raising more than $62,000 to help Wilson complete his project.

Flash forward to today, the plane is about ready to make its first flight—although there's no word on when exactly that will happen. That being said, one of the backers' perks was a livestream of the event, meaning some lucky people will get a look into the historic event. For the rest of us, we'll have to live with a video of the replica on the tarmac:

Erika Owen is the Audience Engagement Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @erikaraeowen.