Zantford Delbert "Granny" Granville started a garage,
without any technical education, in Arlington in 1921. All of his
mechanical knowledge was self taught. In 1925 he became infected with
the "aviation virus" during a flight in a Curtiss flying
boat, and started working at East Boston Airport to pay for ten
flying lessons, needing only three to solo, using the other seven for
advanced training. By 1927 Granny decided to start his own aircraft
repairs business in 1927, leaving The Economy Shop garage business to
his brother Thomas.
A mobile workshop was mounted on a truck, and was based at East
Boston Airport, Granny working all over New England. Within a year
Granny, Thomas, and the three other brothers Robert, Mark and Edward,
formed Granville Brothers Aircraft, also at East Boston Airport and a
second much larger mobile workshop was constructed. The company was
also known under the marketing name Gee Bee and all aircraft were
registered under the official company name. Granny started his first
design late 1928, it was constructed by the five brothers and Albert
Axtman during spare time in only eight weeks time, with a first
flight in the dark early hours of May 3, 1929.
Searching for production space connected to an airfield Granny did
find the solution 85 miles (137 km) to the west in Springfield.
Granville Brothers Aircraft was sold to the Tait brothers, the cash
from this deal and with additional financial backing from the Tait
brothers made it possible to buy property a few miles west of
Springfield Airport. The company at the new location started July 6,
1929 under the name of Granville Brothers Aircraft Incorporated. In
November Thomas left the garage in Arlington to made the team of
In July 1931 shares were sold to strengthen the financial situation,
the shareholders formed the Springfield Air Racing Association,
another assistance came from Pratt and Whitney, providing the second
to be built Wasp Junior A R-985 supercharged radial on loan. Late
1932 the company had another name change to Granville Aircraft
Corporation. In 1933 disaster struck. In July the R-1 Super Sportster
crashed in the Bendix Trophy Race and on September 4, the YL Senior
Sportster crashed followed by the YW Senior Sportster a few weeks
later. A short few weeks later the R-2 Super Sportster crashed as well.
In late autumn 1933, a separate engineering firm, Granville, Miller
& De Leckner, was formed to develope a range of commercial
aircraft. However, disaster struck again. While on a delivery flight
of a E Sportster to San Antonio, Texas, Granny was killed in a
landing incident at Spartanburg, South Carolina, in February 1934.
Soon thereafter the Granville Aircraft Corporation was declared
bankrupt. The final aircraft designated R-6H Q.E.D. (Quod Erat
Demonstratum = That which was to be proven, has been) was finished
under guidance of the engineering company, flown for the first time
August 15, 1934.
The tables below show only the flown aircraft in chronological order.
E.1 Gee Bee, two-seat biplane, 1 built (3086) A, production model of E.1, 8 built
(NC15642/N901K, NC269V, NC320V, NC321V,
NC363W, NC43V, NC44V, NC86W) X Sportster, single-seat low-wing monoplane, 1 built (NR49V) B Sportster, re-engined model X, 1 rebuilt (NR49V) C Sportster, re-engined production model of B, 1 built (NC855Y) D Sportster, re-engined production model of B, 3 built
(NC11043, NC46V, NR854Y) E Sportster, re-engined production model of B,
4 built (NC11041, NC11044, NC72V,
NC856Y), 1 rebuilt from D (NC46V) YW Senior Sportster, two-seat low-wing monoplane, 1 built (X/NR11049) Tiger, single-seat low-wing monoplane, 1 built (994M) Z Super Sportster, single-seat low-wing monoplane, 1 built (NR77V) Ascender, single-seat high-wing canard monoplane, 1 built (X757N) R-1 Super Sportster, single-seat low-wing monoplane, 1 built (NR2100) R-2 Super Sportster, long-range version of R-1, 1 built (NR2101) YL Senior Sportster, improved version of YW, 1 built (NR718Y) R-1/R-2 Super Sportster Hybrid, 1 rebuilt of R-1 and R-2 (NR2101)
Granville, Miller & De Lackner
R-6H Q.E.D., two-seat low-wing monoplane, 1 built (NR14307/XB-AKM)