Wise Move(ing)

Designed and built by Ralph Wise, the GT400 is a personal expression with an emphasis on intricate details and speed. Race number “7” is the same numeral, color and font as on the George Owl F1 racers Wise previously piloted.
Designed and built by Ralph Wise, the GT400 is a personal expression with an emphasis on intricate details and speed. Race number “7” is the same numeral, color and font as on the George Owl F1 racers Wise previously piloted.

Ralph Wise clearly feels The Need. His one-off GT400 says speed while standing in the Air Venture grass, and once you know Wise was a Marine aviator and the man on the stick with George Owl in Formula One (remember the "Wise Owl?"), your suspicions are confirmed. Furthermore, knowing Wise and the GT400 are from Mojave, California where the experimenters run wild tells you there are good stories yet to come.

[sc:ad180]One of those, really just the tip of a development iceberg, is how the GT400 made its AirVenture debut this year. While Wise has been flying the GT400 regularly, the ever-enthusiastic Mr. Mojave, Elliott Seguin, sees the highly individualized GT400 as a prime developmental platform. So before you could zip up your poopy suit Elliott made the effort to be only the second person to solo the GT400 and bring it to Air Venture.

Continuously updated for years by Wise, the GT400 is always morphing into something newer. Built around a “small” IO-520 Continental turbocharging would be a logical upgrade; Seguin would also love to swap to a more contemporary propeller.
Continuously updated for years by Wise, the GT400 is always morphing into something newer. Built around a “small” IO-520 Continental turbocharging would be a logical upgrade; Seguin would also love to swap to a more contemporary propeller.

Obviously aerodynamically clean, Seguin says the GT400 is really Ralph Wise's personal journal, reflecting the Marine's gung-ho attitude. It's complex and not a candidate for kitting, but rather a solid, on-going platform for experimental development. With “only” 300 hp from it’s naturally-aspirated IO-520 Continental the GT400 is probably best suited for cross country speed races and record setting, so don’t be surprised if you see it beating airliners on your SPOT tracker soon.

GT400-3
These are not the average gear doors a scratch-builder would come up with. The GT400 is full of intricate work and features, such as gear pins that pop up above the wing to confirm the gear is down and locked.
Money makes the propellers go round and Seguin has a knack for putting people together on great projects.
Money makes the propellers go round and Seguin has a knack for putting people together on great projects.

Tom Wilson

Tom Wilson is a professional magazine writer and nurtures an ongoing affair with all things internal combustion. His writing is most often found in automotive magazines, but aviation is his first love. Working as a line boy, he learned to fly while in high school, but still hasn't mastered the art of keeping a paper chart in an open cockpit.

One Reply to “Wise Move(ing)”

  1. That is one beautiful bird, hope they go with turboing next. Very interesting piece of engineering to have pins pop up to show legs are down. Love it!

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