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Builder Spotlight

May 2016 Issue


Michael Smith’s Sonex

After five years, three months, and 2360 hours, plansbuilt Sonex N439M first flew on June 21, 2014. Other than a misbehaving airspeed indicator, the first flight was uneventful, due in part to the Sonex factory flight training I received. The plane is polished to save weight and look cool, runs behind an 80-hp AeroVee engine and Sensenich prop, and includes MGL instrumentation. It was built almost completely in my basement, only going to the airport several weeks before the first flight. The plane is great for aerobatics. Many thanks go to my wife for supporting me through this adventure!

Maynard, Massachusetts


Jay Bell’s RV-7A

My “almost complete” RV-7A quickbuild first flew in October 2012 following a 2½-year build, and it accumulated 98.6 hours and 5500 cross-country miles during the next 11 months. It has an Aero Sport Power IO-375, Catto prop, AeroLEDs, Dynon SkyView, Icom A210, Classic Aero interior, and Anti Splat Nose Job. Planned upgrades include paint, electronic ignition, transponder, and landing lights. Thanks to my patient wife and navigator Lynne, my son and riveting partner Ian, Mike Seager for teaching me how to fly RVs, Van’s, and other vendors with excellent products and service!

Olds, Alberta, Canada


Steve Kunkle’s Mustang II

After 3½ years of building, in June 2013, my plansbuilt Mustang II passed the FAA inspection. At the end of July, the test pilot took it up and all went well. I have been flying and have about 22 hours on it now.

It has an IO-320 with Hartzell constant-speed prop and a Dynon SkyView with autopilot. I’m still doing a lot of testing on the plane and myself, but at 22 squared it flies at 130 knots burning 7.4 gph. What an airplane! Thanks to KITPLANES® magazine for being a great information resource!

Oley, Pennsylvania


Bill Benjamin’s Lancair 360

In April 2012, after five and a half years, Lancair 360 N6QU finally took to the sky. A few small issues, including oil temperature heading toward 230°, shortened that flight. Adding oil cooler baffling brought the temperature down to acceptable levels. Then I had the pleasure of breaking in a newly overhauled engine at 200 knots in less than half of a 25 n.m. radius, high-density, phase 1 test flight area. N6QU is a rocket ship, but a few knots slower than her sister N3QU, which is a consistent Oshkosh race winner. I’m changing my MT prop’s high pitch to catch up. Engine is an O-360 A1A with Airflow Performance injection, Light Speed ignition, 10:1 compression, ported and polished ports. Weight is 1032 pounds.

New Smyrna Beach, Florida


John Marzulli’s Seven-Oh-Fun

After four years, three months of construction, Seven-Oh-Fun first flew on July 21, 2011. It was finally completed on July 28, 2014 when it landed at KOSH after an adventurous 3.5-day journey from Seattle. This also marked my rookie appearance at AirVenture. Many thanks are due, first and foremost to my long-suffering wife who encourages my aviation addiction. I am also thankful to Zenith Aircraft and EAA Chapter 1440, who all helped me along the way. It flies as advertised: short landings, shorter takeoffs, docile handling, and great visibility.

Seattle, Washington


Keith Hedrick’s Rans S7S

After three years and a lot of help from my friends, 74VK took to the air. This is a great-flying airplane and a lot of fun to fly.

Litchfield, Illinois


Mark Lewandowski’s RV-8A

My friend Jim Couch and I worked on the aircraft for about six years, and Stan Lawrence made the first flight on August 25, 2012. We did all the work, including the paint job. It is powered by a mid-time Lycoming O-360 with Hartzell constant-speed prop. Basic avionics include a PS audio panel, Garmin SL40, Garmin 327 transponder, Dynon D180 and Garmin 796 GPS. I did my transition training with Stan, then got into the Bad Penny and off I went. What a blast to fly! I would not have been able to do this without the support of my wife Sammi.

Sacramento, California


Dana Baker’s Sonex

I completed my scratch-built Sonex on February 28, 2015. First flight was March 8, 2015. Sonex SN 1534 is a taildragger, and it is equipped with an 80-horsepower AeroVee engine, MGL Extreme EFIS, MGL V6 radio, Sandia mode C transponder, and Ameriking AK451 ELT. It took three years and 1450 hours to scratch build in my garden shed.




CompletionsSubmissions to "Completions" should include a description (a few paragraphs only—250 words maximum) of the project and the finished aircraft. Also include a good color photograph of the aircraft. Please include a daytime phone number where we can contact you if necessary. Also indicate whether we may publish your address in case other builders would like to contact you. Send submissions to with a subject line of "Completions." Photos must be high-resolution—300 dpi at a 3 x 5 print size is the minimum requirement.

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Untitled Document Homebuilder's Portal by KITPLANES
Photo by Richard VanderMeulen
Alan Arthur, Doug Harrington and Avon Furphy of Perth, Australia with their Bearhawk Patrol.Scott French of Iowa and an Australian threesome comprising Alan Arthur, Doug Harrington and Avon Furphy have completed, certified and flown their Bearhawk Patrols in September 2018. A Bearhawk Patrol, VH-TUC, made its first flight in Perth Australia. This aircraft joins two other Patrols currently flying in Australia. "Another in Perth was built from a …
Port RV-8Here is my RV8 that I completed in June 2017. I didn't have enough time to fly off my phase one in time for Oshkosh but I did get there for 2018. I started with a quick build kit (if you call four and a half years quick build) and then added the Show Planes …
Clarke-Schmitz SeareyThis Searey amphibian was built over a three year period by owners Bob Schmitz and Glen Clarke in Nelson, British Columbia, Canada. Initial flights in September 2018 were trouble-free with the normal adjustments. Aircraft details :Searey LSX s/nĀ  1LK597C, fiberglas hull, Friese ailerons, manual flaps, empty weight 994 lb, gross weight 1500lb. It is powered …

lycoming-thunderbolt-o-360-redAt Sun 'n Fun 2018 we interviewed Jeff Schans, Lycoming's Sales manager and we asked about the popular Thunderbolt Engines. Watch the short Product Minute video as Jeff describes the benefits of the Thunderbolt product line and what it means for the aircraft homebuilder.
Dynon Avionics' latest-generation SkyView integrated avionics called the SkyView HDX has a newly designed bezel and user controls for easier use while flying in turbulence, plus brighter displays and a reworked touch interface. Larry Anglisano takes a product tour of the HDX with Dynon's Michael Schoefield in this video.
At Sun 'n Fun 2016, Dynon continued to push into the world of non-certified avionics with its SkyView SE, a less expensive version of its popular SkyView EFIS system. Paul Bertorelli prepared this video report.
The G5 is a self-contained electronic flight instrument, which can be interfaced with Garmin's G3X/Touch avionics and autopilot for backup and flight instrument redundancy. The GMA245 and remote GMA245R Bluetooth audio panels have advanced entertainment input functions and onscreen programming.
At Sun 'n Fun 2016, Just Aircraft is showing off its new Titan-powered SuperSTOL XL. Harrison Smith took Paul Bertorelli for a half-day demo flight in the new airplane, and here's his video report.
Kit manufacturer Zenith Aircraft Company has released a new 360-degree VR short video to showcase its kit aircraft and to promote the rewarding hobby of kit aircraft building and flying light-sport aircraft.
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