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Builder Spotlight

April 2019 Issue


Builders share their successes.

Bob Schmitz and Glen Clarke’s Searey

This Searey LSX 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.

C-GULS features a fiberglass hull, Friese ailerons, and manual flaps. Empty weight is 994 pounds, and gross weight is 1500 pounds. It is powered by a Rotax 912 iS, and the prop is a 72-inch 3-blade Koolprop with scimitar blades. Day VFR instrumentation includes a 10-inch Dynon SkyView EFIS, Flightline FL-760 VHF com radio, and an Artex 406 MHz ELT.

Nelson, British Columbia

Michel Fithian-Eyb’s 1912 Taube Series F Replica

Sometime after my grandfather passed away, I ran across a curious photo of him in an airplane. It turns out it was a 1912 Taube. I decided to build a full-scale flying replica with a 47-foot wingspan. It took five years of research and 11 years of building, and the successful maiden flight was accomplished on July 8, 2018.

It flies as expected, a bit twitchy, but controllable. It employs wing warping, actually aileron-warping controls; the control surfaces are all attached to bamboo. I used a 130-hp de Havilland Gipsy Major 1C engine. The original used a problematic water-cooled Daimler 90 designed by Porsche. Wing folding hinges make it possible to store the Taube in the hangar; the originals were just steel straps. Covering is Ceconite instead of linen, which would only last two years. Paint is Behr Premium outdoor latex, which holds up great. See my blog for more details and photos.

Modena, New York

John Vander Horck’s RV-12

After three years and 1800 hours of construction, my Rotax 912 ULS powered Van’s RV-12 first flew on May 20, 2017, at Archuleta County Stevens Field in Pagosa Springs, Colorado (field elevation 7664 feet, morning density altitude well over 9000 feet).

It is equipped with a single 10-inch Dynon SkyView Touch EFIS with autopilot, ADS-B In and Out, a Garmin Com radio and a full Flightline interior. The exterior paint scheme was designed by Ernest Tulfer and applied by Dwight Tulfer of Animas Aero Design, Durango, Colorado.

For a more finished look, I added the optional glareshield, wheel pants, stabilator tips, full strobe, navigation and landing lighting, and USB power for my RAM-mounted 10-inch iPad running Foreflight. I also fully enclosed all of the exposed tooling holes in the wing tips. Construction, initial flight tests, production acceptance procedures, final tweaking, and electrical wring-out could not have been accomplished without help from Craig Taylor, Michael Arbuthnot, and my wife Stacey. Prior to my first flight, I took six hours of transition training with Van’s Aircraft in Aurora, Oregon. It is highly recommended.

Pagosa Springs, Colorado


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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Homebuilder's Portal by KITPLANES
Photo by Richard VanderMeulen
N958PD first flightSubSonex Serial #21 (N958PD) made its first flight out of the Dayton Valley Airpark in Nevada on the 24th of March, 2019. Winter kept trying to hang on in the Sierra Nevada mountains, but the weather smiled on us, I had a great crew that made themselves available on short notice, and we got "Loki" …
RANS S-6 N646GTN646GT started with six members in an LLC, and currently has four left, 10 years after we bought the kit. One of our team is Richard Hogan, the designer of the new Commutercraft. Our RANS S-6 started construction at a hangar at the now defunct Mathis Airport in Suwannee, Georgia, then moved to another hangar …
Phillabaum-HelicycleFirst flight of my Helicycle helicopter was on January 31, 2019 after two years of part-time building. Previously, before I retired, I built an RV-8 and a Zenith 750. The Helicycle was my first post- retirement project. I discovered I had more building time when I was working. Now trips, lake time, skiing, etc. interfere …

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.
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