Once the EAA mainstay, new plans-built completions are a rarity at AirVenture these days, but as Ken Orloff’s magnificent Marquart MA-5 Charger fledgling proves, the breed remains an important contributor to sport aviation.
Like many, Orloff of Groveland, California got started on his Charger decades ago, but took time out for life and building a Lancair IV-P (now there’s a wide-span of interests). He finished with the help of many, including his A&P and our guide to the plane, Scott Rexwinkle.
An exceptionally smooth paint finish is a highlight; credit goes to Steve Green Aircraft Painting and Stewart Systems products. Rexwinkle built a paint booth in Orloff’s under-house hangar, Green trucked in his painting equipment and spent three months in the Orloff’s guest house while applying the finish. The colors were picked from available Stewart Systems offerings by Ken’s wife Lynne and Alicia of Scheme Designs. Rexwinkle said he really enjoyed working with the fume-free Stewart Systems products.
Rexwinkle also emphasized the engaging nature of plans building. Unlike the more limited kit-building experience, plans-building exercised Rexwinkle’s creativity, especially in systems layout and non-structural parts such as the cowling. None of those are mentioned in the plans and are up to the builder’s imagination.
Cruising at 120 mph Orloff flew 2 ½ hours per day for four days to debut his Charger at AirVenture. We’re sure he enjoyed every minute of it.