Byung Lee has a nostalgia for the old and historic but also demands many of the amenities of modern life and his unique homebuilt reflects these sensibilities. He refers to his plane as a Special 11 as the fuselage is based on original Piper Cub (Special) PA-11 plans. He chose the -11 for its aerobatic capabilities. But, the tail is PA-18 (Super Cub) style, as is the cowl, electrical system, and wing fuel tanks. The wings are unique. “Clipped” to facilitate aerobatics, he chose to shorten them less than the standard clipped-wing Cub and he is very happy with the results. He feels the approximately 31’-7” wing span performs superbly.
Lee’s project started with a trip to the Smithsonian Institution’s microfilm library where he copied and studied about 800 drawings of the L-4 as well as the L-21 and PA-11). His goal was to combine the best features of these planes to build a utility airplane with basic aerobatic capabilities with the techniques and sensibilities of these vintage airplanes from the 1940s. Altering the wing length presented one of the most challenging design issues to ensure proper strut lengths and angles.
Using only traditional airplane building methods (e.g., oxy-acetylene instead of TIG welding) Lee fabricated all individual parts, including washers! He also avoided modern tools. Construction started in June 2002 and first flight occurred 19 years later, in May 2021. He has flown the plane 160 hours.
Lee and the plane will be just east of the Brown Arch through Sunday.