Archive: July 2006


Kitplanes July 2006 coverOn our July 2006 cover was the Aventura II, written about and photographed by our longtime favorite aviation writer Dave Higdon. “Egrets and herons cleared a path during my first approach to a water landing in Aero Adventure’s Aventura II amphibian, as sure of their need to leave as my doubts about what I was doing. With more than a decade passed since my last water landing in anything with wings that float, my instincts urged me to advance the throttle and head for the comfort of a dry runway. But at the urging of demo pilot Bill Simmons, I left the Rotax 912 ULS at approach power, kept the nose pointed down at about 70 mph indicated, and waited for the water to arrive.” When Dave flew the Aventura, Aero Adventure had recently come under the ownership of Bob and Sandy Bosswell, who had invested in the design. “One example of the newer advances is the twin-channel hull, which provides greater strength and water stability compared to the original V-shaped hull. Another example is the molded plastic Full Lotus sponsons, which add durability to a component critically important for keeping the wing tips from contacting the water.” Higdon summed up his experience by saying, “All in all, the Aventura II proved itself a fun machine for flying in strong, bumpy crosswinds, mild turbulence and mild chop on the water.”

Aero Adventure’s Aventura II showed it stuff on our July 2006 cover. Inside, more on Darryl Murphy, an LSA update, Garmin’s take on LSA avionics and a guide to flying in to a fly-in.

Tim Kern’s Designer Spotlight feature focused on none other than Darryl Murphy. “Murphy worked as a manager at a door manufacturing company. He designed equipment for disabled people (hydraulic lifts for showers and swimming pools, for example) and also designed some farm equipment. Still Murphy liked flying, and he had that engineering tech degree. He knew the time for a change was upon him, and misfortune brought him the opportunity to contemplate his future. ‘I had a [hunting] accident that put me in the hospital for four months,’ he said. ‘They told me I wouldn’t walk again. When you’re sitting in bed four months, you have a lot of time. That’s how the Renegade biplane got designed.’” Murphy, of course, went on to design several successful models, up to the massive Moose. “The SR2500 soon grew to the SR3500 (for 3500-pound gross weight), a natural evolution. ‘A customer put an M-14 radial engine in one, so we had pressure to make it,’ Murphy said. ‘I thought it was a novelty at best, but some customers modified their airplanes, and I saw the need to make modifications to bring it to 3500 pounds (on wheels).’ Customers dubbed the new design ‘The Moose,’ and the moniker stuck.”

We took early stock of the emerging LSA market in this issue, noting that there were 31 approved SLSA models at the time. We also noted that there wasn’t much traction on the ELSA front then, pointing out that the cost of a mostly complete kit and the finished airplane was too close to entice kit builders. That would change over time. So would our Light Stuff column, as we hinted at the end of this feature. “We’ll end this update with an announcement of things to come: A couple months after the retirement of original columnist Dan Johnson, our trusty ‘Light Stuff’ column will be reintroduced next month. Oh, and you’ll like the new author…we promise. In fact, he may be someone whose work you know well.” It would be former editor Dave Martin.


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