Completing a 24-Year Dream

Todd Loes stands next to his Cygnet, which took him 24 years to restore.

Todd Loes of Waterloo, Iowa, saw Zig Berzins’ 1989 Reserve Grand Champion Cygnet SF-2A at AirVenture many years ago and knew he had found the plane that he wanted to build. When an already-built one was advertised in Sport Aviation, he knew it would need completely new external fabric but thought the price was right and he bought it. But, once the old fabric was off, it was clear that the bird needed a LOT more restoration. Thus started his 24-year restoration project! The combination of far more previous damage than expected, an executive MBA program, and “life” made progress slow. The plane was ready to fly in late 2020.

Loes, stands 6’5” and custom-designed and built the canopy to accommodate his long torso.

Then came the decision on how to get the airworthiness certificate. Loes had done far more than a 50% restoration and felt eligible to apply for a new serial number and, potentially, light sport status. But, Viking Aircraft wanted to sell new plans to him to support that path. He also preferred to avoid potential, future liability by keeping the original builder’s name (Henry Olsen) associated with the plane. Thus, he kept the serial number (and N-number) and received the new airworthiness certificate in December 2020. He also succeeded in obtaining a repairman certificate for the restored airplane through an obscure, but legal, process. Loes flew it into Oshkosh for the first time on the Friday before the show, set up camp in the Homebuilt Camping area, and joined the volunteers at the Homebuilder’s Pavilion.

The Cygnet’s basic, round-gauge panel.


  1. Great meeting & working with you in HBC Todd. Louise, it’s always a real pleasure to spend time with you and Paul. Let’s do it again next year y’all.


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