Builders share their successes.


Ron Smith’s RANS S-19

After two years and six months of build time, N619RS was signed off and flown a few days later. With a Rotax 912S engine and a Sensenich 68-inch ground-adjustable prop, it cruises at 128 mph at 5500 rpm burning 5.0 gph. With a VFR panel, analog flight instruments and a Dynon D120 EMS, Garmin 296 GPS, Becker transponder and Flightline com radio, it weighs 838 pounds. It was fun to build and is a blast to fly. Thanks to all my friends who helped with the project.

Goodyear, Arizona
[email protected]

Andrew Butler’s RV-7

After a seven-year build in a cold, wet shed at Galway in the west of Ireland, RV-7 EI-EEO took to the air on the February 19, 2011, with Gerry Humphreys (RV-7 EI-HUM) at the controls. Fitted with an IO-360 attached to a three-blade constant-speed MT prop, it flies like a dream and exceeded my expectations by flying straight and level, hands-off. That something I built flies so great from the get-go is more a credit to Van’s than to my skills (or lack thereof) as a builder. Thanks to Van’s for such a great kit and the all-important great instructions!

Thank you to all of those who helped, particularly my wife, Fabulous Fiona, and a special thank you to Gerry for his assistance in getting me over the line and taking the controls on the first flight. See more: video and photos.

Galway, Ireland

Gary Meuer’s Starduster SA900 V-Star

Here is a picture of my recently completed Starduster SA900 V-Star, a great sport plane. It has a Lycoming O-290 with a Sterba prop. It stalls at 45 mph, cruises at more than 100 mph and is easy to fly, take off and land. The project started life in 1974; the only parts that were store-bought are the fiberglass turtleback, wheelpants and the bubble windshield. I made a low-profile fiberglass cowling, so I can actually see over the nose during taxi and takeoff. The bubble canopy is larger than most, so I can wear a baseball cap when flying without it blowing off.

I have a door on the left side for easy entry and a large baggage compartment to store a portable chair, which is useful at fly-ins. My brother has a twin to my Starduster, and we have the same cowling and mostly the same hardware. They fly well together. The plane comes off the ground a bit over 44 mph and climbs at 60 mph to 80 indicated. I cruise at around 100 mph, and max speed seems to be around 130 indicated. This is a nice, light sport biplane that has a light wing loading (7.8 pounds per square foot of wing area), so it bounces around about like my Luscombe. It’s very fun to fly.

Tullahoma, Tennessee

Tim Delf’s Sky Jeep

After 10 enjoyable years of on-and-off building, my plansbuilt Zenith CH 701 aircraft received its airworthiness certificate on March 10, 2011, and took to the air on March 11. It flies great! With a good, used Continental O-200-A engine and a simple panel, it is an inexpensive airplane that is really fun to fly. I would like to thank Chris Heintz for the design. With his designs, anyone with a pair of tin snips, a 4-foot bending brake and the discipline to build can have an airplane. I received much help from Carl Ritter, my friend and technical advisor from EAA Chapter 111, and from my brother Steve, who helped me paint the airplane and provided an extra set of capable hands whenever needed. And, of course, thanks to my wife, Barb, for her love and support.

Blue Grass, Iowa
[email protected]

Scott Ehni’s Zenith CH 701

This is our scratch-built turbine Zenith CH 701. It first flew on November 27, 2010, and just completed its 40-hour test phase. Some people think it’s not practical at 12 gph average, but who else is logging turbine time for less than $50 per hour? This plane is made for the mountains and climbs at 500 fpm at 10,000 feet. The Zenith 701 is more capable than I ever imagined it could be. Special thanks to my wife, Dallas, Kary McCord and Steve Trentman for helping to make the dream come true. Next it’s off to the paint booth. You can see it fly on YouTube.

Trinity, Texas

Phil Bolenbaugh’s RANS Coyote II (S-6ES)

My RANS Coyote II received its airworthiness certificate in April 2010 after 14 months and 1500 hours of build time. Powered by a Rotax 912 UL engine, this 748-pound aircraft cruises at 95 mph at 5000 rpm. At 5200 rpm, cruise increases to 102/105 mph with a 4-gph burn rate. After some minor adjustments to the rigging configuration, it now flies hands-off and is very predictable throughout all flight maneuvers.

Instrumentation and special features include a Dynon EFIS, EMS, AP 74 (two-axis auto pilot), traffic watch system, nosewheel disconnect with shimmy damper, insulated cabin, two heaters, two baggage compartments, dual hydraulic toe brakes, electronic fuel monitoring system, Lowrance GPS, XCOM radio and a Becker transponder. If the glass panels fail, there are regular “steam” gauges that provide airspeed, altitude, VSI, slip/skid, wing level to horizon, engine rpm and engine oil pressure information.

This was a fun project that produced a great flying machine. The added bonus was the Grand Champion Award (Gold Lindy) at AirVenture Oshkosh 2010 in the Light Plane category. It just doesn’t get any better!

Sugar Grove, Illinois
[email protected]


CompletionsSubmissions to “Completions” should include a typed, double-spaced description (a few paragraphs only-250 words maximum) of the project and the finished aircraft. Also include a good color photograph (prints or 35mm slides are acceptable) of the aircraft that we may keep. 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: Completions, c/o KITPLANES Magazine, P.O. Box 315, Ashland, OR 97520. Digital submissions are also acceptable. Send text and photos to [email protected] with a subject line of “Completions.” Photos must be high-resolution-300 dpi at a 3 x 5 print size is the minimum requirement. You can also submit your aircraft through our online form.


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