Michael Goodman’s Dakota Hawk
After nearly 13 years of construction (I’m slow), Dakota Hawk N783SM took to the sky for its maiden flight. Powered by a Rotax 912S and turning a 72-inch Warp Drive prop, it literally jumped off the runway. The moment was surreal! I couldn’t believe that the bundle of sticks and pieces of plywood from the kit had materialized into the sturdy little flyer that carried me aloft. Everything was done in my two-car garage, including the paint, which thanks to the Stewart System, was accomplished with virtually no smell or worries of combustible fumes. My gratitude to the factory support I received in the days when Gene and Darlene Hanson owned Fisher Flying Products; my good friend Shawn, who was always willing to lend a helping hand; and especially to my loving wife, who encouraged me to pursue my boyhood dream.
Bob Collins’ RV-7A
My RV-7A, once documented in a June 2008 KITPLANES® column, was finally finished after 11 years and 3083 hours.
I’d tell you what’s in N614EF, but there’s nothing electrifying, compared to other completions. I’d tell you what modifications I made, but I didn’t make any. What I did was stick to the plans and build through those periods when I felt like the stupidest person in the class. I kept at it when people around me died, jobs were lost, and motivation waned. And most important, when I finished, I was married to the same woman I was married to when I started. I had Tom Berge do the first flight, so I could make sure she shared the moment with me. She’s not much of a flyer, but she wouldn’t let me quit.
South Saint Paul, Minnesota
Colonel Kerr’s Excalibur
I completed this Excalibur airplane in June. It took 200 hours. It features the Rotax 503, hydraulic brakes and shock-cord landing gear. It sits on its nose for easier entry. I started construction in early 2009. I was building another plane—a gyrocopter—at the same time. When I got frustrated with it, I’d go work on the Excalibur.
For over 30 years, I wanted to build an airplane, but when I was working, I moved every two years. When I retired to Sebring, Florida, six miles from the Sebring airport, I looked at all the kits available. Excalibur caught my attention because it’s based in Sebring. I thought if I had a question, they’re right there. It turned out I had very few questions. I literally knew nothing when I started, but I just went slow, and it was a lot of fun. It was very interesting to finish a part, roll back on my little stool and say, “I built that.”
BUILDERS SHARE THEIR SUCCESSES
Submissions to “Completions” should include a description (a few paragraphs only—250 words maximum) of the project and the finished aircraft. Also include a good color photograph of the aircraft. 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 [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.