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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.