Eric Marenyi’s Sonex
On March 23, 2013, the airplane kit that was originally sentenced to a life on the shelf in the back of a carpet store became an airplane! The airplane and VW engine performed perfectly, and I was able to finally feel the rewarding sensation that comes when you see something you built with your own two hands take to the skies. I found a basically new Sonex kit that had been sitting for a few years. I went and looked at it, decided to buy it, then spent the next 15 months building furiously in every spare moment I had. I probably worked faster than most builders do, but since I sold everything to afford the kit, including my Quad City Challenger LSA, I had very few distractions to slow me down. To anyone who is dreaming or working towards it, keep going and you will find your reward, too!
Jacksonville, North carolina
Mark Lewandowski’s RV-8A
My friend Jim Couch and I have been working on the aircraft for about six years, and we had the first flight on August 25, 2012. Jim is a 20,000-hour pilot, all the way thru ATP. We did all the work including the paint job. It is powered by a mid-time Lycoming O-360 with Hartzell constant-speed prop.Basic avionics include a PS audio panel, Garmin SL40, Garmin 327 transponder, Dynon D180 and Garmin 796 GPS.
I did my transition training with Stan Lawrence, who has the same aircraft with the same avionics. Stan was great to fly with, and I learned how to handle this aircraft. Stan did the first flight, and I was in the back of an RV-4 flying chase.The following Sunday, I flew with Stan for an hour of touch and goes, then got into the Bad Penny and off I went. What a blast to fly.
I would not have been able to do this without the support of my wife Sammi. She was always there and encouraged me to get it flying. Now to the name. Sammi’s father, Captain Victor Lewin, was in WW-II flying B-17s. He named his plane the Bad Penny, and it always brought him back home. He had a total of 300 combat hours, and one time, had two engines on fire on one mission and was able to bring the ship home and save his crew. He won the DFC for that mission. I have his pilot’s wings in the Bad Penny.
Bill Benjamin’s Lancair 360
In April 2012, after five and a half years, Lancair 360 N6QU finally took to the sky. A few small issues, including oil temperature heading toward 230, shortened that flight. Adding oil cooler baffling brought the temperature down to acceptable levels. Then I had the pleasure of breaking in a newly overhauled engine at 200 knots in less than half of a 25 n.m. radius high-density Phase 1 test flight area. N6QU is a rocket ship, but a few knots slower than her sister N3QU who is a consistent Oshkosh race winner. I’m changing my MT prop high pitch to catch up. Engine is an O-360 A1A with Airflow Performance injection, LightSpeed ignition, 10:1 compression, ported and polished ports. Weight is 1032 pounds.
New SMYRNA Beach, Florida
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