Builders share their successes.


Gerry Lategan’s RANS S-9 Chaos

My RANS S-9 Chaos kit was delivered to me here in Thailand in March 2006. First flight was December 23, 2015, due to all the usual delays, work interference, etc. The engine is a Rotax 582, giving sporty performance on the little single seater. Cruise is about 75 mph with about 1000+ fpm regularly seen on the VSI. It hasn’t been upside down yet, but it’s certainly a fun airplane. Not one to finish one project before starting another, I got a Sonex Onex kit about three years ago. I’m several months into that one now, so look for that completion some time in the next decade.

Chiang Mai, Thailand
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David Dean’s Rihn DR-107 One Design

It took over three years to build my DR-107 One Design, and it received an airworthiness certificate on March 30, 2016. I now have completed Phase 1 testing, and I’m extremely happy with the performance of the airplane. I made every effort to build it as light as possible and achieved an empty weight of 870 pounds, which is very light for a DR-107. It is an incredible aerobatic performer and works well as a fun sport plane, too. I used the Poly-Fiber products to paint and cover the aircraft. It has a Superior IO-320 equipped with inverted fuel and oil. I installed a Catto prop made for the airplane, and it works great. I wanted to build a DR-107 during my long military career, so when I retired, I did. I can say it is certainly worth the time, money, and effort. I’ve had numerous Experimental aircraft, but none that is as much pure fun to fly as the DR-107. Many thanks go to Dan Rihn, the designer, who was always available for guidance and support, and the many builders and owners of DR-107s that were of invaluable assistance!

Port Townsend, Washington
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Gary Knight’s Airdrome Aeroplanes Nieuport 28

My five-year construction odyssey began in August 2011 when I received the rudder subkit for the Airdrome Aeroplanes Nieuport 28. I selected the Airdrome Aeroplanes WW-I replica because I was very aware of my lack of experience and skills. The construction techniques proved to be very straightforward. The support from Robert Baslee at Airdrome Aeroplanes was superb. How could you fly more cheaply and have more fun than with a WW-I fighter plane? I have never regretted my decision!

I installed a 2332cc VW with a Valley Engineering prop speed reduction unit (PSRU) and a Culver Props 101×62 inch propeller. I used an AeroConversions AeroInjector throttle body. VW engines are notorious for cooling issues. So far, my setup appears to work well. I bought the cooling baffling kit that Sonex makes for their aircraft. It is laser cut to fit very tightly around the VW engine, which is half the battle when trying to build a pressure-baffle cooling system. We added sheet metal to extend the baffling to fill my much larger engine cowl.

The airworthiness certificate for AA Nieuport 28, N6170, was issued in February 2016. The first flight was October 30.

I look forward to Oshkosh this year. This being the centennial of the U.S. entry into WW-I, I plan to fly up and park at the Replica Fighter Association area. The Nieuport 28 was the first fighter that the U.S. Army Air Service flew in combat. My aircraft is in the colors of the squadron commander, 94th Pursuit Squadron, the first to see combat and score air-to-air victories.

Leavenworth, Kansas
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Dave Williams’ Tango 2

N214ST (Revolution Aviation kit) was signed off as airworthy in May 2015 with the first flight occurring at Williston, Florida. The plane is now at its home base in North Carolina, and I currently have about 70 hours total time.

It has a Lycoming IO-360, dual e-Mag electronic ignition, and a Whirl Wind 200RV constant-speed prop. I designed my panel using a modified Glasair five-insert frame and added a Dynon 10-inch touchscreen, Dynon 7-inch and Dynon 4-inch EFISes, with backup steam gauges and a Garmin 430W. It is fully ADS-B compliant using Dynon electronics. I wired the panel and fuselage myself, and added upgrades such as electric flaps and trim.

Due to a number of life-distracting issues, with many starts and stops, the project took me 15 years to complete. On a recent trip to the 2016 Oshkosh airshow, the plane averaged 185 kts TAS cruise between 10,500 and 11,500 feet. Not bad for a fixed-gear plane! Great plane, great avionics, great support from Revolution Aviation! Will be adding stripes in the near future.

New Bern, North Carolina
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Becky Breckenridge’s Christavia

After 7.5 years my plansbuilt Christavia MK-1 was finished and flown on September 24, 2016. It is powered by a Continental O-200 and has tuned exhaust. My husband was the secondary builder whose painting and wiring skills are much appreciated! I did the welding, most of the fabricating, and the covering. What a journey—and it flies great!

[Editor’s Note: Becky’s Christavia was featured in the April 2017 issue of KITPLANES.]

Happy Valley, Oregon
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John Smokovitz’s Skybolt

After a 20+ year construction period, my Skybolt earned its airworthiness license in September 2015. Having never built anything but model planes, this project was daunting to say the least. I think I made more scrap in the beginning of the project then I could keep track of.

I added a better elevator trim system and changed the gear to the new style design. I also incorporated some changes from the Skybolt builder’s manual such as internal flying wires. I always liked the paint scheme on Hale Wallace’s airplane, so I decided to do a similar paint job on my own aircraft. I picked N747MJ as my N-number, as I fly a 747 to pay the bills and fly the Skybolt to relax. This project would not have been made possible without my understanding wife and family who were always there to help. I would also like to thank numerous friends and tech counselors that have given their time over the years by lending a helping hand or giving me advice on how to get something done. My advice to anyone building a plane is to stay at it—the reward is worth it.

Canton, Michigan
[email protected]


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