Dave Armando’s Kitfox Speedster Model V
After six years of building, my Kitfox Speedster Model V was flown. It is powered by a Jabiru 3300 120-hp 6-cylinder engine swinging an IVO in-flight adjustable prop. Other equipment includes my own design smoke system, Grove landing gear, a Maule tailwheel, removable wing tips with a fishing pole locker inside, Super B lithium battery for weight reduction, and a cherrywood instrument panel with the typical gauges plus a G meter. It is covered with the Stits paint system.
After seeing Sean Tucker perform a Sportsman aerobatic routine at OSH, I knew which plane to buy. During my test phase, I approved the aircraft for many aerobatic maneuvers such as tailslides, hammerheads, and inverted flat spins. The Kitfox is completely controllable and loses very little altitude performing these maneuvers.
I’d like to thank our EAA chapter’s technical counselors for their input and guidance throughout the build. The first flight was made by Joe Gauthier and flew hands-off. I’m still trying to duplicate the dead smooth first landing he made on its first flight!
Dave Armando’s Rotorway 162F
After 600 hours of build time, my 2008 Rotorway 162F helicopter departed the earth. First flight was from my driveway after pushing it out of the garage. I have great neighbors! Modifications include my own design 6-gallon auxiliary fuel tank using DOT-approved Harley Davison 1200 motorcycle tanks that work by gravity, an AirMark easy-start electric clutch, 18-inch extended skis to prevent a nose over, Peter Koonon’s cog belt drive system, a Choppco tail rotor stabilization system, an AirMark electric water pump system, Vertical Performance blade tips and S/S shoes, and others. Total time is 300+ hours, and I have flown as far as Ohio from Connecticut. I have also trailered it to OSH twice. Participating in the Young Eagles program is the best. The smiles it brings make all the long nights and weekends worth the build. After building a Kitfox, I went to school again for my A&P license and then built the helicopter. I can’t say enough about how great and precise the Rotorway kit is. I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge Homer Bell, Orv Niesign, Mark Peterson, and the Rotorway Builder’s Group for all their wisdom and guidance. Just like a magic carpet!
Jerry Folkert’s Murphy Super Rebel
On Wednesday, January 24, 2017, N25SR, a Murphy Super Rebel SR2500, took to the skies for approximately 45 minutes. After seven years and 4000 hours, it all came together. Empty weight is 1650 pounds, max gross weight is 3000 pounds, and it is powered by a 250-hp Lycoming O-540 with a two-blade Hartzell constant-speed prop. The avionics are second-generation King, and the EMS is a VM1000C. The panel is traditional round dial, with all-electric instruments.
The first flight was relatively uneventful with only a few minor discrepancies. Notably, the airplane was really fast, and I wasn’t able to get it up to the 75% power range for adequate engine break-in procedures. It broke ground within the first 600 feet and was almost immediately into the yellow range of airspeed. Cloud cover limited my ability to climb, and I had to throttle back more than I wanted for the chrome cylinders. There were no adverse handling characteristics, and I’ll pat myself on the back—an awesome landing. It’s going to be a real performer. Thanks to all the support from my friends at EAA Chapter 1387 in Troy, Missouri, the Murphy Aircraft Builders site, and the Van’s Air Force forum site.
Darrell Anderson’s RV-4
After on-and-off construction started in November, 1991, N144DV took to the air on July 4, 2016. (Yes, that’s 25 years into a 3-year project!) A little over a year later, with only 50 hours on the Hobbs, I flew it from Montana to Oshkosh AirVenture 2017. I was honored to be awarded a Bronze Lindy in the kitbuilt category.
N144DV is powered by a Lycoming IO-360B1B turning a Sensenich prop. Mods include a canopy blown 2 inches taller than stock for more headroom, wing tip lockers for extra storage, landing lights that can be aimed using the trim switch, and modified rudder pedal geometry to allow more legroom. I designed the paint scheme and did the painting.
Thanks to my wife Vicki for suggesting and supporting my “1:1 scale model airplane” project and to both her and my son Dale for riveting assistance when my arms just wouldn’t reach. Also thanks to Jeanne MacPherson of Mountain Airdance for the emergency maneuver tune-up and acro in the Super Decathlon that made my first RV flights memorable…in a good way.
Great Falls, Montana
Robert Scholes’ RV-12
I began construction of N935RS in April 2011 and have been working on it since then on an on-and-off basis. Our neighbor, Paul Dye, did the test flight on May 24, 2018 and flew the first 5 hours required for the airworthiness certificate. I had my first RV-12 check ride back in 2014, so I recently had a CFI neighbor give me another check ride. Finally, I did my first RV-12 solo on June 5, 2018.
I owe a major thank you to Jon Linke, who helped me tremendously. He put in many hours making sure the plane was built by the book and answering my stupid questions. I never could have finished without his help. Thanks also to Vern Kyllingstad, Dean Patmor, and Paul Dye, whose help and council are much appreciated. Finally, I want to thank my wife Lorraine for putting up with all this for the last seven years. She now wants to know what I intend to do to stay out of her way going forward. Well…I’m going flying!
Dave Leedom and Matt Hlavac’s Kitfox Lite
N200HL first flew on July 4, 2017. It is powered by a Rotax 503 with a 70-inch Warp Drive 3-blade prop. The motor mount, carbon full cowl, and gear legs with coil spring absorption are all original designs. Standard-grade aircraft tires with hydraulic disc brakes were installed over the original ultralight style wheels and mechanical drum brake setup.
Lightweight fiberglass wing tips were designed and built. The fuselage aft of the cockpit was modified with stringers for a faired effect. It also has a steerable tailwheel and modified horizontal stabilizer that includes an airfoil profile for improved performance.
To hedge against the increased gross, carbon webs were installed in the spar tubes at the lift strut attach points. Empty weight is 367 pounds. Takeoff is very quick, and climb is 800 fpm at 45 mph. Cruise is a leisurely 55 mph. While officially registered as a DAL01, the aircraft is locally known as a Kitfox Notsolite.
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