I have been a KITPLANES® subscriber since its inception. Over the years I have watched your publication evolve with the industry and the times to reflect the art of aerial experimentation. I have received issues of all variety while residing in foreign countries and deployed locations, always enjoying every page. It helped inspire me to build two airplanes and help many others get involved in building. Your January issue, however, raised the bar a notch. Well done! From the well-written Skybolt evaluation to Amy Laboda, Paul Dye, Barnaby Wainfan and Dick VanGrunsven’s inputs, this one really rocked the press.
Amy did a nice job of highlighting the excellent Experimental aircraft designs suitable for volunteer work. I would like to add a mention of a great humanitarian and missionary flying organization, IAMA (www.fly-4-life.com). This group features the selfless efforts of the quiet professionals serving in the far reaches of the globe, flying for a “higher purpose.” Thanks again for a great issue!
Rob “Smokey” Ray
Make a Wish
One winter day just over a year ago I bought my first issue of KITPLANES® magazine at an airport in Germany. By the time I had reached my final destination, I’d read the entire magazine, and about the first thing I did after arriving was to subscribe to the electronic version. It is a great read and a great source of information.
Sadly, I’m still very far from owning my own set of wings, but I guess I’m younger than the average kit plane builder, so there is still hope. Because of that I’m mostly interested in the more theoretical articles, primarily Barnaby Wainfan’s aerodynamics pages.
I don’t know if you do wishes, but I’ll be happy to read more about how the fuselage can be used to generate lift and, in general, how the lifting bodies work and how they achieve controlled flight. Another subject I’ll be interested to read about is the advantages and disadvantages of forward-swept wings.
I’m not sure whether those subjects are related to the kit aircraft market, but maybe many will read them with interest. Anyway, I’m writing you mostly to thank you for the many pleasurable hours I have had reading your magazine, and hopefully there will be many more to come.
Sky and Stars
Your January 2012 issue had a nice article on the Skybolt; however, I think you should have given credit to Lou Stolp and Bill Adams, who created the SA-300 Starduster. I built one and have it here in Florida. I started it in 1969, and finished and flew it in 1999. Why it took 30 years is another story (itinerant engineer).
You listed the Starduster tank at 44 gallons, which is incorrect. I bought my main (26) and auxiliary (13) tanks from Stolp, and I suspect LaMar Steen did the same. He built a Too before the Skybolt. He went with a Pitts-style cabane assembly, which is easier to build. He also did away with the elliptical planform and lost a few square feet. Finally, he rounded up to the tail (to each his own). I consider these changes mostly cosmetic, and they probably fly the same: great.
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