Firstly let me introduce myself. My Name is Jeff Whitham, I was born in Manchester, England but now live in Michigan USA. I was compelled to write down my progress and findings so others can easily access the information I was searching for and I also thought it was a worthy cause, however.. you may be the judge of that! Click on the progress button to the left for latest updates.
On with the saga
Welcome to my homebuilt aircraft site, I am about to set upon a long journey, one that started over 30 years ago when I cobbled together my first scale rubber powered model aircraft. It was a Junkers87 or probably known better as the Stuka dive bomber produced by Germany in WW11. Of course it didn't fly, it was underpowered and way overweight. I had this impression that if I built something that was plane shaped.. it HAD to fly.. well I had allot of learning ahead of me but the thrill of watching something blossom into an aircraft from so many pieces that didn't look like an aircraft has never left me. I went on (over the years) to make over thirty small balsa planes, and yes, eventually some of them did fly.
The Junkers87 "Stuka"
was the first "built up" balsa and rubber powered plane I ever made
it flew like a brick..
My Father took me to a few air displays when I was young and I was bitten by the aircraft bug, and out of all the magnificent aircraft flying around I think I was more attracted to the radio controlled models, It could have been because they seemed more "reachable" something I could get my hands on right now, rather than drooling over the real stuff. Well I was wrong there too.. Santa Clause always forgot to bring my model Spitfire and I was 21 when I finally bought myself a 4 channel R/C high wing trainer. The strange thing is, once it was built, I never flew it.. somehow I needed the real thing and the model hung on the wall for many years, hmmm perhaps Santa knew what he was doing after all!! Then I met my wife (who happened to live in the USA) and I had to sell everything to pay for my over mortgaged house before I could leave, but good old Santa really helped me out here (thanks Santa) and family and relations were all supportive in helping me morally and financially and I thank them greatly for that.!
So here I am, and somehow this dream seems like it can be accomplished, I can build myself an aircraft hop in it and fly away into the sunset.. hmm.. well yeah, if it were THAT easy.
Once the decision was taken I then needed to choose my aircraft. WOW, there certainly are a few to look at. I looked long and hard at the Vision aircraft and I even wrote to the designer, but after a while I realized that was, sadly, quite out of my financial reach. I went through allot of look-alikes, including (to mention just a few) the Jodel and then the RV series from Vans Aircraft they all seemed really attractive, but the costs were just too much, I had a hard look at my budget and tried again. I came out with theVP1 from Evans Aircraft and I sent for plans. This seemed like just the thing, and I joined the newsgroup run by Mattias Jonsson and made many friends, I am still a member and I can draw on a wealth of knowledge supplied by some really nice guys there.
But after doing my homework on a few things, and moving into a smaller house with only a basement to work in I had to try again.
Oh, one thing I didn't mention was ... I don't have a pilots license! and that is a pain in the rear, as obtaining one would put the plane building back even further! So I rethought everything and I am now setting my sights on an ultra light.. here we go again.. I looked at allot of Cub type replicas, and the JN-1 (That link is from Oscar Zuninga's Flying Squirrel site... I wrote to him too) eventually I found myself at Roger Manns Ragwing site pondering over his great selection there, I had been directed by another newsgroup but I already had the site bookmarked. Rogers planes are very affordable and I suddenly found myself looking at the RW2 a Pitts Special replica that
- Is ultralight capable,
- Will fit in my basement
- Can be made with only modest tools.
*Update* I have decided to build the, stronger and faster "Experimental" version and go for the "Sport Pilots" license as building the Ultralight seems unpractical, and tricky due to weight constricts. It will also make me get some professional flying instruction.
Carlos Gurr has a great "step" by "step" site which I have devoured ..lots of good info there with good links to other builders sites too.
So I was decided.. now all I had to do was everything else. Number one is to buy some plans.. ok, for those of you out there who don't think this is affordable, I have been forgoing the beer so I can afford my plans for about three weeks now and I still have a couple of weeks to go (unless I get the urge to drink beer again) this is generally about $25 a week so lets see if this can be done. I am under no illusions about how long this will take, my main priority at the moment is just to get things started.
Wish me luck and follow my progress but don't expect leaps and bounds.. I will start the clock when I send off the check to Roger ($125.00)*
*Bought plans (unused) second hand, RagWing Special plans #312 arrived 12-15-02
Always under construction...
OH..and I will accept any donations ..old spruce, instruments, hardware, advice, cash (oh yeah right ..as if) and of course ....beer!!
Roll of honor..
Firstly I wouldn't be here without help from ALL my family and relations that have been so supportive to me in many ways, I couldn't possibly mention everyone but they all helped in their way however they could. This list will contain names of people directly related to the my completion and flying of my plane :o)
Russ Thanks Russ, valiant efforts dude.!! Russ is my Brother in Law, he drove from Chicago to Midland with some wood for me.. His Lowes gift vouchers for Christmas and Birthday have gone a long way to buying my plane essentials. Thank You Russ.!!
Charles I helped him move some stuff around and totally out of the blue he gave me a gift card for Lowes, I got a new blade for my saw, a carpenters square and one wheel Thank you sir.!!!
Scott, My work buddy.. he has offered to "take me up there" and thus give me some well needed practice, it is also my honor to let Scott be the first to "pop" my birds cherry (once built) Thanks Scott, you are a real (brave) bud..!!