let me introduce myself. My Name is Jeff Whitham, I was born in
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.
was the first "built up" balsa and rubber powered plane I ever
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
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
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.
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.
Gurr has a great "step" by "step" site which I
have devoured ..lots of good info there with good links to other builders
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
OH..and I will accept any
donations ..old spruce, instruments, hardware, advice, cash (oh yeah right
..as if) and of course
Roll of honor..
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)
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.!!
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.!!!
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..!!