The thing that has always attracted me to airplanes is their beauty
and graceful lines. From the time I was a boy, I wanted to design
and build an airplane with what I liked best about the way airplanes
look. I wanted it to be easy to make, economical and with a closed
cockpit so you could fly it all year long. The cockpit needed to be
big enough to handle me a 6' plus person comfortably, so I made a
wooden mockup of the cockpit first.
I am a high school graduate and a graduate from Embry-Riddle School
of Aeronautics for Aircraft Mechanics and have been continually
active in general aviation for over 50 years, with countless hours
of hands-on experience in sheet metal, welding, engine build-up, and
all the other skills necessary to be an aircraft mechanic. Now that
I'm retired, I found I had the time, space and a few funds to build
an airplane, I felt might be wanted by many homebuilders that do not
have unlimited funding, but have the same dream I had.
I chose a VW engine because I think it is the most economical,
smoothest running reliable power pack available and it has a good
support team in Great Plains Aircraft Supply.
The aircraft is constructed with 6061T-6 aluminum and assembled on a
16' table with a 3"X¼" steel angle attached to the side used to make
most of the bends in the metal. There are no special jigs required.
The ribs and bulkheads are formed over wood. The engineering was
calculated at 4 Gs and tested to 5.8 Gs
The airplane is quite simple and easy to make. The main center
section and wing spars are made first and the wing attach points are
drilled together to set the wing dihedral, the spars are separated
and the wings constructed. The completed wings are joined to the
center section spar and the center section is built up with the
wings attached. Now you know that the wings will fit the airplane
when completed. The center section is removed and set on the 16 foot
table and the fuselage is built up around the center section. I used
mostly Avex flush rivets, which are pulled rivets. This made it
possible to build the complete aircraft by myself except for a few
The performance has been the real surprise for me. I never dreamed
it would fly so great. It has a very gentle stall and is easy to
land. I have only 300 total flight time as a private pilot yet I got
in it and flew it with out any trouble at all. It is stable and
faster than I thought. I'm flying along with my hands folded in my
lap, working off the 40 hours needed to complete the requirements.
When the wing drops a little I just add a little opposite rudder and
the wing comes right back up, never having to touch the stick. It
has excellent cross wind handling too.
I fly out over the beach here in Pensacola and look down at the
people and wonder if they have any idea how happy this 75 year old
man is to be up here in his airplane that he made himself.
David Thatcher, Sr.