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Quad City Challenger II
YouTube video: Click here to watch the video

This is the way it was shipped to me. The guy who delivered it thought that I had ordered a helicopter!

After about 5 hours, I assembled the wheels and fuel tank (behind rear seat). All the welding and frame work were already done by the factory.

I was able to build the Challenger inside my two-car garage. In this picture, I started the Stits covering on the bottom of the fuselage. I did not like the covering process!

After covering the bottom, I worked my way from the tail to the nose cone to complete the covering.

I completely redesigned the instrument panel. The original design was way too small for my taste. Also, I placed the panel vertical as opposed to laying back about 30 degrees. Many Challenger owners also place their instrument panel this way.

After the covering was complete, I then had to apply poly-tone and poly-brush before I could paint it. And, boy, did that MEK stink!

The entire plane was painted white, but the nose cone required a primer first since it was fiberglass. My neighbors hated the overspray!

I decided to paint it two tone red/white. After I painted it, we mounted the Rotax engine on the root tube.

After getting permission from my wife, I covered my wing in our living room. Notice the template tool on the left that Jeff designed out of balsa wood to make sure the ailerons were aligned exactly by the specs.

The finished product in my driveway. I had to make sure everything was ready before taking it to the aiport. It was tempting to take the wings off and cruise around the neighborhood but I have too many cops who live near me! Could I get a speeding ticket in a plane?

The day we trailered it to the airport and the proud builder anxious to get it airborne! One year and 140 hours of labor later, I built my first plane.

(sidenote: always wear a protective face mask when using these types of chemicals. I only wore one part of the time and ended up in the hospital because my heart went into A-fib at 180 bpm. Fortunately, I recovered several weeks later.)
My '97 Challenger II is the only one with external fuel tanks for a total of 20 gallons!

It has a Rotax 503 engine and you can also see the BRS VLS 900 chute on top.

I sold it in January 1998 with only 25 hours on it. I needed to go faster...thus, I got my F4U Corsair!
I hope you get a good impression of what it's like to fly "low-and-slow" in an experimental ultralight through these pictures. It was very exciting to test fly a plane that I built. Of course, flying a plane that I built also made me nervous! When I was a young boy, I would buy a model plane and build it without reading the directions. Sometimes they would end up looking like a car with a prop. But this was the closest I have ever come to being a "test pilot." Jeff Johnson, a friend of mine from work, helped me test fly it so that I would not be bias and overlook something during the checkout process. He is a very good pilot and helped me quite a bit and the only one I trusted to fly my baby (which took me a year and about $18,000 to build).

We shot several hours of video. The 8mm video camera was placed in several locations around the plane's front and back seats, and around the fuselage. Hope you enjoy these pictures of my Challenger II flown around the outskirts of south Houston!

(note: sorry, these video screen shots and are not the best quality)

My first "real" flight at Sugar Land airport (SGR). I did several high speed taxi tests on the taxi way before attempting this first flight which went about 100 feet AGL. My Challenger was much easier to fly and land that I had imagined.

Jeff after his first test flight which he flew to about 300 feet AGL.

...and giving me a "thumbs-up" indicating that he loved the flight and everything looked and felt good!

First flight from Wolfe Airpark (3TA1). It's a nice grass strip about 2,500 feet long but only about 2,000 feet usable. We could takeoff and land in the Challenger II within 300 feet.

Doing a fly-by over Wolfe Airpark is not the same feeling as in my Corsair! The Challenger II had a max cruise speed of about 75 mph and stalled at about 30 mph with flaps and one person.

One of my "vertical" departures. The climb rate on the Challenger II was incredible. I didn't have a VSI but I'm sure it was at least 1,500 fpm.

One of my departures!

Starting a steep right turn while doing some beautiful crop flying. But I'm not too sure what kind of crop this is! Do you?

The video camera is mounted under the fuselage on final approach. If you look close, you'll see the grass-strip runway just over the front wheel at the 1:00 position.

Rare shot facing aft to view the engine and tail.

Jeff on final approach at Wolfe Airpark.

"Yours truly" just enjoying a peaceful flight.

Jeff's turn to do some peaceful flying and having fun.

Jeff really having fun! Ummm, Jeff, just how low were you flying in my plane dude? If you want to catch wild game, use a gun.

Jeff thinks he's a crop duster! Ok Jeff, it's my turn...Jeff, Jeff?

F4U Corsair 1/2 scale replica
YouTube video: Click here to watch the video

The day we roller it out for my first flight!

Yours truly taken in front of my hangar at West Houston airport.

Taken at the Galveston airshow with a real Corsair in the background.

I started my video production on July 25th, 1998. Below are some images from my flights. As far as I know, I am the first to make an external video on a WAR replica. The idea behind this video is from all the email I get from around the world asking me what it's like flying a WAR Corsair. So I got this crazy idea to make a video by placing a miniture video around the outside of the plane in different locations. Once I get all the video shot and edited, I will advertise the video on my site. This is definately a rare video.

Below the pictures are short AVI videos in zipped format. I made the AVI files in b/w without sound and a screen size of only 160 x 120 so the file size would be smaller. The video and images below are no where near as good as the real video. I was very impressed with the quality of the super 8mm video.

Taking off at West Houston Airport (IWS). Setting in a cramped cockpit with a bunch of video equipment in my lap was not the easiest thing to do. Maybe this is why no one as every done this type of video in a 1/2 scale replica! To my surprise there has been no vibration in the videos. But that is probably because I shock mounted the camera.

This front view gives quite an interesting perspective. You can't tell it's a Corsair from this angle, but it's still a cool view!

This wing mount was Jeff's idea, and not a bad one. It came out better than we imagined. You can see almost the entire plane from tail to prop.

I was worried about filming from this perspective because of rocks and other debris that might damage the camera. But that never happened. What we didn't take into account was the oil mist from the exhaust blurring the lens! Next time we'll move the camera to a better spot. Fortunately, we had a filter over the lens. Sorry, no AVI video worth downloading this time.

Jeff was standing at the end of the runway as I made my landing approach. This video clip has a larger screen size and has sound!