We have been involved in flying and aviation for over 30 years – Peter went solo in a glider in 1978. This is a brief history of the aeroplanes that we have owned in broadly chronological order. Clicking each of the pictures will take you to a more detailed description (once we have had time to write it!).
Currently we are flying an RV-6A “Casper”. We bought Casper when we moved to Texas in 2002 from the original builder, Doyle Reed. Thanks Doyle!
DR-107 “One Design”
A few years ago Peter got into aerobatics – see the story on the Extra. While we were in Texas we also bought a One Design, which is a single seat homebuilt specifically designed for aerobatics, it is also known as a DR-107. This aeroplane required something of a re-build (new panel & engine) before it was ready to fly in England. Once it was flying it was clear that we should sell some shares as trying to fly two aeroplanes at once is not on! The group has decided that the aeroplane is called Piglet.
Peter has always had a passion gliding – he went solo in a glider when he was 16, and has owned several gliders over the years. Once we returned to England he was getting gliding withdrawal symptoms and bought into a Ventus 2cxt syndicate at Lasham. Sadly the Ventus was sold in late 2008, in anticipation of the One Design being ready to fly once again.
After a couple of years in Texas the building bug started to itch again and an RV-7 tail kit arrived, followed by the rest of the quick-build kit. The wings and empennage have been completed with the fuselage in the garage. Progress is slow as it takes third place behind maintaining Casper and Piglet.
Cessna 172 XP
Once in Texas it became clear that a “real” US pilot’s licence, rather than one issued on the basis of a UK license, would be a distinct advantage. Also if we were to do much travelling an Instrument Rating would be very useful. At the same time it would be good to have the ability to take visitors out for lunch or dinner by air. With an eye to eventual repatriation we bought a Cessna 172 Hawk XP – that is one fitted with a 195hp 6 cylinder Continental engine and a wobbly prop. We christened him Harry. In the end plans changed and he remained in the US.
For a short time we had a share in a Jodel DR105A at Popham, G-AXLS.
Nimbus 3dt Y44
Once the 954 syndicate was disbanded 4 of the partners moved on to another 3dt.
Nimbus 3dt 954
Peter’s first taste of open class gliding in a syndicate of 6 – awesome performance but handling took a bit of getting used to.
In 1996 Peter has already been flying some aerobatics with his good friend Brian in his Pitts S-2E, and with Alan Cassidy in STUA. We were looking for a house when a wrecked Extra 300 became available. Peter decided to buy it, primarily to rob the instruments for the RV-4. In the end we managed to rebuild it to flying condition with the help of Steve Jones at Flight Composites. What an excellent aeroplane to fly! An article describing the re-build appeared in Pilot magazine.
The day after we got engaged we went to look at this Jodel DR1051- that’s a 1050 with a Potez engine. After a while (and 3 engine failures) the Potez was replaced with an O-200 – a little slower but much more reliable! We had a lot of adventures in this aeroplane, and were very sad to see it go, but we needed some money to get the Extra going …
Peter was stationed at Culdrose in the early 1990s and bought a share in a Jodel D117A (A= with Airbrakes), based at Lands End, G-AWWI. What a great little aeroplane.
P1rat (SZD-30 Pirat glider)
A Polish built glider that was owned by the Culdrose Gliding Club, when the club sold it Peter bought a small share
In 1988 Peter was in Bermuda on a “Grey Funnel Steamer” (warship of the Royal Navy) and was looking for something to read on the trip back across the Atlantic. In a bookstore in George Town he came across the 1988 Directory of Kit Aircraft, which included an article about Dick Van Grunsven and his RV series of aircraft. A year and a half later an order was placed for a complete RV-4 kit, it might fly – one day…