December 2013

Experimenter is a magazine created by EAA for people who build airplanes. We will report on amateur-built aircraft as well as ultralights and other light aircraft.

Issue link: http://experimenter.epubxp.com/i/234576

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Page 17 of 40

C h a ll e n g e r A ir c r a f t 3 0 t h A n n i ve r s a r y F l y - I n Owners of Quad City Aircraft Challengers from all over North America converged on Erie Airpark in northwestern Illinois on September 20 to 22, 2013, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Challenger design. It was one of many new light planes introduced in the early 1980s as designers began to realize the flying public wanted an ultralight that was a "proper little airplane" with conventional controls, a full enclosure, and tricycle landing gear. The Challenger and other designs were quickly expanded to offer two-place aircraft and amateur-built kits as the advantages of light airframes coupled with two-stroke engines became evident. The History A welcome greeting on the fightline. Five Canadian amphibious foatplanes from Ottawa. In 1981 Dave Goulet scratchbuilt and flew a Mitchell Wing U-2. In late 1982 he met Chuck Hamilton, who was then flying an Easy Riser. They both loved building and flying airplanes, and Dave had some engineering training. So in late 1982 they teamed up to create the Challenger ultralight. The prototype was seen at the Sun 'n Fun Fly-In in 1983, and it was flown at Oshkosh that summer. By late 1983 Quad City Aircraft had been established, and kits were ready to ship. A two-place tandem version came next. Later Chuck Hamilton went his own way, and in 1991 he designed the Genesis and started the company that became SlipStream International. Chuck lost his life in a flying accident, but Dave continued marketing the Challenger and eventually became president and CEO of the company. Thirty years later 4,000 Challengers have been built and flown worldwide. It has become so popular that 52 Challengers showed up at Erie Airpark to celebrate its birthday. Other aircraft that flew into the event brought the total attendance to about 70. No other amateur-built light plane in its class could produce as many copies at a single gathering. It could be called the most successful amateurbuilt "ultralight-like" light plane of our time. Quad City Aircraft took a different approach than many other manufacturers. It stuck to one design for three decades but constantly made improvements, many of them significant. A 2013 Challenger XL-65 may look similar to the original, but it's a much different airplane when it comes to performance, payload, and more. Quad City followed a conservative business plan and relied on an extensive dealer network to help with product support. The company never had to declare bankruptcy and never sold out to new owners. It's been the same people and same management providing a popular kit-built light plane for 30 years. Dazzling Challenger LSS owned by 92-year-old David Fullgraf. 18 Vol.2 No.12 / December 2013 Challengers are built from aluminum tubing, gussets, blind rivets, and aircraft hardware with fabric coverings of resin-coated Dacron sailcloth or painted aircraft fabric.

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