January 2014

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/247918

Contents of this Issue


Page 11 of 38

LANDINGS… THE ANNUAL VALDEZ, ALASKA, short-field takeof and landing (STOL) contest is famous for really silly takeof and landing distances. The distances are so short that they could easily be measured with a yardstick. But how short is short? According to competitor Frank Knapp (EAA 1111767) flying his Lil' Cub, "We had no wind this year, so our landings were 54 and 56 feet. Even a little wind would have made them much shorter." The landings may have been long to Frank, but they were short enough to win the overall contest at Valdez. And they were the result of the dozens of unique details Frank worked into his self-designed, ultra-utilitarian, Cub-ish-appearing aircraft. Starting with nothing more than some goals and vague ideas, Frank and his wife, Kris, built a championship machine. Frank said, "I was pretty much brought up around these kinds of airplanes. My father had lots of airplanes and was a true bush pilot and creator with many innovative ideas. He had the ability to build things very light but with function, all the while using parts from the scrap box. "He built a ton of interesting projects, including airplanes, swamp rigs, seagoing boats, air boats, lots of engine-driven tractors and kid vehicles, prop-driven snow machine, etc. If you thought something was junk, you had to be careful because it might become his next project. "Dad also had a full-service automotive body shop doing everything from framework, paint, glass, radiators to some aircraft work. If that business was slow, he might smelt gold for jewelry or simply go fishing. "Pretty much anything dad wanted, he built; there was nothing wasted. Ever. And that's how I was brought up. So, when my wife and I decided to build a super-short-field machine, although my background was as an electronics tech for the phone company, I had a pretty good hands-on building background to draw on." Frank learned to fly in the J-3, and when a Cub is light, it is the most fun of any aircraft. Frank said the Cub is light on the controls and very responsive. "That's where we started, but we decided to integrate some of the ideas we felt might make the best airplane," he said. "Some of the goals were: light weight, good visibility, a dependable powerplant, and readily available Frank uses an 80-by-30 Catto propeller that really bites into the air. Frank Knapp and his Lil' Cub. 12 Vol.3 No.1 / January 2014 Photography by Brady Lane

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Experimenter - January 2014