Experimenter

April 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.

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14 Vol.3 No.4 / April 2014 BRUCE KING'S BRILLIANT BK FLIER 1.3 stock Hummel Bird is a great fl ying aircraft," Bruce empha- sized, "but I had built mine 100 pounds over gross weight and had installed a full four-cylinder VW engine (in place of the recommended, lighter-weight ½-VW engine), which made it nose heavy. So I decided it would be best to design my own aircraft—something that would safely carry the extra-large pilot, fuel, and baggage." Bruce elaborated on that concept: "I used the cockpit and front end of the Hummel Bird and made it massively larger, and used a Piper Cherokee back end on it and a completely different wing and landing gear. I based the gear a little bit on the RV-8, in that the landing gear connects to the center section. I made the wing a whole lot bigger and tapered it in a way that it would have a real gentle stall characteristic. I spent eighteen months building that airplane, and I used paper templates and graph paper during the process." Bruce finished the project, which he named the BK 1, in November 2004 with $8,000 invested and was quite pleased with the results. It flew better than his highly modified Hummel Bird, was more comfortable, and had a 400-mile range. It had 15 gallons of fuel and a 65-hp VW conversion engine. "I put the BK 1 into the CAD program in 2005 and started modifying and refining its design," Bruce said. "The result- ing BK 1.3 is 1.1 times bigger than the BK 1. The cockpit is 2 inches wider, and the fuselage and wings are 2 inches longer. I used the basic cockpit dimensions from the RV-4 and made it just a little bit larger for more elbow and legroom. I could optimize my materials better by using CAD, so I had very little waste. In early 2006, I was posting build pictures on my website, and guys said, 'Look, we want to start our projects; can you send us the wing plans?' So I gave them the plans, and as soon as they finished the wings, I'd send them the fuselage plans. That way, they were giving me feedback on the plans. I built the BK 1.3 entirely from scratch in order to draw the plans accurately; I wouldn't make a piece until I had it in the computer and had a template printed out. Sometimes it took a dozen templates before I got one that was right. It took me seven years to complete the project, but Note the gracefully formed wing root fairing. Bruce King in his BK Flier 1.3. His motto is "Don't give up your dreams." E A A E X P _ A p r 1 4 . i n d d 1 4 EAAEXP_Apr14.indd 14 3 / 3 1 / 1 4 9 : 4 2 A M 3/31/14 9:42 AM

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