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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28 Vol.3 No.4 / April 2014 WHAT OUR MEMBERS ARE BUILDING Getting the Airplane I Wanted My Prospector BY ROBERT BOUNDS, E A A 234582 THIS AIRPLANE IS MY third homebuilt project that I've personally completed, and I've helped build a couple of others owned by friends. My fi rst build was a Quickie powered by a Rotax 503 engine. That was a story in itself, but I'll just say that the air- plane was a blast to fl y. My second completion was a VariEze, which I still own and fl y. It has about 800 hours on it now. The story of my latest airplane started in 1989 at EAA Osh- kosh. That year, Fred Keller won the grand champion home- built award with his Prospector bush plane. I saw it there and absolutely fell in love with it. I talked to Fred at Oshkosh and asked about plans, and he said there were none available and never would be. Rats! I went home and ended up starting the VariEze with a kit of materials and plans that my brother-in-law had for years and never started. I completed it in 1996 and have happily flown it for years, even taking it to Alaska with my son, but I still recalled that Prospector once in a while. Then, while talking airplanes with a local friend, I mentioned the Pros- pector, and he said he had ridden in one. I was incredulous and envious, so I questioned him further about it. It turned out that Fred Keller had built a second Prospector for his friends, Tom and Betty Kuffel, and that was the one my friend had ridden in. Of course, I immediately called Tom and Betty at their home in Montana to see if some plans had been developed or whatever. When I reached Tom on the phone, he said he had good news and bad news. The good news was that he did indeed have a Prospector. The bad news was that he and Betty had crashed it in the mountains of northern Idaho the previous month, totally destroying the plane, and they were both recovering from serious injuries. That was bad news on several levels. Robert's Prospector in fl ight. Despite her initial "hesitation," Robert's wife, Deb, helped on the project. Lots of foam to be carved and shaped. Photography courtesy of Robert Bounder E A A E X P _ A p r 1 4 . i n d d 2 8 EAAEXP_Apr14.indd 28 3 / 3 1 / 1 4 9 : 4 4 A M 3/31/14 9:44 AM

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