JAN 2015

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: https://experimenter.epubxp.com/i/449720

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Page 11 of 32

12 Vol.4 No.1 / Januar y 2015 ONE HOLE AT A TIME THERE HAS BEEN A LOT of conjecture regarding what it is about avi- ation that is addicting to some people but has zero ef ect on others. Why do so many kids seem to come out of the womb with the sure knowledge that someday they are going to fl y? Although many are born into aviation families where things that fl y are just part of the environment, there are just as many who are brought up in a non-aviation environment but are still drawn to aviation. Pat Hoyt of Eagan, Minnesota, is one of those. He's involved in aviation simply because he couldn't not be. For unknown reasons, it's a part of his DNA. "I have no idea where it [my aviation addiction] came from," Pat said. "I was always fascinated by the Aviation Century series, the X-planes, and space exploration as a child. I spent count- less hours in libraries in the 500 and 600 sections. (Remember the Dewey decimal system?) Space exploration was much more of a point of national pride in those days, and that was where I wanted to be. "I wanted to be a test pilot for as long as I can remember, and I have always wanted to build my own airplane. I've made it to most of the Oshkosh air shows since the mid-1970s and was fascinated by homebuilts. I remember the excitement when Burt Rutan fi rst showed up at Oshkosh with his canard designs, and that always stuck with me. Whenever I see photos from those times, I'm always looking for little kids and wondering if I'll see myself. But even as a young adult, I was never able to start build- ing an airplane due to excessive job travel, no money, no place to build, etc. However, the thought of building my own airplane was always there in the back of my mind. "It wasn't until I was 42 years old that I fi nally got to take my fi rst fl ying lesson. Things moved quickly after that, because exactly 6 years, 11 months, and 16 days from that initial fl ight lesson, I took my own airplane, N63PZ, into the air on its fi rst fl ight. I'm proud to say that I built my airplane with my own two hands, including building the engine, and that I did all of my own fl ight testing." Pat was a member of a fl ying club for a short time, but it quickly became evident that he wanted more out of aviation than simply fueling and fl ying. He wanted his own airplane, and to Pat that didn't mean buying an airplane. That meant building one. Pat clearly remembers going through the fascinating process of picking a design. He said, "I studied a lot and narrowed my choices down to several of the more popular low-wing, all-metal designs. I studied examples of each at Oshkosh. I immediately ruled one of them out because I simply didn't fi t in it. I'm 6 feet, 3 inches tall. I fl ew in the remaining two and the Zodiac came out on top. I liked how it fi t. I looked how it felt. Better yet, I liked how it fl ew." Often when builders start a project, they are facing a big edu- cational obstacle in terms of learning the skills required. They are Photography by Craig Vander Kolk Pat loves the look of the bare metal, so he only painted the fi berglass parts.

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