Saturday, October 25, 2008

The New Playtoy

My Dad and I recently started talking about wanting a project to work on together. A couple years ago, we worked on rebuilding a Falcon XP experimental airplane. We worked for a couple years on it and were coming into the final stages when a guy from Kentucky wanted to come by and see it. Before he left, he ended up making Dad and offer for the plane that he couldn’t refuse. So, he sold the Falcon and bought his Piper Tomahawk just a couple months later. Dad always said he would rather fly than build anyway. Although he likes to fly, we had such a good time working on the Falcon, we started discussing another project just for something to do. We started surfing the internet and found a few places that sold plans to build your own airplane for not a lot of money. Building that way, you buy the parts you need and build. Once you get more money, then you buy more parts and continue. If you don’t have the disposable cash, then you let it sit for a little while and pick it back up when you can. Sounded like a good deal for us. Plus, we were looking at building an ultralight airplane so I could fly it without having my pilot’s license.

We found one that we thought suited our needs and I ordered the plans. They came in and I started pouring over them. I was getting up a parts list and doing what I could to get ready for it. Unfortunately, or fortunately, however you look at it, after doing more research on the airplane in the plans, I couldn’t find one flying example of this airplane. Even though, the plans had been selling for almost 10 years. That, to me, wasn’t a good sign. Not to mention, the guy that sells the plans gives you no way to contact him on his website, nor does he visit the websites or Yahoo groups that have been made for builders of this airplane. To not let your customers contact you is very fishy in my book, so we decided we didn’t want to build an airplane that, from what we could see, even the designer wouldn’t support or stand behind. So, I started looking at other airplanes and plans. All of a sudden, I started getting emails from Dad showing me finished ultralights for sale that would suit our needs and the budget we had set. Ok, maybe we are moving on from a project to a flying ultralight. After looking at few and making some phone calls, I went on my favorite airplane classified site: It’s a great site to find anything from ultralights to experimental to warbirds. I jumped on there and on the first page of ultralights and saw one that really caught my eye and, it was fairly close to us, Jacksonville, FL. I read the info and sent the ad to Dad for him to look at. After discussing it, he told me to call the guy and talk to him about it. After a couple of phone calls, Dad and I decided to take his airplane down to Jacksonville to look at the airplane. On our flight down there, we made it about half way and the “Scattered at 5000” clouds became a wall that reached as far down as 1500 feet. Since neither Dad nor his Tomahawk are IFR certified, we turned around and came back home. After we landed and put the plane in the hanger, I said, “Road Trip.” We jumped in Dad’s car and 3 ½ hours later we were in the Mike’s (the guy selling) driveway. (Yes, I hauled a bit of ass) After about an hour and half of looking over it, and talking to Mike, we decided to get the airplane. Dad gave him a deposit to take the airplane off the market and told him he would send the rest of the money within two weeks. We would wait two weeks for the check to clear and then come pick it up on the 8th of November. So, that’s where we are at now. Just over 2 weeks before we go pick it up and bring it back to GA. There are minor things we need to do to it. One of the wings got a tear in it by the propeller when Mike was pulling it out of the “garage” it was in. We also want to strengthen the floor a bit. But, other than that, the airplane is airworthy and ready to fly. I’ll update with new pictures and stories when we get it back here to GA.

Oh.. What is it called? It’s a Roger Mann design called the RagWing # 6 also called the RW6, RagWing6, Ragwing Parasol, or the “Rag-A-Muffin.” Personally, I like the name "Rag-A-Muffin." If you are interested in learning more about this or any of Roger's other designs, you can see them all at The picture with the wings attached was one Mike took and used on Barnstomrers to advertise it. The one with the wings off (to make it easy to transport) is one I took while we were down there that day.

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