Fly Baby Builders and Owners

Building or flying a Fly Baby? I'd love to list your email address (and any other information) on this web page. Mail me and I'll be happy to put a link to you on this page. Please, please, PLEASE indicate where you live, to help prospective builders find local projects to look at. List any other information or data you'd like to include.

Note, too, that I *love* putting your own stories up here. Write long if you wish; it's just as easy for me to do a cut-and-paste than to try to paraphase what you said. However, please give me overt permission to include your story here... just say something like, "Go ahead and put it up on the site."

I have made a stab at splitting these up by State, Province, whatever.  If I don't have a location on file for you, please let me know so I can update your listing.

Alberta

Jeff Gray of Calgary, Alberta started his Fly Baby in about 1994. He's planning on using some sort of automotive conversion.
Eric Whittred of Calgary has been flying C-GWIZ for over twenty years! Here's his story:
"I stuck pretty much to the original design with one or two exceptions. We are at 3700ft. altitude here and have a short summer so I put a sliding canopy on for those cool spring and fall days and it certainly extends our flying season. An old helicopter bubble worked well for this as it already has compound curves in it and is tinted as well. I faired the canopy with a little higher turledeck which gave me a lot more baggage space. I had a chance to buy some Cessna 140 exhaust muffs so I had to put a fibre glass pressure cowl on it so the muffs would be more effective. This works well as it also gives me cabin heat.

"As I am six foot four the first Fly-Baby I flew was a little cramped so I moved the firewall ahead two inches on mine and now it fits perfectly. This makes it a trifle nose heavy but with the baggage compartment loaded it trims out pretty well.

"I started out with 8:00 x 4 wheels but the drum brake was so small that it wouldn't hold past 1200 R.P.M. on the run up. Pete Bowers flew it with these and complained that it had no brakes at all so I switched to 6:00 x 6 wheels and brakes from a wrecked Cessna and those disc brakes really worked. Later I changed to 8:00 x 4 tires and I think this is the perfect combination.

"Shortly after I had finished mine I talked to Ted Slack who was the the technical advisor for E.A.A.C. and he said that they had done some calculations and if you hit anything more than a thirteen foot per second updraft the anti-drag wire in the second bay of the wing would fail and that this would cause a zipper effect on the front flying wires causing them to fail as well. I had had some concerns about the flying wires with the nicopress fittings as there had been a few fatalities because of this. I bought my wires from a sailboat outfitter and he advised me to double slug everything. I asked him why and he said it would be stronger. I was working at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology at the time so I made up two samples, one with single slugs and one with double slugs. I took these to our materials testing lab and we tested them to destruction. The single slug sample parted right on the edge of the slug all at once at 1750 lbs. The double slug parted strand by strand at 2150 lbs. It appears that there is a slight off-center pull on the single slug which causes it to bite into the wire and cause early failure. Ted recommended going to a larger size cable for this one anti-drag wire but I couldn't see opening up the wing after all my work covering and finishing. I finally changed to 1/4" streamlined flying wires which give me 3000 lbs. per wire so now I have a little more peace of mind. I noticed that even these stretch a little and the landing wires slacken somewhat and vibrate. I fixed this by putting a narrow strip of cedar with grooved edges between the wires and wrapping it with vinyl tape.

"I used .125 wall thickness on the axle and even this has been bent the odd time on a hard landing. The fix for this is to rotate the axle 180 degrees and reassemble it and now you have a slight camber for the next few landings.

"I fell into a trap that a lot of builders may do and that is if you can't get a certain thickness of 4130 steel you naturally go to the next thicker size obtainable so that you don't weaken the structure. Do this a few times and the weight factor starts to creep up on you. I also didn't know about different fabric thicknesses and I got a real bargain from a supplier which turned out to be a little heavier than necessary which also increased the weight. On the plus side I have dropped screwdivers and wrenches on the wings and they just bounce harmlessly off.

"As a result of all this and with a Continental 85 I came out a little heavier than most Fly-Babies so that landing approaches have to be made at 70 m.p.h. with a little power on. Wheel landings work great but three-pointers are a disaster because as soon as you flare it falls out of the sky and you bounce and find yourself twenty feet in the air.

"I took the bird to Oskosh in '84 and it was one of the greatest adventures of my life."

Argentina

Luis Bulgaroni of Ciudad de Gral, Roca Pcia, Rio Negro, Argentina has got a Fly Baby underway.  Here's what Luis has to say:
"Estoy construyendo un Fly Baby y estoy en la siguiente etapa:

"Alas: terminadas sin enchapar el borde de ataque. Fuselage: le falta terminar de construir el estabilizador.
Motor: estoy avionizando un WW 1800 cc.

"La construccion es totalmente de madera.

"Mi guia es el manual publicado por Peter M. Bowers y me fue asignado el  mismo con el numero 4964.

"Pues bien me gustaria conectarme con constructores y si es posible saber si alguna persona ha construido algun Flay para dos personas en tandem por que yo he realizado algunas modificaciones en su estructura para poder volarlo en este modo.

"Soy piloto de avion, piloto Instructor de planeadores y remolcador de planeadores, mi experiencia es aproximadamente de 1200 horas de vuelo, y entre mis vuelos mas aventurados esta el cruce de la cordillera De Los Andes desde una ciudad llamada Malargue hasta la ciudad de Talca en la vecina Rep. de CHILE, el vuelo lo realice en un Piper Tomahawk.

"Epero su respuesta placer po conectarme. saluda a Ud atte. LBulgaroni."

Translation, courtesy of a couple of folks:
"I am building a Fly Baby and I am in the following phase:

"Wings: finished except the leading edge. Fuselage: lacks building the stabilizer to finish. Motor: I am using a WW 1800 cc.

"The construction is all wood.

"My guide is manual #4964, published by Peter M. Bowers.

"I would like to connect with other builders and if possible to know if someone has built a Fly Baby for two persons in tandem, if he has carried out some modifications in his structure to be able to fly it in this way.

"I am a pilot, Instructor in gliders and glider towing, with approximately 1200 hours of flying.  Among my flights, I ventured across the Andes mountain range from a city called Malargue to the city of Talca in the neighboring country CHILE,  the flight was in a Piper Tomahawk.

"Please send email to connect me and I will answer. Greetings to all of you. LBulgaroni "

Arkansas

Scott Haggenmacher of Jonesboro, Arkansas has a completed Fly Baby.

Australia

Australian builders might want to get in touch with John Paul of Victoria. He's building one. Also, he's offered to help on engine problems, being the Aussie equivalent of an A&P.

Ron McPherson's Fly Baby is now owned by author Bob Grimstead of Perth.  Here's a picture of Bob and his new bird...Bob's fixing it up while mending from a broken ankle.  Bob says, "The airplane has only flown about 60 hours, and crashed once (nosed over after catching the tailwheel on a fence during a slow landing - not me!). It has been repaired, but needs a little TLC to be good....It is the O-200 powered airplane featured in Howard Jones's performance figures, although it is now so heavy it no longer performs quite so well. I am currently running a weight reduction program, then hope to add a couple of dummy Vickers guns on the top cowl, a bit like John & Bob's Spandaus. A spoof inter-war RAF scheme with roundels should make it look a bit more interesting."

Wayne Jones is another Aussie builder.

David Green lives in South Gippsland, Australia.  As of July 2001, building the wing and undercarriage carry through to the fuselage sides, and finishing off the tail surfaces. He's also building up a Subaru EA-81 for power.

British Columbia

Drew Fidoe of Victoria, BC bought a Fly-Baby (CF-UFL) a few years back. It was built in 1966 and hadn't flown for 14 years. He and friend Ray White spent 6 months doing a partial restoration of the airframe and engine and flew it for six months out of Butler-Howroyd Field. Then a snowstorm came along and flattened the hangar! He's looking for a fuselage (woodwork only) and a starboard wing.

Here's what he had to say in May, 2001:

"I hope to have my Flybaby CF-UFL operational this year.  I have a shore posting for a while (I'm in the Canadian Navy) and finally have some airplane time!!  I have bean hoarding bits and pieces for my repairs and things got a bit out of hand.  I found a new fuselage for $50, cowlings and flight controls for $15, an axle tube for $8 and a set of airworthy wings for $500.  This stuff was all found by word of mouth!  After I get 'UFL up and flying my building buddy, Ray and I are going to finish the second airplane for him.  Along with Tom Staples, we should have a nice little flight going!"

California

Marco Pinto lives in South San Francisco, and is looking to meet other builders and to buy a project and engine at any stage.

Lou Lasell lives in Roseville, California, but is about to move to Missouri.  He has been building a Fly Baby for 5 years. The fuselage is done as are the tail feathers. Both landing gear Vs are done.  He's got a Continental A65.

Wayne Spani of San Diego has been flying Fly Baby N37983 for almost twenty years, and has about 1300 hours on it. It was first licensed in 1979 with an A-65, then upgraded to an A-74. Wayne punched it up further with a Lycoming O-235, reporting a 100 MPH cruise and a 1000 fpm climb with a 270-pound pilot.

Another San Diego Fly Baby is owned by John Lammers . It was build in 1989, but the builder never flew it because of medical problems. John bought it in 1997. He swapped out the A-75 for a C-85. "What a thrill!" he writes, "I've put on 40 hours and am having the time of my life. Every flight is an adventure."

Douglas Babb of San Diego just started on a Fly Baby 1A.

Another tandem builder! Here's what Eric Hevle of Bakersfield California has to say:

"Hello Ron, My name is Eric Hevle, my brother Stacy Hevle and a friend of ours Elmer Scritchfield are building a tandem Flybaby, similar to Dave Munday's. The fuselage is built and it is sitting on its gear. We chose streamline tubing for the gear and Cleveland wheels and brakes with 8.00 * 6 tires. A C-85 is hung on the nose because that is the engine we had ( It came off a PA11 Cub I built and put a 0-235 on). We are hoping to weigh in at just over 700 lbs. We know the performance will not be like a single place but the joy of taking someone up in an open cockpit airplane will make up for it. The dual control setup is very similar to a cub and has been challenging. I am an IA and have built several airplanes including an AT-6, Stearman and a Harmon Rocket ( talk about a hotrod to fly)."
Jared Byrd of Burlingame is looking for any local builders...

Michael McGaw of Barstow is considering building a biplane:  "Finally purchased a set of plans from the master!  Also the supplemental set of Bi-plane wing drawings. . .I'm working towards a tandem mod for the basic design, However I'm not sold on the idea yet.  Reading Peter Bowers thoughts on the project, I may opt for a Wag-a-bond, or a J-3 replica.  And build the Fly Baby later! Any way, I've got the plans to dream over."

Chuck Davis and Jackie De Costa live in Fullerton and recently (Oct '01) bought N26084 from Robert Ellingwood in Washington state.  N26084 has a pre-war Army Air Corps paint job with a dummy radiator on the front of the cowling.  They'll probably U-haul the plane south this winter.

Colorado

Matthew Carlson is an A&P mechanic from Denver, CO, and reports his  fuselage as probably 70% complete.  Most woodwork on it is done.  He plans to use a 0-235 in it due to the altitude, bi-plane version, and electrical system installation.  Heck, his EMAIL ADDRESS is worth the price of admission.... :-)

Here's a April 2001 update from Matt:

"Main fuselage is mostly done.  Taking forever to build the horizontal stabilizers, but they look great.  Traded my C-65 and $400.00 for 1 1/2 0-235 builder engines.  Will try to locate an engine mount from a Cub 0-235 STC installation.  Picked up lots of goodies lately, including a brand new in the box Cleveland wheel and brake kit for a small Piper for $300.00. Here's the best part...or most difficult,depending on how you look at it.  I just bought a Piper PA-15 Vagabond project at a give-away price.  It came with more new parts than I can mention. It is also the factory demo plane Bill Piper flew around the country to try to save his company.  Looks like it worked!  Any how, the plan is to finish its restoration and sell it to finance the Fly-Baby.  Sometimes it's overwhelming to go out in the garage and see two projects, and try to decide which one to work on!  My neighbors think I'm nuts.  I think I have the coolest hobby in the world!!  Any one out there that wants to trade?  I have a Lycoming 0-145 mid time engine and I need a Continental C-85 to finish out the Vagabond."

Florida

Santos Viscasillas just got a set of plans, and wants to know who else is building a Fly Baby near Tampa, Florida.

Jim Holbruck of Panama City bought a flying airplane in January 2003.  He's the seventh owner of this aircraft, which was built  by a Mr. Hubert D. Whitehurst of Portsmouth, Virginia and flown for the first time on August 30, 1967.  The previous owner bought it in 1989 with 190 hrs on the airframe and did a complete, ground-up, restoration of the aircraft over the next 6 years, including the switch to a C-90.

Georgia

Frank Settle of Norcross, Ga has a 75% complete Fly Baby and a Javelin converted engine to go on it.

Billy Beck started building a Fly Baby in summer of 1999. He lives in Buford, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta. Billy's deeply into AutoCad, and is making some of his own Fly Baby drawings. He's going to add them to his web page , and I'll be sure to include a link when he does.

UPDATE: Billy buys a Fly Baby (August 22, 1999):

"After a twenty-two hour run, yesterday, from Atlanta to Indianapolis and back, I am now in possession of my Fly Baby.

"I am quite delighted, and as excited as I've ever been.

"This airplane was purchased from Mr. Henry M. Swenson, of Indianapolis, a homebuilder of some note. Among other things, he recently donated an EAA Biplane to the EAA Museum at Oshkosh. His current airplane is (get this) a Piper Colt *taildragger*. (I shot photographs of this very rare machine.)

"As I write this, my Fly Baby rests in a 15-foot truck at the curb, yet to be unloaded. The fuselage is very nearly complete except for covering. The wings require aileron construction, but are otherwise just about complete prior to fabric-cover, as are the tail-feathers. That's a general sketch of the current state of construction, which I will survey in detail after unloading and in-depth examination of the plans. The engine is a 65 hp. Franklin, which will require overhaul. I have no propellor yet.

"Mr. Swenson handed me a brown paper bag containing lots of information pertinent to both this particular project as well as Fly Babies in general. Among the latter is several issues of "The Fly Baby Bulletin" dating as far back as July 1967. This appears to be a publication of one Hayden Ferguson of New Albany , Mississippi. As I said, there are "several issues" here, yet to be sorted out. They are loose sheets, punched for three-hole binding, but out of order. I will organize them to see exactly what I have, but this looks like an extraordinary pile of data. It includes all kinds of technical discussions with contributions from Fly Baby builders and pilots, with many technical drawings. Also included are remarkable B&W photographs of Fly Babies, including things like canopy installations of various types, wing-tip and landing gear modifications (ever seen a four-wheel tandem-truck mod?), and shots of N500F with floats, and another of this fabled prototype lying upside-down after a noseover accident.

"This is evidently a really valuable pile of Fly Baby history and data. Over time, I will work to scan these photographs for digital distribution.

"My own Fly Baby appears to be serial number 69-21; the twenty-first number issued in 1969. I believe this because of the inclusion of a small card stating this, and signed by Pete Bowers. The project originator is Mr. George McConnell, of Kokomo, Indiana. I also have a pile of materials receipts dating from 1969.

"The woodwork of this airplane looks very good. As Mr. Swenson describes it, Mr. McConnell was quite confident in his woodworking abilities, but "afraid of the metal work." Mr. Swenson acquired this airplane in the autumn of 1998 "just to have something to do over the winter". This is my first project of this type, so I have no real standing to comment, but the metal work looks pretty good to me.

"It was a busy-work project for Mr. Swenson, who never intended to complete it, but only wanted to find it a good home, which he has. (I have it now, and I swear this airplane will fly.) A retired peridontist (who treats gum disease) and faculty professor at the University of Indiana, he wasn't looking to make money on the project. (You should see this man's Chevrolet Corvettes - three of them, including a fantastic 1960 convertible. He doesn't need the money.) He sold it to me for $2150, and I think I got away with a rare deal.

"My own Webspace will be reorganized in order to make room for Fly Baby project documentation online, and I will forward URL's as they develop.

"I'm in the club, mate."

Walt Hendrix lives in Monroe.  He bought a set of plans in 1989, but other project have gotten in the way.  "I think I'm ready to dust them off and get building," says Walt.

Greg McCormick is building his Fly Baby in Athens, Alabama. He's looking for other interested Fly Baby builders/owners in his area.

Great Britain

John L. Allen lives in Great Britain, and plans to start building a Fly Baby 1-B, the biplane version.

Robb Metcalfe lives in West Sussex, and bought Fly Baby G-BUYU, which was completed by John Nugent in 1995.

Pete Dalby is also a builder...but I haven't been able to get through to him to get more details.  Hey, Pete, send me another mail with your status!

Idaho

John Taye of Southwest Idaho recently bought N28333, a Fly Baby 1B Biplane . He says, "This is a beautiful red and white model built by Robert E. Hall in 1984. I'm having a good time flying it around southwest Idaho with my EAA buddies. Craftsmanship on this plane is the best I've seen on a wood and fabric homebuilt. It gets a lot of attention. I'm interested in comparing notes with other 1B owners. They can call me at 208-344-6321."

Illinois

Ron Cramer of Mt. Zion owns a real nice fly baby with a  A75 engine.

Gary Longcor of Charleston has bought N3481 . " I'm a Maintenance Person in a Hospital Here in Charleston, Ill (MTO) is our home airport. Got my license in January 2000. 50 years old and a 27 year dream :-) so there is hope. And my wife is happy for me she likes the fact that it is a single seat then she won't have to go. I will keep you updated as I move along." July 2002 update:  Gary has sold his plane to Frank Livingston from the Casey Airport in Illinois.

Update from Gary:  "I got to take N3481 up for my first time Tuesday 11/28/2000 No fear just did it. What a good time flew for around 90 min. 3 takeoffs and landings all went fine, the plane just jumps off the ground and landing so far no big deal and I hope to keep it that way."

Iowa

Troy Lust of Indianola Iowa installed a Warp Drive ground-adjustable propeller on an airplane he has since sold,, and got good results.  As far as the history of his aircraft, here's what Bob Grimm, the previous owner, had to say:
"The aircraft was built in 1994 in Deerfield, Minn. by a Mr. Vern Bolman. The aircraft has 27.0 hours since new on the airframe. The engine is a 65 continental and has 585.0 since last overhaul. I bought the airplane in Nov. 1998 after having been stored since 1995. It could have been assembled and flown in a matter of days but, being the eternal tinkerer. I just had to "Bobinize" (as my wife would say!!) the poor thing. Mr. Bolman showed exceptional worksmanship on all the structure and buildup but ,in my opinion stopped short on the finish work and the airplane had a rather rough finish to the sheet metal and fabric. I needed to have it at least look better. I went ahead and sanded the entire plane down to silver and after some cosmetics and refit, re-shot all exterior parts with fresh buyterate dope. I chose a military scheme from a WWII PT-22 trainer as I feel that the lines of the aircraft lend itself to this type of paint scheme well. The aircraft was built using an Aeronca Chief as the parts source. So the ship is equiped with Cleveland mechanical brakes (very effective I must say!) to which I have added a parking brake. It is also setup with the cowlings and baffling from the aeronca and the fit and finish of these cowlings works out well. The windscreen is from a Stearman thus adding to the overall military look of the airplane. I have the wings ready for final finish(same yellow as the tail, with army air corps star at tip) and a week to ten days worth of work should just about do it. "

{Troy's Update June, 1999): "The ship now has two hours on it and it is everything I thought it would be! What a ball! It flew hands off the first time out and I have had to adjust nothing. I tried my cabin.. Oops I mean foot warmer out and I almost cooked. I think that this will extend my flying season somewhat. I am not getting the speed I thought and my rpm's are high so I will be sending the prop in for some twisting. Boy, but it sure jumps off the ground as it is. would kind of like to keep that aspect of performance."

Rich Alter of Sioux City bought a Fly Baby orginally built in 1967.  "It had not been annualed in three years and had  been setting in his shed. After a short inspection I flew it the three hours home without a hitch (other than 300 ft ceilings for a short time). This plane has an old bicycle generator mounted on the landing gear that keeps a small 12v gell cell charged up so you can intermittently use the old Narco comm radio. Works great!"   July 2002 Update:  Rick sells his plane to Jonathon Jackson....

Ireland

John Power of Dublin, Ireland has a set of plans and is preparing to build.

Indiana

Ken Myers should be the envy of us all: He now owns N500F, the original Fly Baby. "It's doing fine," he says. Drop him a line and say, "Howdy!"

Kentucky

Dave Munday , as mentioned earlier, is working on a two-seat Fly Baby.
John Bullens of Berea KY, has over 200 hours on his A-65 Fly Baby . "I putt across the country side at about 70 mph and watch the cars pass by going my direction," he says. "But I don't care, she's fun anyway."

Maine

Wayne White of Anson, Maine just started on his monoplane.  He's building all the biplane mods in so he can switch wings later, if he wants (good idea!).

Bill Eberhardt lives in Orland, and just started building.  He's building a monoplane, and would like to put it on floats eventually.

Alan Lyscars of Portland has started the wooden version of the Hevle tandem from plans.  He's going to power this ship with a Corvair direct drive engine.  He started in 2004, and expects completion in 2009.

Maryland

Jerry David of Port Deposit, Maryland just competed restoring a N65FB, a Fly Baby Biplane. Here's a report of his first flight .
 

Massachusetts

Don Richcreek on Cape Cod (Sandwich) is currently building a Fly Baby.
"I've been working on it now for eleven years on and off. (I've had a family to raise!)  All major components are built, and I'm currently beginning to cover it.  I hope to have the engine hung and running by this summer.  I really enjoyed the wood construction as I am a cabinet maker by trade.  My father built one - N19DR- in Arizona, and I loved the way it flew and looked.  Had to have one!  I've built it all to exact specifications, with no deviations.  I have a 65 hp Continental, using 800.6 tires."

Michigan

Rob Osborne of White Cloud bought a Fly Baby project that has been sitting in a barn for the last ten years.  He says it's been kept dry and the wings were hung properly.  He's got an A-75 Continental and is going to rebuilt it first.

Missouri

Check out Jonathan Smith's progress on his web page . He lives in New Albany MS, and started his project in January 1998.

Kit Lindsay is restoring a Fly Baby in Warrensburg Missouri, about 50 miles east of Kansas City. His hanger is at Short Air, a field five miles south of Warrensburg. He's going to sell it when he's done, so if you're interested, drop him a line. He's putting stringers in the fuselage to give it a rounder shape, so that ought to be interesting.

Here's an update from Kit, dated June 12:
I wanted to drop you a line to let you know that I have finally started covering my plane, I have the tail almost finished and it looks like I might really get it done this summer 5 years after I rescued it from the barn. The only thing I have to do is reinforce the rear spar and I have the material for that already.  I have had a few folks email me over the years wanting to know if it is still for sale, so I know your web page is being seen.  You can check my page out if you want, it is http://www.lindsaytransmission.com   to see more about me.

Martin Weber of Marthasville bought a partially-completed Fly Baby project with a Lycoming O-145 engine.  He's looking for other users of that engine.

Nevada

John Merlino has his Fly Baby about 75% finished. He was considering the 2.6 liter VW, which apparently puts out about 95 Hp, but is now thinking more along the lines of a HCI or Subaru. He's living in Reno, Nevada.

New Hampshire

John Urbahn built his A-65-powered Fly Baby in the MIT hobby shop and has put over 250 hours on it since 1991. He keeps the plane at a grass strip at Hampton, New Hampshire.

New Mexico

Rudy Bauer of Las Cruces NM, has been building about 2 years. (about 50% complete.) He's thinking about Honda 4 cyl, 125 HP, and would appreciate any advice.

Here's an update from Rudy, dated June 2 2000:  ""On my Bi-Fly Baby I'n not using a Honda Engine because of the excessive weight.  I'm rebuilding a EA81 Subaru engine. At this time (6/1/2000) I have 3 wings done and all tail feathers.  I wonder if anyone is putting cable instead of pushrods?  I am also using 6' hinges instead of duct tape. "

New Zealand

Dave McPake of New Zealand started his Fly Baby in early 1998. He reports one flying example and several under construction in his country.

North Carolina

Scott Hinton owns a 1992 Fly Baby built by Murray Gardner (N96MG), based in Mobile, AL. It has a number of speed mods such as streamlined flying wires, all-steel streamlined landing gear and a low profile one piece windscreen. Powered by an A-65, he says he indicates 100mph in cruise flight at 2150 RPM.
UPDATE: Scott's airplane destroyed in wing-failure accident , Scott parachutes to safety.
Dale and Doug Still are building a Fly Baby together...even though they live 500 miles apart! Dale is in Thomasville NC building the wings and fuselage, and Doug is doing the tail in Yorktown VA. As of May 2002, they are getting ready to cover the wings and tail. They have a C-85 and have opted for a pressure cowling with a rounded fuselage.

Cal Heinske out of Clayton NC just made the first flight of N98FB on January 15th, 1999. His plane took 2 1/2 years to build and has a 90 HP Continental with an enclosed cowl. It's finished in early 40's yellow and blue with round insignias on top and bottom of wings and red, white and blue striped rudder. "Flies great!" he says.

Dave Koseruba   of Charlotte, North Carolina, just bought his second Fly Baby and flew it home from Indianapolis.

"Great trip, and the best seat in the house over the mountains of Kentucky,  Tennessee, and NC!  I had another Flybaby 10 years ago in Fla, but found it was built with mostly hardware store parts.  It went to a school for project fun.  This one, "Splinters", was built in 1968 in Indiana by Lowell Morrow.  It has an "up-exhaust" Cont, 65...and sports the blue and yellow scheme of the Army Air Corps.   I may update the cables and plates, but I still think after years of research, that the old steel cable route is the safest and best.  These are Putt-putt airplanes...not zoomers!"

Ohio

Sam Huff report that Fly Baby N510SH has been up and flying since 1996. He's from Columbus Ohio.

Erich Pfalzer of Wilmington received his builder's manual in February, 2002.  He's a member and Tech Counselor in Chapter 284.
member of chapter 284 and a tech counselor for that chapter.

Béla Marosi of Solon is putting the finishing touches on his Fly Baby.  Its Continental A-65 engine started on the first flip of the prop after 30 years in his basement.  He's currently taking flying lessons. [October 2002]

Bill Conn of Fairfield Ohio recently bought N3826.  The airplane was built by a man in Missouri, with construction starting  in 1963 and first flight in 1966.  It currently has 550 hours,

Oklahoma

Hal Owens no longer has an email address, but lives near Oklahoma City.  Here's some great photos of his airplane on Mark Millerborg's web site.

Ontario

Hugh Frampton of Nepean, Ontario recently started construction. He says now "...at the stage of reading and rereading the manual (repeating the mantra of "I think I can, I think I can."). He plans on building his airplane with the fittings for both the biplane wings and for floats. He's considering a CAM-100 (converted Honda engine) but is concerned it might
be too heavy.

Paul Bowyer of Peterborough, Ontario has a lot of good information on both his Fly Baby and Canadian rules:

"My name is Paul Bowyer and I am the new owner of a lovely Flybaby 1A built by Norm Sparrow of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Canada and completed in 1994. The machine has 132 hours on the airframe.

"The Flybaby now nicknamed "Frieda" (C-FRDA) performs just as advertised ( an absolute hoot to fly) and so far has held no surprises except during the landing flare. Kinda just stops flying. One had better be close to the tarmac. Norm did warn me to wheel land! I have around seventy hours on a Murphy Rebel so the taildragger thing was not an issue but with the Murphy three pointing is the only way to land. If anything the Flybaby is somewhat more docile on the ground perhaps due to the C-65 or Mr Bowers talent as a designer. You are dead right about the high speed taxi. Only did that once. The second time I figured it would be safer to fly than taxi. Climb on a hot summer day with my bulk of 230ish pounds is a respectable 500'/min. and cruise is 80mph. Not too bad for 65hp and fast enough for me.

"Norm Sparrow flew Frieda all the way from Saskatoon, Alberta to Peterborough, Ontario back in mid-May so that I would not have to trailer the aircraft all the way. Close to eighteen hundred miles I believe without actually measuring this on a map. The cabin heater kept him from turning into a popsicle in the open cockpit. Norm is an airline pilot with vast experience but all the same Northern Ontario is not the place you would want to have a problem. This flight certainly increased my confidence in the quality of construction and care given the aircraft.

"Are you aware of anyone who has fitted a ballistic type parachute to this aircraft type?"

Mike Lund is another Fly Baby builder in Ontario, Canada.  He's building a Monoplane Baby from the 1972 reprint of the original EAA articles.  Mike says, "I am following the plans as closely as possible, but making some materials substitutions to accomodate local availability and my engine.--- the fuse structure is white ash !!,--- as well as upgrading the sizes of the wires as per the EAA recomendations.  Power will be a Subaru EA-82 with a 2.1:1 planetary redrive."

Hank Smulder of Bainsville has a biplane.  Here's what he has to say:

"The gear is made of aluminum and was found to be too springy.  A set of cross-cables were installed.  The gear is two pieces, bolted to angle iron brackets on the bulkhead inside.

"I didn't build this aircraft but have found the gear able to handle our grass field with ease.  Because of where the gear is placed, this aircraft can't be converted back to a monoplane as the larger wing will interfere with the gear leg.

"My future plan is to fabricate an original gear and install it as I prefer the wood gear look."

Oregon

Dave Fliehr just got done building an RV-8, and is now starting on a Fly Baby!  He's in Grant's Pass.
Jerry Medlock in Salem, Oregon is currently building a 1A.
Bill McKinley of Salem, Oregon, owns N9721, nicknamed "Mayday."
Roger Hoffman of Eugene, Oregon recently ordered a set of plans
Charlie Harp of The Sisters owns a biplane.

Pennsylvania

Don Hoover' s got a nice little Fly Baby in Hunlock Creek, in northern PA.  Here's what Don has to say:
"I built N608X back in the early sixties. Peter Bowers gave me serial no. 63-38 back when the plans were not finished so he sent them out in installments as they became available. I used to fly an old Martin b-26 in WW2 but I never built an airplane before so I made mine strictly by the plans and with all aircraft quality materials. Mr Bowers flew it when I had it out to Rockford E.A.A. fly-in or maybe it was Oshkosh, can't remember any more-will have to check old log book. I think he liked it because he had pretty big smile on his face when he got back. Maybe it was because he was glad he got back--I don't know. Seventeen different people have flown it and everbody came back with the same old smile. I'm not sure why they were smiling either. I do know that a silly grin has become permanent on my face after 1450 hrs. and over 3000 landings which occured between 1966 and 1980. My Flybaby has not flown since but it is ready to go. It has a Cont-A65 cruises at 80,climbout 65-70, 700fpm, touch down 40-IAS -4gal per hr. 1400 hrs of the 1450 is mine, the other 50 was split between 16 other guys. That might sound selfish but if it was'nt for Pete Bowers and my wife and kids,those other guys could not have any fun in their lives at all, SO THERE. I read where some of the other builders said they thought the best way to land was with wheel landings. 2950 of mine were three point or their about. Man. that landing gear sure can take it. ".

Rhode Island

Howard Morrison of Jamesdown started building his Fly Baby in 1992 and is about 75% complete.   He's presently looking for a set of Scott Master brake cylinders or substitute---as well as motor mount for A-65.

Saskatchewan

Mike Haney of Swift Current, Sk, is 40% along on a Fly Baby 1A.

South Africa

Renate Reeve, living with husband Doug near Johannesburg, bought her plane as an unfinished project and finished it in 2003.  The first flight of this O-235-powered beauty was in January 2004.  Says husband Doug, "Now I can see my wife again- I don't know what she looks like anymore and our dogs think she is a stranger.  She hijacked all the tools in our house-I am very proud of her, she put in about 6 hrs a day every weekday and about 14 hrs a day on weekends.  The plane looks fantastic- Well done Vulture."

Peter Lastrucci has restored ZS-UFI.  Peter says:

"ZS-UFI was built in the late sixties by Tony Wills and has accumulated some 900 hours of flying.
It was covered with grade "A" cotton and as a result of over thirty years flying I decided it was time for a recover and thorough inspection. I had also fitted a zero time Continental O200 and wanted the rest of the aeroplane to match the beautiful new engine!

"The airframe was found still be in excellent condition with a few minor bushes and recommended modifications to be carried out.
This is surely a tribute to Tony who has long retired and I thank him for the lovely little aeroplane he built all those years ago.

Matthew Ford , who lives near Jo'berg, had this report in 2002:
"ZU-BAB is now in my garage, and is being stripped of layers of foam from inside the tail feathers and fuselage ! Yup, some previous owner decided to lay up KR 2 type skins over the tail feathers, cut out a second "hole" where the baggage compartment was for a 2 seat version, and a number of other rather dumb "mods". These will all come out, and I will revert back to the standard design. While doing this removal, it gives me a good opportunity to have a good look at the entire airframe.

"Basically, I have a 95% ( Yeah I know ! ) nearly completed basic airframe, on it's undercarriage legs and axles ( the 8.00 X 4 wheels are gone), with the wing panels and tail feathers, windscreen and engine mount.

"The history of my aircraft is as follows :

"Started in the early '70's by a John Milner, whose excellent workmanship is the reason this project is still alive. He was a former Air Force ground staff tecnician ( not sure in what field ), and the build quality looks totally professional -- not homebuilt in the negative sense at all. Then a Jannie Badenhorst bought it, but I'm not sure if he did any work on it, then it stood in his storeroom for a long time. Then I got it in response to a "wanted' advert in the local magazine in 1989. Shortly after I had it it all cleaned up from it's "storage" layers of dust/muck/insect nests etc, our house mortgage rates went up from 11.5% to over 26% in less than it takes to tell it - so off went the Fly Baby to be modified by the next 2 owners till it landed up with the owner of ZS-UFI. Then Peter Lastrucci bought UFI last year some time, and finally it came back to me last week. Bit of a story like the village slut, but with UFI, a Termite, hopefully a Isaac's Fury soon, maybe an EAA biplane and maybe even ZS-UVV, our club at Krugersdorp will have a little "squadron" of single seaters for some real fun flying.

If you live in South Africa and are interested in Fly Babies, Matt would like to hear from you.

South Carolina

Jim Brown of Chester, South Carolina, has just started construction. He owns plans # 4403.
Tim Jones in Ruby, South Carolina, started to build in mid 1998. He's making all his metal parts out of 301 Stainless Steel!

Tennessee

 

Texas

John Burroghs now owns N175X.  He's in Waller Texas, about 35 miles NNW of Houston.   He's an A&P tech and an I.A. and a Designated Mechanic.  Here's how previous owner Robert Giddons described the aircraft:
"N175X was built by Winnie Wackwitz of Plano, Texas. She put about 300 hours on it from when she completed it in Aug. 1990 until she sold it about six years later. The man she sold it to scared himself in it and sold it after only one or two flights. The third owner bought it mainly for the engine, but after flying it decided it was too much fun to salvage. He put about 150 hours on it in a little over two years, then flipped it end over end in some tall grass on the runway here at my home airport (30F) in Lake Dallas, Tx. The airport insurance paid him for the damage, but it still set until I bought it last winter. I sold the C85 engine for enough to pay for the airplane, and buy and rebuild an A65. I then repaired the vertical fin, windshield, headrest, fuel tank and engine cowling (as you can see from the pictures I sent, I haven't finished the cosmetic repairs on the nose bowl yet, having too much fun flying it). So right now the airplane is absolutely free to me, except for my labor. It's considerably heavier than the literature I've seen says that it should be. I weighed it in at 757#, I'm not sure where all that weight is, but the CG works out well with either the metal prop or a wooden one. It would probably be faster too, if I didn't have to pitch the prop to handle its weight (and mine). It cruises about 85 MPH at 2200 RPM. Who cares about the speed, if I want to go faster I'll fly my Mooney or take the company plane. My next project is to complete the Mooney Mite I started rebuilding a few years ago."
Ralph Pineo of Bedford, Texas (DFW area), formerly built a Baby Ace and is now building a Fly Baby in his garage. Based on his Baby Ace experience, he's offsetting the rudder of his 'Baby. I'm not sure it's necessary, but if you want to do the same thing, get hold of Ralph.
David Bolner of Sugar Land, Texas, bought a fixer-upper Fly Baby, but is looking to sell it. He has the prop, Continental 65, the whole plane put together and on the wheels with a few parts missing. He doesn't think it has ever been flown because the wings have never been covered and the ailerons have never been installed. He's going to continue to work on it but it is for sale for $4100.00.
Jerry Gardner lives in Tyler, Texas, and flies a beautiful Fly Baby in Army Air Corps paint.  Here's what he has to say:
"I bought mine from a person in Missouri. He bought it from the original owner and was afraid to fly it. N6503 first flew in 1974.  I bought it with only 260 hrs. on it.  I have put almost 500 hrs. on it.  Several long flights, approx. 300 miles, but usually local flight around Northeastern Texas, Dallas/Ft.Worth to Shreveport.  It is based on Wisener Field in Mineola Texas.  This air field has been in operation since 1917 and has a parallel grass and asphalt runways.  The grass is for all the taildraggers; Stearmans, Fairchilds, Pitts, Cubs, Aeroncas, Cessnas and Fly Babies.

"N6503 has a 65 h.p. cont.. At one time I thought about replacing it with something larger but chose not to.  I have a metal prop and have raced other wood prop models and found I was a lot faster.  Much less drag.  I have redoped and rejuvinated the fabric and put wheel pants on her.  I have made several other modifications but chose not to change her too much.  The bomb under the fuselage is a luggage compartment, it does get alot of comments.  So do the wing guns that are made of pvc pipe.  I have won several people choice awards at fly-ins.

"I also fly a Comanche but for fun I will always chose my Fly Baby."

John Swift of Amarillo presents another Air-Corps painted Fly Baby .

Mark Millerborg owns a hobby store in Bonham, and is documenting the restoration of his Fly Baby on his web page .

Mark's 17 October 2000 update:  "Wanted to let you know that we have completed the Fly Baby restoration and received the FAA sign off.  The first test flight was last Wednesday.  It  lasted 45 min and went well."

Stan Peterson lives in The Woodlands, and is completing a Fly Baby project that he purchased with an old Lycoming 65hp engine. He reports the project is about 3/4 complete and on the gear.

Ron Fountain 's in Houston, and he's just finishing up the fuselage of a Fly Baby he started two years ago.

Rich Dodson is in Portland, Texas, and bought a used Fly Baby in May 2002.  He reports:

"Built by the late William Bensyl of Terre Haute, Indiana in 1973.  The aircraft serial number is 64-34, and although she is registered as a Flybaby II, she is really a modified Flybaby 1A....The plan was for tandem seating (and I know what Mr. Bowers has to say about that!) but she was built (almost) to plans when finished.

"I am having fun taking her apart now, for both inspection and edification.  Ed Sterba is going to make me a prop to replace a
questionable metal one, and I plan to recover at least the wings.  The center instrument panel is being updated as well.  Still have one leg room issue to solve (fuel tank hangs too low), and I borrowed your seat idea from Moonraker, only mine is a bass boat seat (and I am adding some back support in the structure).  Anyway, kicking around the paint job now.  Since so many of these aircraft have 1930's military schemes, I am starting to think again about that".

Michael Vessels lives in Midlothian, and has a Fly Baby  biplane with a WWI cosmetic job in the process of being put back into flying condition.  "Schatzi" was built by a man named Cronk in 1974, and is currently owned by Michael Vessels.  The power plant is a Lyc 0-290-D2, with a big carb, but it still only a cruise of 95 to 100 kts.  The big WWI style wheels are from a Harley Davidson Trike. [August 2003]

Virginia

Dale and Doug Still are building a Fly Baby together...even though they live 500 miles apart! Dale is in Thomasville NC building the wings and fuselage, and Doug is doing the tail in Yorktown VA. They anticipate completion in 1999.

Matt Wise of Norfolk VA also started his Fly Baby in 1998. He'd like to hear from other builders, especially regarding material sources.

Washington

Mike Proshold has a nice looking Gee Bee paint job on his bird.  He's based out of Longview.

Ross Wolin of Seattle bought a 75HP Fly Baby with cub wheel pants, a drag reduced axle, covered wood landing gear, and a one piece curved windscreen. It was completed by Virgil Bailey back in 1982. "All the drag reduction stuff seems to make a difference," he says. " On a cool day I can just about keep up with Chris Brown's 85hp model in straight/level cruise - we were doing 90-95 mph. Unfortunately, he still kicks my ass in a climb competition. :-)." Here's a formation shot of Ross and Chris. UPDATE:  Ross sold the plane to another man at the same airport....

Ron Garnes is building a Fly Baby out of Spokane, Washington:

"I have recently purchased plans for the flybaby from Mr. Bowers. I am a retired Marine (Helicopters), and while going thru A&P school here in Spokane, WA was looking for a simple woodworking project to fullfill some of my school projects. A friend and fellow student redrew the wing ribs a a traditional truss and we have completed about 12 of them. I have read all your articles on the fly baby and seen several at different airshows over the years and that is what convinced me it is the right design for me. It will probably take me five years to build it at my current rate of progress but add my name to your files."
 Art Blodgett lives in Spokane, and recently completed a two-seat Fly Baby :
     "I started building the first of August, 1997. I liked the looks and  simplicity of the flybaby design but wanted a two place aircraft. The  fuselage is 40 inches wide at the cabin, the horizontal tail surface span was increased to 10 feet, and the vertical tail span increased 12 inches. I left the wing design and dimensions stock as per the plans. The landing gear legs were made wider by an inch and reinforced with 4130 tubing. The plane was built with a full gyro panel and electrical system. the engine and prop are from a 1964 Cessna 150. (Continental 0-200 A). I made an enclosed canopy with gull wing style doors. Its got kind of a squared off look to it but all the plexiglass is flat and easily replaceable. the doors can be removed for open cockpit flight. All the materials used were aircraft grade purchased from Aircraft Spruce & Speciality Co. in California. My empty weight ended up right at 900 lbs and I've set the gross weight at 1350 lbs. I used standard 2.7 oz ceconite covering with certified coatings nitrate silver base and butyrate white for the finish. Trim colors are Imron. I flew it the first and only time on November 7, 1999, and then the weather wouldn't co-operate and I now have it put away for the winter. The first flight was supposed to be a taxi test but I think she just really wanted to fly. Other than needing a larger trim tab on the rudder, it flew fine.    I've gotten quite alot of support from Gene Fisher
who lives close to me and built his flybaby in 1972. "
Ron Wanttaja owns Moonraker , a fully-equipped Fly Baby built in 1982 in California, and flew Pete Bowers' prototype for eight years.  Moonraker is based at Auburn Airport, open hangar #77.


Questions?  Email Ron Wanttaja .