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Old 03-03-2009, 04:34 PM   #1
RandyL
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Default March '09 KOTM - Joe Meyeres

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Joe Meyeres (Joe Meyeres), Olathe KS
Kitfox Model IV
Rotec R2800 Radial

This project started because my son discovered airplanes in 1998 working as a lineman at a local FBO! How cool that was!!! (I have been in the aviation industry since 1971 as a maintenance technician and pilot so I knew how cool they were.) He thought he wanted to fly for a living, so I convinced my wife that building a kit would give him a good basis on the mechanical aspects and when we were done we would have a solid airframe without hidden corrosion or the other evils of time... she bought it hook, line and sinker! (Surprised me!)

I found this airplane in kit form in Iowa. The fellow I bought it from just did not have the time to devote to the project so he just covered the fuselage with a bed sheet and it sat idle for 4 years collecting dust. His brother in law (who built a Model 3) told me about it so I went to pay him a visit. It was just as I would have ordered it... powder coated, quick build wing kit, full sized panel, two 13 gallon wing tanks... perfect! I wanted it pretty badly, but a reality bite hit home...I had 3 kids in college at the time. After a full year went by I called to see if he still had it. He did, I still wanted it so I shot him a price and we both came away compromising but both of us were happy!

I brought it home in December of 2000 and started on it in the garage. While there, I worked on finalizing the wings and building up the fuselage, gear, panel, etc. until I needed to mount the wings and get them to fold properly. Then it went to a t-hangar about the time 9/11 happened. I wasn't sure if anyone would fly general aviation again. It was sureal to be at a busy airport but not a single engine was running in the backround and not one contrail in the sky for the longest time. But eventually things started to move again. A buddy of mine in Nebraska was needing a project and he offered to help me do all the covering. I had limited experience on fabric so I trailored it to his place and we covered it and got it thru silver there.

It wasn't until after it was covered that I seriously started to search for a suitable powerplant. A friend found the Rotec website and was all excited about the radial engine. When I first saw pictures of it, there was nothing to do any size comparison with, so I unconsiously discounted it as a player.... that is until I saw pictures Brian Hennemans blue and white SuperFox! I knew then that the search was over. I wanted the old time look from the round engine to the flat finish on the paint. When I saw John Kings Model IV I fell in love with the simple clean lines it showed. This airplane just begged for a similar design and the result is what you see today.

This is a Kitfox Classic Model IV sporting a Rotec Radial R2800, 110 HP engine and swinging a 70" Sterba wooden climb pitched prop. There are numerous modifications which include all the Speedster mods except clipping the wing and installing wheel pants. I elected to go with larger tires, electric trim and some minor changes including a removeable pitot/static tube, a large one piece rear window, landing/taxi lights with a pulse light option, strobes and nav lights. The upholstery is standard Kitfox material.

The airworthiness was signed off in August 2008 and I am working on the 40 hour flyoff. The airplane is located at K-34, the Gardner Kansas Municipal Airport just outside the Kansas City Metro area. K-34 has one of the nicest grass runways in the midwest.

Since I work on aircraft for a living, this project woudl set idle, sometimes for months. There are times when you just need a break! My son went off to college and I could not pass building on the project! He eventually wound up with a degree in Aviation Science, has his A & P tickets, Private License and Tailwheel endorsement. He no longer has aspirations to fly for a living and went on to get a degree in Art and is working on his Masters Degree.

I have to say the builders manual could have been more user friendly, but this is a basic airplane that anyone with some time and even limited skills can produce. I would not hesitate to do it again but I don't know if I would actually do anything differently. I am happy with the way it turned out and am still doing little things here and there.

Now that it is done, I plan on doing lots of fly ins. That beautiful engine is a magnet and I have met alot of people because of it. The folks at Rotec have been very helpful and responsive to any questions or needs. If you get the chance please visit them at www.rotecradialengines.com and see all the different aircraft their engines are on or planned to go on. Thanks to Kitfox for producing a wonderful little airplane kit and to my wife and family for putting up with me while I burned some midnight oil getting this done.

Straight and level full power... 127 MPH
75% cruise power 105 to 110 MPH
65% cruise power 90 to 95 MPH
Slow flies all day long at 40 MPH, Stalls straight ahead at 35 MPH


Below are a couple of the interior and panel. It has changed somewhat on the panel... still no radios, but all the instrument markings are now in place. Plans are for a Micro Air Com and Micro Air Transponder, then a Honeywell AV8OR GPS. The interior fabric is standard Kitfox fare.


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Old 03-03-2009, 08:05 PM   #2
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Default Re: March '09 KOTM - Joe Meyeres

Wow Joe, that's one stunning bird -- you must be the talk of the ramp wherever you land. Your cowl install look especially tidy, very nice workmanship!

Thanks for taking the time to write it up for us, I know there are a lot of folks who will appreciate the story and pics.
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Old 03-03-2009, 08:40 PM   #3
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Default Re: March '09 KOTM - Joe Meyeres

Thank you Randy! Wish I could say I did every bit of it myself, but I had lots of help with fabric work, paint and especially the cowl fittment. Without the help of friends... who sometimes had to make me focus a little harder... it would not have turned out as you see it today.

Thanks for your time at the TeamKitfox site for all your help in providing a venue for all of us Kitfox builders.
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Old 03-03-2009, 10:54 PM   #4
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Default Re: March '09 KOTM - Joe Meyeres

Joe,
that's one hansom looking and classic sounding Kitfox. As much as I love my 912S Rotax for reliability and performance I gotta say the Rotec takes the beauty contest hands down. Looks like future Kitfox builders will have another viable engine choice to ponder over. Thanks to you Joe and a couple other builders for plowing new ground with this installation. We'll all be rooting for you guys to have hundreds of fun trouble free hours of flying. Please keep us posted. Nice job!
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Old 03-04-2009, 04:41 AM   #5
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Default Re: March '09 KOTM - Joe Meyeres

Quote:
Originally Posted by DesertFox4 View Post
Joe,
that's one hansom looking and classic sounding Kitfox. As much as I love my 912S Rotax for reliability and performance I gotta say the Rotec takes the beauty contest hands down. Looks like future Kitfox builders will have another viable engine choice to ponder over. Thanks to you Joe and a couple other builders for plowing new ground with this installation. We'll all be rooting for you guys to have hundreds of fun trouble free hours of flying. Please keep us posted. Nice job!

Hey Steve,
Thanks for the nice words, but I keep thinking how this would look as a bi-plane with the round motor! Now that would be really cool and unique! The guys at Rotec have been absolutely great to work with. Any issues I had, they were right on it. Can't say enough good things about their service.
Joe
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Old 03-04-2009, 06:57 PM   #6
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Default Re: March '09 KOTM - Joe Meyeres

Hey Joe,
Nice work on your project. I am building a SuperSport with a Rotec 2800 and am working on the cowling. Is yours a metal cowling? I am building a fiberglass cowling and wonder if you have some advice and recommendations.
See my progress photo attached.
Don
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Old 03-04-2009, 08:15 PM   #7
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Default Re: March '09 KOTM - Joe Meyeres

Hi Don,
I've been seeing some of your photo's! Nice job on the SS. On my cowling, I was able to use my fiberglass boot cowl only. The Model 4 boot cowl has 4 flat areas that provide the attachment for the ring cowl. Obviously the ring cowl is too small to use with this installation, so what I did was cut the flats out of the boot cowl and fiberglassed plugs in thier place. Then I filled and sanded, matching the contour of the existing cowl which is now my rolled leading edge. For a finishing touch I used a NAPA door edge gaurd (made of nothing but plastic) and glued it on the leading edge of the cowl to take up the gap between the collector ring and cowling. 1/4" gap is plenty to keep the plastic guard from melting.
It took some patience, and I should have done a nicer job making the gap more even and consistant. But be patient and take a little off at a time, check for fit, take a little more off if needed then check for fit. If you can use your boot cowl it should save hours of time versus laying one up from scratch.
Also, there are some folks around here after me to put on a speed ring. It would add to that old time look and not that it is out of the question, but it is a very low priority for me. The speed ring will get you a few more Kts and make the engine run cooler, but... the way it is, this engine runs pretty cool now. I didn't build this for speed, nor do I want to cover up all that beautiful machine work! So a speed ring is pretty much a mute point for me, however if you are interested I can put you in touch with a guy here that can turn one out for you rather quickly. He and his son do a real nice job on the English Wheel.
Joe
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Old 03-05-2009, 01:59 PM   #8
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Default Re: March '09 KOTM - Joe Meyeres

Great job Joe, I knew it was only a matter of time before your beauty graced the pages of KOTM. You have done such a great job on the plane and your write ups are another plus to your talents. They are very informative and are a nice read. I to love my 912 but there is no doubt about it the radial is impressive, not only for the looks but you got to love the sound. How soon before I get a ride?????
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Old 03-05-2009, 05:25 PM   #9
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Default Re: March '09 KOTM - Joe Meyeres

Thanks Bryan,

I was hoping to end up with an airplane that, when parked next to yours, I would not be too embarassed! You set the bar pretty high, my friend. Thanks for your comments. Can't wait for you to go fly this machine.

Got some ideas for the fly in if we can get it together. I have some friends here that have a commercial Bar-B-Que trailor and they do catering for all kinds of events and different sized crowds, some others who would do a little Blue Grass festival for us. So don't give up on the "Fly In" idea just yet. If we advertise a little and that bar-b-que aroma wafts thru the state, the crowds will come!

Joe
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Old 03-05-2009, 06:06 PM   #10
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Default Re: March '09 KOTM - Joe Meyeres

Did you need to do anything special to keep the weight and balance in check?

I've heard that the "installed" weight of the Rotec is upwards of 250#. Is that accurate?

Definitely one of the nicest looking KF's around. I'd love to see it in person. Are you coming to Oshkosh this year with it?

(I'll have you now that your plane is my desktop picture on mt computer at work.)
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