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Old 09-15-2008, 04:45 PM   #1
RandyL
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Default Sept '08 KOTM - Steve Wilson

85DD 8-2008.jpg
Steve Wilson (SkySteve) - Huntsville, UT (flying out of Ogden OGD)
Model 1 (well, kind of a model 1,3&4)
Rotax 912A (80hp) Certified, Warp Drive medium 3 blade ground adj.
Started April, 2005 Completed and flown August, 2008

The story of 85DD:
We all know the saying, "If these walls could talk". If Kitfox 85DD could talk she would tell us an interesting story, only part of which I know. Here’s what I know about her. In 1986 Dan Denney finished 85DD. She was used as a Poster Child for multiple Kitfox Aerocraft advertisements where she was adorned by floats, a beautiful woman and serene landscapes. She represented all Kitfoxes at AirVenture in Oshkosh and to this very day still proudly displays a 1986 winner’s sticker on her port side.

There is a gap in her history following these events, but her log book indicates some wing and fabric damage/repair, an engine change (to the 912A Certified aircraft engine) and later, a new set of wings from a wrecked model 3. Ownership was transferred from Dan to his uncle. In 2004 she moved to Ogden, Utah and was owned by Jim Duffy, an A&P mechanic at the Ogden airport. Jim put very little time on 85DD which ended with a ground loop. In 2005 I was just starting flying lessons and thinking about the Sport Pilot certification when my CFI suggested I purchase 85DD. At his recommendation I did just that. Having absolutely no knowledge or understanding of the differences between a taildragger and nosewheel airplane I jumped right in and took off . . . then tried to land. On my second landing I quickly learned about ground loops! 85DD had tossed me like an unruly wild horse and had hurt herself in the process. There she lay; broken wing tip, broken propeller, and broken main gear. And me, with a broken heart.



Upon finding a qualified A&P mechanic, we moved 85DD to Morgan, UT and started to rebuild. I sought advice from some who said, "Just put her back together and fly her", but I had developed a fear of 85DD as a taildragger. What would she try next? Our fist rebuild project was new Grove main gear. I called Grove, who responded they do not make gear for a Kitfox model one. In fact, after calling many suppliers I soon found out no one makes anything for a model one, you are just on your own. So, whenever we needed parts I ordered parts for a model 4 and made the necessary changes to 85DD to make them fit. Here is a list of modifications and upgrades 85DD now carries:
  • Model 3 wings (supplied by Dan Denney)
  • Rotax 912A, 80hp Certified aircraft engine (also supplied by Dan Denney)
  • Engine starting primer
  • Vertical Stabilizer height increased by 10 inches (to match a model 4 rudder)
  • Model 4 rudder
  • Warp Drive 3 Blade medium ground adjustable prop
  • Nosewheel & Tailwheel convertible conversion
  • Grove spring aluminum main gear
  • Grove 6" wheels
  • Grove disc brakes
  • Dual pilot Matco toe brake controls with master reservoir
  • Airhawk 600-6 tires
  • K&N Ram air carburetor induction system
  • Clear doors (soon to be bubble doors)
  • Padded windscreen dash
  • Carpet with carbon fiber heel plate
  • Battery moved to tail section and adjustable tail weight system
The maiden flight following completion was by a very brave Kitfox friend, Tim Kaser. His first flight was about 50 feet high and 400 feet long when all at once the engine sputtered and coughed. Tim put the airplane down like an old pro while I prayed he would return to earth safely. The result of much testing and discussion was a carburetor ram air system using a large cone shaped K&N air filter. The second launch was conducted by John Oakley (No one knows where Tim disappeared to). John took off . . . It was a beautiful flight culminating in a great landing. John then flew 85DD back to the Ogden airport. I climbed in and with great trepidation . . . took off. 85DD offered no resistance. Like a freed eagle she soared. When landing, she gave up her fight and stayed straight on roll out. Finally, 85DD was transformed from a wild fighting savage beast into a tame and willing friend.


With about 10 hours flying time, she and I are becoming partners. She quickly climbs out at 1,200 fpm at ¾ throttle and there is more to be had if needed. Fuel burn appears to be about 3.5-4gph using 91 octane auto fuel. Cruising at 90mph is easy and I understand about the max one should fly the model one. Including the purchase price, rebuild and upgrades I now have over $40,000 invested in 85DD. More mods are planned for the near future.

85DD 4-2008.jpg

85DD New Main & Tundra tires 1 10-3-2007.jpg

DSC00006.jpg
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Old 09-15-2008, 04:55 PM   #2
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Default Piece of history indeed!

Steve,

Wow, you've got a real piece of Kitfox history there, how appropriate for the very first KOTM. Congrats on the rebuild, and especially for not getting discouraged and giving up on it. I'm sure you and your Kitfox will enjoy many fine flight hours now. Good job!
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Old 09-15-2008, 06:11 PM   #3
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Default

WOW! Thanks for the honor of being the first KOTM! I will let 85DD know tomorrow when I take her for a short flight.
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Kitfox 85DD
912A / 3 Blade Taper Tip Warp Drive
Convertible Nosewheel & Tailwheel
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Old 09-15-2008, 06:19 PM   #4
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Default Fantastic choice for 1st KOTM 85DD

Steve , I have to 2nd what Randy says. It is very fitting that your Kitfox is the first KOTM.
It was Oshkosh 84 I think when I first saw Dan Denney fly 84DD. It sure caught my attention. But it was 85DD that set the hook for good. I literally wore out two of Kitfox's VHS sales tapes dreaming of my own Kitfox and 85DD was the star.
I dare say that 85DD caught up hundreds of pilots like myself that dreamed of high performance flight on a working mans budget.

85DD looks to be in great hands and I hope you fly it to the Kitfox Factory Fly-in next year. It would be great to get a photo taken with her, maybe even sit in the pilots seat. Hint. Hint.
Nice job restoring 85DD Steve and congrats. on being the first KOTM. Enjoy every flight.

Last edited by DesertFox4; 09-17-2008 at 12:15 AM.
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Old 09-15-2008, 07:27 PM   #5
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Default Looks Great

Steve,
Congratulations on getting 85DD flying again. She sure looked sad sitting in the corner of the hanger when I came up a couple years ago. I third the motion that she deserves to be the maiden Kitfox of the month...you have a great plane!
Dan B
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Old 09-18-2008, 09:48 AM   #6
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Default I was bummed at first.

Steve,

I clicked on the forums and my little orange and white beauty wasn't there
on the upper right at the very first shot, I was bummed at first,
then I realized it was yours. If you recall walking across the field to greet us, at Ogden last year, as Denise and I were making our way back to Texas from the Kitfox factory fly-in. We were excited to here about your build story, and if have to lose my picture slot on the forum, I couldn't have picked a better one.

Congratulations
Denise and Rocky Whitman
Series 7 912S
IVO IFA
AUSTIN,TX
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Old 09-19-2008, 06:54 AM   #7
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Rocky & Denise,
Yes, I do remember meeting you in Ogden last year. You have a great looking plane. I wanted to get 85DD to this year's factory fly-in but just didn't get things completed in time. She will be there next year for the Kitfox Silver Anniversary! I hope to see you again then.
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Kitfox 85DD
912A / 3 Blade Taper Tip Warp Drive
Convertible Nosewheel & Tailwheel
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Old 09-19-2008, 07:35 AM   #8
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Default

Look at it this way Rocky, your Kitfox was the "pre-KOTM" KOTM.
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Old 09-19-2008, 08:25 AM   #9
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Default Submit your plane for KOTM!

Rocky, don't be bummed, achieve worldwide fame and the adoration of your Kitfox peers by submitting your plane for KOTM. The 'sticky' message at the top of this forum has the instructions. It'll stay in the forum forever unlike the front page of the site which will change at the whim of the webmaster.
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Old 09-22-2008, 11:41 AM   #10
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Default 85DD Short Take Off Winner

Just for fun, I just googled "N85DD" and came up with a Kitfox news letter dated June, 1989 which stated, "We won the short-field take-off competition at Watsonville again this year with N85DD, for the fourth time in the four years we've been there". Kind of cool. Try googling your N number. You might be surprised at what you find!
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Kitfox 85DD
912A / 3 Blade Taper Tip Warp Drive
Convertible Nosewheel & Tailwheel
SkySteve's SPOT Page
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