The plane is powered by a "better half"
VW engine. The plane cruises along at 53 mph, stalls at 19, and according
to Leonard is "real responsive and a pleasure to fly." All of
the control systems are located outside the fuselage and the wings are
completely sealed to prevent "those creepy crawly things"
from getting in.
"The whole idea of this plane is to be
economical - you can afford it if you want to do the work." The plans
consist of a cover sheet with the specifications on it, 42 sheets of
drawings, and a materials list. Plans sell for $50.
Leonard estimates building time to be about 6
months. The engine is unique in that it is not a "half VW" but
rather uses a full case. Plans are also available for the engine design
which Leonard indicates he has been doing for over 10 years.
For more information contact
Brookshire Texas 77423
Mike Kimbrel flies the Legal Eagle
By Leonard Milholland
"It flies like a Cub, a slow Cub." These were the words
I got from Mike when he had landed after test flying my Legal Eagle
ultralite. Mike Kimbrel's opinion was very valuable to me as Mike
has many thousands of hours in a great variety of planes. Mike owns
a DC3 and 14 other planes that he keeps at his farm airstrip in
Oakville, Washington. He recently flew to England in his 310 Cessna
mostly IFR so he was well qualified to test the handling of an
ultralite. He is also the designer of the Banty ultralite and has
sold many sets of plans for it.
I was invited to a wedding of one of Mike's sons. At the affair,
we talked Mike and his wife, Mary, into coming home with us for a
couple of days visit. I had for some time been trying to get some
highly qualified pilot to fly the Legal Eagle and see how they liked
the qualities that I had been enjoying for the last couple of years.
I had always thought that the Legal Eagle flew great but I also knew
that I might be a little blind to any faults that it might have, as
it was my baby and had hatched it here in my own shop.
evening after we arrived at my hangar home I flew the plane for Mike
and let him observe as I flew around the pattern here at Sport
Flyers field. The weather was not the best as the heat here in Texas
had gotten the air a little choppy. After landing I told Mike,
"You wait till morning." The windsock will be wrapped
around the pole in the morning and I want you to get a smooth air
flight. Sure enough, the early morning proved me correct with no
I was very impressed with the preflight that Mike gave the
little ship before he was ready to give it a test flight. Nothing
went with out being looked over carefully. This is probably why Mike
has had very few problems in his many thousands of flying hours. Did
I mention that he is a high time Delta pilot? With no wind
conditions we could see just how quick the Legal Eagle could get off
the ground. Well, we were pleased to see the plane took off in just
300 ft. and the climb was just as impressive. Mike stayed up for a
long time and I was glad I had put a gallon of gas in before he left
as I knew the Better Half VW used 2.1 gals per hr. and he could stay
up as long as he wanted to.
Mike made several orbits of our field
and I could see him moving the controls to test the stability in
several modes. Then he came in for a landing and made a touch and go
this was repeated several times. What beautiful landings. Very
smooth, not a bounce in a car load. What a pilot. It was plain to
see that he was having a good time. With the no wind conditions we
were able to see just how much distance the plane would need to land
and stop. Wow, just about 200 ft. was all, then he had to use
throttle to get back to the hangar.
All this time I was taking
pictures as fast as I could squeeze the shutter button. Mike taxied
up to the hangar, shut down the engine and sat in the plane and
began talking about another subject. I was anxious to find out about
how he had felt the plane flew. I finally asked him what about the
plane? How does it fly? Did you like it? Mike just looked at me and
said, "Itís great it. Flies like a Cub, a slow Cub."