Building & Flying

The way a Bushbaby leaps into the air never fails to amaze me. This one flies like a dream, no adjustments needed. Beet Loubser, Loeriesfontein – I was looking for an affordable kit plane, built with local materials, that would fit on my trailer, so 1 opted for a Bushbaby. I did not have to think or pay in dollars. The kit arrived, already resembling an aircraft. The frame and all the metal parts come pre-welded, with every nut and bolt supplied. All you have to do is stick to the manual, or in homebuilt parlance, RTFM!

First job was to drill a couple of holes, file and deburr, two and a half days of labour. Then off to Cape Town for powder coating. “Town” is 450 km from Loeriesfontein. I prefer to powder-coat all the metal parts. It saves a lot on labour and time. Do make sure you use exterior grade powder coating! Back to Loeries, wings went into jigs. Everything is just glued together, but the glue sticks in anything and everything. No soap washes it off. I sat on my hands in church on Sundays, hands too filthy for words.

Fitting the wings to the fuselage is a major milestone. Now it looked like an aircraft. Sat in the cockpit and made airplane noises. Waroom… Rink tinfinn… Keting… Ting… if it is going to be a two-stroke. (Apologies to the two-stoke fans). Covering was a breeze. The dope and fabric system, now also locally made and supplied by Kitplanes, is very good. Now it really looked like and airplane. Two months into the project; engine and electrics next I am no sparkie, however, to my surprise, everything is pure logic. No pyrotechnics and ready to fire up the brand new Rotax 582/99. Propeller made by Peter de Necker, 72 by 50. The prop looks impressive on such a small engine.

Paper work done, will it fly? After running in the engine and checking and re-checking everything just to be sure, I took a deep breath and taxied to the active.

The way a Bushbaby leaps into the air never fails to amaze me, This one flies like a dream, no adjustments needed. She is not extremely fast, not too slow either. It can be used for serious cross-country if you really want to. For the most part, however, it is just a nice aerie to go flying in, with the doors open and watching die world move by.

My thanks to Kitplanes for Africa for a superb kit and an easy and sweet-handling little aeroplane.

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