What I am looking for are airplanes that can be built or bought by folks of modest means. The materials for the plane should be available locally, ideally at the nearest lumberyard. The tools and skills required should be within reach of the average do-it-yourselfer. The overall cost of the aircraft should be within reach of the multitude of working people. Well what does that mean? Let's say ideally you can get the next century plane airworthy for around the cost of a KIA automobile or less. My final tenet is that the aircraft should have a very good community of builder/pilots who will keep it alive.
You likely have noticed that I favor plans built planes over kit built aircraft. This is because often kit aircraft are prohibitively expensive. Remember we are thinking KIA here, not Lamborghini. But we shouldn't rule kit planes out, especially if they are within the price range of the KIA.
Till now I've shown you the Bowers Flybaby, the Colomban Cri-Cri, the BUG and GOAT gliders of Mike Sandlin, and the venerable Pietenpol.
But let's say you want something that is a little bit bigger. Maybe you want something a little more slippery, without all those pesky struts and cables to slow things down. Something fast and yet still within the parameters of the 'next century' aircraft.
|Mark Langford's KR, Used with Permission|
With all this in mind I present to you the iconic KR line of aircraft. This legend was born in 1972 when visionary aircraft designer Ken Rand built and flew the KR-1. This single seater has very clean lines and would set the trend for most modern composite aircraft we see today. What sets the KR apart? Well for one thing it pioneered a revolutionary new approach to aircraft construction. In the industry they call it foam and fiberglass composite.
One of the things that impresses me about the KR-1 in particular is it can be flown with a Volkswagen engine. This means a very inexpensive and easy to maintain power plant. Obviously the larger KR-2 and KR-2S would benefit from a more robust engine.
With so many different configuration options and power plant options there is no easy way to tell you the performance specs for this aircraft because no two are quite the same. I can say that properly equipped she could wax the tail of any plane in the Lamborghini price range!
The KR is supported by a very avid owner/builder/pilot community who is always willing to lend a hand.