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The Shield Xyla is a one off design by Gorge Shield, who was headmaster of Mexborough Grammar School in Yorkshire. It was built at the school, which shows a level of trust in the pupils which would be hard to find these days! It first flew in October 1971. Powered by a 65hp Continental engine, it cruises at 110mph and has a range of 500 miles.

It is seen here being prepared for a flight at Doncaster, April 1977.

The Sky Arrow is a two seat tandem composite machine built by Iniziative Industriali Italia SpA (formerly known as Meteor SpA). It is available either as a factory-built or a kit aircraft. It cruises at 110mph and has a range of 390 miles. There are about 14 in the UK as of summer 2006. It is 24 feet 9 inches long and has a wing span of 31 feet 5 inches.

Kemble, July 2005

The Slepcev Storch is a 75% scale replica of the German wartime Fiesler Storch, designed in Switzerland by Nestor Slepcev. The visual effect is faithful and the build quality excellent, but it is better on the ground than in the air; a Storch needs a growling Argus inline (or a radial if you have a Morane-Saulnier version), and this one has a high-revving, whining Rotax! It cruises at a stately 85mph (pretty comfortable when you reflect that the stalling speed is only just over 35mph). It is a very unusual machine, ideal for someone with a flair for the historical, a sense of individuality, and a great deal of patience!

Top Farm, July 2005

One of a small number of homebuilt amphibians, the SMAN Petrel is a little two seat composite floating biplane powered by a Rotax engine. SMAN stands for Societe Morbihannaise d'Aero Navigation ... no wonder they abbreviated it.

This picture was taken at Cranfield, date uncertain

The Spezio Tuholer was designed by Tony Spezio and first flew in May 1961. The `proper' name is Spezio Sport DAL-1, but with the cockpit looking like two holes, the nickname stuck. It is a very economical machine, with a metal tube fuselage and wooden wings all covered with fabric, powered by a 125hp Lycoming engine, which enables it to cruise at 120mph. It is 18 feet long, with a wing span of only 24 feet.

Cranfield, date uncertain

The Staaken Flitzer was designed by Llyn Williams(www.flitzer.btinternet.co.uk), to represent a hypothetical World War One fighter. The Staaken name is unrelated to the famous German pioneering aviation company. It is mainly made of wood and fabric, and is powered by a 65hp converted Volkswagen engine. This gives it a cruising speed of 85mph and range of 300 miles. It is a very small single seater, with gross weight of only 750lb, 14 feet 9 inches long, with a wing span of 18 feet.

This is a rather poor picture, taken at Kemble in July 2005; there were no moments in the day when it was not surrounded by onlookers!

The Starck AS80 Holiday was designed in 1947 by French designer Andre Starck. It is a two seater in a similar class to the Piper Cub; its 75hp Regnier engine enables it to cruise at 90mph, and it has a range of 200 miles. Gross weight is 1,210lb; it is 21 feet 5 inches long and has a wing span of 32 feet 5 inches.

This one visited Cranfield, July 1987

The Steen Skybolt is a two seat high performance aerobatic biplane designed by Lamar Steen in the USA and first flown in October 1970. It is larger than the superficially similar Pitts Special, so is preferred by larger pilots. Plans are available from www.steenaero.com. It has conventional construction - metal tube fuselage, wooden wings and fabric covering. It can be powered by any suitable engine, normally a Lycoming ranging from 180 to over 300 hp. It `cruises' (if any pilot can ever bring himself not to do aerobatics in it) at over 150mph. It is 19 feet long, with a wing span (upper) of 24 feet, and gross weight of 1,800lb.

Cranfield, July 1980

The Stits Playboy is a 940lb single seater designed in the USA by Ray Stits, and first flown in 1952. The fuselage is made of metal tube with wooden wings, the whole covered with fabric. This one is powered by a Continental C-90 engine, but other engines can be used: for example, a 125hp engine gives it a cruising speed of 120mph. It is 18 feet long, with a wing span of 23 feet.

Top: Cranfield, July 1980

Bottom: Breighton, June 2007 (someone little being allowed to sit in the cockpit to make up for bumping his leg while helping to move the Chipmunk, behind, so the owner could get the Playboy out).

The Stolp Starduster Too is a two seat aerobatic biplane, reminiscent of the Pitts Special, but noticeably larger. It was designed by Californian designer Louis Stolp, who flew his prototype in 1957. It is a very agile aircraft with crisp, powerful control. Like the Pitts Special, it is normally powered by a Lycoming 180hp engine. Length is 20 feet, wing span 24 feet and maximum takeoff weight 1,980lb. Top speed is 210mph and range 830 miles.

15 are currently registered in the UK (as of October 2005), including this one, pictured at Cranfield in July 1983.

The Taylor JT1 Monoplane is a wooden single seat aircraft designed for amateur construction by John Taylor, and first flown from White Waltham in 1959. It is a very small aircraft: length is only 15 feet and wing span 21 feet. Maximum weight is 660lb. It cruises at 90mph for a range of 300 miles. A variety of engines can be installed; this one, built in 1978 and seen at Kemble in July 2005, has a 1,834cc Volkswagen engine. 33 were registered in the UK in October 2005.
The Taylor JT2 Titch is a diminutive single seater, just over 16 feet long and having a wing span of 18 feet 9 inches, which can reach a top speed of 180mph on the power of an 85hp Continental engine. Like the JT1, it was designed by John Taylor.

This one was at Leicester, July 1980

The Tecnam Echo is one of the newer kit aircraft, designed in Italy but now marketed worldwide (see, for example, www.tecnamaircraft.com). Its 100hp Rotax 912 engine gives it a cruising speed of 130mph. It is a two seater, with a gross weight of 1,290lb, length of 21 feet, and wing span of 28 feet 6 inches.

Kemble, July 2005

The Tecnam Sierra is another design following similar principles to the Echo, being mostly aluminium with a few fibreglass mouldings. On the same engine, it cruises 10mph faster than the Echo. Gross weight is the same as the Echo, and dimensions are similar, length being 21 feet 8 inches, and wing span 28 feet 2 inches.

Kemble, July 2005

The Trempik SK1 is one of the very first Czech homebuilt aircraft. It is a one off design by Jan Simunek. Unfortunately I know very little else about it.

It visited Cranfield in July 1983.

The Teverson Bisport is a one-off modification of the Steen Skybolt, designed and built by Richard Teverson in the UK. The aim was to reduce the landing speed to make it more suitable to operate from short strips, and cover the two seats with a single piece canopy. It is a delightful and beautifully crafted machine, which was pictured at Kemble in July 2005
The Thurston Teal is a two seat all metal amphibian which first flew in June 1968. Interestingly, the engine is mounted with the propeller facing forwards (in contrast to the Lake LA-4 or Volmer Sportsman). Its 150hp Lycoming O-320 engine gives it a cruising speed of 110mph and range of over 500 miles.

This suitably registered example was pictured at an uncertain location, but it looks suspiciously like Cranfield.

The Tipsy Nipper is a minuscule single seater designed by Belgian designer E.O. Tips, and initially built by the Belgian Tipsy comany, who imported about 14 to Britain in the 1960s. It is very agile, and described by David's father's cousin as `the only aircraft I've ever taken off in and done three rolls before reaching the end of the runway!' Its shoulder mounted wing gives excellent all-round visibility but makes it quite tricky to get into or out of. The design was adopted by Slingsby, the Yorkshire-based glider makers, who built just over 30 at their Kirkbymoorside works. Plans are available for home builders, with whom it is quite popular due to its simple construction of fabric over steel tube; about nine homebuilt examples are currently active in the UK.  Length is only 14 feet 9 inches, wing span 19 feet 8 inches and maximum weight 725lb. It will cruise at 90mph for up to 200 miles.

This Belgian registered example was at Cranfield in 1998.