The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

July 25, 2012

Woodring to host experimental aircraft at fly-in

By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID — When people think of experimental aircraft, they often think of people sitting in an odd-looking device flying through the sky.

But experimental aircraft are not all like that, and a number of them will be on display at about 8 a.m. Saturday at Enid Woodring Regional Airport for the monthly fly-in breakfast.

DeeAnn Ediger, of the Enid Experimental Aircraft Association, said the fly-ins have been a regular monthly item at Woodring airport for five to six years. They are held the fourth Saturday of each month from March through October.

This month, experimental aircraft are invited too, and Ediger said there should be at least 25 aircraft on hand. Experimental aircraft are merely those that are not certified by the Federal Aviation Administration. A large percentage of those aircraft are built by their owners, but the “warbirds” — vintage military aircraft — also are considered experimental, because when retired from the military they no longer are certified.

Experimental aircraft encompasses everything from a “powered parachute,” to a large twin-engine aircraft that cruises at 300 mph, she said.

Experimental aircraft allow people to own an aircraft at an affordable price when they may not be able to afford a “certified” plane, Ediger said. Ediger and her husband, Kenneth Hollrah, of Fairmont, built their own Kit Fox 912 aircraft at a cost of about $35,000. The least expensive certified small aircraft may cost about $125,000.

The Kit Fox has an 80-horsepower Rotax engine and cruises at about 90 mph. It is made of fiberglass, fabric, aluminum and wood. There is an attraction among those who love aircraft they can build themselves, Ediger said. Because the aircraft is non-certified, the person who builds it is considered the licensed mechanic and may do all maintenance and work on the plane. If the owner is not the one who built it, a licensed aircraft mechanic must do all the work, according to FAA regulations. Building their Kit Fox took about three years and 2,000 man-hours, she said.

“The most exciting part is leaving the ground the first time in your own aircraft, that you built,” Ediger said.

The accident rate for experimental aircraft is slightly higher than that for certified aircraft, but investigators usually find an accident is the fault of a pilot who is not familiar with the characteristics of the plane, Ediger said.

There are about 30 members of the Enid Experimental Aircraft Association chapter, and some of them will bring their own aircraft for display Saturday. There will be seven home-built planes that are owned by the original builder

Planes usually begin arriving by 8 a.m. and many remain until as late at 11 a.m., she said.