When you can’t fly, due to weather or some other reason, it becomes the perfect time to write about it or review your material for different purposes such as editing, printing, or refreshing your knowledge. This time around, I feel like writing about the flight I did in a modified Volkplane homebuild in September 2015.
As per Wikipedia, the Evans VP-1 Volkplane was designed by William Evans and first flew in 1968. As I wrote, the one I flew was modified and you can clearly see the differences if you look at the pictures in the link here above mentionned. I’m also told that not many VP airplanes still flies. The modifications includes a Subaru car engine, a three blades propeller and a canopy. (This isn’t a detailed description of the modifications because obviously I haven’t done that myself and it ain’t my airplane after all!)
Flying with a car engine means it has a radiator, no valve, therefor no carburator ice to worry about. It also has the advantage of running on any kind of car gasoline, so cheaper to fly. (Some airplanes are certified for mogas but not any kind, usually high grade like V-power at Shell.) It contains 48 liters of gas (10 imp. gal.), located behind your seat and consumes between 15 and 18 liters per hour (approx. 3 gal. / hour).
Because the gas tank is located behind your seat, two fuel pumps are used to bring gas to the engine, in front of you. The aft pump to push it up to the engine and the forward pump to suck it up. They are used together for the start up, then only the aft for takeoff and landing, and the forward in cruise. Something different to think about when you are used to flying high wing aircraft where gas is fed to the engine by gravity.
The low wing and glass canopy offers great visibility which compensate for the snuggy seating when two motivated adults wants to fly it.
I tried it out on two grass fields. It is easy and smooth to land. No flaps to help you get down, only the stick and gas throttle.
Following is a video I took with my GoPro, positioned behind my head, which I also used to do the screen capture pictures included here. Sorry for my head in the way, as I said it was a snuggy fit so the GoPro didn’t have much space to be and got knocked a few times…
It flies well and it is fun! No fancy instruments or bottons to get you confused or fail on you. And you have to fly it cause there ain’t no auto pilot nor trim.
Would I fly it again? Yes, absolutely! It flies, it’s fun, and cheaply on top of that, so why not? Does it means I badly want to fly? I will let you decide on that… but I sure love to!
Thanks to the owner and home builder, Jim, who took me up for the ride.