Harnessing the Thrill: Powering A Cute Experimental Sporty Biplane

Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort. Franklin D. Roosevelt

The thrill of building an Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) biplane comes and goes.  I say “I’mthe Thrill building” in the same way a homebuilder throws money at a house project, while a team does the work.  Yet, I am a part of the team.  My skills are at the apprentice level, taking direction from the experts who are doing the work.

I have been documenting this story along the way on this BLOG as well as in an online logbook for aircraft home builders.  The latter needs some updating.  However, there are thirty-one posts either about or mentioning the Biplane since the project began in 2018.

The Thrill Of Milestones

The short update is we have finished three of the four wings and both ailerons as well as the upper center wing section.  Only one wing remains to build, with a springtime completion anticipated.  This means we will tackle the rehabilitation and finishing out of the fuselage in early summer.  This means the motor needed to be identified and, ideally purchased.

Although there are some initial actions we can take on the fuselage without this rather crucial component, many configuration decisions would be delayed without knowing.

the ThrillAirplane Motor Shopping

Experimental aircraft are rather special projects.  The builder has a lot of freedom in choosing components for the craft.  Unlike manufactured aircraft which have documented therefore vetted specifications, the homebuilder has great freedom.  Of course, the end game is the same:  an aircraft that will safely fly.

The basic parameters are the same, such as horsepower and weight, but in the case of an Experimental, I could use any variety of engines including automobile.  I choose to go a more conventional route, sticking to the good ole carbon-based aircraft engine.  It needed at least 110 horsepower to carry the weight of the aircraft, but needed to be between 200 and 260 pounds.

I am fortunate that the guys on my team kept an eye out for engines for sale.  Frankly, intimidation crept in as I would look online.  Then there was the sticker shock!   I could feel myself “turtle”, but they would keep sending me possible links to motors.

The Thrill Of Discovery

This week it looks like we found the right package.  I will write more once it is settled but in any case, I feel like I have come out of my shell, by contacting and negotiating the purchase of an airplane motor.  Facing your fears is half the battle.  Like my cute little biplane is becoming empowered so am I.


I am a former air traffic controller, pilot, Aircoupe owner, married 42 years to a great guy. We live in a 125+ year old historic Victorian, enjoy cats, vintage anything, precious friends. My passion is Giving Lost Stories A Voice – Giving Found Materials Fresh Form and Purpose!

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