My brother-in-law, Andy Chapeskie,
was the local doctor and a keen private pilot
and fisherman. His goal was to have a seaplane
so he could go and fish in untouched waters.
Being an enterprising fellow, he decided to
build one himself, a homebuilt.
He bought a set of plans from
Volmer Jensen of California for a two-seater
amphibian, the VJ-22 Sportsman, with the engine
mounted on a pylon above the wing, as a pusher.
To save construction costs, the idea was to
use the wings from an Aeronca Champion or
Chief, a two-seater high wing, like a Piper
Cub, and Andy came up with an undamaged set
from an old wreck. The fuselage/hull was made
of mahogany plywood and spruce, covered in
fiberglass. Construction took about two years.
Since the Canadian Department of Transport
required that the first ten hours flown in
a homebuilt be carried out by a pilot with
at least 150 hours flying time, Andy had a
problem. He only had about 70 hours. I had
about 665 hours, so he asked me if I'd do
the first ten hours, which, of course, means
also doing the first ten minutes like the
bit that's never been flown before! Like,
be a test pilot! Well, alright! That sounds
like fun! I was 26. It would be cool (this