Tails Ends Of The Fifties
Anthology edited by Peter G. Campbell
Contribution by Timothy R. V. Foster

ISBN 0-9515-5989-3
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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 was 1964).

Volmer VJ 22 Sportsman.
Illustration: Herr Engineering 1999

Excerpt 1999 Timothy R. V. Foster


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