12 Days of Panther Christmas 2017 – Day 7

On the seventh day of Christmas our builder John Steere shared with us…

John Steere from Martinsville, IN, Panther SN039 N39DZ, sent us the update below about his Panther building journey.

In 2012 I brought a new Ultralight of my own design to Oshkosh, leaving with a Silver Lindy trophy.  I immediately started thinking about my next project which was to be a single place plane with a tubular steel forward fuselage frame, and an aluminum tail cone and empennage.

I had not actually started the CAD work yet when I attended Oshkosh 2013 where I saw the Panther.  My plans immediately changed.  The Panther was exactly what I was looking for, and I didn’t need to spend a year or two hammering out the design on CAD.

I particularly liked the elegantly simple mechanical design.  As an Engineering manager I was impressed with efficient and easy to maintain design.  It was obvious that the designer of this plane had a heart for design simplicity while accommodating builder options.  Even more impressive was the beautiful flowing lines of the finished product.

But this was a new company, so I watched them for the next year as they optimized the design and established a component supplier base.  I was impressed with what I saw, so Panther Serial #039 was conceived at Oshkosh 2014 when the full kit was ordered from SPA. 

After receiving the kit and starting the build, my decision to build the Panther was confirmed by the component quality, fit of the components, completeness of the kit, and the prompt support from SPA.

The project is now finished except for the paint job that I hope to complete early next year.  The Airworthiness Certificate was signed off July 5, 2017, and the Phase One flight testing was completed November 27, 2017. 

Building this project was a great experience, and this is the best handling airplane I have ever flown.

– John Steere

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