AirVenture 2020 – Catching up with David Christensen


Here is a report from David Christensen from Brigham City, UT with his Panther project SN086.

David Christensen
Brigham City, Utah
Panther S/N 086
Trigear
Titan OX-320-JFB1T8

I chose the Panther as a project because of the cool look of the design. In addition the shorter build time and ease of assembly was a must at my advanced age. It afforded me the opportunity to build an all metal aircraft for the first time. I am impressed with the quality of the prefabricated parts and accurate fit at assembly.

I chose the Titan engine because I wanted a new engine at significant savings over a Lycoming 0-320. The performance with this engine will be outstanding. The prototype tri-gear aircraft uses this engine and looks great. An engine mount and cowl are available for it, which I have purchased.

I plan to use the plane for local recreational flying only, so the FL 760A com radio available from SPA will be my only avionics required. I will be going with a glass panel for instrumentation.

I have built and am currently flying three other homebuilt aircraft. The first is an Acrosport I biplane which was completed in 1982. Second is a KR-2 which was originally a retractable taildragger configuration built to the plans but has since been modified to a fixed gear with a larger canopy. It still has the original Revmaster 2200 engine installed after approximately 800 hours of flying. I entered the first Copperstate Dash in 1997 and won the “Tinkerbell” under 70 hp class at an average speed of 172 mph. Third is a Mirage Marathon which is a full sized two seater, low wing, fixed gear taildragger with very good performance.

My favorite thing about building is creating something to be proud of and test flying it and putting it into use. It’s a very satisfying accomplishment.

My favorite part of the Panther build is the extensive builder’s manual and ease of assembly as well as the available support from SPA.

My Panther will be built to plans. I did change the canopy hinge to a piano hinge instead of using the welded lugs on the fuselage frame (which I cut off) and the hinges on the canopy frame. This was an easy modification from the design. Other than that I will have the opportunity to create my own paint scheme and trim to make it unique.

Lately I am flying locally almost every morning around the valleys in the Brigham City area. The Panther will be another option for this type of flying in addition to my other three homebuilts.

I am using the folding wing option since the kit supplied parts for this option. I plan to use permanent bolts instead of the pins and use it as a fixed wing only, but it will be nice to have the option to use the folding wing in the future.

Potential Builders: If you want a project that is easy to build, has great performance, looks good, and has great company support, this might be the one for you.

Everything went well on this project. If I wanted to like it even better I could have opted for prebuilt wing tanks and wing spars.

 

I do short half hour flights in the local area around the Brigham City Regional Airport. It has an 8,900′ x 100′ runway. I like early morning flights to avoid the student practice from schools around the area.

The pandemic has eliminated many of my activities like sports events and club meetings but building the Panther has not been affected.

I am currently involved in rehabilitating my home which needs a lot of maintenance after 35 years of neglect.

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