Oshkosh 2013 Review and Canopy Update 12 comments


We had an amazing show with EAA AirVenture 2013!  We met so many enthusiastic builders, potential builders and aviation lovers.  We met up with old friends who have been following the Panther progress over the last two years and they were so impressed with how great the Panther looks in person and how far we have come.  We also introduced the Panther to some new friends who instantly appreciated what the Panther brings to the aviation market.

I am writing this up as we are headed back to Florida.  We have stopped in a very nice KOA campground right outside of Dayton, Ohio – the birth place of aviation.  While we were at Oshkosh a representative from Airplane Plastics talked to us about the opportunity to take a look at our canopy.  As some of you know we have been working through getting two more inches of head room in the Panther.

The Panther has many seat adjustments.  There are 8 settings for the seat bottom – allowing you to move the seat back forward and aft.  The seat bottom is at about a 35 degree angle, so moving it forward also moves the pilot up in the seat.  The seat back adjusts in 8 positions to lean the pilots back angle forward and aft.  The rudder pedals have 3 adjustments in the cockpit and 3 in the forward fuselage allowing for 9 different positions.  With all of this said, we still would like 2 more inches for those super tall guys that have the long torso.  We can accommodate even the tallest pilots with the canopy we have now.  As you can see from the gentlemen below who were each 6’6″ tall.

6'6" tall gentleman looking down at 6' Dan

6’6″ tall gentleman looking down at 6′ Dan

6'6" Gentleman in the cockpit - still has some head room and has 3 more seat back and bottom adjustments he can do.

6’6″ Gentleman in the cockpit – still has some head room and has 3 more seat back and bottom adjustments he can do.

Here is a 6'4" gentleman getting ready to try on the Panther

Here is a 6’4″ gentleman getting ready to try on the Panther

He has plenty of head room and still some adjustments forward and aft if he needs.

He has plenty of head room and still some adjustments forward and aft if he needs.

Even with all of these adjustments available, we had a few very tall guys with a long torso that hit their head on the top of the canopy.  So, while we were near Airplane Plastics Dan and Paul took the Panther canopy over to them for a their review.

Airplane Plastics is very easy to work with and we will see if the height to width ratio is something they can do.  They are willing to blow a test canopy for us when we are ready. The issue is their cost is higher than what we are getting currently.  We will also be working more with Todd’s Canopies.  Todd has a canopy already blown that we will be trying as soon as we get back to FL.

Now we are headed to the famous Wright-Patterson National Air Force Museum!


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12 thoughts on “Oshkosh 2013 Review and Canopy Update

  • Ron Franck

    That’s Tom Henry, my 6′ 6″ friend and fellow volunteer at EAA Chapter 75’s Emergency Aircraft Repair facility at Oshkosh. Tom was quite surprised how easily he fit the Panther and equally surprised when I revealed to him that a tail kit was coming home with me. Tom is our
    ‘go to’ guy at the repair barn when it comes to troubleshooting electrical problems. His expertise was invaluable to us as we had a multitude of electrical problems land on our doorstep during AirVenture ’13.

    • Harold Bickford

      Tom and I are members of EAA 569 in Lincoln,NE. We’ve talked quite a bit about the Panther. The picture speaks for itself. As Dan and Rachel have pointed out the cockpit works for virtually all sizes. I’m 5’5″ and had no trouble after Rachel showed me how to set the seat and control adjustments. We saw the Panther fly at Brodhead and yes, we want one, albeit the two seat Cougar when it is ready.

      Harold & Edi

  • Katie Bosman

    Hi Rachel! I hope you can keep the current canopy shape as an option for those of us not-so-tall pilots because the lines of the prototype look PERFECT! It was great seeing you all again at Oshkosh. Ben is already drooling over his box of parts. We need a bigger workshop!

  • Bob Pustell

    I hope you enjoyed the Air Force Museum. It is a wonderful facility. I have personally flown the C-141 they have on display there (five years and thousands of hours in that fleet in the Viet Nam era). I flew several of the types of planes they have on display, but that 141 is the only plane on display that I actually flew. They are all gone now, mostly scrapped out with a few in museums and displays here and there.

    The Panther looked great at OSH in the fresh paint!

    Michael and I tried to join you at the theater but the crowds were so dense we could not even get into the theater area, things came to a halt outside the fence. Sigh. We gave up.

    • flypanther

      Hi Bob – very interesting information about the museum, thanks for sharing! It is really neat to be able to put some personal reference to something so important to history, even if it is through someone else.

      I saw the EAA article after the movie showing, they estimated 15,000 people were there. I believe it! We barely made it back in ourselves after staking out a spot for us all at 5 PM and then heading back out for dry ice. I actually had to iron fist my way with the security guards and use my exhibitor creds to get through. Next year we will have to figure out something different to do for Planes 2!

  • Harold Bickford

    It was a mosh pit but very cool for those who could get in. The story line touched on many positive qualities we all cherish in aviation and life endeavors so it was more than an airplane story.

    Very interesting that Bob could point to the a/c he flew. I went to Germany in a C-141 in 1968; stopping at Lages in the Azores and then on to Frankfurt, backwards seating and all. It seemed to fly well and of course was new in those days. Also got to see first C-5 mission to Berlin-Tempelhof (1971) and later watched it take off from the vantage point of a Huey.

    Harold