Meet Panther beta builder Mr. Robert (Bob) Woolley. Bob, and his lovely wife Sandra, have been friends and neighbors since….well forever. Dan started coming to Haller airpark, which we now call home, in 1985, and Bob was one of Dan’s mentors then. Bob is a retired Air Force pilot with time in fighter, trainer and transport aircraft. His first experimental was a Pitts Special. He then built a Thorp T-18 and finished up a Bushby Mustang II. He teamed up with fellow EAA builder Jeff Ackland and finished up his Glasair I. They then built a Glasair III together and sold it. After Bob retired he went into a building frenzy and finished up four more Glasairs, an F-1 Rocket and an RV4. One of the projects was a Glasair I with a 260 HP Lycoming 540 and the Glasair IIS is super fast (I’ve seen it fly) with a 300 HP Lycoming 540 that he owns and flies today.
Dan and I recently purchased one of the Glasair I that Bob built and had sold years ago.
Here is a picture of Bob taking me up for my first ride in the Glasair – I got to fly in it before Dan! Let me tell you – it is one fast airplane.
The RV4 was a deviance from the composite streak. After the RV4 he decided he wanted to veer back towards a single place nimble aircraft, and had his eyes on an RV3 project. After Dan introduced him to the Panther concept he decided it would fit perfectly for his plan of single seat, nimble and sleek airplane. And being this close to the designer would be a big plus.
Bob is known as the local test pilot in this neck of the woods and brings a very practical, experienced and laid back point of view to the Panther builders table. He is mostly a quite builder, but when he has a suggestion or recommendation it is always very thought out. He is like a silent partner – working away in his hangar only popping his head out when he has to. Bob is building the Panther sport version with the Lycoming 0-320 as his power plant (unless he can finagle Dan into a setup for an 0-360). Bob is also a bit of a speed junkie. (My opinion is he is trying to keep up with Sandy who is an avid marathoner and athlete).
Bob is below in the primer grey RV4 – flying formation with some of the other RV4 pilots in our local EAA chapter 1379.
Our only problem with Bob is he builds so quickly we are having trouble keeping him busy. I am bringing him in on the fuel tank builds this week to give him something to do. Now that Tony has laid the ground work (see pics here) by figuring out what works and doesn’t, Bob and I should be able to work out a process that can easily be repeated by future builders. Bob is no newbie to tank building, I am glad to have his help – because I sure am.
We are fortunate to have Bob as a beta builder, it is an excellent fit for him and us. I am looking forward to watching Dan and Bob chase each other around in their Panthers!