Building a Fly Baby from the EAA Articles

By Ron Wanttaja

 

The information on this page is the opinion of the author only.  Neither the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) nor the holder of the rights to the Fly Baby design are responsible for the content on this page.

 

One of the requirements for contestants in the EAA design contest was to write a series of articles for EAA Sport Aviation magazine that would the instructions for building the aircraft.  Pete had a technical-illustrator friend do a series of drawings for him, and wrote a series of 14 articles that presented the drawings and provided background information for construction.

 

At the same time, Pete put together the “commercial” version of the plans.  These were significantly expanded over the articles, being organized as step-by-step procedures.  But the same figures were used, and the figures actually contain most of the information needed for building. 

 

The EAA articles were always an alternative.  But, since Pete was selling a better product for a relatively low amount of money, and getting copies of all those magazine articles was difficult, the official plans were the way to go for almost forty years.

 

With the spotty availability of the official plans sets since Pete Bowers’ death, one alternative often mentioned is building a plane from the EAA articles.  EAA now has its entire magazine archive online, and if you’re an EAA member, you can download PDF files of the original articles for free.

 

And it’s perfectly legal.  Cool, huh?

 

Make no mistake, a set of plans would be a better way to go.  But dozens, if not hundreds, of folks did build Fly Babies from the articles.  Keep in mind you have one big advantage, today…the Fly Baby community, especially the Discussion Group on Yahoo.  If you get stuck, post a question there…not only are there a number of actual owners and builders, many of us own plans.  We can look up the section and see what Pete said about it.


Downloading the Articles

The first step is to download the magazine articles.  Go to the EAA365 Web page and click the “EAA Members Only” section.  Log in (or create an account) and click the “Sport Aviation Archives” image.  Click “Search for Articles.”

 

Now, if you do a search for “Bowers” and click the “Author” option, it’ll give you links to all of Pete’s articles.  The Fly Baby building series was run from December 1962 to May of 1964, so you can narrow your search down.  Hit the “Submit” button, and you’ll get links to all the articles.  Click a link, and a PDF file will display.  Hit the “Save” icon, and you’ll be able to save the article to your own computer.

 

Here’s a breakdown of the EAA magazine articles vs. the organization of the plans.  Note that the articles were not published in the same sequence as the plans. 

EAA Magazine Article Part

Date of Publication

Plan Section

Plans Topic

0

Dec 1962

N/A 

Introduction

1

Jan 1963

4

Wing

2

Feb 1963

4

Wing

3

March 1963

1

Fuselage

4

April 1963

1

Fuselage

5

May 1963

2

Landing Gear

6

June 1963

3

Tail Surfaces

7

July 1963

5

Power Plant

8

Sept 1963

6

Misc Systems

9

Nov 1963

6

Misc Systems

10

Dec 1963

6

Misc Systems

11

Jan 1964

9

Addenda

12

May 1964

8

Assembly

13

Aug 1964

7

Covering

14

Sept 1964

7

Covering

N/A

N/A

10

Biplane

 

Note that the Introduction Pete published in December of 1962 is not the same one published in the plans.  In the plans, he talks about working with the materials.  You can find this sort of information at a number of sources.

 

One big difference between plans and the articles:  The figures in the articles are not published full-size, and on the plans, they are.  The problem is, after years of copying, the drawings in the plans aren’t the original size, either.  So you’d have to redraw the templates, one way or the other.  The plans used to be sold with full-size rib templates…but they aren’t, any more.  So you have to re-draw the ribs, anyway.


Helpful Data

 This section contains links to some stuff that’ll help your building process.

 


 


Questions?  Email Ron Wanttaja .

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