It's a bird... it's a plane... No... It's a fire truck!?!?

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It's a bird... it's a plane... No... It's a fire truck!?!?

Postby FlyerChief » Mon May 05, 2014 11:24 pm

Hello fellow Just builders and flyers!

After far too long building my Highlander, I took it to the airport early this morning and had the final inspection done on it. I have a few small items to clear up tomorrow, then a couple of weeks wait for the Conditional Certificate of Airworthiness before the test flight and of course flying off the hours. I really enjoyed building this bird and look forward to flying it once I get my transition training. Empty weight is 720 lbs with oil and minimal fuel. It is well insulated for noise reduction and to handle the Canadian winters. It's 912uls powered and sports a Prince 74" P-tip prop with a 51" pitch.

Thanks to the great factory support from Troy, Gary, Jack and the rest of the staff, I had all of my questions answered throughout the process and thanks to all of the great ideas from all of you on the Wings Forum, I had a wealth of ideas and experience to consider as I added a few of the options that make the Highlander such a great plane. Another thank you has to go out to Steve Dentz and Steve Henry who offered helpful advice when I called (likely far too many times) looking for the voice of experience. Also, thanks to Jack Leroux and Bob Dimond, a couple of other builders in Canada who also just finished their planes and were very helpful via phone and e-mail as we built our Highlanders together, yet so far apart.

At the time I began building the plane, I was still working as a Deputy Fire Chief and had 20+ years in the Fire Service. The old saying about something that "gets in your blood" can't be much truer when it comes to firefighting (and flying of course). Or "Once a firefighter, always a firefighter" as I like to put it! It only made sense to me to carry some of that passion and history through in my life once I retired, so I decided to decorate my plane with an antique fire truck theme, but added a few personal touches. The paint is Stewarts Firethorn Red and the striping is mostly hand-cut 3M reflective vinyl in a pattern that is traditional, with a Canadian touch. Several items were covered in diamond checker plate looking Mylar to look like diamond plate without adding the weight. The interior floors are real diamond checker plate and much of the interior is done in black marine grade (fire resistant) vinyl to look like leather. The fire axes inside and other decorative elements are decals, purely for effect. and the registration is C-FDEP (...for Fire Department or Fire Deputy).

Anyway, without further ado... here is "Aerial One", my flying fire truck.

Dan
Highlander #241

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When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it. ~Henry Ford
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Re: It's a bird... it's a plane... No... It's a fire truck!?

Postby kenryan » Mon May 05, 2014 11:52 pm

What a beauty!
Super Stol Kit #299
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Re: It's a bird... it's a plane... No... It's a fire truck!?

Postby av8rps » Tue May 06, 2014 12:09 am

So now your forum name makes a lot more sense.

What a nice airplane. I love all the personal touches. (but is that fire ax really just a decal? It looks so real).

Good luck on your test flight. You're going to love the Highlander.

Paul S.
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Re: It's a bird... it's a plane... No... It's a fire truck!?

Postby levyland » Tue May 06, 2014 2:36 am

Congratulations from NZ. An absolute beauty!!!!!!
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Re: It's a bird... it's a plane... No... It's a fire truck!?

Postby Jack L » Tue May 06, 2014 6:10 am

Congratulations Dan, she is a beauty and a Just tribute to current and former members of our Fire Services.

Now to find time to build the floats, the ice went off the lake yesterday and the docks are going in today, we look forward to flying the back country with you, Chris and Aerial One.

Jack
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Re: It's a bird... it's a plane... No... It's a fire truck!?

Postby gkremers » Tue May 06, 2014 6:23 am

Dan,
What a great looking plane, good luck with the flight tests.

Gary
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Re: It's a bird... it's a plane... No... It's a fire truck!?

Postby smiley » Tue May 06, 2014 10:29 pm

Very nice, Building your own plane, giving it your own personal touch.
Enjoy the flights
don't rush the hours
just enjoy them
She is a BEAUTY
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Re: It's a bird... it's a plane... No... It's a fire truck!?

Postby User GDS » Thu May 08, 2014 9:22 am

Beautiful job! all of the gold finish detail must have taken a ton of time but worth it when you show your firefighting buddies. Good starting weight, too.

I noticed you've got the regular gear instead of the three leg extreme gear, it made me think about the weight penalty for extreme gear. The extreme gear is almost 10 lb heavier and gives a few inches more ground clearance, the advantage may not be worth the weight penalty when using 29ers.

have fun!
GDS
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Highlander #232
Rotax 912ULS, Dynon Skyview
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Re: It's a bird... it's a plane... No... It's a fire truck!?

Postby markdille » Thu May 08, 2014 2:12 pm

Fantastic! What a beauty! Good luck with your test hours.
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Re: It's a bird... it's a plane... No... It's a fire truck!?

Postby FlyerChief » Sat May 10, 2014 3:54 pm

Thanks so much for all the great comments guys...

I'm looking forward to flying the plane, but it's such a great feeling knowing it's complete after working on it so long. I know there will be a few tweaks and possibly a few add-ons later, but I'm pretty happy with it now.

I'll post a few more pics and video once it's had its test flight.

Dan
When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it. ~Henry Ford
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