What would you do different

For general discussion of the Just Aircraft family of aircraft.
Includes: Highlander, Escapade, Summit and SuperSTOL.

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Re: What would you do different

Postby av8rps » Wed Jan 06, 2016 10:10 pm

If I were starting from scratch on a new Highlander, I'd go back and read all of Steve Henry's comments about his latest mods on his newest Highlander. I think he has it pretty well figured out. He admitted that he has his Highlander performing within 10% of what the Super Stol can do in the landing, and taking off as short (on less power) all while flying faster and hauling more. And not that a Highlander isn't already a well above average STOL aircraft (read Steve's whole thread and you will notice he took 2nd place at OSH in the STOL competition, flying against the best of the best), but Steve has made some relatively easy mods to his that improve it even more. And I think we all hold Steve's opinion in high regard, as we all have seen his piloting ability. Plus, he owns and operates both a Highlander and a Super STOL, so he is most certainly a qualified expert on those airplanes.

Here's the link to some of that info;


And here is just one of his comments in that thread;

"I've got my SS and my HLDR both working so well! My Highlander is working better and landing slower than I would have ever thought possible until a couple months ago. Even though it has quite a bit less power than my turbo SS, it takes off just as short. It's a lot lighter. I've always known that a good Highlander will take off at least as short as a SS but they normally take about twice the distance to land. I've got my HLDR landing as slow as my SS and only about 10% longer. The SS landing gear absorbs more energy than the shock absorber gear on my HLDR making it land shorter. The HLDR takes a little more finesse to touch down on the exact spot because you have to be more gentle, but it is easier to see because the nose isn't nearly as high.

It sure is a lot of fun having both of these amazing airplanes!! Sometimes the hardest part is just deciding which one I want to fly today!

I haven't flown either of mine for 2 weeks because I've been so busy test flying a beautiful new SS that we did a builder asisst on."

And here's more;

"First of all I really tried to keep my Highlander light weight. It weighed 700 pounds on 21 inch tires. I made my ailerons a little shorter and shaped the front of them more like the ailerons on a Superstol, my flaps are about 18 inches longer than normal, I have about a 1/8 inch wickerbill down the entire length of my flaps and ailerons. (that is just an 1/8th inch aluminum piece pointed straight down off the trailing edge). I made 18 inch wing extensions and also added 18 inches to my ailerons just recently. I definitely have the deflectors on the back of the wing in front of the flaps that some people call flap gap seals and vortex generators on the wing and also on the back bottom of the horizontal stabilizer. I have gap seal tape on my elevator. I have factory extreme gear legs with TK one racing shock struts and I normally have it on 31 inch Alaskan Bushwheel tires.

For years I have wanted to try a leading edge cuff on the Highlander wing and I finally got around to it just a couple months ago. (it is about a half inch bump that just makes kind of a chin on the lower front of the wing leading edge) I was totally amazed and happy with the way it made the airplane fly. It went maybe just a mile or two faster in cruise but the big thing was it allowed it to fly several miles an hour slower when landing, and it also makes the airplane takeoff shorter at a lower speed. It lets it achieve more angle of attack then a normal Highlander wing, (but not nearly as extreme as a Superstol), thereby allowing for good visibility out the front when landing. A Superstol will land as slow or maybe slightly slower but to do so the nose has to be way high completely blocking all visibility out the front.
As of now I do not know where we can get this leading-edge cuff for anyone to put on their wings but we are working on that problem. For anyone interested in making their Highlander or Escapade land slower and sweeter it is well worth the effort to put it on.

My motor is a Rotax with a big bore kit making about 110 hp. I have an 80 inch Prince 2 blade propeller on it that I am very happy with. ( by the way I am a dealer for these propellers in case any of you want to get one please call me)"

Steve Henry, Wild West Aircraft
(the Dead Stick Take-off Guy)

Oh, and watch this video around the 2:55 mark to see how well his Highlander did in that STOL competition. "Climbs like a Homesick Angel" is a gross understatement... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Io8ALIFZ8ak
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Re: What would you do different

Postby User GDS » Thu Jan 07, 2016 3:40 pm

I would go with the extended gear since the thinner material in the small struts is much too light for off-airport operations (I switched mine out after the first season due to a gear bending incident) and switched to larger tires to suck up the bumps a bit. So far I only have a single set of Matco brakes, not duals like some of the guys with bigger tires, but I also used 1/8" brake lines (recommended by the guys at Matco to get more pressure and quicker response) instead of 1/4" lines.
Yes+ on the extreme gear. (although they can be bent, too (twice) :oops: ) I used 1/4" and 1/8" plastic brake lines and neither would hold for heavy braking, I switched to 1/8" aluminum, no problems since then. Double caliper brakes are great, make sure to put the brake line on the rear caliper and the bleed valve on the front or else brush will overwork the line.

Following are other recommendations, keep in mind that I fly in the rocky and sandy deserts of So Cal, we don't have dirt and grass like in So Carolina.

Marco tailwheel that comes with the kits is prone to shimmy on a Highlander, I like the TundraLite TW from Jim Pekola, there is another one that guys on this forum like, I can't remember the name, but you'll find it if you search. (Pretty sure our guy in Thailand has one)

Baggage door is real nice, mine is about as simple as you can get. Two vertical pieces of square tubing, Hysol-ed in place and a piece of aluminum on piano hinges. On the other end of the design spectrum, SheepdogRD installed a baggage door that is a work of art.

Search and review all of the flap handle mods, do all of them. Make all of the bolts in the mechanism loose-goosy, dry lubricate everything and put a knob or washer on the top of the button so you can pull it up into full engagement.

I would use Oratex fabric if doing it again. The colors are somewhat limited, but that is a low priority for me on a Highlander.

Use rigid tubing for fuel lines that are out of sight, like under the floor. There are a range of opinions from guys on this forum, but for me, if using a Rotax, an electric auxiliary fuel pump and a gascolator are essential. I also like having a fuel return line going back to the header tank.

I really like my Angle of Attack gauge, it is my primary approach and landing instrument.

Have fun, you're lucky to live so close to the factory, you can go down and look around the shop before you start each major section of your build.
So Cal
Highlander #232
Rotax 912ULS, Dynon Skyview
User GDS
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Re: What would you do different

Postby Johnny C! » Sun Jan 10, 2016 3:48 pm

Troy had some tabs welded in the
back so I added the triangular
windows on each side. Virtually
no cost, but a cool adder.

I would add the cargo door on
one side, if I had discovered
that nugget in time.

I don't have too much time in
Lima Charlie yet, maybe 50
hours, but we are enjoying
her when we can. I can't
wait to until spring!

There are many things that happen really fast when you are
flying an airplane. There is no sense in rushing any of the others.

I would much rather be looking down at the runway, than up at it.

Duane Sorenson & Rick Norton Gone West 6/8/09. Godspeed
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Re: What would you do different

Postby Clark in AZ » Sun Jul 15, 2018 10:12 am

Bringing back this thread for updates. Anyone care to add your modifications?
Building SuperSTOL Kit 512
Clark in AZ
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Location: Cave Creek, AZ

Re: What would you do different

Postby FredHoffman » Tue Jul 17, 2018 1:04 pm

Fabricate Aluminum 10 gallon fuel tanks with dual 2 gallon header tanks leading to 4 way selector valve (left/right/both/off) with dual gasgolators at lowest point on each side before selector valve. Low level warn light in top of each header tank. Vent fuel tanks to wingtips rather than fuel caps. Install/fabricate all fuel system lines in aluminum before covering. Leading edge mod installed before covering. Oratex covering. Dual Dynon displays rather than one and an ipad. Curved control sticks. Fuel injected big bore Rotax 912ULS from edge performance. Make sure oil tank is lower so oil can not siphon back to sump. Install an extra rib at junction of flap/aileron to hold stall fence from leading edge to rear of flaps. Extend wings one more rib and have end plates rather than fiberglass wing tips. Install wider elevator/stab with end plates on stab. Have tabs welded on fuselage that are large enough so rivnuts can be installed everywhere to eliminate all adel clamps. With a little thought and planning all adel clamps could all be eliminated saving a weight and sore fingers. Have removable aluminum sides on front of fuselage for better access under panel. Weld mounts for T3 tailwheel and have aluminum panels in tailwheel area as well. Make sure tail elevator access ring is lower rather than centered so the bolts are easy to get at.

I think that's about it....
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Re: What would you do different

Postby Tralika » Tue Jul 17, 2018 9:23 pm

FredHoffman wrote: Make sure tail elevator access ring is lower rather than centered so the bolts are easy to get at..

Oh God yes! I'm not sure how I failed to notice that my access hole wasn't positioned to give adequate access to the elevator bolt and push rod connection. I had to go up through the bottom access panel to install it. Took me a day and a half and lots of creative adaptation of tools to make everything work. The castle nut and cotter pin on the push rod connection added to the degree of difficulty. For anyone who has not covered yet, make a template for that access hole while the elevator is in position. I would not use a standard inspection ring. I would make one custom shaped to make it easier to install those bolts. It doesn't matter if the access hole is a little larger, you can make a cover out of scrap from the windshield lexan supplied with the kit to cover it.
John Nealon
Wasilla, Alaska
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Re: What would you do different

Postby gkremers » Thu Jul 19, 2018 10:32 pm

Here's a pic of how I shaped the inspection area for the elevator push tube. The cover is made from some extra Lexan material. Much easier to not only install the bolt, castle nut and cotter pin but checking it during pre flight. The ring itself is several layers of 9oz glass, nutplates make it easy to install and remove the Lexan



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