August 20, 2014 - A young pilot from Washington is nearing completion of a unique aircraft restoration project that he intends to someday fly across the country, sharing his passion for aviation with others along the way.
Kyle Fosso, 19, of Anacortes, is rebuilding a Cessna 170B floatplane that in 1974 crashed in the water near Ketchikan, Alaska. He’s aiming to have it flying by the spring with the intention of flying it to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015.
Kyle spent three days in Oshkosh this year, marveling at all there was to see. “My Fitbit had 30,000 steps on it the first day alone,” he said.
Always interested in aviation, Kyle became hooked about five years ago while helping his father on a sheet rock job next door to a flight school on Anacortes Airport (74S). Before long he met the owner, Mike Freeman, who asked if he was interested in flying. “I’ve been there ever since,” he said.
Kyle made his first solo in April 2011 - just days after his 16th birthday – then began helping out in the aircraft repair shop, for which he received time in the flight school’s Cessna 150. Shop mechanic Mac McGugin encouraged him to find a project of his own to work on, so he immediately began scouring the Internet looking for one.
His dad learned about an available wreck that had crashed shortly after takeoff in Ketchikan some 40 years ago. N2771C, a Cessna 170B on floats, was in storage in nearby Lynnwood, Washington, so after checking it out, Kyle acquired it and had it trucked back to 74S.
Throughout high school, Kyle said he would take a bus to the airport after school and work on rebuilding the Cessna he’s nicknamed Charlie. He has re-skinned 80 percent of the fuselage and 100 percent of the wings and tail surfaces. The major portion left on the project is firewall forward and paint.
Kyle sold the plane’s original 145-hp engine and the floats to help defray the cost of his project. With the help of Dave Stoots, owner of Stoots Aviation in Fairbanks, Alaska, Kyle obtained a more powerful IO-360 engine from a Diamond DA40. Stoots owns the supplemental type certificate for new IO-360 installations in Cessna 170 aircraft. The powerplant will turn a two-blade, 80-inch Hartzell constant speed prop.
Kyle also has made Charlie’s gear float and ski capable as he plans to fly the plane in Alaska. He wants to introduce aviation to others, especially young people, as a way to pay back those who have mentored him and his passion for flight. And this fall he’ll enroll in the A&P program at Everett Community College with about half his credits already earned through working on the project.
“I was introduced to aviation at a young age and I remember the smile was on my face for a long time after my first flight,” Kyle said. “That’s the best thing about aviation – sharing it.”
Kyle is very appreciative of the support he’s received in restoring N2771C. Anyone who is interested in learning more, or following along during the project’s home stretch, can visit 2771C Progress on Facebook.