Update on Raceair Designs and Lil' Bitts
By Oscar Zuniga, EAA 237232, for Experimenter
Ed Fisher was inducted into the EAA Homebuilders Hall of Fame in 2011 and deservedly so. He is a prolific designer, innovator, and homebuilder, and he continues to produce designs that are responsive to changes in the way we fly and build. But he infuses classic lines and appealing touches into his designs that keep them from being too trendy or odd-looking. In the last year, Ed and his wife, Val, have made some decisions that promise to keep Ed and his Raceair Designs true to their roots, and some of those decisions were made because of what Ed was hearing from homebuilders. We featured Ed's plane Lil' Bits in the July 2009 issue of Experimenter, and Ed is finally ready to bring it to market.
Ed plans to have a booth at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2012 and will be bringing the plans-built Skylite and Lil' Bitts to the event. He is working diligently to translate the design for Lil' Bitts to plans and construction manuals that will be available to builders this year. When Ed designed the clever little biplane and then successfully flew the prototype, he intended to produce it in kit form for the experimental light-sport market. However, feedback from builders steered him away from that plan back to just offering the plans and letting builders assemble their own materials for the airplane.
From Lincoln Logs to Bisquick, there are some things that appeal to people who just want to make things themselves. And apparently there is still a strong market for plans-built experimental aircraft; Raceair is committed to that market, and Ed has proven that he knows what builders and pilots like. With popular designs like the Skylite, Zippy Sport, Micro Mong, Flitplane, Zipster, and now Lil' Bitts, builders will continue to have a good selection of light-sport configurations available, and all can be built using modern designs, materials, and methods while still retaining flight characteristics and visual appeal that are proven and pleasing.
Look for the plans/manual package for Lil' Bitts to be available late spring 2012, or go see Ed at the Raceair Designs booth at AirVenture 2012. His website is www.RaceairDesigns.com.
The Zipster is a steel tube and rag, aluminum wing structure aircraft which is a FAR 103 ultralight legal 254 pounds. Ed Fisher comes from an old-school EAA family, and he's been designing light aircraft since 1980. Among others, he designed the Zippy Sport, Micro Mong, and the Skylite. The Skylite won Grand Champion Ultralight honors when it debuted at AirVenture in 1991. (Photo by William Wynne)