From the Archives
The Woodhopper story is an interesting page in the early history of ultralights. The plans-built ultralight designed by John Chotia was made famous when it was featured in Popular Mechanics magazine in November 1981. It arrived five years after John Moody’s first flight at the EAA convention. Thousands of plans sets were sold worldwide, as ordinary people embraced the idea of building their own ultralight.
The EAA Ultralight magazine featured a story that conveyed the charm of this little ultralight in a January 1984 article. Few Woodhoppers were ever seen at fly-ins. The performance was minimal, the flight envelope was narrow, and the wings didn’t fold easily. With an empty weight of only 145 pounds, the original style of construction wasn’t thought to be rugged enough by many builders. Some, such as the above example, were redesigned to give better service. One was flown successfully on floats. You can read the original story from Popular Mechanics magazine here.
Ultralight evolution was very rapid at that time, and the Woodhopper came too late. A few months after the plans were released, the CGS Hawk was introduced at the Sun ’n Fun Fly-In. Plans for the Sky Pup and Goldwing were becoming available, and the Woodhopper was forgotten. To understand why and get a feel for the craft, watch this video.