Frank Christensen, the founder and president of Christen Industries in Hollister, California, introduced the Christen Eagle II to the sport aviation community in 1977 at Oshkosh. It is a two-place aerobatic biplane powered by a 200-hp Lycoming and sporting a truly distinctive paint scheme.
Frank is a former competition aerobatic pilot who went on to produce products for the sport aviation world. With the Eagle biplane, Frank set the gold standard for homebuilt kits. The airplane came in separate, well-organized, and well-documented kits that could be ordered as the builder progressed and finances permitted. Only basic hand tools were required, and the kits even included a razor blade to open the packing.
The kit was so complete that it drew extra scrutiny from the FAA, which determined that the Eagle didn’t meet the requirements of the 51 percent rule. Frank retooled the kits so that builders would have to fabricate components like gussets and caps for the wing ribs, and the FAA eventually approved the kit. The prototype Christen Eagle is now on display in the EAA Aviation Museum. The Christen Eagle still stands as an example of how to provide kits to homebuilders, more than 40 years after its introduction. Frank was also inducted into the International Aerobatics Hall of Fame in 2017.
Phillip J. Lockwood
Lance A. Neibauer
John W. Dyke
William W. Ghan
Paul H. Poberezny