First Flights

Ernest Lutz
Terry Lutz

Ralph Gregus's Zenith CH750 N755RJ

First flight was made on June 7th, 2013 piloted by Ralph Gregus.

Steve Houghton's RV-7A N807SH

First flight was made on October 21st, 2012 piloted by Steve Houghton.


Click Here to view Steve's first takeoff


Click Here to veiw Steve's first landing


Dave Cook's & Greg Hover's RV-6A N655HC

The RV-6A N655HC was completed on 11/19/10. It's first flight was made on 6/14/12; piloted by Terry Lutz.

Dennis Hall's Zenith 701

Dennis Hall has been building his Zenith 701 for two years and upon completing the aircraft, flew it to the November meeting. Dennis said it flies beautifully and he is very happy with the project. Congratulations, Dennis on a very nice looking plane.

Bart Smith's Schreder RS-15 Sailplane N25133

Bart is a long time member of the Chapter. His homebuilt Schreder RS-15 sailplane (N25133) pictured here was one of the early homebuilt projects completed and flown by a Chapter 55 member.

In September 1970, Bart flew the company twin to the Schweitzer Factory at Elmira, New York to get his Glider Rating. While there, he was in a gaggle with a Schreder HP-14 and very impressed by its appearance and performance. Shortly thereafter, Bart visited Dick Schreder in Bryan, Ohio, to view his new design, the RS-15, and to learn how to rivet.




Actual building of his project started at home in 1972. The sailplane and trailer were completed by Bart in June, 1981 (long before the chapter had a website to feature our member's achievements).

Bart tells us that his most memorable flight, without a doubt, was the first flight. "During the night a mud-dauber hornet had filled my pitot tube and I was at about fifty feet on tow before I realized I had no airspeed indications. We proceeded on up to three thousand for release and I learned a lot about the feel of the ship on the way down. Most homebuilders agree the euphoria of the first flight is their greatest aviation experience."

The aircraft was based at Ionia Airport from June 1981 thru May 1990. (They had aero-tow service there.)

The sailplane soars the skies of New Jersey to this day.


Dave & Debbie Groh's PT-17

Dave and Debbie Groh of Mason, MI are finally reaping the rewards with their PT-17 after a 5 year restoration. Purchased in 1996, this is the product of many leftover parts from another restoration. Debbie described it as "lots of pieces, nothing whole." In fact there was enough extra parts that Dave was able to sell enough to recoup over half of their initial investment.

With the help of blueprints from the Smithsonian Institute, the Grohs were able to begin their project. They built two sets of wings over three winters. Through an assembly line like multiple jig build up, they were able to make a wing rib every thirty minutes. After purchasing numerous other parts with not very good product control from some vendors, they decided just to make the parts that they needed, including the seats and fuselage center section and all new sheet metal to name just a few.

Dave and Debbie acknowledge the difficulty in undertaking such a project. They recommend that one needs a vision of the completed project while working to such a goal, or else it is just too overwhelming. Having help and encouragement from one another also helps. Dave counts many times when he would just have to walk away from his work, sleep on the answer to a problem, and just sticking to it to completion.

Great job Dave and Debbie! Congratulations!

George Moore's Therapy

First Flight - October 8th, 2001


For a little more than two years, we watched as George Moore labored to build and prepare for flight a KIS, which is an all fiberglass, two-place airplane. He worked long hours, often in cold and damp weather, to complete the thousands of details it takes put an airplane together. George chose to install a Subaru Legacy 2.2 liter auto engine of 135 hp, and utilized an Eggenfellner reduction drive with a Prince propeller. Installing the engine, and making sure that all of its systems were properly installed and operating, was a major challenge. George prepared himself and the airplane very well prior to first flight, which was completely successful, including a picture perfect first landing.

“Hi. I’m George Moore, the builder of N6382G, which has been named ‘Therapy’. The name was conceived after my wife, and love of my life, Mary, died of a brain aneurysm in 1980. My grief was very long. I knew I needed a project that would absorb my complete attention and building an airplane would certainly do that for me. And so, still stricken with grief, I plunged into building a Polywagen with a Revmaster engine. However, my building was not as strong as my need for social contact with other human beings. In spite of dating various women, nothing seemed to click. My son, Craig, and I decided to move to North Carolina, near Chapel Hill. I moved the Polywagen project with us where I continued half-heatedly to build in between church activities and a singles group.”

“I ended up having surgery for a long term ear infection. The surgery very likely saved my life, as the infection had taken out a large portion of my mastoid bone. I ran out of money so I sold the Polywagen project and Craig and I moved back to Michigan.”

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