New Member, Working on Recreational Pilot License and completing a homebuilt project Introduction and request for guidance/help.


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New Member
Oct 5, 2020
Hello everyone,

This first post is a long one but, if you are an experienced home builder please read it as I’m looking for your help and I promise from here on I’ll focus on writing posts that are short and to the point

Sooohhh… to start with, I have to say I'm very glad to be here as I don't have any Aircraft building experience (Yet) or contacts for technical support and I really need some help, which is my reason for joining this forum as I don't want to do anything twice, waste what little money I have, or most importantly do anything to jeopardize my safety.

FYI I’m still so new that I don’t even have my wings yet (a pilot’s license). However, I'm currently working on my recreational pilot permit here in BC Canada (Abbotsford to be exact) but it's going pretty slow as I missed most of my opportunity during the summer of Covid 2020, and now that its fall I'm back in school studying Survey Law (I'm working towards a legal land surveyors commission).

So here’s where the actual story starts:

I bought a really cool plane sight unseen through an online auction in June 2020 and haven't been able to get started on finishing it off, so here's my first mistake. Because I knew it wasn’t going to happen right away and I wanted a quick thrill to play with this summer, I stupidly went on craigslist and bought myself an 87 Kawasaki Ninja 750R… Big mistake (supposedly it only needed a carb cleaning... It needed EVERYTHING!!) it’s October now, I worked on it almost every day all summer and still haven’t been able to ride it. This mistake took me away from my plane big-time… I'm pretty sure that if I would’ve put the effort into the plane instead of the bike, it would be finished by now.

This is the plane all loaded up in the trailer before leaving on the 6 Hour return trip home from where I purchased it at
an auction in Armstrong BC. Luckily, my Dad was redoing his carpets in his house at the time and I grabbed all garbage
underlay from his carport that I could fit in the back of the truck at the last minute before leaving and brought it with us.
Amazingly the plane made it home without a scratch thanks to the padding I tucked in everywhere and the tight strapping job sure helped.

And this is her in her original glory before being damaged in a wind storm back when she was brand new. Note that she started out as a
taildragger. I'm going to guess that this photo was taken around 2003 or 2004, note the folded wing, maybe she was on an aircraft carrier in a past life.. Lol
Photo is from Wikipedia

But really, I just don’t know where to start on the plane, the previous owner isn’t responding to my pleas for information (I think he’s choked at how little he got in return for putting his baby up for sale on an unreserved auction…his loss, my gain, heh, it's not my fault I was the only serious bidder. Note to all you guys out there (and myself), you can always put a reserve price and if you can't don't do it.

I won't lie, the plane does need work to finish it, but it’s got a great set of bones and the engine log says it’s only got 560 hrs. since being completely overhauled and it has under a thousand total hours since new. I've posted a picture of the plane in its current condition below. I have 2 sets of wings (4 in total, one set is wider than the other for the increased lift needed to run the weaker original engine), and one Aileron, the rear stabilizer and the elevator all need new skins.

So here’s the Backstory as far as I know it.

The plane is a Murphy Aircraft JDM-8 model and is the only one Murphy ever produced. Wikipedia has a pretty good write-up on it, if you google JDM-8 you’ll find it right away, and there were other articles written and posted online from when the plane was being promoted at airshows across the USA.

The plane was initially constructed with an open cockpit and a 28 HP Rotax 277 and at that point was flown and shown at various Airshows almost 20 years ago by Murphy in order to generate interest that would hopefully result in a sufficient number of orders to warrant putting it into production, which never happened.

So Murphy brought the plane home, and after taking note of the publics feedback they replaced the Rotax 277 with a 60HP HKS Motor, enclosed the cabin with a sweet cockpit roof and replaced a funny looking set of wide wings with a narrower set before they tried showing it at airshows again the following year. However, there was still not enough interest to warrant putting it into production so the plane was brought back to Murphy’s home base in Chilliwack BC Canada and was stored outside where it eventually suffered the misfortune of being severely damaged in a windstorm.

Here’s where it gets interesting. At this point, Murphy pulled the HKS motor before selling the damaged plane to a guy in Armstrong BC. I don’t know anything about the guy in Armstrong, other than he’s a senior who over probably 15 years kept his dream of flying this plane alive by putting a lot of his time and money into it and by doing so accomplished the following:

Installed a 65 hp Continental A65-8 engine in very nice condition.
Replaced the landing gear struts and wheels with a much better set and converted the plane to tricycle landing gear from its former taildragger configuration (I’m guessing the heavier engine moved the CG forward so much that it made it necessary to have beefier landing gear and a nosewheel… (just a guess).
Installed a Sonex Aerocarb
Installed a brand new prop
Installed a rugged rollbar behind the pilot's seat
Re-skinned the upper half of the rear section of the fuselage in new aircraft sheet aluminum.
Installed a newly configured set of used flight instrumentation in the cockpit
Had a new set of exhaust headers manufactured
Redesigned, then cut and installed the pieces for the engine cowling.
....Etc.... Etc....Etc.... The list goes on I'm sure as this is all just off the top of my head. The plane did come with a folder of documentation and receipts totaling over $12,000 not including what he paid for the Plane or the Motor.

So I figure I've got $20,000 bucks worth of airplane in my carport and I honestly can't figure out why this guy didn’t just finish it, because aside from needing: a new set of magnetos, a roof for the cockpit, some new skins on a couple of surfaces, and the cleaning and re-sealing of the starboard wing tank. With those things completed properly, I think that the plane would be actually really quite close to being finished.

This is the plane the day I got it home after picking it up at the auction

I’m guessing the previous owner has a lot more money than I do so the only thing I can think of is that he either lost interest or he hit the age where he couldn’t pass his medical. I do feel bad for the guy cuz he never even flew the plane, and this is something that I won’t let happen to me!

Anyway, the plane needs a set of magnetos for a Continental A65-8 (Bendix Scintilla SF4RN-8 for the Right and an SF4LN-8 for the Left, or a set of Slick 4330’s with the impulse on the Right Side, so if anyone knows where I can get a set of cores to rebuild or decently priced new set that would be totally awesome and of course I’ll pay to have them shipped too.

I need to figure out how to:
  • Build a new cockpit cabin that will allow me to keep the rollbar, recover the tail feathers (looking for suggestions on this also, I'd like something comparable to the original one from the first photo),
  • Attach the wings (I have both sets of wings, notice how they fold up in the top photo, this is going to make trailering so much easier as right now with me not working, I can't afford hangarage fees),
  • Hook up the headers (got a brand new custom made set with the plane)
  • finish off the instrument panel (see photo below)
  • Note Auxilliary fuel tank ahead of instrument panel, I have to figure out how to connect everything to take full advantage of the entire fuel capacity of the plane.

The plane has a wet wing fuel tank configuration that I guess had leaked at one time because it was treated with some type of sealant that has come off of the inside of the tank (see photo of inside of tank below) so I am going to have to remedy this somehow which is the main thing I need help with right now. Please have a look at the pictures of the wing root and tank and let me know if you have any advice, I’ve included a picture of the wing root taken from the side with the wing removed and the tank is what’s showing underneath the unpainted aluminum, and I've included another photo below that shows the crap on the inside of the tank. I will also need to test the tank on the other wing too (How do I do this, as there's no access cover nor any mechanism to add fuel on the other side.), so far I think the only way to remove all the crap from inside of the starboard wing tank is going to be to start drilling out rivets very carefully and clean inside and somehow seal it up again… (this time leaving a nicely sealed removable inspection hole)? Help on this is what I need first, so anyone with knowledge on this please pitch in your advice.

This photo shows the wing root with the incorporated fuel tank from the side. (obviously, the wing has been removed)


The photo below shows what I was able to photo is going on with the tank sealer that was applied previously, it's what you see when you shine a flashlight into the tank at the fuel cap seen in the photo above... I can't say for sure if the tank still leaks or not but I'm not going to risk a chunk of that **** plugging my fuel line and forcing me into an unplanned landing... uh uhhh.. no way!!!


Oh yeah I’m also going to have to figure out some system that will allow me to button up the cowling but also allow me to get access for maintenance. The previous owner did a nice job of cutting the metal and having it all buttoned up with clecos but I don’t know what to do here either, any suggestions for fasteners that are good for this type of application. Just ask and I’ll post more photos.

Photo of the engine bay with the majority of cowling removed, See the second photo for an idea of how the cowling has been designed when it's all buttoned up with clecos. I need to figure out where to make these panels permanent and where and how to make them removable.

Okayyy… sohhh…. I’m gonna stop here. We can’t solve all my problems in one go and I don’t want to write a book for my first post. So please have a look at all of the pics, consider my questions from there please feel free to post your constructive comments. Any directions, suggestions, or answers to my questions on how to solve some of these problems is greatly appreciated.… Thank you Very Much

Matt "Av8tr"

Turd Ferguson

Well-Known Member
Mar 13, 2008
Upper midwest in a house
Wow, a plane that originally flew with a Rotax 277 now has an A-65 continental? From the looks of the plane, it's amazing it got of the ground with 25 hp.
As far as distractions, you need to throw some watercraft, 4 wheelers and other motorized vehicles into the mix, lol.


Super Moderator
Staff member
Apr 3, 2007
Nice looking plane. Just a couple of comments, you mention about the heavier engine moving the CG forward, but the CG MUST stay within the design limits, changing the landing gear won't change that. With an engine that much heavier than the original some tail weight may be required.

Have you tried contacting Murphy for information?

I don't know much about fuel tank sealer except that any loose gunk must come out, hopefully somebody with more experience in that area will chime in.


Well-Known Member
Sep 24, 2013
Owings, MD
You will need “eye brows” for cooling. Look at a J3 Cub. Several sources for those. Some much better than others.
I’ve not heard anything good from a sloshing sealer. You’ll need to get all that out of there.
The fan stopping is not a happy quiet, even for higher time pilots. BTDTGTS.
Best wishes.


Well-Known Member
Oct 19, 2009
Wasilla Alaska
That's a challenging project but doable. If you have not already done so, I recommend you join the Experimental Aircraft Assn. eaa.org The website indicates there is a chapter in Chilliwack . Go to their meeting with some of your photos and ask for help from their Technical Advisers. There are lots of EAA members who like to get involved with projects.


Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Log Member
Jan 19, 2010
Mojave, Ca

Some random thoughts on the project.

It looks really heavy for its mission. What looks like added reinforcement for the trike gear and the rollover structure will require some significant scrutiny. The bracket holding the throttle (RH side) is massive, as just one example. The move from a 277 to an A65 is a HUGE change from an engineering standpoint. With an airplane of this size, grams count. Tread lightly here.

As for the cowling - a composite pressure cowl would probably be easier to make than continuing with the sheet metal flat wrap thing the last owner started. Done correctly, it will be more effective than the cub style eyebrows too.

Looks like good bones, as you said, but I'd be looking for as much stuff to remove as I could to pull the weight down.


New Member
Oct 5, 2020
That's a challenging project but doable. If you have not already done so, I recommend you join the Experimental Aircraft Assn. eaa.org The website indicates there is a chapter in Chilliwack . Go to their meeting with some of your photos and ask for help from their Technical Advisers. There are lots of EAA members who like to get involved with projects.
Thanks, I wasn't aware that they had a chapter there... I thought the EAA was only in the United States... Thats great though, I'll definitely follow through with your suggestion.


Well-Known Member
Sep 9, 2014
There are a few EAA Chapters in Canada, for example, the chapter that meets at Delta Heritage Air Park, near Vancouver.
Also look up Recreational Aircraft Association of Canada.
Your local COPA Chapter might also prove helpful.


Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Feb 21, 2020
Born In Alabama, reside: Louisiana (unfortunately)

Welcome to the community. My apologies for just now reaching out. I think you will find you have come to the right place for wisdom, guidance, and fellowship.

I cannot say enough good things about this Forum. The individuals here are true gentleman with a passion for aviation, construction, and helping others. I have been made to feel right at home here and I am sure you have already figured that out for yourself.

I think you have an excellent project. The main thing is to not get discouraged Although you will at times. When I get discouraged on the plane I am currently building I come here for advice and a pick me up.

Remember, if it was easy, everybody would be doing it. The same goes for earning your ticket to fly.

It appears to me that the current engine you have installed and correct me if I am wrong, is a Continental. I skimmed over your remarks and said you were interested in installing an HKS but were worried about the CG being moved out of designer's specification.

I don't see the HKS engine doing too much to effect the CG drastic way. You might have to add some ballast someplace but the HKS will definitely be a lighter power plant.

Personally I am a fan of HKS. You have many options if your current engine is a Connie.

If I can be of any assistance I would be more than happy to help in anyway I can with my limited knowledge.

Best of Luck to you in your endeavors.