Sky Raider/Ridge Runner plans /kits??

Discussion in 'Tube and Fabric' started by treefrog, Sep 12, 2015.

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  1. Sep 12, 2015 #1

    treefrog

    treefrog

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    I know this has been asked before but, it has been a while. Has anyone recently built the Ridge Runner/ Sky Raider. From what I have been able to find out they are no longer in business. I would love to get my hands on a set of plans or kit. Sorry if the question has been beat to death. I can hardly get any info.
     
  2. Sep 12, 2015 #2

    Victor Bravo

    Victor Bravo

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    Apparently there's an unbelievable 30 year long redneck soap opera that surrounds that entire family of airplanes, from the original Avid Flyer all the way to the Kitfox to the Sky Raider to the Ridge Runner to the Highlander. Apparently it would make an interesting book or movie. But I don't know enough of it to tell the whole tale.
     
  3. Sep 12, 2015 #3

    treefrog

    treefrog

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    Ok gotcha ;)
     
  4. Sep 12, 2015 #4

    BJC

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    VB:

    They have rednecks in Idaho?

    I wish the organization were better: I think that they have a very good light weight airplane design.


    BJC
     
  5. Sep 12, 2015 #5

    plncraze

    plncraze

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    Are you talking about the disagreement between the two people who originally designed the Avid Flyer? That would be interesting.
     
  6. Sep 13, 2015 #6

    proppastie

    proppastie

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    A partnership has all the disadvantages of a marriage and none of the advantages.
     
    Joe Fisher likes this.
  7. Sep 13, 2015 #7

    plncraze

    plncraze

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    LOL!!!
     
  8. Sep 13, 2015 #8

    Victor Bravo

    Victor Bravo

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    All I know is little tidbits, and none of the behind-the-scenes skullduggery. I think HBA member BMCJ might know a lot more than me, but it's up to him to elaborate.

    My understanding is that Dean Wilson wanted to build an ultrtalight-ish aircraft to take advantage of the light but powerful 2 stroke engines. He didn't like the marginal "flying lawn chair" style of the early ultralights, so he basically designed a miniature 3/4 size Taylorcraft/Chief/Cub Coupe type airplane made out of the same steel tube but lighter and smaller. He used half of the ultralight style wing (LE and TE tube spars), but he used "Real airplane" wooden ribs. This gave him really good performance on the 43 and 52 HP Cuyuna and Rotax engines of the day. He figured out a really interesting way to fold the wings back for storage, where you didn't have to de-rig it or disconnect anything more than a couple of pins. He called it the Avid Flyer.

    One of the partners or sales people or dealers who sooner or later got involved in the Avid Flyer was Dan Denney. For reasons not known to me, and with me not knowing wich one was "at fault", right, wrong, or otherwise.... Dan Denney left the company, and immediately introduced an airplane that was 99% identical to the Avid Flyer. It had a slight change to the shape of the fin and rudder. It had a much more attractive engine cowling. Everything else was completely interchangeable with the Avid. Denney called it the Kitfox.

    Because Dan Denney was apparently a much better sales man and corporate manager than Dean Wilson, the Kitfox out-sold the Avid by a large margin. After three or four years there were slight differences between the airplanes, and the parts were not interchangeable any more. Wilson and Denney became competing rivals in the same market, with essentially the same airplane. Eventually, Denney's Kitfox company prevailed as the "market leader", despite the airplane having been designed, conceived, engineered and developed by Dean Wilson. Lawsuits, stock and shareholder manipulations, bankruptcies, investors, internal strife, backstabbing, bad-mouthing, and all the typical nonsense flew back and forth.

    Denney sold or otherwise cashed out of Kitfox. Wilson did the same with Avid. Denney went into other ventures including a P-51 replica. Wilson unleashed his brilliant mind on other aircraft designs funded by a French explorer named Hubert deChevigny, resulting in the spectacular Wilson Explorer flying boat, and a couple of similar smaller flying boats.

    Somehow during all this, two brothers named Ken and Stace Schrader were working at one or both of the Avid and Kitfox factories. I don't know which. Eventually, for more reasons I am not really aware of, two more airplane factories cropped up with really really similar designs, dimensions, structures, features, and appearances. These two airplanes were the Ridge Runner and the Sky Raider. I have no idea whatsoever which brother "designed" or "manufactured" which of these two "second generation" Avid/Kitfox derivatives.

    One of the Schrader brothers was killed in one of the new airplanes. Don't know which. Both of the companies did the insolvency/bankruptcy/flash in the pan/out of business dance once or twice. One of the companies is still active to some degree if memory serves.

    And out of all this redneck soap opera reality show fun.... a third generation of this design was developed by someone named Troy Woodland. I don't know for sure whether he was employed or involved in either the Avid or Kitfox or Sky Raider or Ridge Runner companies or not. Mr. Woodland developed the basic design even further and even more specialized for STOL performance. He named this aircraft the Highlander, which begat the Escapade and the Super-STOL.

    Now after all that.... I have an Avid Flyer for sale, compelte less engine/engine mount/instruments... cheap. Cheaper than you can get a kit for any of them.
     
  9. Sep 13, 2015 #9

    proppastie

    proppastie

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    Boy you sure know how to sell......:)
     
  10. Sep 13, 2015 #10

    Pops

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    Friend of mine bought one of the last Sky Raider kits. Had lots of problems, different ribs in one wing, wing attach fitting welded in wrong position, etc. He worked out all the problems with the kit and flew it with a HKS 60 HP engine. Nice little airplane. My 60 HP, 1835 cc VW engine in my little single seat Super Cub, (SSSC) had the same performance in all ways, ROC, Take-off distance, cruise speed, etc, and also the same empty weight.


    Dan
     

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  11. Sep 13, 2015 #11

    BJC

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    Thanks for that summation, VB.


    BJC
     
  12. Nov 3, 2015 #12

    bacci

    bacci

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    Hi,
    Did you have any luck locating a set of prints, for the Ridge Runner/ Sky Raider?
    Thanks
     
  13. Nov 29, 2015 #13

    TreeTopPilot

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    great design...poor craftsmanship in making a...cough...kit
    Two of the spars I seen were welded....too many issues to even start with what we seen
     
  14. Feb 3, 2017 #14

    sgrocketman

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    ANyone still chasing plans for the RIdge Runner? I have the plans for the Karatoo, a very similar aircraft, doing a budget version of the plans for USD$150 plus postage if anyone is interested. Email me at info@serenityaviation.com or wildadv"gmail.com

    Neale.
     

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