Vernon Payne's Sky Kitten Biplane - 1936 Design

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ktfiles

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For over 20 years now I have been collecting everything I can on Vernon Payne, his various Knight Twister designs and anything I can find on his lesser known designs. One design that I have found very little on is his all wood construction, low powered Sky Kitten biplane.

I've found one magazine article that includes a 3 view general arrangement drawing and several advertisements in old magazines referring to Sky Kitten plans for sale. I have talked to people that have seen plans, so I know they actually exist. I do have a few plans for a modernized version of Sky Kitten that Vernon was redoing in the 1970s, but nothing for the original.

Has anyone here run across ***ANY*** additional information regarding the Payne Sky Kitten?

Also interested in hearing what you may have on any other Vernon Payne design, including the Knight Twister. I have over 300 Knight Twister drawings and very few are duplicates. It seems every set I find has had some modification made to the design. Vernon was continually trying to improve the design and would also create custom drawings based on engine choice and pilot size.

Here is the magazine article about the Sky Kitten and a couple ads.








 

plncraze

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Sport Aviation had an article on Vernon Payne's Dolphin. I'm guessing it was his last design. Also RS Hoover wrote about Vernon on his blog.
 

ktfiles

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Not sure if the Dolphin was his last design or not, but I do know it was partially completed by Vernon. I tracked down the last owner and I was told it was set out in the front yard and given away for free. I never could find out who took it or wether or not it went to a scrap yard or is setting in a shed somewhere yet to be rediscovered. I beleive the Dolphin was Vernon Payne's 3rd pusher design.

Here is a bit about the Dolphin for those who have never seen it.



 
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plncraze

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It breaks my heart to see guys like that leave something unfinished. He had a lot of experience and it would have been interesting to what it was like after it was debugged.
 

fly2kads

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I recall having seen an advertisement for the Sky Kitten, similar to what you posted above, and didn't know what it was. Now I do! Thanks!
 

Dana

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The Sky Kitten is a very attractive design, I wonder why none seem to exist.
 

ktfiles

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Tim

Vernon was always rather "optimistic" with his performance projections. 😏

Dana

Vernon never built a Sky Kitten as far as I have been able to determine. In the late 1930's there probably wasn't a lot of money to spend on an unproven design. The first two Knight Twister's Vernon did build (and rebuild) weren't much of a success. The first one only made a few short test flights before for it was damaged during landing. The second KTD-2 with the Douglas air-cooled Model A Ford converted engine most likely never had enough power to fly. Video show it making a high speed ground run, but it never becomes air born. The South American airline pilot it was built for refused to take delivery. It was only when his two brother in-laws the Park brothers built N69Y that the Knight Twister became a proven design. They soon went off to fight in WWII and never resumed their development of the Knight Twister design. Post war Vernon rebuilt KTD-2 into the Knight Twister Junior which was featured on the cover and in July 1949 Airtrails magazine. His son Richard was killed during an early test flight when they failed to refuel the aircraft. The lack of a Sky Kitten prototype and just general timing was most likely the reason none were built.
 
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cluttonfred

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It would certainly be great to see a Sky Kitten take to the air after all these years. ktfiles, were you ever able to track down a set of plans?
 

Tiger Tim

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Vernon was always rather "optimistic" with his performance projections. 😏
I’ve read the article(s?) on why the various design decisions were made on the Knight Twister and it sounds to me like he was really into the current bleeding edge of aeronautical theory and pulling it all together in what he saw as a practical, doable way. Sort of reminds me of the Mike Arnold of the 1930s.
 

ktfiles

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Matthew

No I have not found any of the original plans yet for the Sky Kitten. I have a few from the 70s where it looks like VP was trying to modernize the design. The wings are different. More like KT wings just longer. It really becomes a different aircraft. I really, really want to find a set of the earlier Sky Kitten plans. I know they are out there. VP sold many, many copies of all his plans. I just recently acquired a set of plans for what I think is his first design, a A40 powered parasol. It appears to have a fuselage constructed much like that described for the all wood Sky Kitten.

Here is a side view from the GA sheet of the newly acquired Payne California Light-Plane plans. The plans are undated so I don't know if they were created before or after the aircraft was built. There are differences from what can be seen in the photos below.

Can anyone ID this airfoil?

Snip from Popular Aviation.

It was registered as 12707 - Mattley FP-2 (38hp Continental), ? - San Bruno CA

I believe Vernon designed it while he worked for Henry Mattley when he lived in California the first time of a short while. I NEVER expected construction plans existed.

Here is a bit from http://www.aerofiles.com/_ma.html

Mattley

(Henry) Mattley Airplane & Motor Co, San Bruno CA.

FP-1, -2 aka Fliver #1 1932 = 1-2pC*hwM; 60hp Velie (also 40hp Continental A-40); span: 35'0" length: 20'8" load: 325# v: 70. Lynn Harp. Looked like a squat parody of the Curtiss Robin with its wide outrigger landing gear and fat wing; * described "semi-cabin." $1,290; POP: at least 1 of each [10615, 12707], but DoC record for 2p FP-2 shows c/n 7. Advertised as suitable for 25-60hp motors, its main appeal was to home-builders.


Here is a photo of the Mattley FP-1. It was registered as 10615 - Mattley Flivver

I found a little information about the Mattley Airplane & Motor Co, but I really need to hit all the local libraries and historical societies in the San Bruno area to get the full story. Anyone here local want to do some research?

Only photo I've seen of the finished aircraft.
 
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Hephaestus

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I honestly would like to see those dolphin plans... I'd build that... Or a version thereof.
 

ktfiles

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Hephaestus

I don't think there are plans for the Dolphin. I hope to be proven wrong though. A Mr. Carter drew the top rendering of the Dolphin above. You can see CARTER written just to the edge of the right wing tip. (I don't have his first name here handy to find) I exchanged several emails with his son who saw the Dolphin being built as a kid. He owns a model of the Dolphin. It was in storage and he couldn't tell me if it showed the structure or just the external shape. No details at all really. It's been several years since I had any contact with him. I'll see if I can reconnect.

Seeing how there is interest in VP's pusher designs both here and in private messages sent to me since I started this thread I'll go ahead and share what little I have.

1st was the Payne MC-7

It was registered as NX18238 Payne Aircraft Co MC-7 (Franklin), 102

Span: 33' 6"

I have not been able to find any write ups on the MC-7 in any aircraft magazines. I've also never found an advertisement offering plans for sale. There might be something in a local newspaper. More research needed.







2nd is this 1959 concept design. Name thus far unknown. This is the only reference to it that I have found.
 
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crusty old aviator

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Have you checked with EAA HQ’s librarian in Oshkosh? They have a pretty good plans library. At the very least, they could take photos of the plan sheets and email them to you.
 

ktfiles

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crusty old aviator

Yes I have checked with the EAA library staff. They have several Vernon Payne plans in their archives. There is only a few that are not duplicates in my collection. Most are for a Knight Twister "racing biplane" wing assembly. These are a bit of a mystery as I have all the drawings for Don Fairbanks' White Knight racer. They are possibly for Bert Rathkamp's N69Y racer which VP made a set of wings for that had leading edge slots. I need to inspect these drawings personally. I had planned to do this at this year's EAA AirVenture. Unfortunately this will have to wait until next year.

These are the drawings they have that I do not.

KT drwg 560 Wing Assembly
KT drwg 561 Ribs K.T. Racing Biplane
KT drwg 562 Ribs K.T. Racing Biplane
KT drwg 563 Ribs K.T. Racing Biplane
KT drwg 564 Ribs K.T. Racing Biplane
KT drwg 565 Ribs K.T. Racing Biplane
 
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BJC

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I agree with Dana, the Sky Kitten is a very attractive design. So is the Payne Lightship.


BJC
 

David Lewis

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The Sky Kitten is a very attractive design, I wonder why none seem to exist.
I would guess partly because it's untested. People aren't sure how a Sky Kitten would stack up against other designs in the same class. We now have easy instant access to detailed comparisons between similar tested and proven airplanes competing for homebuilders' time, attention and dollars.
 
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