View Full Version : July 2010 KOTM Don Saint's Rotec powered Super Sport Part 1

07-01-2010, 07:08 PM
Being semi-retired and having flown my Glasair for 10 years (after taking 5 years to build it), I decided to build something different. I considered an electric aircraft project, but that seemed too much like my 30-year electrical engineering career at Lockheed Martin. The Kitfox SuperSport firewall-aft kit met what I wanted in an airframe, but I was looking for something special in an engine. The Rotec Radial was chosen to fill that need and the project began in June 2008 after a road trip (with trailer) to the Kitfox Aircraft facility at Homedale, ID. (see below photo of “some assembly required”).


I chose the following Kitfox SuperSport options:

Powder coated fuselage and steel parts
Grove conventional landing gear
Bottom false ribs
Dual brakes
Adjustable rudder pedals
Airfoil tail

I chose to build the wing from parts rather than the quick-build option.

I followed the design and build of the kit with few exceptions. I designed and installed all the electrical systems, equipment and wiring using my experience in the electrical field. The battery and ELT were installed behind the baggage area to balance the radial engine weight (approximately 75 lb increase over the Rotax 912). I installed float sensors in the fuel tanks rather than the sight gauge. I also fabricated two fuselage tanks and filters so I could select the fuel source, have independent filters, and low point drains to help with folding wings (see header tank photo below).


I added dual static ports in the aft fuselage.
I also used the stick HAT switch for pitch and roll trim and added a roll trim servo under the seat. (see roll trim servo photo below).


The engine installation was the largest design and build effort since there were no Kitfox-specific build instructions to follow. The Rotec installation instructions provided adequate criteria for the detail design. I designed a firewall layout on a worktable with the engine mount supporting the engine above the table. Each of the firewall components, controls and penetrations was “juggled” until all fit and could be maintained. I fabricated an oil tank assembly so it would fit forward of the firewall. The upper oil tank has a float sensor so I can use the Dynon instrumentto display oil level for preflight plus it incorporates the breather filter and fill port. The various filters, sensors, pressure regulator and controls were mounted on a panel attached to the tubular firewall. (see firewall mockup photo below).

07-01-2010, 07:25 PM
The firewall installation was not finalized until final assembly with the hoses, tubes, ducting and cables. (see firewallfinal photo below).


I fabricated a cowling using glass fibers and epoxy resin. The exhaust collector ring served as the mold for the cowling leading edge with the windscreen as the aft mold. The cowling was cut along the firewall and a joggle added for attachments. The upper forward portion of the cowling is easily removed for preflight and servicing. I also sewed the seats cushions and baggage upholstery.


The instrument panel is built for VFR Night operations. It includes a Dynon D180 for flight instruments and engine data. A Garmin AERA 510 GPS provides navigation and XM weather. Comm/ICS is an ICOM A210 with audio alerts. The transponder is a King KT-76A. A storage box is on the right side of the panel.
The left side rocker switches are:
Battery, Display Power, Electronic Ignition, Mechanical Ignition, Oil Pump, Fuel Pump, Alternator
Right side rocker switches are:
GPS Power, Strobes, Nav Lights, Landing Lights, Flood Lights, Map Lights, Spare
The two 12VDC receptacles are “battery hot” for charging a cell phone without the battery master ON or for charging the main battery.
Center controls are:
Starter, Choke, Throttle, Carb Heat, Cabin Heat plus the ELT.
The small stereo jacks are for Dynon RS232 EFIS/EMS uploads/downloads and also for music on the right side.


First flight was as exciting as I expected, and pleasantly routine. Even with little tail dragger time, I found the takeoff and landing to be somewhat predictable. As most Kitfox pilots know, one needs to use the rudder for coordinated flight. I made a Youtube video to help describe the first flight experience. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYA5ySV9lk4

I found that a double check of the rigging plus a little tweaking on the lift struts allowed for hands-off flight. Flying near the forward CG limit, I am using half flaps with maximum nose-up trim for 60 MPH approach speeds. Wheel landings are the norm. I added an extra notch of flaps (about 10 deg) for level attitude during slow flight and use it in the pattern or when flying formation with Cubs. Stall speed is 48 MPH clean and 38 MPH with flaperons fully extended. I still have performance testing to accomplish, but the primary performance is the fun meter which is pegged to the right.

The aircraft is certified to be compliant with LSA criteria.

Fun project! Thanks to John and Debra McBean for providing the Kitfox kit and their support. Also thanks to Paul Chernikeeff at Rotec Engineering for the R2800 and his support. I could not have accomplished this without the technical advice and tools from my friends at EAA Chapter 983, Pecan Plantation, Texas.

Don Saint
Granbury, Texas

07-01-2010, 07:27 PM
Firewall mock up photo mentioned in text earlier.


Don Saint's Super Sport airborne.


07-01-2010, 07:34 PM
Thanks so much for the Kitfox of the Month for July 2010. What a fantastic aircraft and a real tribute to the builder. Congrats. :D

Worthy of our first 3 part KOTM coverage. I expect we'll be seeing more of these beautiful radial powered Kitfox's in the near future but it's going to take something to up the quality of this build . Well done.

07-04-2010, 06:53 AM
Congratulations on KOTM...well deserved as you did a great job. The only problem I have heard about owning a Rotec Kitfox is the fueling process takes so long...20 minutes to fuel...40+ minutes to answer questions from the crowd :)

Dave S
07-04-2010, 10:10 AM
Hey Don,

Great looking airplane.

Got a suggestion for you if you can be convinced......Why don't you see if you can get your plane and a few photos put up on Kitfox LLC's Completions section?

I think Darin Hawks and I are the most recent completions posted to John's site and I KNOW there have been others completed and flying since 2008.

You and others since 2008 should get some nice photos out there on John's site.

I know as a group Kitfoxers are extremely humble people; but,know what? No need to be humble when we do things that take this amount of commitment and effort and all............I think there is a song about that..........

Great to see your plane in KOTM.


Dave S
Lake Elmo, MN
KF 7 Trigear 912ULS Warp

07-04-2010, 10:28 AM
In the flying photo, I noticed the installation of a Matco tailwheel. What model is that and does that come with the kit now instead of the Maul?

07-10-2010, 07:02 PM
:( Bad news on my project. The aircraft was damaged while executing an off-field landing. Par 3 golf holes aren't quite long enough for me. Damage is being assessed and decisions will follow. I walked away with a few scratches. More later. - Don

Paul Z
07-11-2010, 10:41 AM

I hope you are OK. I am pleased to hear you walked away.


Paul Z
07-11-2010, 10:44 AM
When did you have the off field landing.

07-18-2010, 07:56 PM
The accident was on 05Jul10 at about 10:30 AM.

On the tailwheel, I received the Matco with the kit. I assume it is still standard with the SS. BTW, the tailwheel was bent during the off-field landing.

06-21-2011, 07:10 PM
About a year later, a major modification has been completed. The Rotec radial was replaced with a Continental O-200. Empty weight is 850 lbs, CG is 15% MAC. Flys great! Fun meter is back in the green :)

06-21-2011, 07:35 PM
Outstanding! Congratulations Don!

07-28-2011, 05:52 AM
Inflight photo with the O-200. :)

t j
07-28-2011, 07:18 AM
I can only imagine the satisfaction you are feeling now Don! Looks better than new.

Dick B in KY
07-28-2011, 10:26 AM
Congratulation on getting the ac repaired and flying. Hope all goes well for phase 1. Looks good even without the big round thing up front. Keep us posted on your progress.

Dick B

07-28-2011, 07:32 PM
Good to have you back in the air Don. :)

08-03-2011, 09:21 AM
Congrats Don she looks great. Let the fun begin again. Right?

03-31-2013, 03:39 PM
What happen to your Rotec,,capoutt????:(