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Thread: Kitfox Model II Rebuild

  1. #1

    Default Kitfox Model II Rebuild

    Not sure if this counts as a build, but it is a rebuild.

    IMG_20181229_142045.jpg


    I'm a newly minted Sport Pilot.
    Just got my wings a month ago and still need to get my Tail-drag Endorsement.
    So whats the story on the bird here then?

    Well it's a story with a lot of history behind it.
    So pull up a chair.

    This particular model II was purchased as a kit in 1989.
    The owners, a father and son pair, along with a friend of the son, worked on the kit.
    They spent many months building the kitfox and getting it ready. And finally in 1991 it was complete. Signed off and given it's Airworthiness Cert.
    It spent the next 8 years being flown and enjoyed. Now the son was the primary owner and operator of the kitfox. And he enjoyed flying it but was ready to move on.
    He jumped onto the next project. A Wheeler Express.
    And as that project came to its completion the kitfox sat.

    He knew the kitfox was just sitting and due to size of his hanger, it had to be stored with the wings off to allow his new plane the room needed. So even if he wanted to fly the kitfox it was a hassle to put the wings back only to take them right back off. It just wasn't practical.

    He decided it was probably best to sell it as he had moved up.
    The friend, who had helped him build it asked if he could buy it. To which the son agreed.
    This was around 2006.

    The friend had the idea that he would do some minor work to it.
    It would be something himself and his own son could enjoy together.

    But.....

    With sadness to say, his son passed in a tragic traffic accident.
    The kitfox sat in his garage for almost 13 years.

    Now, I need to go back a bit.
    The father and son who built this plane.
    Well the son had his own son. A young toddler at the time.
    That child loved the plane, as he grew up in it and was in all likely hood the first plane he had ever been in.

    That child, was me.
    When my father sold the plane I was still at a point in my life that I had neither the means nor the resources to buy or hanger it.
    But I am now into my 30's and established enough in life. Getting my wings had always been a desire of mine and I finally decided to pursue it.
    But only if I would have a plane. And not just any plane. But my fathers old plane.
    I approached my fathers friend and asked him. I knew it would be a very sensitive topic being that his son who he planned to fly with. Was now gone from this world.
    I grew up with his son, and the loss was a deep pain for me, but nothing I'm sure as to what he, a father, felt and still feels.
    I told him, I would understand if he didn't want to part with the Kitfox.
    And I'm thankful he agreed after some thought on it.

    So I started my exam studies and got with a flight instructor the next day.
    Some time later my father and I tested the fabric on the plane. Giving it a good look over and figuring out what all would need to be done to get her in the air again.

    She needs some TLC.
    The hose on the fuel tank in the wing leaked onto the fabric of the passenger side. Causing the stain seen.
    The engine needs to be replaced or overhauled.
    she need a new prop.
    Brake cylinders rebuilt, calipers rebuilt.
    Instrument panel redone.
    All the bolts and nuts gone through.

    She has a lot of work to be done.
    Work that has already started.
    My poor father doesn't know how to feel.
    We're tearing apart something he built over 20 years ago after all.
    But we are going to put her back together in proper order.
    And I'm very thankful for him to be helping.
    I'd be lost without him. He's a stickler for safety and everything being done right.
    Which one could not ask for better when it comes to Aviation.
    I have a lot to do before she's ready to fly again.

    And I will be posting our work as it progresses.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Kitfox Model II Rebuild

    Part II

    IMG_20190217_133404.jpg

    So after pulling the wings off and storing them, the plane is now resting in the garage where it will be worked on.
    First step, remove the cowling. Take the doors off, Turtle deck off, and begin to dismantle the engine.
    It didn't take to long to remove the exhaust, radiator, lines, and wiring connections.
    We also pulled the instrument panel out at the same time.
    Leaving us with this.

    IMG_20190222_183303.jpg

    The next step was to pull the fuel lines and the remaining wiring and connections from the firewall forward.
    After wards the engine mount would come off.

    The plan is to strip the plane down, and remove its controls for cleaning, inspection, and then reassembly and lubrication.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Default Re: Kitfox Model II Rebuild

    Very nice write up of the beginnings of your project. I hope you have lots of fun with the rebuild and even more when you start to fly it. Welcome to the group! JImChuk

  4. #4

    Join Date
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    Pipe Creek, TX
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    Default Re: Kitfox Model II Rebuild

    Interesting story. I look forward to watching your rebuild.

  5. #5
    Senior Member aviator79's Avatar
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    Dec 2016
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    Los Alamos, NM
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    Default Re: Kitfox Model II Rebuild

    It sounds like there are a lot of emotions tied up in that airplane. I'm glad it's in the family and I know that all involved will love to see it fly again.
    --Brian
    Flying - S7SS

  6. #6
    Administrator DesertFox4's Avatar
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    Default Re: Kitfox Model II Rebuild

    Welcome James and congrats on reaquiring the family Kitfox. Should be a fun project for you and your dad.
    Congrats also on your Sport Pilot license. Have fun.


    DesertFox4
    Admin.
    Building 7 Super Sport
    912 ULS Tri-gear

  7. #7
    Senior Member efwd's Avatar
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    Default Re: Kitfox Model II Rebuild

    Great full circle story. Except the accident part of course. Rebuilds are great to follow. I expect to do one myself someday since I don't expect to sell mine welcome!
    Eddie Forward
    Building
    SS7, 912iS, Garmin G3X

  8. #8
    bbs428's Avatar
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    Default Re: Kitfox Model II Rebuild

    Excellent story, full of the trials of life. I'm glad your part in this story has come full circle.
    Congratz on your Sport pilot ticket! Congratz on acquiring your fathers plane!
    Some might have been tempted to fly her with some band-aids and bailing wire.
    Your "fix it" right attitude is to be commended.

    Hope you enjoy your journey bringing the plane back to her former self and have many hours of safe, thrilling flying adventures!

    All the best!
    Somebody said that carrier pilots were the best in the world, and they must be or there wouldn't be any of them left alive. Ernie Pyle

    Brett Butler
    Building: Model 5 Outback with 7 mods

  9. #9

    Default Re: Kitfox Model II Rebuild

    Thank you all for the well wishes.
    It means a lot to me.
    I'm only able to work on it on the weekends but we go at it the whole time.
    My grandfather comes down every few hours to see how my father and I are making out.
    He helped build the plane and he enjoys seeing me tackle it now.
    Its always good to be with and doing something with family.

    Part III

    The firewall has been removed.
    The plane has been throughly washed and cleaned and we began to take apart all the control surfaces.
    Some very light surface rust was evident in a few areas. So we began to disassemble and clean those items.

    The original engine is a Rotax 532.
    With less then 300 hours, its not a bad candidate for a rebuild.
    But hasn't run in decade though most likely.
    The prop was starting to delaminate when my father sold the plane. At this point it needs to be replaced.

    Well it turns out, good luck and fortune has struck me.
    I found a gentleman who was sitting on quite the pack of items.
    This man had a Kitfox Model II that was never completed.
    He ended up selling the kit, but the buyer didn't want the engine and some other items.
    So I am now the proud owner of a never been used, was still in the shipping box, Rotax 582.
    As well as the Exhaust, Bing Carbs, and all the engine related items that shipped from Denny Kitfox back in the early 90's.
    As well...as brand new still in box, GSC propellers.

    IMG_20190222_133201.jpg

    Having dual ignition over single is worth it to me for the safety factor alone.
    As well as not dealing with points ignition.
    I'll be setting up and running the oil injection system as well.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Kitfox Model II Rebuild

    Part IV

    A little before and after.

    IMG_20190301_105542.jpg

    Prior to any restoration work.
    Light surface rust, a ding on the forward tube, and cleaning to be done.
    After a little welding that was fixed. All the surface rust was treated, removed, and then the tubes were given a fresh coating.

    IMG_20190308_115438.jpg

    All the control surfaces have been removed.
    Cleaned up, recoated where applicable, and lubricated. Reinstallation and it all works flawlessly.

    Time to move onto the next step.
    Planning the replacement of the dash.
    And oh boy....has that been a doozy.
    IMG_20190308_195226.jpg

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