Willie Wilson’s KR2


          When still a young co pilot on a trip to windswept Sumburgh airfield which nestles between challenging rocky crags and boisterous seas at the southern tip of the Shetland Isles my Colleague & I were asked by a local farmer to test fly his ‘plane.  In those days we were almost the only aircraft to visit those parts so imagine our surprise to be introduced to an immaculate built Druin Turbulant in the rickety old hangar.

          To cut a long story, we flew his plane [after it had been properly checked out] and my enthusiasm was kindled. I would build my own flying machine.      

That was 1965. After the usual struggle bringing up a young family and ‘making ends meet’ eventually my Kr adventure began in 1987 when the first wood was joined on the bench.

This is just a brief précis of my task, for it was a long while ago.  I have not included any photos of my engine installation. No ulterior reason just that they seem to have got lost over the years. My KR2 has a Hapi Magnum 75 engine installed attached to a Bernie Warnke prop. The engine has gone well except for a necessary rebuilt after delivery from the factory. The least said about that the better!


The beginning April 1987.



I followed the plans carefully only now and again adding little refinements to strengthen the firewall bulkhead for example



          Note the jigs that allowed me to complete the fuselage before removal from the bench



          The spars and airfoils were set up using tools just as likely to be found when the Egyptians built the pyramids but the results were accurate! Honest!



          At first I fitted retractable gear but after some deliberation I changed to a stronger and more foolproof system: a Rand fixed gear!

 Introduce me to an airline pilot, if you can, that has never heard the gear warning horn sound!!



The British are not allowed fuel in the wings!



          The wing attach fittings were made from 10SWG 2S514 steel hardened in oil at 860-880 deg C and tempered at 500 deg C . Hardness 229-302 HB/240-315 HV. Tensile stress 50-65 Tons/sq in.   They are ‘H’ shaped and, I’m told, stronger than US 4130.



          No Diehl skins here and judging by the demeanor of my nephew there were grave doubts about this construction.


Well! His wouldn’t fly either! It didn’t have an engine. It did fly very well though when it got one.



          We used this model to find a way of making exact mirror image wingtips. Fortunately I kept the template as an old duffer taxied his aircraft into my wing only last year!  [An old duffer is usually unfriendly and at least ten years older than me.]




          I still remember the scolding I got as the dust from sanding, sanding and more sanding seemed to get into all the nooks and crannies of the upstairs bed rooms!



          The gear with 5 x 5 wheels I made as low drag as I could even the legs are shaped for speed.


          Also for streamlining and more head room I made my own cockpit canopy and turtle deck.



          The canopy was from a Grob Motor glider. I turned it back to front, laminated hoops of plywood to fit the aircraft shape front and back, carved the original canopy to fit including a cutting a wedge shape out of the centerline.



          The turtle deck. First, load the back with urethane blocks like a pick up truck and with the laminated plywood templates already in place..



Start carving!  Then..



          After glassing and applying micro balloons risk the wrath of ‘The Management’ by once again making lots of dust! Oh! And I remembered to remove the remainder of the urethane blocks from inside!



But look at the result!




The Office.




Smaller than a 747-400 I admit but just as much fun! The cockpit and every thing else is bare for lightness as we are only allowed a max. wt. of 930 lbs in the UK.     So no luxuries folks it’s a flying machine!




Liverpool England, September 1992.



Airborne again



          June 2003 over Cheshire England East of the ancient walled City of Chester heading 330 magnetic back across the River Mersey [top of picture] to Liverpool Airport.  I had just regained my license after and eye operation and was enjoying my little KR2 again after six months off.



Bye for now.