2016 KR Gathering at Mount Vernon, Illinois (MVN)

2016 KR Gathering at Mount Vernon, Illinois (MVN)

Larry Flesner greets Leif from Norway, our longest distance attendee, and it's not his first time to a Gathering either!

Joe Horton is telling weather and ADS-b stories to Mark Jones and Mike Arnold, shortly after his arrival from PA.

This is a reminder of Roger's accident a few years ago at MVN. This is the tail of his plane mounted high up in the hangar wall, complete with operational strobe lights.

This is Leif's KR2S Project book, a very nicely done book with binding and lots of glossy photos showing various stages of construction of his airplane. It says a lot when a guy goes to this kind of effort to help his American friends understand how and what he's building.

One of the neatest things he did was to build a mold in which all of his above-the-longeron components were then constructed, so the outside of the plane is as smooth and "fair" as possible.

Mark Jones' Corvair powered KR2S

Mark's Corvair engine was one of two to fly in, along with Joe Horton's. The other fly-ins were three VWs (Rob, Joe, and Mark Langford's), Larry's O-200, and Brad's O-290G.

Mark Jones' interior.

This is a bit of a joke, but it's based in fact. We don't call Mark the "deerslayer" for nothing! He took out a buck during landing, which killed his prop, nose gear, and forced some rework on the cowling...and the spinner led the way!

As always, there were forums this year, this one is Larry Flesner's "Airframe" forum.

Given recent weight-and-balance atrocities in the KR community, Larry goes through the process of how it's done to ensure a safe first flight.

Mike Sylvester was asked to come up and explain something about his taxi test efforts, in preparation for first flight.

John Shaffer recounts what it's like to spin a KR in from 8000'...not pleasant! Moral of the story...latch your "swing-over" canopy before takeoff, and add more rudder during construction!

The weather conspired to keep Joe's trip short...just one day. He left on Friday to avoid a large front that would have kept him from getting home for several days. It was good to see you again, Joe!

He took off just after the rain showers ended, with just enough time to get home before dark.

Larry Flesner shows off his KR2S to EAA's Charlie Becker, who attended to give a presentation and to show us how aircraft judging is done.

Scott Wick came over from Highland to give us a unique "History of Wicks Aircraft", which was far more interesting than you might think. I never knew they were forbidden to build pipe organs during World War II in order to conserve wood, so they built wooden aircraft wings for the war effort...and to stay in business!

As usual, the campfire was burning down at the camp ground, but it was especially bright this year, thanks to a magnesium Corvair blower fan that Paul Visk threw in the fire.

Santa Claus was already checking his list twice. (Eric Pitts)

Another riveting (and we don't mean aluminum) story is told at the pavillion.

Saturday was pretty rainy, so the KRs were showed off in MVN's hangar. Many thanks for airport manager Chris Collins for his un-ending support and tireless efforts to help make the Gathering a success. The weather prevented the usual west-coasters from making it, so KR attendence was sparse this year.

Lots of small exchanges of information were spawned amongst the airplanes.

Rob Schmitt hits the highlights of his VW-powered KR2S, which was built in something like 1500 hours, and is quite a respectable ride. He flies it more than most C-150 owners do, for sure.

Larry Flesner had a crowd as he detailed his very clean O-200 powered KR2S. He's 6'-4", so don't think that KRs are for short people. The plans are so vague the canopy height isn't even defined, so the sky's the limit! His canopy was a freebie...a cracked Pulsar canopy that he reversed and made beautiful.

This is Joe Weber's 2180cc VW engine. The purple spinner matches his purple wheel covers, which earned honorable mention at the awards ceremony, where he won "Best Paint".

Joe's KR2S interior.

This is the intake manifold on Joe's VW...from Great Plains many years ago...a welded version of today's bent or cast intake systems. If anybody has a set of these they'd sell or trade me, please let me know.

Like most of us, Larry can go on for days talking about his KR2S, and you'd be smart to listen to his experience.

Paul Visk took "award judging" seriously. He was probably trying to figure out why anybody in their right mind would situate a carburetor between the four exhaust pipes (which explains the ceramic exhaust wrap). This is Mark Langford's KR2, built by Jim Faughn, who'd be proud that his 25 year old paint job is still looking great!

Brad Stone explains some details about his KR2S, and the O-290G engine, which later won "Best Firewall Forward".

You can see Larry's "holey" speed brake deployed.

Joe Weber's turn for "show and tell".

Dan Rondeau gets his first KR ride, in anticipation of flying his own KR shortly. Rob Schmitt is taking on the mantel of "chief ride giver", after Marty Roberts sold his KR. Joe Horton would be right there with him, had he been able to stay a little longer.

Off they go...

We were honored with Charlie Becker's visit, as he gave a great presentation on the details of the Experimental Certification paperwork process, among other things.

This is Brad Stone's panel. This plane was started by early KR-netter Mike Mimms from California, with a lot of canard composite influence in the airframe.

It features a large strake, 23012 airfoiled "Hershey bar" wings, along with an O-290G engine.

Joe Weber's very clean KR2S. The large tires enable him to fly off short grass strips. I moved this plane one morning, and was shocked at how easy it was to move around.

Rob Schmitt's plane.

"What can I say?"

After a long hard day of KR watching and information exchange, some folks were relaxing early at the pavilion, killing time before the Banquet.

Mount Vernon mayor Mary Chesley is a regular at the Gatherings, and Astrid and Leif discuss something interesting they read in the Mount Vernon promotional brochure.

The photographer always gets the "don't come around here" stares. I'm sure this was a lively table, just knowing who was sitting there!

Gathering Host Larry Flesner did the usual outstanding job, and was regaling us with one of his great poems.

Dinner time at last. I think the tea was one of those miracles where two gallons of tea were turned into 20 gallons! Hey...I'm a Southerner....

I knew I should have sat at the lively table!

Charlie Becker talks about the value of events like the KR Gathering and the Experimental community.

Best Paint - Joe Weber.

Best Panel and Interior - Mark Langford

Best Firewall Forward - Brad Stone

Rob Schmitt made his pitch to host the 2017 Gathering at Lee's Summit, MO (KLXT).

Best KR - Mark Langford

People's Choice - Joe Weber

The was for Lee's Summit, although I'm not sure there was an alternative, given that nobody else volunteered to host it anywhere else next year!

Another great KR Gathering comes to a close, until next year...

Early Sunday morning, Rob was giving another ride.

Rob explains some of the salient features of KR piloting to another soon-to-be KR pilot, Kyle Micklewait.

Larry's engine installation details will help get another KR guy in the air, although Victor Taylor has flown a lot of different KRs already, and has a total of 18,000 hours in various airplanes. Given that he has a Velocity already, he's been in no hurry to get his KR in the air, but the Gathering got him in the mood!

Despite forecasts to the contrary, I was able to fly back home at 9500' and only had to dodge one cloud on the way home, about two minutes from landing.

See y'all next year at Lee's Summit, Missouri (KLXT), Sept 21-24th, 2017.

Visit the KR Gathering website to see more 2016 KR Gathering photos, as well as other KR Gatherings.

- Mark Langford

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