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Published: Saturday, 5/19/2001

Experimental aircraft ready to descend on Metcalf Field

Next weekend marks the 10th year that local experimental aircraft builders will be treating the public to two days of exhibits and demonstrations.

The event, “Plane Fun in 2001,” sponsored by the Experimental Aircraft Association's Chapter 582, will be held Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Metcalf Field on Lemoyne Road in Lake Township.

Included will be food, new airplanes, demonstration of building techniques, free rides for young visitors, and many other events, according to Loren Sattler, a chapter member and planner of the Memorial Day weekend activity.

Jim Davis of Point Place built this experimental wooden plane in his garage. Jim Davis of Point Place built this experimental wooden plane in his garage.

Admission will be $4 for adults, which includes free parking. A pancake breakfast and light lunches will be served for a nominal fee.

Short demonstration plane rides will be offered by chapter pilots in their own planes without charge to those under 17 who have parental permission. For adults, helicopter and biplane plane rides will be offered for a fee.

Members of the Flying Tigers radio-controlled model airplane club will present flying demonstrations on both days.

For new builders of aircraft, a demonstration will be offered on how to construct ribs in airplane wings.

A featured attraction of the event will be frequent takeoffs and landings by Jim Davis, 58, in his newly built two-seater Barracuda. Made entirely of wood, the plane required more than four years to build. Mr. Davis, of 118th Street, began work on it in 1997 soon after his retirement after 30 years inthe Toledo fire department.

Mr. Davis estimated he spent more than $20,000 in materials for the plane, but he has not considered the value of his time.

It was the first plane he ever built, though he previously constructed several boats. It was put together at his Point Place garage.

The Barracuda, with a 25-foot wingspan and retractable landing gear, has a top speed of 210 miles an hour, and cruises at 190.

When he began more than 4 1/2 years ago, the fireman fully expected to complete the job in 2 1/2 years.

“Most builders find it takes much longer than anticipated,” he said. “Despite the time involved, it is great to build an airplane with your own hands, and I highly recommend it to others if they have the patience to stay with the job.”

After thoroughly testing the aircraft, Mr. Davis expects to fly it to Colorado this summer on its first cross-country trip.

Millie Benson is a Blade Columnist.

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