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A Starduster sold to a stupid kid

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Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Dec 1, 2022
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Ken built N777KB registered in 1979 and obtained airworthiness in 1982, owned her for 20 years and then Pat bought her and gave her the little sticker and the name "Fling". A nice man named Richard bought her from Pat and after unfortunate life circumstances he sold her to me. In her 44 years "alive" she only had 677 hours at time of purchase. Dave was one of the people I was recommended to call when i was considering buying a Starduster and he told me a bit about her past. After a successful pre-buy with our awesome friendly neighborhood A&P IA I somehow managed to close on this airplane that I couldn't afford. I couldn't get insurance, I couldn't get a loan, I barely had a place to keep the plane but somehow i was signing a title and flying down to Pompano with my neighbor to pick up this old homebuilt biplane. This is my neighbor who flies Air Tractors across the world and did my tailwheel over 6 months ago in my other neighbors Citabria which I only flew for 12 hours. I was sure he would want to sit in the back seat but he had me get in and fire up the plane. Our departure from Pompano back to home and some airwork was uneventful but crazy for me. It was very wild flying an open cockpit biplane for the first time and i quickly found out I needed a cushion. Once we got to practicing approaches and landings once i flared I immediately lost sight of the ground completely. I ended up spending 5 hours with him before he told me to have fun and "pick my days" and then I was on my own to teach myself how to fly a biplane. I purchased this airplane at 100 hours total time, got my PPL in a 172 and flew my uncles Cherokee.

I can't begin to tell you how terrified I was of this airplane for a long time. When I was getting ready to do my first solo is when the ugly mixture-too-rich issues started rearing their ugly head. The airplanes mixture ratio is on the rich side and the fuel injection system runs like a bitch when the airplane is hot and low RPM; plugs foul fast, first time ever flying a fuel injected airplane too. Had a few maintenance squawks but ended up getting up to do my first solo. Every pilot is supposed to remember their first solo and be one of the best days of their lives but mine was a non event, my first solo in the biplane? Completely different experience and I cried. Only maintenance squawk I've had so far was one of the exhaust stubs cracked and had to get that repaired otherwise it's all been non events.

After smashing the tires around enough eventually I became less afraid of the airplane, I still smash the tires into the pavement sometimes but she's not a Cherokee, what can you say. Overall landings have improved tremendously and I rarely need to do a go around, I never had to go around before I bought a biplane and realized you can't save every bad landing; and a bad landing in a biplane is nothing like a bad landing in a 172... The only "scare" I've ever had was about 2 weeks ago I had a quick nose shift towards my neighbors house which was immediately corrected tracking straight again but that's as far as her nose has ever wandered. I've definitely bounced the crap out of the airplane before but I haven't had a scare yet so to speak. The landing the other week could of gone much worse and I should of added power instead of taking away when she wandered but it turned out alright luckily.

Everyone in my aerodrome loves the little white biplane, I've taken many family members, some friends and friends of family for rides in the airplane. I wish Ken was still around so I could talk to him about when he built this plane, but I'd like to think he can be upstairs enjoying the fact his airplane isn't rotting away in pieces in a hangar and is instead still flying around and being cared for. First oil analysis I received back was a little high after sitting around but the second analysis I sent in was flying colors even better than average parameters. I have about 60 hours in this airplane now, owned her for 6 months I put about 10 hours a month on her. Can't afford to do much more, tried to get my original flight instructor to do aerobatic training with me but he refused for whatever reason but he did give me spin training. My other neighbor went up with me to teach basic aerobatics like rolls, loops, wing overs, ect. Recommended against hammerheads, which is fine.

All the old farts in my neighborhood love seeing the little white biplane flying around, I had quite the audience waiting at the hangar when I brought her home for the first time. I hope the old farts here find this short story enjoyable, Fling is currently getting me good tailwheel experience as I work on my instrument, commercial and CFI to hopefully start towing gliders and instructing. It would be nice to be able to offer TW endorsements as well as PPL, maybe buy an old champ or something. I would eventually like to recover her and do an avionics upgrade ect and maybe configure some floats to fit her in the process, like my own mini YMF-5F. Also a huge engine with inverted oil and smoke tanks, of course... Here are some pictures of the happy old biplane


Covered in dust doing the pre-buy


When my neighbor and I brought her home, both of us wearing black jackets looking cool


First solo flight


Grandma having the time of her life


Mom & Aunt Linda







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