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Building a Culp Special

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Aug 15, 2008
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Hello All.

I've just started building a Culp Special. I'll be documenting the build on

http://www.mykitlog.com/Gorilla so you'll find photos and details there.

For those who don't know, the Culp Special is a radial engine powered derivative of the venerable Steen Skybolt. It came about when Steve Culp got a little too curious about what a Vedeneyev M14P would look like on the front end of a 'Bolt. He worked with Hale Wallace and Curtis Pitts on modifications to the stock Skybolt. In fact, the Special plans use Skybolt plans as their starting point and simply have "differences" pages" to highllight what to do differently. They made a monster!

You can see loads of Culp Special photos here.

I'll be using several items to help simplify the build, shorten the time to complete, and increase the quality of the finished aircraft. For example, Steve will weld a finished fuselage frame, tail feathers, and landing gear parts for me.

Also, Bill Scheunemann of Performance Aeromarine has put the wing design into his CAD program, worked his magic, and then used that computer model to have the parts CNC cut with routers. For example, my spars are already laminated and milled to finished specs, all spar reinforcing plates are well. Also, critical bolt holes are already drilled with a CNC machine. ALL gussets, sides of the compression ribs, nose ribs, and like parts are routed. If you've never seen Bill's work, you should look closely at the "wings" section of my build log.

Also, as a shameless plug for Bill, you should know that these wings will fit on a stock Skybolt! He has incorported several upgrades into these wings. They include the Super Stinker-like ailerons with the hinge point on the chord line at 30% MAC, closer spacing of the ribs, more and better compression ribs, etc. Get the idea? I'm pretty excited about building a wing from his parts.

So, please offer comments or helpful suggestions. I'm new at this and eager to learn as much as I can. I'm a flight instructor for a living so I'm always looking for ways to shorten learning curves.

Thanks and I hope you enjoy the build.

Zeke Valtz


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