Windecker Eagle Takes Flight

Restored single-engine retractable flies for the first time.

Windecker Eagle First Flight
The Eagle flies again.Richard James

It has been more than three decades since the first certified composite airplane, the Windecker Eagle, last took to the skies. But last week the restored single-engine retractable flew for the first time since an extensive restoration project began.

Test pilot Len Fox was at the controls when the airplane lifted off Runway 28 at the Statesville Regional Airport (KSVH) southwest of Statesville, North Carolina. The first flight lasted 30 minutes and since then three additional flights have been completed, testing flight characteristics, stalls and stabilities up to the maximum gross weight and aft CG limit, said Fox.

Recounting Fox's debrief, Windecker Aircraft CEO Don Atchison said "It handles very smoothly with inputs from the controls and power being met with predictable responses."

Fox will now continue the flight testing phase along with another test pilot named Hubie Tolson. The two are scheduled to fly at least 25 hours before the airplane will be disassembled and shipped to China, where it will initially be used for demonstration and marketing purposes. The owner of the production rights for the airplane, Wei Hang, plans to produce the airplane in China.

Windecker Eagle First Flight
Windecker Eagle comes in for its first landing.Richard James
Windecker Eagle 98G
After 31 years of inactivity, Windecker Eagle 98G, carefully restored, has returned to the sky.Richard James