first met Gene Smith and his son Larry at Airventure in 1994. They had
built a plane to fit into the ultralight category to demonstrate their
Volkswagen engine and reduction drive propulsion package.
then the father and son team has produced a number of unique aircraft
designs in both single and two place versions.
They have also expanded their engine packages to include the twin
cylinder, four stroke, Generac 40 hp aircraft engine with redrive.
Last year they mounted the Generac Big Twin engine with the Valley
Engineering Propeller Speed Reduction Unit on their award winning single
place ultralight the Backyard Flyer.
This year they brought to Airventure their two place experimental
aircraft version the Backyard Flyer II.
The two place features side by side seating and is powered by a 100
HP VW engine which Valley Engineering builds from scratch, from 100% new
According to Gene that is one of the reasons for using the VW engine.
"Every part of it can be bought brand new, with lots of parts available
at a reasonable price."
The engine uses the Valley Engineering belt reduction drive. Which
features a "spring loaded slack side idler." This makes the drive work
in only one direction, which cancels out the resonance developed by the
pulsing of the engine.
The engine uses a Compufire ignition unit, with two motorcycle coils.
Gene indicates that the Backyard Flyer II can stay airborne on two
cylinders if something goes wrong with one ignition.
The fuselage on the Backyard Flyer II is a high wind side by side
seating two place featuring standard stick and rudder controls. Gene who
use to be a crop duster favors the high wing configuration over the low
wing because of the protection it affords pilots in the event of a roll
over. He also prefers a tractor configuration, feeling that the engine
and engine mount gives better pilot protection in the case of an
The Backyard Flyer II features a welded "rigidized" aluminum
fuselage. This process adds strength to the airframe, without adding
weight. The wings use a leading and trailing edge spars with a ladder
style construction, covered in standard aircraft covering material.
This is the first completely enclosed model that Valley Engineering
has produced, which allows for comfortable winter flying during
cold Missouri winters.
Gene indicates that he will be moving two of his trainers into the
new ELSA category before the deadline for exemption expires. Then the
plane will probably only be available as an experimental aircraft under
the 51% rule.
The Backyard Flyer Part 103 legal ultralight using the Generac engine
will still be available ready to fly from the factory.
Valley Engineering offers Culver props, Volkswagen aircraft engines
in 85 to 105 HP, Volkswagen reduction drives, and the Generac 40
HP aircraft engine and or reduction drive.
The Generac engine package is currently flying on a number of
Aerodrome Airplanes WWI replica aircraft, as well as several other lines
For more information contact:
19975 Co. Rd. 8280 Rolla