Joe Engelman of Independence Missouri is a fabricator by trade, and to see
the quality of work that he has done on his Legal Eagle ultralight
speaks volumes about his abilities.
Joe saw a magazine ad for plans for a Legal Eagle and sent away for a
set. Then in 2002 he and his brother came up to Airventure and
met Leonard Milholland designer of the Legal Eagle.
Later he called Leonard on the phone to get some information on a
propeller, after giving him the information Leonard asked where he was
calling from. When Joe told him Independence Leonard said "I was in
Independence two weeks ago." It turns out that Leonard Milholland's
daughter lives across the street from Joe and in fact had parked his
trailer several times in Joe's driveway when he was visiting!
Joe flew his Legal Eagle close to 500 miles in 6 stops in the hope of
seeing Leonard at Airventure 2008. His biggest problem on route, getting
gas. His little direct drive 1/2 VW conversion which puts out about 35
HP, uses car gas, so every time he landed
at an airport he had to find a lift to the nearest service station to
During his trip to Airventure he cruised along at 60 to 65 mph,
navigating with his GPS air map and compass. Joe feels that if it
hadn't of been for early morning fog delaying his departure he could
have probably made the trip up to Airventure, which is the longest cross
country he has done in 3 years of flying, in a day.
Working from Leonard Milholland's plans, and building a plane along
side his brother who is also building a Legal Eagle, took 2 years to
complete. (3 years
if you count the year he took off to wait for his brother to catch up.)
The only things that Joe didn't build on the whole airplane were the
propeller and wheels, and feels that the average person could easily
build one for $4,000 to $4500.00 if they are prepared to do the work.
Joe does a lot of work on custom cars and that experience helped him in
scrounging for parts. Like picking up his engine at a scrap yard for
$45.00. Joe says new and used parts are very reasonably priced and the VW engine is easy to work on.
There are also a number of unique things about Pursnulbidness
(Personal Business) that sets it apart from other Legal Eagles.
Like his muffler system which he built nine times. Why because "his
hearing is just about shot and he didn't want to listen to the noise."
"If your hard of hearing why make it worse!"
Since a the 1/2 Volkswagen engine conversion doesn't have a spin on
oil filter he manufactured an adapter so he could install one from a
Honda Goldwing and his air/oil separator which he designed 6 times.
According to Joe he just keeps building things until he gets them they
way he wants them!