Backyard Flyer HP, Backyard Flyer HP experimental lightsport aircraft, Light Sport Aircraft Pilot News newsmagazine.


Light Sport Aircraft Pilot is a directory of aircraft that generally fit into what are described as ultralight aircraft, advanced ultralight aircraft, light sport aircraft, experimental light sport aircraft, experimental aircraft, amateur built aircraft, ELSA or homebuilt aircraft in the United States and Canada. These include weight shift aircraft, more commonly known as trikes, powered parachutes, and powered para-gliders.

Light Sport Aircraft Pilot




Backyard Flyer HP  experimental lightsport, amateur built aircraft.

Over the past 30 years I have had the opportunity to interview a great many aircraft designers, builders and manufacturers.

Two interviews that have stood out over that period of time are one I did with late Holmer Kolb and the other with Gene and Larry Smith. The reason they stand out is that these three gentleman were "woven from the same cloth."

Like Holmer, the father and son combination of Gene and Larry Smith are good honest folk, with a farming background.

Now anyone who is into farming knows that in order to be successful you need to be very "inventive!" Take my word for it you will be hard pressed to find two individuals more inventive than Gene and Larry.

Over the years Gene has designed, built and flown a number of aircraft. During the days of the "ultralight trainer" he has demonstrated a number of his two place designs at Airventure. All of his designs have used a re-drive that he designed, generally coupled to a modified Volkswagen engine that he developed.

He is also responsible for the introduction of  the Valley Engineering "Big Twin" four stroke aircraft engine conversion, which won the Custom Power Plant Award at Airventure. At just over 100 lbs this twin cylinder unit produces 40 HP at 3600 rpm and is capable of spinning a 70 x 40 inch propeller!

With the expiration of the two place training exemption in the U.S. Gene turned his attention back to ultralights. Several years ago he designed and Larry built the Backyard Flyer Swing wing. This part 103 legal ultralight is powered by the "Big Twin" and features a "swing wing". Which means the wing basically pivots or swings at the wing fuselage attachment points, coming to rest on the tail of the plane and hanging out over the front of the engine.

This swinging takes minutes to accomplish and allows the plane to be stored in a 26 foot trailer, or single car garage.

This year Gene was flying the Backyard Flyer UL, while Larry had on display his recently completed Backyard Flyer HP. The HP model uses the same welded aluminum style fuselage, but features a 4 foot longer wing, 16 inch longer fuselage and is powered by a Valley Engineering 115 HP Volkswagen engine conversion using Gene's reduction drive unit. Larry plans on bring the horsepower up by adding a little "nitrus to it."

The complete plane weighs in at 450 lbs, and according to Larry will have a near vertical rate of climb when he finishes with it.

Initially Larry's idea was to build the plane just for himself, and so for the past couple of years he has been "tooling on it" as he could find time. In fact he had to spend a little extra time on it when his old Tomcat was racing through the shop chasing a squirrel, which proceeded to punch a hole in his tail when it jumped through it.

But interest at Airventure is making him rethink that decision, and he is expecting to start offering the Backyard Flyer HP in the experimental category. In fact a number of hang gliding schools have approached him about producing the plane as a hang glider tug. The HP once swung will fit into a 30 ft box trailer.

For more information:
Valley Engineering LLC
15685 Co. Rd. 7100
Rolla, MO. 65401


Backyard Flyer HP, Backyard Flyer HP experimental lightsport aircraft, Light Sport Aircraft Pilot News newsmagazine.
Backyard Flyer HP  - experimental amateur built lightsport aircraft



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