Model Airplane News|
Model Airplane News Cover Art for June, 1959
by Jo Kotula
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The Salvay-Stark Skyhopper was an American single-seater light monoplane first flown in 1945. The Skyhopperwas a low-wing cantilever monoplane with a top speed of about 90mph and a range of 250 mi. Originally, it had an open cockpit that was later enclosed.
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After the end of World War II in 1945 there was resurgence in general aviation flying due to the great interest in airplanes. General aviation flying had been curtailed during the war, and returning military veterans had much interest in either learning to fly or to continue the flying they had learned in the Civilian Pilot Training Program, the U S Army Air Corps,the U S Navy or Marine Corps. For a time, the G I Bill for Veterans paid tuition for learning to fly and get the Private Pilot Certificate, although this policy changed to only pay for advanced flight training after the veteran funded his or her own primary training. Thus, an aviation career-minded veteran could get paid (in full or part) training for the Commercial, Instrument and Multi-Engine tickets and other flight endorsements.
A huge interest in building one's own airplane also grew in this postwar time. After the Civil Aeronautics Authority had effectively stopped homebuilt aircraft construction in 1938, leaving its regulation to the states, only Oregon passed a law permitting construction and registration of homebuilt aircraft designs. After the war, the Federal Aviation Agency (forerunner of our present Federal Aviation Administration) quickly rectified the CAA's oversight, recognizing homebuilt aircraft under a category of Experimental-Amateur built aircraft. A homebuilt experimental-registered aircraft had to meet the 51% rule; more than half the construction had to be performed by the owner-builder. Construction had to be monitored and signed off by an FAA inspector or a Designated Engineering Representative for sound and safe building principles and practices. Many of the homebuilt designs both before and after the war were small, single place aircraft of modest power to keep down costs, yet they yielded a gratifying flight and piloting experience.
One of the very early homebuilt design efforts after the war was advanced by E. M. "Gene" Salvay and George A. Stark who formed the Skyhopper Aircraft, Inc. firm in 1945 in Kansas City, Kansas specifically to design a light aircraft and sell its plans to home constructors. Their "Skyhopper", design of which started in 1944. Prototype NX41770 was a small, single place cantilever low-wing taildragger monoplane of mixed contruction with an open cockpit powered by a 50 horsepower engine. The goal was a plane that could be built for $1,000, and be affordable to many eager aviators in 1946. The prototype Skyhopper NX41770 first flew in 1946.
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