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I found out from the very start of my Dakota Hawk project that it would be an uphill battle for acceptance.The area where I live has three general aviation airports along with an EAA chapter, and the place is swarming with homebuilts.

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Then came the day in 1970 when I was strolling along the magazine rack in the junior high school library and spied a Popular Science magazine.

On the cover was a man flying a small single seat aircraft called the Volksplane and the caption read something like, Build this plane in your garage. I could have sworn I heard angels singing from the Home Economics class across the hallway.

But I had done enough research into homebuilding to know that you dont just jump into it cold.

Once youve weighed all the potential pitfalls such as the time spent away from family, whether you have the necessary space to build, and the expenses that seem to double and triple, you have to research the kitplane company itself and see how happy its customers were.

Just leave me enough room to park the car at night. This was going to be a major commitment of time, effort and money and my wife had just given me the greatest gift of allher support! I had been drooling over the Kitfox because it had the look of a vintage plane with its round bumped cowling and wheel pants, but the cost had escalated beyond what I was willing to spend at the time.

I soon purchased a Kitplanes magazine from the grocery store one evening which happened to coincide with its annual manufacturers directory. I thumbed through the pages like a kid in a candy store.

If I spotted a model that struck my fancy I could read up on the specs.

How many kits were sold, how many were completed and flying, what kind of materials went into the design and what engine range was required.

I walked up to the two gentlemen manning the booth, and after exchanging pleasantries I announced my intentions of joining their builders fraternity as I had just taken possession of my own kit plane. You should have looked into getting a real airplane like an RV. Of all people, I thought surely these guys would appreciate a mans desire to build his dream regardless of its make or model. Im sure upon leaving I was probably mumbling something about not wanting to join an RV club but I dont recall, I just felt like the only guy in the wedding photo with brown shoes!

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