European Champ Buys American

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While Wall Street frets about the Europeans taking the lead in some aerospace ventures, there's proof positive that some Europeans still respect Yankee know-how. One of Europe's best aerobatic pilots, 2001 European champion Zoltan Veres, of Hungary, will use a custom-built round-engined Culp's Special biplane for the 2003 competition and air show schedule. "It's definitely a crowd pleaser," said Steve Culp, the plane's designer. "There's kind of a nostalgia about it. A lot of people would like to see the older, more graceful aerobatics." Culp said Veres's Special will be no slouch in the air since it will sport a 400-horsepower M-14P radial spinning a three-bladed prop. Besides competitions and shows, Veres will use the Special for a 70th anniversary commemoration of a biplane flight by two Hungarian pilots, who circumvented the Mediterranean in a bid to boost aviation in their country. Veres is helping Culp and a team of technicians build the airplane at Gesoco Industries in Swanton, Vt. The seven-week construction process will be finished in a couple of weeks and test flights will begin immediately afterward. Then, the plane will be disassembled and shipped to Hungary for final painting and the start of the season.