Panther Homebuilt Off The Ground

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At least one Wichita aircraft manufacturer expects to do a roaring trade this year. The Ullman Aircraft Co. has successfully flown its Panther kitplane and hopes to have the kits on the market by the end of the year. The Panther is an all-metal, four-place, high-wing aircraft that cruises at 200 knots. After five years of development, the prototype flew March 29 and it's flown twice since. Bill Ullman, his son Brian, and their only employee, Harold Bowser, drew on the experience of other Wichita aerospace colleagues to design the Panther. The kit will sell for $51,000 and, depending on engine and other equipment choices, will end up costing up to $125,000 to complete. The fast-build kit will take an estimated 1,200 to 1,600 hours to complete. The Panther will debut at AirVenture 2003 in July, where refundable deposits will be taken on the kits. First deliveries are slated for December.