The Spirit Of St. Louis Kitplane
It has no brakes, no steerable gear, and no forward visibility, but if you don't (and also if you do) ball it up on the grass, your three-quarter-scale kit-built Spirit of St. Louis from Robert Baslee's Airdrome Aeroplanes will likely attract a lot of attention. Baslee originally got into the replica business out of self interest, building approximately 17 WWI replica aircraft, including multiple replica Fokkers, Sopwiths, a Nieuport 24, Nieuport 17s, a Bleriot, and more. That led to attention from movie studios and museums and contract work. Now, public attention drawn by the Spirit of St. Louis replica (contracted by a bank for marketing purposes), has generated enough interest to prompt Baslee to create a kit version of the aircraft, which he says will be available soon.
Baslee's company has been working since 1989 in Holden, Mo. The company has produced aircraft for the movie Flyboys and Amelia, and has done multiple builds for museum displays. He says he always flies his aircraft builds as a condition of his contracts. Baslee hasn't yet flown his Spirit of St. Louis, but predicts it will stall below 45, and cruise at 105 with a three and half hour range. The aircraft is powered by a 110-hp seven-cylinder Rotec engine, but a 150-hp option is available. He'll introduce the kit at $12,995 including everything for the airframe including covering, but excluding engine and avionics. He expects buyers to be very experienced pilots (military and airline) who love aviation and history, and want to experience and learn what it took to fly an airplane in the 1920s. He also imagines he'll incorporate cameras and a cockpit display "because people like to see." Baslee himself told AVweb Thursday that he is looking forward to experiencing the aircraft after its visit to AirVenture.