Windecker Eagle Restoration Making Progress
The restoration of a rare Windecker Eagle is taking longer than anticipated, but the project team is still working toward having a flying model later this year. When the restoration was announced in April, the team had hoped to complete the aircraft in time for the EAA AirVenture show next week, but the components were found to be in rougher shape after sitting neglected for decades. The four-seat composite airplane now has a new engine, cowling, gear, fuel tanks and avionics. Chinese entrepreneur Wei Hang commissioned the restoration team in Moorseville, North Carolina, to use two copies of the aircraft and rebuild what will be the only flying Windecker, which was originally designed in the 1960s. This Eagle will have modern upgrades such as touch-screen avionics and airbag-equipped seat belts.
“We found that virtually every piece of metal in the airframe had to be replaced,” Don Atchison, head of the restoration team, said in a statement this week. “Remarkably, the fiberglass held up due to a UV protective coating that was applied at the time of manufacture. When it takes the active runway again, perhaps in the later summer, early fall, it will be a fascinating blend of the oldest composite airframe in the world enhanced by the most modern technologies in avionics and subsystems.” The Windecker was developed by two dentists, Leo Windecker and his wife, Fairfax. The Eagle first flew in 1967 and became the first certified composite airplane in 1969. The Windeckers built two prototypes and six copies of the airplane but their company then ran out of money and production ceased.