Wings Magazine

Build a plane in one week? It happened at Oshkosh!

Aug. 7, 2014, Oshkosh, Wi. - At approximately 11:07 a.m. Tuesday, August 5, 2014, the airplane thousands of EAA members had a hand in building last week during the One Week Wonder project at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2014 flew for the first time.

August 7, 2014  By Carey Fredericks

With EAA’s Jeff Skiles at the controls, the Zenith CH 750 Cruzer
N140WW departed Wittman Regional Airport’s Runway 9, quickly ascended to
about 1,800 feet, did one circuit around the pattern, landed at 11:19
a.m., and taxied to EAA’s Weeks Hangar on the north side of the runway.


“The flight was great,” Skiles said. “The Zenith Cruzer has a lot of
performance, and lifts off very fast. Like a rocket ship, really.” It
was Skiles first maiden flight of a new aircraft, and on Monday he was
thoroughly checked out in another Cruzer as well as a 750 STOL.



“I am very fortunate to have the honor of making this first flight
today,” he added. Although the instruments are not calibrated, Skiles
figures he reached a speed of about 85 mph during the flight.

Charlie Becker, EAA community director and homebuilt community
manager, who led the program from uncrating to first flight, was finally
able to exhale. “To be honest, it’s a huge sigh of relief for me,” he
said. “I didn’t really see it as done until it flew. Sure we got the
airworthiness certificate and taxied it at AirVenture on Sunday, but
until it flies, it’s not an airplane.”


The logbook located at the One Week Wonder workshop last week shows
an incredible 2,500-plus people had a hand in building this airplane.
Many people who pulled a rivet also signed their names on the airframe.


“I want to thank each and every one of the participants,” Becker
said. “You gave the crew a lot of energy to make it happen. It’s an
incredibly rewarding feeling.”


Becker notes that the project’s purpose was to show that building your own airplane is an attainable goal. You can do this!


“This airplane has touched a lot of lives and will continue to touch lives by showing it can be done.”

Sebastien Heintz, Zenith president, spent most of his time during the
convention in the One Week

Wonder workshop and decided to stay in
Oshkosh a little longer to witness the occasion.


“It came out very nicely, didn’t it?” he said. “The focus of the week
was to get it done, but this is a very nice airplane.” Heintz spent
most of Monday working with Skiles on transition training.


Skiles added that he was pleased to take advantage of the EAA Flight
Advisor program. “I did some transition training with Zenith, and that
was very valuable, but this morning it was very helpful for the EAA
Flight Advisor to sort of walk me through things and let me know what to


“It was built in a week, and it is a basic airplane, but it also has a
state of the art engine (Rotax 912 iS) and a touch-screen Dynon panel,”
Heintz added. “Nobody builds a plane alone. There are resources out
there like EAA, and everyone’s goal is to make building an airplane more


About 2,500 visitors also voted on what paint scheme would grace the
new airplane and the runaway winner was the blue on white, garnering a
little over half the votes. 


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