Production Updates

We now have 8 production fuselages off the production line along with most of the welded components.  They are going through final QA and touch up before going to the powder-coat shop.  The goal is to have them there on Monday morning.  We also have the forward fuselage side and belly skins being run at the CNC shop now – all pre drilled.

photo 1 photo 13

photo 3

I know they don’t look as impressive naked – but they are going to be beautiful once they are all powder-coated!  Just imagine 8 of these babies all lined up!

Panther Fuselage

We also are working to get part sub-kits packaged up to make the packing process more streamlined.

photo 8

Canopies are in as well!  Our first batch has been received and is awaiting QA.

We also have our first production batch of landing gear legs from the CNC shop.


So – things are really starting to come together.  We still have a long way to go – but there is clearly some light at the end of the tunnel.

These next few weeks before Oshkosh are going to be spent dialing in the rest of the production welding and getting customers kits shipped out.

After Oshkosh we will focus on the canopy skirt fiberglass mold and the finishing touches on the kits and the documentation.

Our new web store will be launching in the next few weeks as well – take a look at the staged website (keeping in mind that pricing and options are not all correct).  Constructive criticism is welcome!

I can’t believe Oshkosh is already here! Look for an invitation link to join us for our annual OSH Friday night cookout/night airshow soon.

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Panther Video by Dan Johnson

Here is a great Panther video by Dan Johnson and crew shot at SNF 2014.  They are great at asking the important and interesting questions and rolling in the good video footage to go along with it.  Hats off to the Dan Johnson and crew!!!



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SPA Builders and Parts Update

Things have been crazy busy, and very productive around SPA over the last few weeks.

This is going to be quick update, in no particular order.

Wing Kits -

Builders have been working quietly through their wing kits.  They have been busy little bees with their noses to the grind and things are going well for some, and not so hot for others….

Here are just a few examples -

Steve Pedano is a first time builder and is one of our home field guys.  He has been ripping through the kit at lightening speed and is doing a great job!  Below you can see he is ready for his wing skins.  He just finished the spars a few weeks ago!  Hats off to Steve.

Steve Pedano - First time builder ripping through the kit!  We don't hear from him unless he wants more parts!

Steve Pedano – First time builder ripping through the kit! We don’t hear from him unless he wants more parts!

Builder Jim Hurdle has been such a good sport, like a lot of our builders, patiently waiting on his wing kit.  Unfortunately sometimes it doesn’t matter how well you crate something there is always a chance it can get damaged in transit.  This was poor Jim’s fate – forks through the end.  Damaged a few skins and a control surface.  He can still get started with his spars while he waits on his replacements – but it is still a time consuming effort on all parties due to claim paperwork, repacking and reshipping - plus diminishing stock!

Fork through the end of the crate - you can tell the crate was turned on its side at some point....

Fork through the end of the crate – you can tell the crate was turned on its side at some point….


The forks ripped right into the end of the skins

The forks ripped right into the end of the skins

Wing kits are shipping out to customers at a slower pace than we had anticipate and the plans and builders manual for these sections is still incomplete – however a builder can get their spars, flaps and ailerons all completed along with all the wing ribs prepped.  We should be finished up with the builders manual for this section in the next two to three weeks and the assembly plan sheets will be right behind this.

Rear Fuselages –

The rear fuselages/tail cones parts are done and we are finishing up the builders manual for this over the next few weeks as well.  Bob Woolley is finished with his, Paul Salter is doing the final touches (debur, dimple, alodine, prime and rivet), and Tony Spicer starts his this week!  Look for updates on Tony’s Picasa Site starting tomorrow or Thursday.

Other builders who have not yet received their wing kits will be getting their tail kits included with the shipment.  Builders who have their wing kits will be hearing from us soon!

See some photos of Paul’s rear fuse build below (roll over to see details and double click to enlarge):

New Facility, Welders and Forward Fuselage Cages -

We now have our welding crew up and running at full capacity.  We have three full time welders and will do in depth intros in a week or so.  (One you already know – everyone knows Vern!)

The new facility is also up and running – here are a few shots of the production progress.  Not too big, but big enough!  (roll over to see details and double click to enlarge)


A Day Late – But Never Forgotten

We hope everyone had a safe and reflective Memorial Day weekend.  We have the deepest respect for all the soldiers who have given their lives for our precious freedom, and our continued condolences to their loved ones!

I had a brief conversation with a good friend of mine who has served a lifetime of protecting our country this afternoon.  He lost a dear friend, co-pilot and fellow soldier to the ultimate sacrifice in WWII.  I asked him if he had a hard day yesterday.  His response was as I expected….he said “I think of him every day, and yesterday was no different”.

I came across a quote that I had not read before that I think holds the essence of all the soldiers we carry daily in our hearts that are gone from this earth:

“The brave die never, though they sleep in dust: Their courage nerves a thousand living men.” -Minot J. Savage

With respect and honor we remember and thank our fallen soldiers,


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Panther Takes to the Skies with a Gaggle of RVs

Here is a short video from the Saturday hop from Haller Airpark to Reynolds Airfield. Dan and a group of pilots with RVs, known as the Dreamland Squadron, flew in formation over to our local town’s 2nd Annual Armed Forces Car and Motorcycle show on May 17th.

Please note – the rolling screen on the GRT is because of a video frame rate mismatch issue.  No – it does not look like that in real life.

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Armed Forces Fly-In Reminder – Tomorrow

Just a quick reminder about the fly-in tomorrow. Dan and the RV fleet from Haller are planning on flying formation into the show around 11 am tomorrow morning. The show goes until 3 pm. If you are in the area please drive or fly in, the weather will be great! They should have decent food too. Hope to see you there.


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Panther on the Cover of FLYER Magazine – buy your issue now!

July issue of FLYER for iPad on sale now! Digital and Print Copy available soon.

Cover of FLYER magazine-  July 2014

Cover of FLYER magazine- July 2014

Just imagine flying an aircraft that was so impressive, you just had to order one on the spot. That’s exactly the effect the superb single-seater Panther had on Ian Seager and you can read about his experience in the Summer issue of FLYER. We also take an in-depth look at the Cirrus BRS parachute system, including how it works and asking whether you would pull the chute. Joe Fournier has some sage advice on weight and balance, alongside some examples of when pilots got it wrong. And if you like STUNNING aerial photos, take a look at Ron Lowery’s account of flying the Tennessee River. Elsewhere, we flight test the new AKG AV100 headsets, report back from Europe’s biggest AERO event, hear more tales from the Bush Pilot and learn the latest from Red Bull Air Race world champion Paul Bonhomme. Add in the chance to save £59 in landing fees and much more, and this is another great issue of the UK’s most popular GA title.

Click HERE for the Digital Site (get signed up now with your subscription to get notified as soon as the issue is available for viewing).

To download on your iPad, iPhone, iPod or Mac got to the AppStore and search FLYER Magazine. One issue is only 5$!

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The Future of EAA – Nature vs Nurture

I have no idea if nature vs. nurture wins the battle because in our world it seems to be both. Dan was born into an aviation family, with his Dad being a P3 pilot and was raised around it at Our airpark, with his uncle Bob, Bob Woolley (Panther Builder) and friends making weekends fun and interesting for a growing teenage boy.

I have been told by my mother-in-law, Rhonda Weseman, that when Dan was in school he would repeatedly NOT write his name on the paper. However, the teacher always knew which one was his – because there would always be a doodle of an airplane somewhere in a corner.

As you all know our kids are a very big part of our lives – so sheer osmosis is totally going on here. I mean – I have a technical background with servers, databases and routing tables being my main focus for work – so how is it I can walk the walk and talk the talk? Because I am around it, live the passion in it, and have found my personal way to relate!

Luke came to us a few days ago with a conundrum. He loves the Thatcher CX-4 but can’t afford it (on his measley 2nd grader income). So he decided to hit us up to build the next best thing in his book – the Panther. Why? Because he knows where to gets parts – cheap! No dummies around here!

He worked with Dan starting on the rudder – using a skin that suffered a ding unfit for a customer (equals free for Luke). So off to work he goes – “Mom – can you print those pages from the builders manual for me?” and “How do I get this plastic off?”
Dan shows him a trick to use a tube to roll it off…


Then “What do you mean we don’t have center ribs for the rudder formed? I can use the press to make the part!”



We all had a great time with Luke learning how to hone in his skills on removing PVC, deburring, clecoes and following the plans and builders manual. Dan and I both thought – how long is this going to last?

The answer is – who knows? But it’s good right? No matter how long?

Our school system sends what they call a weekly folder home on Wednesday. This folder contains all the papers, tests, grades for the week for parents to review.

So – I go through it like I do every week and sign my name like I always do.

And I notice something on the back of Luke’s papers. I look at Dan, and show him and say – “Uh Oh…”


So – is it simply that Dan has the genes for aviation, or is it that he was raised in the atmosphere for love of aviation and the opportunities that it brings? I think that both go hand in hand… Enthusiasm is catching, and if you are exposed it bleeds into your soul. No matter what it is.

Time to step up the involvement – to promote Experimental Aviation! I mean – look at that face! Excitement is bursting from it!

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