Well, I figured I would add some story here, about my plane. This airplane is a 2/3 scale experimental aircraft built in Lakeland, Fl in about 1995 by a gentleman named David Eachon, and his friends. This aircraft was legally registered with FAA Number N115TW and the certification was valid until last year. My buddy Tom, and I were going to lunch one day and I said, “Hey there’s an airplane by the dumpster”, and he said, “Yea sure.” Well I kept saying it for 6 weeks, when my buddy finally had enough, wheels up to the dumpster enclosure and then says, “Holy crap, theres and airplane by the dumpster!”
So we eat there, have a nice visit with the store manager, and in 2 days I am calling same said buddy with, If you’re coming in today bring the trailer for my airplane!!!
Well, we pick it up, bring it to my house, fab up some landing gear, and put all the pieces back together, stand back and… UNBELIEVABLE!!! Its gorgeous!!
Well, I look it over good, OMG, an N number, and EAA cert. At this point I must interject that Joe and I were pretty well versed in planes, the EAA, and aircraft engineering at a young age from our dad, who had pilots license in the 30’s, flew for the civil air patrol and the USAAF, kept it current to the 80’s, and took us as kids to hang out where people who were flying and building aircraft, so I knew darned well what I was looking at!!! More unbelievable!!!
So, If you haven’t figured it out yet, I am good at research stuff. Like a big puzzle or model to me. So I research the plane. Apparently, David (the builder/designer) and his friends were going to sell kit aircraft, and this plane is prototype number one, the Time Warp Spitfire Mk 5, 23 ft wingspan, to run on a Geo engine with a reduction drive. Based upon personal interviews for myself and my wife driving down to Lakeland (on a whim, 2500 miles in 5 days right before Thanksgiving this year) that aircraft did fly. Then because the prototype Mk9 was almost ready to go, this plane was sold to the bar for seed money to fund the second prototype.
Now comes the very sad part, This happened, from the official NTSB report,
On August 8, 2000, about 0850 eastern daylight time, a homebuilt Eachon Time Warp Spitfire 9, N355DE, registered to a private individual, impacted with the ground during takeoff from Lakeland Linder Regional Airport, Lakeland, Florida. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time, and no flight plan was filed for the 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight. The airplane was destroyed. The commercial-rated pilot was fatally injured. The flight was originating at the time. This was the first flight of this airplane after being built, and was to be a test flight.
My heart sunk!! wow!!!! There are newspaper articles on it, from Lakeland and St Petersburg on the internet. What should have been cigars and celebration turned into something tragic. I still am a bit lost for words at this point. Kind of a there but for the grace of God go I moment. Dave sounded like a very nice guy, liked and loved by many, and he died doing what he loved. RIP David Eachon
Well, anyways, the plane is on display in my front yard, and I love it. The airframe is solid, but the wings and control surfaces took quite a beating coming out of the bar. His red paint is slowly peeling off the reveal the original WWII camo underneath. Drive by and see it sometime! Amazing Plane & Story!!