Hangar Find: Kitfox Experimental Airplane

If you’re bored with the car hobby, or just looking for that next project, maybe consider an airplane. It may not be as unrealistic as it sounds. This Kitfox is an amateur built experimental airplane that has folding wings so it can be transported on a trailer and stored in a garage! This airplane has not been flown since the early ’90s, so it is going to need some work before flight. Find it here on Craigslist in Somerset, PA with a reduced price of $11,000.

The Kitfox company has been around since ’84 and is still in business. This model has a steel tube fuselage and a wood wing with fabric covering over both. The Kitfox is a STOL aircraft which means it is equipped for short field takeoffs and landings, cruising speed is around 100 MPH. Since this model fits under the Light Sport Aircraft category, it can be flown with a Sport Pilot License.

This airplane is unique because it is equipped with a KFM engine which is a 4 cycle 4 cylinder horizontally opposed engine, it seems the Rotax engine is the most popular engine choice for these aircraft. The airplane has not been flown for about 25 years so lets hope the engine is ok, the ad mentions a problem with the fuel line, I’m sure the entire fuel system will need some attention.

The instrumentation is basic but appropriate for this airplane. The hour meter shows 55 hours so this airplane has not been flown much, a quick internet search of the registration shows it was built in 1988. There are a lot of potential problem areas to worry about when purchasing a project like this. Is the engine ok? Is the build quality good? Is the fuselage free of corrosion? Is the fabric covering ok? The airplane looks nice, so hopefully all of these areas are good and this thing will be airborne again.

 

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Comments

  1. dgrass

    No logbooks since the early 90s, experimental, amateur built…three huge red flags associated with buying an aircraft. Unlike cars, these require more than a title to gas up and go. My advice, find a round 2 ton stone, start rolling it uphill…you can expect the same results trying to get this off the ground.

    Like 13
  2. Bob S

    Yep, Both engine and airframe would require a complete teardown and rebuild. If the buyer is not doing this, it will be an expensive proposition. The new buyer won’t have any idea of the mistakes buried in there from the first build.
    There is no other way I would fly it.
    Bob

    Like 9
  3. Levi Andrus

    Death wish

    Like 8
  4. Lroy

    Great starting point for someone in the hobbies grand child. The flip it opportunity has passed. Could of hauled it up Oshkosh for the annual fly in and most likely sold it to an enthusiast for a profit. That would have been fun attempting.

    Like 3
  5. Howard A Member

    Flying in a small plane is a gas, especially a top wing. Bottom wings restrict your view too much. Yeah, you don’t just kick the tires and go with these, but I don’t see any reason why this couldn’t be made safe to fly again. If you think classic cars are a rich persons hobby, try flying,,,I’m told.

    Like 8
    • Frank Sumatra

      I found out paying for a pilot’s education and training is also a rich person’s hobby. Too bad I wasn’t a rich person.

      Like 5
      • Dick Johnson

        Yup. Washed, wrenched, flew charters just to get that almighty flying hour. 31,000 hours later… not a career for the undedicated. You can’t hardly do what I did back then in today’s financial environment. And it’s always been expensive.

        Like 4
      • TriPowerVette

        I got my license in the 1970’s. For most of that period, I was going to college and earning minimum wage ($1.00-$1.25 /hr). Rental, plus fuel, averaged $25-$30/hr. I still have a notebook containing every rental and fuel receipt I’ve ever paid.

        When people ask me: “How much does it cost to get your pilot’s license?” My answer is: “Do you intend to stop flying after you get your license? Just whack away at it, you’ll get there. I did.”

        I’ve never been wealthy (I got close, though – just before the 2006 banking debacle).

        Guess I have to agree with @Bob S – this time. A complete teardown and inspection is the only sane way to approach this. That engine choice is kinda cool, though.

        Like 6
  6. Dick Johnson

    Check out Airventure 2018 on yo’tube. Matt (Kyle?) Younkin’s aerobatics in his Kitfox is fun to watch.

    Other than that, “what all the other he saids.” “There are no free lunches in aviation. But there are free things in aviation that will eat your lunch.” — Capt. Justice

    Like 8
    • John Bee

      Another guy on youtube to check out is Trent Palmer. He flies a later model of these with bush tires. Looks like a lot of fun.

      Like 4
  7. geomechs geomechs Member

    What most people don’t realize is the red tape that gets tangled up in a project like this. You’re going to rip the fabric off so the frame can be inspected then signed off by the FAA. It then has to be recovered, which has to be inspected and signed off by the FAA. The engine will have to be gone through and inspected and signed off by the FAA. Electrical system, radio equipment, instruments, control cables, all inspected and signed off by the FAA. True, if you have a vintage car you have to commit to a lot of work but you don’t have to double the bill having the FAA inspect it. I loved flying but if I wanted to continue I would’ve had to give up EVERYTHING else that I loved to do. So I kept my vehicles. I might add that a car is a lot easier to land with a ‘dead stick.’

    Like 11
    • Dave Wright

      There is a lot that you don’t understand here……..this is an EXPERIMENTAL aircraft. Little doccumention and few inspections required. You don’t need certified mechanics. It will have flight restrictions for a period of time. I don’t care for experimental aircraft for the most part…….have picked up too many casualties with them……..but these are a decent aircraft. The factory is near my ranch, has survived and thrived for decades. It will require inspections and a complete going through but not near what is being represented here by the wizards of smart. If well stored in the dry the airframe is probably good, engine will require tear down but these are low TBO engines and not that expensive to do. The Factory will know the weak spots in the aircraft and be able to dirrect you to potential problem areas. I only have 2 aircraft right now and the values are going up fast these days. In my experiance, many of these hombuilders are very anal about quality and outside of an unusual design, they can be very well built. I belive most of these were mostly factory built with final assembly done by the “Home Builder” this is the only experimental that I am comfortable with.

      Like 14
      • geomechs geomechs Member

        I agree in that these are not quite subject to the rigorous inspections that would be required if it was a full-fledged aircraft. Just the same it will need some inspections before you can put air between the machine and the ground below. I also agree that these are very well made and should require very little to actually get them flying again.

        Like 3
      • dgrass

        By the time a buyer is done prepping this, they can expect to spend 30-40K easy.

        For that money, they might as well find an old Cessna with an up to date log.

        Like 4
  8. Jerry Long

    Amen on the other comments. Been there, done that.

    Like 5
  9. fcs

    @gemechs
    Your information is a little dated. Pre-cover inspections by the FAA went by the way side some years ago. They have better things to do.

    Not to say that you are paper-work free. As this is an experimental and the buyer is not the original builder there will still need to be inspections by your local friendly licensed airframe and power plant mechanic.

    I’ve re-build a ’49 Bonanza and a ’56 Mercedes. There are specialized skills that have to be learned for aircraft, but I don’t think planes are any more difficult to work on than cars. They still are more expensive as parts are harder to come by and way more dollars

    Like 5
    • geomechs geomechs Member

      I have to admit that some changes have taken place since I last flew. I got out of flying in 2005 because it was getting difficult to have a plane (Cessna 172) that cost as much to keep in the air as my entire collection of cars, trucks and daily drivers put together. I know a number of guys who have rebuilt/restored their own aircraft, and they did quite well. I met a guy who scratch-built a duplicate GEE BEE. Nothing but a huge engine mounted on stubby wings. I met another guy who restored a 1933 Waco. His story is very interesting. But both of those guys have got a lot more means to pursue their hobbies than I do.

      Like 1
  10. Uncle Bob

    Ad is over a month old in a population dense quadrant of the country……..probably a message there.

    Like 4
  11. Mark

    If you are going to fly this I suggest putting a couple of strips of bacon in your pocket so the search dogs have an easier time finding your body.

    Like 11
  12. David Frank David Frank Member

    The biggest problem with this airplane is the KFM 112 engine. They have been out of business since 1990. Perhaps the engine on this airplane has a problem and the owner couldn’t get parts. The gear reduction is a likely culprit. Most LSA aircraft fly with some version of the Rotax 912. That will be $15,000 to $20,000 for a new engine. People sell their used engines with as little as 600 hours on them because repairs are so expensive so you can pick up a used engine for between $6,000 and $10,000. Repairs can quickly get you over the price of a new engine, though. These are great fun little airplanes, but can it ever fly again? The key is in the paperwork including a complete logbook. As a homebuilt, this aircraft would have needed an inspection to obtain the original Airworthiness Certificate. The builder would have had to prove they did at least 50% of the construction. If this paperwork is not included in the sale the aircraft is just parts. As far as inspection there are several critical single points of failure like the strut attach fittings and points. One also has to wonder about internal rust in the tube frame. I’d say to buy a flying airworthy example for $25,000 to $30,000 and save yourself a headache. Otherwise, just build your own.

    Like 9
  13. big mike

    I would buy it, hang the prop and instrument panel on a wall in a man cave!!!!
    That would make for some interesting talk at a party!!!.

    Like 3
  14. TriPowerVette

    @big mike – If I had $11K lying around, just earmarked for wall art, there are many more things to buy before cutting up this plane.

    Like 7
  15. Jay E.

    David F’s comments are right on the money, especially if you weren;t the original builder. If they weren’t I’d buy it as I am an A/P and pilot. But the price has too many unknowns to be viable and once the engine quits it doesn’t care how cheaply you bought it, the resulting emergency is going to be expensive (unless its a glider and you are ALWAYS “engine out”.

    Like 3
  16. Dick Johnson

    Sorry to hear that you’re a pilot, Jay. There sure seems to me that BF has more than it’s share of afflicted souls.

    I saw a KF in Gardner, Ks a few years back. It had the Rotec R-2800 installed. Looked and sounded great. The owner was scared of it and was going to sell it.

    Like 1
  17. chad

    our method was a syndicate,
    on the car rounds I C ‘group by’.

    U spread the cost around w/some friends &/or others.
    I didn’t fly every wkend…Y pay for it if not using. “Joe
    can fly then, I’m goin to the beach house w/the family.”

    Like 1
  18. Dave

    Just curious did it sell and for how much? I am in Canada looking for a kitfox and I would have been interested

    Like 1
  19. Steven Atkins

    Is this still for sale.

    Like 1
  20. Jay

    Anyone has the info for this plane? Ad expired would like to contact the owner

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