Sun Lakes Aero Club members and guests witnessed a PowerPoint presentation by an aviation enthusiast who built a ¾-scale P-51 fighter plane. The talk took place at the club’s monthly gathering on March 20 at the Sun Lakes Country Club Mirror Room.
Mike Still said he devoted six years to the project, beginning in 2010 when he purchased the project – a partially-completed fuselage – originally started by another aircraft homebuilder. After trucking the project back to his hangar at the Chandler Municipal Airport, he began the process which he described as a labor of love.
He purchased the rest of the kit from the dealer, and eventually added the wings, stabilizer assembly, rudder, 180-horsepower engine and all of the wiring and tubes needed to complete the project.
After a recorded 4,000 hours of work, Still finished the project and made the first flight in November, 2016. His goal was to make the aircraft as genuine as possible. The aircraft has a 24-foot wingspan, retractable gear and four-bladed propeller. He painted the P-51 in a 350th Air Force color scheme, featuring invasion stripes.
Still earlier had built a Murphy Renegade Spirit bi-plane, rebuilt a Starduster SA-100 and purchased a 1940 Fairchild 24W which he flew for several years before selling it to make room in his hangar for the P-51 project.
The Areo Club sponsors monthly gatherings November through April featuring speakers on a wide range of aviation-related topics. More information on the club is available from Cannon Hill at 509-539-7857, Gary Vacin at 480-298-7017 or at the club’s website, www.sunlakesaeroclub.org.