Dinner Meeting Reviews
Our May 15 dinner program featured DAF speaker Rhon Williams, who presented details of his epic 13 year, very fulfilling, incredibly complex journey building a 2/3 scale Early Bird Jenny biplane from scratch. When Rhon began this project in 2002 at Compton Airport, it was a group project, but as time went on it basically became his solo project. It was completed in 2015.
Rhon has spent 6,200 hours of his time on the project so far. Rhon was constantly challenged figuring out what parts to use and how to find them. In many cases, he made his own parts.
The Jenny's 3 cylinder engine is adapted from a Geo Metro car.
Rhon learned to create prototypes of structures, get them right, and then build tools from these prototypes to build the airworthy parts installed in the aircraft. Rhon had to develop skills in woodworking, sheet metal, welding, fabric covering, painting, and all other skills required to scratch build from plans. He took weekend classes through EAA to gain some of the skills needed. His EAA friends helped with everything. Rhon noted that this kind of project makes you lucky.  
Rhon's perseverance paid off on December 30, 2015 at Chino Airport when he flew Jenny for the first time, 100 years after the 1st Jenny flight!
The Early Bird Jenny cruises at 65 mph, rotates at 50 mph, and stalls at 45 mph. Not much difference between those speeds! The Jenny currently is based at Compton Airport and can fly without restrictions. Kudos to Rhon's wife Vickie who was an enthusiastic supporter of his endeavor over the years.
A special thank you to Rhon for sharing with us the details of his extraordinary accomplishment in a well documented presentation which allowed us DAFers to understand so much of his journey.