Editors Note: This article originally appeared in January of 2004. We are reproducing it here to document the Chapter project, as we work to complete Gene's airplane.
Gene doing some welding on the airplane.
The EAA Biplane, as it is known, is the first airplane Paul Poberezny built when he started EAA. He took a basic Piper Cub and put a pair of wings on it to make it a biplane. When Gene attended the 1970 EAA convention in Oshkosh, he saw an EAA Biplane in the display area and knew this was the plane he wanted to build. He got a set of plans from EAA and studied them for about a year. He lived in Kansas City at the time, and would be doing the building in his basement workshop.
The EAA Biplane that Gene saw at Oshkosh in 1970, which inspired him to build this project
He decided to build the wings first. The wings are made from Sitka spruce, covered with Ceconite fabric, and rib stitched. Next, he built the "tail feathers" out of 4130 tubing. The fuselage is also built from 4130 tubing, with a single-place cockpit. The engine is a 125-hp O-290D, which originally came from a Tri-Pacer. The landing gear is from a PA18 Super Cub. It has Cleveland wheels with hydraulic brakes, and a steerable tail wheel.
Center wing section
Attaching left wing assemblies to fuselage
Upon moving to the Ozarks (to the new home which Gene and his wife Jean built themselves), Gene had to put the project on hold. Until a hangar was built, it rested comfortably in his son's barn in Oologah, Oklahoma. Gene has now built a small vintage-style hangar and workshop, with an airstrip, on his property in Ozark County. Gene's daughter gave him a brick mold for his birthday one year, and Gene has used it to make the bricks for the floor of the hangar. This is what he does on days that aren't suitable for working on the airplane itself. After the hangar was mostly built, he brought the airplane home and resumed work on it. It is nearing completion.
Wing panels before covering
Closer view of lower wing portion
Taking shape but no landing gear yet
Quarter view, showing fuselage skin and engine in place
Landing gear and cowling are on
Another view showing aileron
wing panel with covering on
At present, the metal tubing of the fuselage is painted with white Imron, covered with Ceconite fabric, doped first with nitrate, then silver butyrate, dope. The wings are also covered with Ceconite and nitrate dope, rib stitched, then painted with silver butyrate dope. Contrary to conventional wisdom, Gene has obtained a beautiful finish by hand brushing each layer rather than spraying.
During June 2002, in the hangar on his place in Ozark County, Gene and Jean show a visitor Gene's meticulous work.
These pictures mark progress as of June 2003. The panel is simple but complete.
And here it is in December 2003, with flying wires, lower cowling, tail wheel, and more finish coats.
The engine is currently in Oklahoma, undergoing testing. Gene expects to bring it home in early spring, and hopes to be flying later in the spring of 2004. In the meantime, Gene has been building taildragger skills in a Taylorcraft owned by fellow Chapter 1218 member John Zook.