|Denney Kitfox Model 2|
|First flight||November 1984|
|Number built||4500+ kits delivered|
|Developed into||Aeropro Eurofox, Apollo Fox |
Rocky Mountain Wings Ridge Runner
The Denney Kitfox is a series of small side-by-side two-seat high-wing kit aircraft, designed and originally manufactured by Dan Denney and his company Denney Aerocraft of Boise, Idaho. The aircraft is amateur-built and not type-certified. Over 4500 kits have been delivered in 42 different countries.
A derivative of the Avid Flyer, the Kitfox was an early kit plane to feature quickly-folding wings that greatly simplify carriage and storage. The appeal of the aircraft was that it could be built by any handyman in a two-car garage and then towed to the airport with the wings folded. The landing gear may be easily converted to floats or skis.
Development and history
First flown in November 1984 from the Denney Aerocraft factory in Boise, the Model 1 Kitfox was a two-seat STOL taildragger aircraft capable of flying from unimproved strips. The design was originally intended to use a new radial engine then in development and the early Kitfoxes had round cowls with bumps to accommodate the cylinder heads. Although this radial engine did not materialize, and a Rotax two-stroke engine was adapted instead, the "retro" radial cowling proved popular and was retained on many models. In 1984 a total of six Model 1 Kitfoxes were delivered and then the model range was expanded to include the improved Models 2, 3, 4, and Classic 4.
In June 1992 Denney Aerocraft sold the rights to the design to SkyStar Aircraft. Skystar started work on a new aircraft, the Kitfox Series 5. This aircraft was designed to be larger, with an increased useful load, cabin and cargo space, and to use certified aircraft engines. The Series 5 was produced as a conventional landing gear-equipped aircraft with the names Outback and Safari and also as a tricycle gear aircraft, the Vixen and Voyager. An employee consortium took over SkyStar Aircraft in January 2000, and this reorganized company launched the Kitfox Series 6. Later in 2000 the company also introduced the Kitfox "Lite Squared", a lightened version of the Kitfox Classic 4, as a two-seat ultralight trainer for the single-seat ultralight Kitfox Lite.
In 2002, SkyStar introduced the Kitfox Series 7. This aircraft can cruise at speeds in excess of 150 miles per hour (241 km/h), with a service ceiling above 25,000 feet (7,620 m). The Series 7 design conformed to the then-proposed Federal Aviation Administration Light Sport Aircraft category better than did the Lite Squared and it became the company's main model. As the LSA rules were further developed and gross weights increased, it became evident that a special version of the Kitfox Series 7, to be known as the Kitfox Sport, would not be needed and that all three Kitfoxes then in production — the Lite, Classic 4 and Series 7 — would meet the revised LSA category definition.
In late 2005 SkyStar Aircraft filed for bankruptcy. In April 2006, the assets of Skystar were purchased by Kitfox Aircraft, a newly formed company owned by John and Debra McBean. John McBean is a former SkyStar employee, having left the company in 2003.
- Model 1
- Original 1984 model with radial engine cowl and 64 hp (48 kW) Rotax 532 as the standard engine. A total of 257 kits were produced.
- Model 2
- The larger, wider Kitfox Model 2 was introduced in 1989 and available with the 64 hp (48 kW) Rotax 582 engine. The gross weight was increased to 950 lb (431 kg). 490 were produced.
- Model 3
- The Kitfox Model 3 features structural changes that were designed to improve flight characteristics and provide a better platform for more powerful engines including the 80 hp (60 kW) Rotax 912. A total of 466 were produced.
- Model 4-1050
- The Kitfox Model 4 was a new design introduced in 1991. It incorporated a laminar flow airfoil, new flaperon design, metal flaperon attach brackets and a new 2:1 differential aileron control system. The gross weight of the Kitfox Model 4-1050 was the same as the Model 3, 1,050 lb (476 kg). The Model 4 standard engines include the 80 hp (60 kW) Rotax 912 and the 100 hp (75 kW) Rotax 912S. 322 were built.
- Model 4-1200 (Classic IV)
- The Kitfox Model 4-1200, also known as the Classic 4, is the final version of the original 1984 Denney Kitfox. Introduced in 1991, the Classic 4 has stronger lift struts, gear legs, and fuselage carry-through tubes, which allow a gross weight of 1,200 lb (544 kg). The vertical stabilizer and rudder height was increased by 10 inches (25 cm), and the rudder width was increased by 2 inches (5 cm).
- Model 4 Speedster
- A variant of the Classic 4 with a shorter wing for a higher cruise speed and roll rate.
- Kitfox XL
- A lightweight variant of the Classic 4 introduced in 1994, with the 50 hp (37 kW) Rotax 503 as the standard power plant. The aircraft was intended as an ultralight trainer, but did not sell well.
- Kitfox Lite
- Single-seat ultralight design for the United States market by Skystar Aircraft. The Lite features similar styling to larger Kitfoxes, including the radial-style cowling, folding wings and Junkers flaperons. Original engine was a special model of the 2si 460-F35 two-cylinder, two-stroke powerplant converted to free-air cooling and direct drive, producing 28 hp (21 kW)
- Kitfox Lite2
- An upgraded variant of the Kitfox XL, introduced in 2001. Powered by a 50 hp (37 kW) Rotax 503, the Lite2 also features the popular radial-style cowling , flaperons and a welded steel tube fuselage, all covered in Stits Aircraft Polyfiber aircraft fabric. The aircraft was a success and sold well as both a complete aircraft and as a kit plane.
- Series 5 (Safari, Vixen, Outback, Voyager)
- Intended to use Continental and Lycoming certified engines in addition to the Rotax 912 engines, the Series 5 was introduced in 1994. The tailwheel version was named the Safari and the tricycle gear version was named the Vixen. The Vixen incorporated a swept tail, which was a cosmetic change that did not affect performance. Gross weight was initially 1,400 lb (635 kg), increased in 1995 to 1,550 lb (703 kg). In 1998, the marketing name of the Safari was changed to Outback and the Vixen to Voyager.
- Series 5 Speedster
- A variant of the Series 5 with a shorter wing for a higher cruise speed.
- Series 6
- Introduced in 2000, the Series 6 has a useful load of up to 800 lb (363 kg), a range of over 700 miles (1,127 km) and cruising speeds of over 120 mph (193 km/h). The aircraft can be converted from tricycle gear to tailwheel and back again.
- Series 7
- The Series 7 introduced a number of refinements, including a cruise speed of over 120 mph (193 km/h), a 700 miles (1,127 km) range and carry a useful load of 700 lb (318 kg). When equipped with the Rotax 914 turbo-charged engine, the aircraft has a service ceiling of 25,000 feet (7,600 m). Other engines available include Continental, Lycoming, Rotax 912S, Rotec R2800, and the Jabiru 3300 engine. In the United States Light Sport Aircraft category it is marketed as the Super Sport. The construction time from the factory-supplied kit is estimated at 1000 hours.
- Kitfox Super Sport SLSA
- Version of the Series 7 for the light sport aircraftmarket, with 1,320 lb (599 kg) gross take-off weight and the 100 hp (75 kW) Rotax 912ULS engine. The model is on the Federal Aviation Administration's list of approved United States Light Sport Aircraft.
Since early 2009, Belite Aircraft, a new company based in Wichita, Kansas has produced the Belite Aircraft Superlite derivative of the Kitfox Lite single-seat ultralight design. Belite extensively redesigned the aircraft to incorporate carbon fiber reinforced polymer wings, struts, spars and ribs, lowering the empty weight to 245 lb (111 kg).
Belite Aircraft "has acquired the production rights to a previously designed aircraft, the Kitfox Lite" and has "acquired the tooling, existing parts and manufacturing rights to the aircraft in March of 2009. As a condition of the transaction, they agreed to rebrand the airplane to prevent any confusion with the larger, two-place light sport Kitfox".
In Europe, the Apollo Fox and Aeropro Eurofox are based upon the Kitfox, with their Junkers flaps and folding wings. Both are Rotax-powered, side-by-side two-seaters, and are available either as taildraggers or with tricycle gear. The LAA's chief engineer, Francis Donaldson, tested a Eurofox and declared that "the manufacturer Aeropro has refined and greatly improved a kit plane classic".
Specifications (Kitfox Classic IV)
Data from Kitfox Aircraft Website
- Crew: one
- Capacity: one passenger
- Length: 18 ft 5 in (5.6 m)
- Wingspan: 32 ft (9.76 m)
- Height: 5 ft 8 in (tailwheel) (1.73 m)
- Wing area: 132 ft² (12.28 m²)
- Empty weight: 650 lb (295 kg)
- Useful load: 550 lbs (250 kg)
- Loaded weight: 1200 lb (544 kg)
- Powerplant: 1 × Rotax 912, 80 hp (60 kW)
- Propellers: 1 propeller, 1 per engine
- Never exceed speed: 125 mph (203 km/h)
- Maximum speed: 117 mph (190 km/h)
- Cruise speed: 110 mph (178 km/h)
- Stall speed: 37 mph (60 km/h)
- Range: 785 miles (1272 km)
- Rate of climb: 1200 fpm (6.1 m/s)
- Wing loading: 9.09 lb/ft² (44.3 kg/m²)
- Power/mass: 15 lb/hp (0.11 kW/kg)
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- Kitfox Aircraft LLC (2006). "New to Kitfox". Archived from the original on 2008-07-04. Retrieved 2009-06-30.
- "Kitfox Super Sport - SLSA". Kit Fox Aircraft. Archived from the original on 14 February 2015. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
- Kitfox Aircraft LLC (2006). "Kitfox History". Archived from the original on 2008-05-13. Retrieved 2009-06-30.
- "EuroFox" (PDF). eurofoxuk.co.uk. Retrieved 30 May 2016.
- "Kitfox Aircraft History". lazair.com. Retrieved 30 May 2016.
- Bushplanes.com (n.d.). "Kitfox". Retrieved 2009-07-04.
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- Bayerl, Robby; Martin Berkemeier; et al: World Directory of Leisure Aviation 2011-12, pages 26, 62 and 106. WDLA UK, Lancaster UK, 2011. ISSN 1368-485X
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- Kitfox Aircraft LLC (2006). "Series 5 (Safari, Vixen, Outback, Voyager)". Archived from the original on 2008-07-04. Retrieved 2009-06-30.
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- Kitfox Aircraft LLC (2006). "Kitfox S7 Super Sport". Archived from the original on 16 August 2011. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
- Federal Aviation Administration (26 September 2016). "SLSA Make/Model Directory". Retrieved 2 March 2017.
- Grady, Mary (July 2009). "Former Kitfox-Lite Model Re-launches As Belite Ultralight". Retrieved 2009-07-02.
- Grady, Mary (July 2009). "First Flight For Belite Ultralight". Retrieved 2009-07-16.
- Belite Aircraft (June 2009). "Wichita Entrepreneurs Acquire Kitfox Lite Ultralight Aircraft Manufacturing Rights, Plan Reintroduction, Weight Savings and Improvements". Archived from the original on 3 September 2010. Retrieved 2009-07-15.
- Bertrand, Noel; Rene Coulon; et al: World Directory of Leisure Aviation 2003-04, page 118. Pagefast Ltd, Lancaster UK, 2003. ISSN 1368-485X
- Kitfox Aircraft LLC (2006). "Kitfox Classic IV Specifications and Performance". Archived from the original on 2010-10-10. Retrieved 2009-06-25.
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