In today's world of kit build-this and quick
build-that, it is ever rarer to see an all-original, scratchbuilt
airplane, once a common site at Oshkosh and other fly-ins around the
One of those rare one-of-a-kind
scratchbuilt creations is here at EAA AirVenture 2010, parked by the
Brown Arch: Chris Christiansen's one-of-a-kind Savor.
Chris began building and flying
ultralights about 10 years ago, a step which motivated him to go further
and faster by earning his private certificate. He built two prior
original-design airplanes before the Savor. The reliability issues with
the engines he chose caused him to consider a more mainstream powerplant-one
with a reasonable acquisition cost and low fuel burn.
As is usually the case, the airplane was
designed around the engine-in this case the trusted and proven Lycoming
Thus, the Savor was born.
Chris wanted an airplane with sports
car-like handling qualities, and it had to be fun to fly. A high wing
for better visibility, tandem seating, and tricycle gear were other
Chris studied the Wittman Tailwind and
BD-4, two airplanes with good speed on low horsepower. Then he sketched
out designs with a more modern, rounded shape.
His goal was a 150 mph cruise with a fuel
burn of about 7 gallons per hour.
He built the fuselage of traditional 4130
steel tubing covered with a handmade removable E-glass shell. Chris
built the female molds and plugs and then laid up the glass 1/8-inch
thick. He created the interior panels in the same fashion as the
fuselage shell, but with the addition of a textured overlay.
The windows are cold-formed Lexan,
including the windshield with integral skylight. A standard instrument
package with engine monitoring gauges populates the generously sized
Fold-down, lightweight marine seats
provide comfort for the pilot and passenger. A 6-foot baggage area
behind the rear seat accommodates up to 50 pounds.
The cantilever wings are all metal with a
BD-style tube main spar.
Chris hand formed the ribs over metal
blocks and hand punched the holes. Wing skins are attached with flush
rivets. The result is a wing finish that looks as smooth as any
All flight control surfaces are metal
with bonded PVC foam ribs. Ailerons and elevator are actuated via
push-pull tubes, and needle bearings provide a silky-smooth control
Chris rebuilt the O-320 with all new
internals and 8.5-to-1 pistons to yield 160 hp. Up front the engine
swings a 70-inch Gary Hertzler prop, while farther back a 10-gallon
header tank and 22-gallon rear seat auxiliary tank provide plenty of
Chris eventually plans to install
10-gallon tanks in each wing. On his flight from Arizona, Chris reported
a cruise speed of 165 mph on 8 gallons per hour.
This is Chris' first time attending
Oshkosh. He said he wouldn't come until he could fly in himself. In the
true spirit of EAA, Chris has created an original design with his own
hands, and it is on display for all to see.