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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS FeedA whole lot of scratchin'!
By David Kujawa
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 country.

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 O-320.

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 criteria.

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 panel.

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 composite airplane.

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 feel.

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 range.

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.

FUTURE AIRVENTURE DATES: 2014: July 28-Aug. 3; 2015: July 20-26; 2016: July 25-31; 2017: July 24-30
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