There are some aircraft designs that are just too good to let disappear, says Darrell Peterson, president of Composite Aircraft Technology LLC, which manufactures the mid-wing kit airplane known as the Express.
“People may remember it as the Wheeler Express,” says Peterson, who purchased the company in 2007.
He has spent the last two years getting the kit back into production and making sure that customers who purchased from the previous owners got the parts they needed to finish their aircraft.
“We are a different company and we are here to stay,” he says.
The Express is a composite airplane, made of fiberglass and polyester resin. It sports an IO-550 310-hp Continental engine.
The plane looks fast, even when it is sitting still on the ground. It is designed to perform, says Peterson.
“Our design started out as the Wheeler Express, then evolved into what we have today, which is a four-place airplane that will carry four 200-pound adults and 150 pounds of baggage and cruise at 190 knots.
“It’s designed as an airplane for cross-country flying,” Peterson continues. “We made it from Toledo to the Arlington Airport for the Arlington Fly-In in just about 30 minutes. That’s 102 nautical miles.”
To make it easier for customers to go from building to flying their planes, Express Aircraft has opened a builders’ assist center at its headquarters at the Ed Carlson Memorial Field-South Lewis County Airport (TDO) in Toledo, Wash., southeast of Olympia.
“We do not build the aircraft for them, but we can help them dramatically reduce the time it takes for them to complete their airplane because we have the jigs and the tooling and the expertise,” he says. “The customer still builds the airplane, though, to satisfy the 51% rule.”
Peterson adds that it is not uncommon for someone to come to the builders’ assist program and accomplish what would be several months of work at home in just a week or so.
For more information: CompAirTechllc.com.