Kenny configured the airplane for front-seat solo, as in a Super Cub.
Kenny’s urge to fly started about
the same as it did for many—shortly
He remembers, “As a kid I used
to cut school to go out to the airport where they’d let me sit in a
tired old Waco cabin biplane. I’d
sit there by the hour, holding that
control wheel—when they are that
big, they are a control wheel not
a yoke—literally daydreaming my
way across the country.”
Kenny says he started taking lessons and logged his first 10 hours
in Cubs and Champs. “But, then I
turned the big 16,” he laughs, “and
discovered cars…and probably girls.
The net result was that I didn’t fly
again for years.” Even so, he and
a friend decided to build two Stits
Playboys. By the time they were
done, he was in his 30s, married,
and thinking of his responsibilities.
“The Playboy had an A- 65 in it,
and it never did develop good oil
pressure,” Kenny says, “which was
probably just as well, as I sold it to
build our house.”
Cars have always competed with
airplanes, but with Kenny it went
further than just being interested
in tearing up and down the streets.
He started building street rods and
restoring Corvettes, and one thing
led to another. “I set up my own
shop rebuilding totaled cars for
a living, and that’s pretty much
the way my life developed,” Kenny
says. “I officially retired the first
of June (2009), and from the day I
started work to today, I’ve always
figured out a way of making money
on my own, usually by building
stuff to sell.”
EAAers don’t have to be told that
the urge to create mechanical contrivances is as much a disease as a
skill. People who like to build don’t
actually like it, they love it, and once
the airplane bug has taken a chunk
out of someone’s brain, the two passions, building and aviating, pretty
much take over a person’s life.
“By 1995, I hadn’t flown in
forever and still hadn’t gotten
my pilot’s license,” Kenny says.
“But, I’d look back at building that
Playboy so many years before and
remembered how it felt to be building something that flew. It’s a great
feeling, so I decided to start building a Hatz biplane.”
Kenny chose the scratch-build route for a number of reasons. He needed LSA capability, liked the short wings and aluminum ribs of the
Tri-Pacer wings and, most of all, he wanted to do it all his own way.