By: Norm Goyer
I make part of my living writing aviation articles for magazines and the Internet so I am not going to complain about them but sometimes articles you read could leave you with the impression that you need to have a half million dollars to buy an airplane and become a pilot. Your airplane must have four to six leather seats, and two hundred thousand bucks worth of glass panels or folks will laugh at you…….Other magazines tell you that you must have a turbine engine or a 16 cylinder diesel engine or if your plane doesn’t top out at over 300 knots it isn’t areally a good airplane. Hogwash all of it. I am going to try to explain what flying is. Flying is an experience, nothing like any you have ever had before.
In one my many past lives Kitplane magazine was my main competitor, now it is the only one left which still offers some hopes to a dwindling number of folks who believe that flying is indeed a feeling which can be attained by getting your butt and head off the ground and experience the world from another perspective. The EAA also has some decent publications as well but Kitplanes is an independent publications without ties to any organization except the folks who love to build their own aircraft or to fly in an aircraft that someone else built with loving care. Have a listen to the philosophy of homebuilders.
During the three decades when I was editor of homebuilt based magazines I had the opportunity to meet the folks behind the names in the magazines, better yet, a chance to fly their aircraft. During these thirty years I attended Oshkosh/AirVenture and Sun ‘n Fun over 20 times each. I knew the designers and builders and knew their aircraft. It was during these fun filled years that I met some outstanding aeronautical engineers, some with degrees most without, simply put, these guys designed some great airplanes. I found them from the tumbled down freight hauling airporta such as Opa Locka, Florida to the wilds of Chilliwack, Canada and everyplace between. You know about some of these guys such as the Klapmeiers who are now known for their Cirrus SR-22, Lance Niedbauer who designed the Lancair IV which became the ES which became the Cessna Corvalis. And then one of my favorite designers Darrell Murphy of Murphy Aircraft of Chilliwack, Canada who in my opinion is one of best sport aircraft designers of them all. I first heard of Murphy when I did a review on his little biplane the Renegade. The one I flew had a Rotax two stroke liquid cooled. Flew just fine as long as the engine kept running. A few years went by and it was time for the Murphy Rebel an all metal STOL aircraft designed by Murphy Aircraft President Darryl Murphy and Dick Hiscock, who was one of the designers of the de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver. That’s sure good enough for me.
The most unusual Rebel I flew had an experimental Honda engine that was destined to the engine of choice. Never heard of it again. but, it sure ran beautifully during my test flight at a small grass strip just north of the United States, Canadian border many years ago. If I needed a camera plane at a remote air show I was working I looked for a Rebel to borrow or a RANs Courier, another favorite airplane of mine. For those interest in becoming an LSA Pilot I recommend looking into the Murphy Rebel Sport. The Rebel Sport is a standard Rebel, with a lighter engine choice, and a reduced gross weight to meet Sport Pilot requirements. You get the
same strong, safe airframe that has been tested at 1,650 lb.
There are no structural differences other than reducing the fuel tank
size from the standard Rebel’s 44 gallons to 32 gallons, which is more than enough for the smaller engines. You’ll still have up to 8 hours
of fuel !
- Having a choice of engines is one of the big advantages of the Experimental Rebel Sport- you have choices !
- Lycoming O-320 160 hp (120 kW)
- Lycoming O-235 116 hp (87 kW)
- Rotax 912 80 hp (60 kW)
Another advantage is that you have improved resale value, because there is nothing preventing a buyer from safely & easily moving up to a Lycoming O-320, of 150 hp., if they want to. Of course, it would then no longer be Sport Pilot legal…. but they would have an outstanding performer, on wheels or amphibian floats. Many builders of the Rebel also upgraded to the muti passenger Murphy Moose and there are a number of Rebels on the used market. Now this is an airplane that will make an ideal first aircraft. Great to learn in and great to have fun in, remember it’s STOL.
- Crew: One
- Capacity: one or two passengers
- Length: 21 ft 4 in (6.6 m)
- Wingspan: 30 ft 0 in (9.2 m)
- Wing area: 150 ft2 (14.2 m2)
- Wing profile: NACA 4415 mod
- Empty weight: 950 lb (432 kg)
- Gross weight: 1650 lb (750 kg)
- Engine: Lycoming O-320, 160 hp (120 kW)
- Maximum speed: 140 mph (227 km/h)
- Cruise speed: 120 mph (194 km/h)
- Range: 733 miles (1187 km)
- Endurance: 6.1 hours