Evans Volksplane VP-3


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31 December 2008
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I am a longtime fan of the Volksplane VP-1 and VP-2 homebuilt aircraft by Convair engineer W.S. "Bud" Evans. I recently learned of the existence of an unfinished project by Evans himself for the VP-3: apparently a sleeker, cantilever-wing successor to the original strut-braced, single-seat VP-1. Plans and photos of the unfinished fuselage are visible here: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/VP-3info/info (members only) and I am in touch with the current owner of the project, Fritz Wagoner. Does anyone know anything more about the genesis of the VP-3? My usual sources have come up empty. Cheers, Matthew





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Completely new to me as well, Matthew, thanks!

Here's a small text from the EAA site that explains Evans's philosophy. The "volks" in Volksplane was not there just because of the VW engine, but especially because he viewed the type as an easy-to-build-and-fly beginner's airplane for non specialists:

All designs for W. S. Evans’ Volksplane gave way to simplicity. Evans was convinced that the reason more people didn’t build airplanes was not because of the aircraft’s lack of utility but because the job was considered too complex. With this in mind, the Volksplane became one of the simplest aircraft to build for novice homebuilders.

After two years of spare time designing and one year of spare time building, Evans had the Volksplane up and running. Research from existing homebuilts resulted in an open cockpit, strut braced, low wing monoplane having both a full flying horizontal and vertical tail and a one piece bent up aluminum landing gear. The VP-1 was powered by a modified 1500 cc Volkswagen engine turning a Hegy prop.

Walt Mooney ran the test flight for the VP-1 and found the initial construction to be quite adequate. The only major design change was the skids initially installed on the airplane were removed and brakes and a steerable tail wheel were added. The Volksplane flew like a Cub except for a higher power-off sink rate common to all small span aircraft. Hands-off stability had been achieved with a long tail arm and large tail surfaces. Turns could be made with ailerons alone due to the large vertical tail. Though the Volksplane had a very open cockpit, it experienced absolutely no tail buffeting in initial tests.

Evans’ Volksplane was the prototype for the VP-1 from which he developed a complete set of plans. The VP-1 proved to be one of the most popular homebuilt designs of its time, with hundreds of airplanes constructed from Evans’ plans.

Evans received a gratifying response to the VP-1 design throughout the world and an unrelenting request for the same ultra-simple approach in a two-seater. Since the VP-1 design was so successful from its first flight, Evans was able to adapt the design to a two seat aircraft, named the VP-2, with very minimal modifications.

Evans donated his prototype VP-1 to EAA in the fall of 1972.

Empty Weight 440 lbs.
Gross Weight 650 lbs.
Wing Area 100 sq. ft.
Stabilizer Area 15 sq. ft.
Rudder Area 7.6 sq. ft.
Fuel Capacity 8 gal.
Stall Speed 46 mph
Placard Dive Speed 120 mph
Rate of Climb 400 fpm
Engine 40 bhp VW

Source: http://eaa.air.museum/collection/aircraft/5Evan%20Volksplane%20VP-1.asp

Just so that people have a rough idea of what the aircraft might have looked like, I'm attaching images of the VP-1's structure, basically similar to the VP-3's.


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Here, the Evans VP-1, N6414 (c/n 1), is featured in a film produced by Volkswagen of America, "Air-Cooled Engine-Uity" (1970), promoting use of the classic air-cooled VW boxer engine. The film was recently (1-Nov-2023) posted to YouTube by Periscope Film. W.S. Evans himself (along with his dog) appears in the film (1min 5sec mark). A Bensen B-8, N2747 (c/n WB-3), autogyro also makes an appearance.
N6414 is still extant and on display as an exhibit at the EAA Aviation Museum, in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
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