Well, a couple of weeks ago I was looking at a Onex, then a Corben Jr. Ace, then I fell in love. How did I end up with a Meyer Little Toot biplane? I certainly didn’t plan it far in advance. I had a share of a Cessna 175 with a 180HP and it was a great photo plane for my air-to-air photography. It’s a great plane, but I soon found out it just wasn’t my style. Very cool plane, very functional, but it’s more of a cross-country plane and I wanted something that was pure fun. I stumbled across a Little Toot for sale about a 1.5 hour flight away and oddly enough it was at Northwest Regional, which is the same airport where I had sold my beloved 140. I took it as a sign. I called the owner, Steve, and he said he would be there and needed to sell his plane quickly. A plan was set in motion. Travis and Donn flew up there with me and when I first saw the plane, I loved it. I wasn’t sure it was for me though. I walked around it, touched it, poked the fabric, and asked Steve a lot of questions. I climbed into it, or strapped it on, and it was a tight cockpit. I again questioned what I was doing. I pulled myself out, walked around again, and in the end, I made a deal on it! Life is short and I’ve crossed off a lot of things on my bucket list, but I still have a few. I’ve flown biplanes, but never owned one. I’ve flown a plane with a starburst paint scheme, but never owned one. I’ve flown aerobatic planes, but never owned one. I can’t say that anymore! A week later my friend Chris flew me up there and Donn joined us. Of course, it was windy. It was gusting to 25 mph there and some reports between there and home showed gusting to 29 mph. This was just what I needed when flying a new plane that I’d never flown, especially a short-coupled biplane! Tommy Meyer was there. He’s the son of the guy who designed the Little Toot and he is carrying on the legacy. He’s currently working on the Big Toot, a two-seat version of the Little Toot, which will hopefully debut at Oshkosh this year. Tommy is a great guy to talk to. He showed us the original Little Toot and we spent some time looking through his memorabilia (he has a lot) and getting to know each other. Part of the allure of the Little Toot is the support and the community. It was very hot, and eventually I ran out of excuses to stay on the ground. It was time to head home. The Little Toot is a tight fit. I’m about 6’, 215 lbs and I barely fit. You climb into it, standing on the seat, then step into the floor and while holding onto the handle on the top wing, you slide your feet forward to the rudder pedals. It’s only then that you realize just how tight the cockpit is! Everything I’d heard about visibility was true though. You can see over the nose when taxiing, so no S-turns are needed. I taxied out and Chris and Donn followed me in the 175. I took off first. The plane was off the ground quickly and of course the wing dipped on me, but it’s very responsive and I quickly corrected. Nothing too exciting! It’s a small plane and the 160hp gets it off the ground quickly and it climbs very well. I rocked the wings a little and found it to be as responsive as I had dreamed it would be. I circled for a low pass, then joined up behind them to follow them under the Class B airspace. Once we got out from under the Class B airspace, I started to climb for cooler and smoother air. I noticed I was tense, watching the instruments closely and worrying about everything. Then I stuck my hand out and scooped in some cool air (there is no wind in the cockpit) and looked out at the wings with the sun lighting them up and remembered this was amazing. Take a deep breath and enjoy flying a biplane. Grin every time you move that stick a little and the wings respond like they were just waiting for you to ask. I was not comfortable with the fuel burn, so I decided to land a little over halfway home at McGregor. I lined up for a straight-in on 17 and kept it at 100 mph for most of the approach. It slows down in a hurry when you pull power back. I settled in for a very nice 3-point landing and felt it twitch just a little as the winds were howling and doing their best to smite me. It worked out fine though. The plane had exactly the amount of fuel it should, and exactly what it said it had, so that was comforting. After fueling, the plane wouldn’t start. The battery was dead and it took us a while to get it started again, but I expected a few issues, so not a big deal. I did end up losing my radio on the way back due to this, but I just flew over my home airport high and looked for traffic. The second landing was about like the first. We were home and she looks great in my hangar! Takes up a lot less room than most planes too! On Sunday I went up a couple of times and did a bunch of rolls and a couple of loops. What a blast! I’m really enjoying this plane! I’m hoping eventually I get to fly it in less than 20 mph gusting winds though! Overall review of the plane: · It is really tight inside. It’s not a comfortable plane for a long trip. I think 2 hours will be my max, and unless I fill the reserve tank, it’s the plane’s max too. At first the small cockpit was uncomfortable mentally too. I’m over that. It’s a plane you strap on, and that’s okay with me. · The tail is from a Luscombe and if you’ve ever flown a Luscombe you know that rudder is very effective. You don’t stomp a rudder to correct when landing. Gentle, gentle inputs! This plane is very short and that combined with the rudder will react accordingly to what you tell it to do. · Some, maybe most, say they approach at 80 mph. I think this is a good speed, but I’ve decided to approach at 100 mph and pull most of the power off on short final. This is a plane with a lot of drag and it slows down in a hurry. It worked out nicely, leaving me just enough authority for a nice, easy landing. · The roll rate is quick and fun. Diving to 140 or 160 for a loop is interesting. Dive too steep and you float the fuel out of the carb! I think this is the first plane I’ve done aerobatics in that wasn’t fuel injected, so this is on me. I figured it out pretty quickly. · People giggle when you say Little Toot. · People ask what type of plane it is and when you say Little Toot, they think it’s a nickname for the plane and ask again. You have to smile and say, “No, the type is a Meyer Little Toot!” J All-in-all, I love the plane and I’m looking forward to flying it a lot. My review above may change some as I get used to the plane and I’ll let you know. However, as of now, I have the Little Toot smile just thinking about it and I’m looking forward to the next flight!