White Lightning

Discussion in 'Home Builders and Sport Pilots' started by Flyvulcan, Nov 30, 2019.

  1. Flyvulcan

    Flyvulcan Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2019
    Messages:
    9
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Flyvulcan
    Rather than getting off-topic on other threads, I thought I’d start a specific thread around the White Lightning aircraft. It is then an easy and quick reference thread for those wishing to learn about the aircraft and chew the fat about it.

    I shall start by giving some background to my interest in the aircraft.

    I have been an admirer of the WL ever since it was first released. The performance offered when fitted with a 210hp engine was impressive. Not only impressive, but demonstrated impressive, not just on paper.

    Over the years, I have built a small database about the aircraft. I have conversed with a number of builders/owners who have passed on their experiences to me.

    I now have 3 of the original kits in various stages of construction, including one “new in box” kit (one kit mine, two for a friend). I also have Nick Jones collection of drawings from his original design of the aircraft. I also own the molds, tooling etc for the Lightning Bug which is the WLs smaller single seat brother but that’s another story.

    In my full time job, my company is developing a low-cost, fuel-efficient 200hp turboprop engine which once in production, I intend to put into my personal WL. My intention, when time permits, is to resurrect the WL in modern form, incorporating improvements in the design and buildability to offer the performance of the original, but with more practical features, I.e. the ability for a tall pilot to fit in and a stall that doesn’t flick it on to its back!

    Anyway, let’s open up the floor to discussion. If there is anyone out there with direct personal experience with the WL, please contribute your experiences. If you have photos, please post them. If you have one at your field, please get some photos. If you know an owner, please pick his brain about true performance. I for one would be interested to hear them.

    For interest, a friend of mine now owns N25WL and he will be bringing it back to airworthy condition.

    B7E8CD66-E7A2-4D73-805C-38FA7B7C0D65.jpeg

    I also have been getting feedback from the owner of N805WL.

    4EAA0335-4977-4B52-A8D8-7FE78FBF560B.png

    And here is a photo of one of my projects.

    2F01AF88-576E-4BE6-A4F7-C20178DA9BCA.jpeg
     
    AKBill likes this.
  2. skier

    skier Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2007
    Messages:
    601
    Location:
    CT
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Skier
    The white lightning is a beautiful aircraft. Please keep up updated on your kit's progress.
     
  3. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2012
    Messages:
    11,290
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Velocity173
    9EE79137-50A4-4320-96A7-DEEAEE03EDE5.jpeg 8DC3C118-FD82-4AF7-A2B5-C413AA3A5164.jpeg Man I always liked the WL. Used to talk to Nick all the time on approach when he flew out of his plantation. His strip was maybe 7 miles north of our base. Used to talk to his son on approach when he flew N444WL as well. When I saw ground speeds 220-230, I just had to go for a ride. Great flying aircraft, wish there were more of them.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2019
    AKBill likes this.
  4. Flyvulcan

    Flyvulcan Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2019
    Messages:
    9
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Flyvulcan
    Thanks for the photo and I love your wall art!

    I can’t make out the tail number on the Bug, but if it is N51JM, I.e. the original prototype, I bought the remains of that from Johny Murphy when I bought his other Bug kit. It’s now gone to that hangar in the sky, but I kept the data plate for posterity. The complete Bug kit that I bought from Johny has been transformed slightly...

    948B0041-5963-427C-85F2-5F4CB02DBC8F.jpeg

    Yes, I’ve transformed it into a twin-jet but the other Bug kit that my mate got at the same time is now flying with a 120hp Jabiru engine and fixed nosegear. It is still in its first 40 hours but is achieving 200ktas straight and level. Painting will clean it up a bit more.

    444D1FB5-7915-4C1D-A694-B95062AFD43A.jpeg

    Anyway, back on topic, the White Lightning.

    The owner of N805WL currently flight plans at around 10,000’, 215ktas and around 10gph. Not bad numbers.
     
    ETres likes this.
  5. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2012
    Messages:
    11,290
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Velocity173
    Yeah when I went flying in N444WL I think I saw around 220kts average. We flew up to Walterboro to check out the facility. Back then I think it was called Fiber Reflex Corp or something like that. They had the little Lightning Bug on the ramp parked next to a race car for a photo shoot. Cool little aircraft but I would want at least two seats.

    Back then, N100WL was rotting on the ramp with its record setting flights on the side of the fuse. I remember wishing I had enough money to buy it and restore it. I imagine it’s destroyed by now.
     
  6. G-Man

    G-Man Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2012
    Messages:
    811
    Location:
    Boulder, CO
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    AirmanG
    In February, 2017, I got to see a White Lightning at Depot Avionics in Alamosa, CO. Never knew of them before. Looks like a helluva airplane, and a whole lot to handle for the pilot. Here are a couple of pictures.

    The man in the picture is, I believe, the owner, but I'm afraid I've forgotten his name and most of the details of our conversation. Flying home in a Mooney was positively pedestrian after seeing the White Lightning!

    IMG_0217.JPG

    IMG_1357.JPG
     
  7. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2008
    Messages:
    13,776
    Location:
    mass fla
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    ron keating
    Welcome and good luck with the project.
     
    Flyvulcan likes this.
  8. AKBill

    AKBill Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2014
    Messages:
    2,405
    Location:
    Juneau, AK
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    AKBill
    Thanks for sharing,,,
     
    Flyvulcan likes this.
  9. Gmonnig

    Gmonnig Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2015
    Messages:
    123
    Location:
    Lees Summit, MO
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Grant
    This is Exciting!!!!
     
  10. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man En-Route

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2014
    Messages:
    2,708
    Location:
    Statesville NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Grum.Man
    There is a guy here in NC that has a WL. I haven’t seen it but according to him it’s too far gone to be saved. Good luck with the startup!
     
  11. Flyvulcan

    Flyvulcan Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2019
    Messages:
    9
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Flyvulcan
    Thanks Grum. I'm pretty sure that I know the details about that one and I understand that it is repairable and indeed, repairs will start soon.
     
  12. kurttruk

    kurttruk Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    May 3, 2015
    Messages:
    42
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    kurttruk
    Where are you located?
     
  13. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2014
    Messages:
    19,855
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    James331
    Surprised it took someone this long to try to bring that excellent design back. Good luck and good job!
     
  14. Flyvulcan

    Flyvulcan Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2019
    Messages:
    9
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Flyvulcan
    I am located in Australia, my kits are currently in St. Louis but the current plan is to build my aircraft near Bowling Green, KY.

    Thanks!