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Old 11th Dec 2010, 18:24   #1 (permalink)
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: England
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Anything you can tell me about the Kitfox?

Hi everyone.

I'm after a convenient, economical aircraft and when I see ads for the Kitfox it looks like something that fits the bill.
However, I've spoken to a couple of people about them and they've made comments to the effect that there are some issues with them but never really explained what. Things like "they're a bit dodgy at low speed" (you know the sort of thing;o)
Anyway, I'm just looking for any knowledge on the aircraft that anybody may care to share be they positive or negative points as I'm curious about them.
I'm a relatively new pilot with 60 hours and no tailwheel time so any advice regarding the suitability would be gratefully recieved too.

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Old 11th Dec 2010, 22:18   #2 (permalink)
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I have not flown one, but I've known two people who owned them. Both were not well experienced taildragger pilots, and one of the two fellows had real trouble with it. I'm not knocking the Kitfox, as it was probably more a case of inadequate instruction/caution/experience, but all taildraggers require a bit of extra skill.

If you are properly mentored in the aircraft, and plan to allow yourself 10 to 20 hours of all kinds of flying, and landing in all sorts of different conditions, you'll probably enjoy it, and do fine. You'll certainly be the bette rpilot for it! Don't think that with 60 hours, and no taildragger time, it's a jump in it and go situation though.

People will come on here, and tell you how they mastered taildraggers in an hour or so. They are exaggerating, and perhaps had remarkably compotent taildragger instruction. That is not realistic to expect these days. Go rent a few hours in a taildragger first, to see how you like it. They're wonderful fun, if you're ready...
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Old 11th Dec 2010, 22:29   #3 (permalink)
Sir George Cayley
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I flew an early version. It was not enjoyable. At low speed aileron authority was minimal. We had plenty of runway so the need to become airborne was not an imperative. Nevertheless, until airflow increased to the point where all control surfaces were working one relied on the rudder and tail wheel for much of the initial directional control.

There have been some derivatives of the original design - the Skystar being one I'm aware of. Most later models dispensed with the combined flap/aileron feature. There's a clue in that.

So if you are a comfortable tailwheeler used to eccentric behaviour from your mount then the Kitfox is for you.

If not, keep on looking - there's better at the price.

Sir George Cayley
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Old 11th Dec 2010, 22:30   #4 (permalink)
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: EBZH
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((very humbly: I am a low-time microlight pilot myself, and am only reporting from hearsay. Take these words for what they are worth - i.e. for what you paid for them!))

Two separate issues:
1) taildragger flying - that's to say, landing a taildragger. Lots of opinions available, no use my adding a single word.
2) this particular type of plane: I heard several comments, from people I have seen landing Piper Cubs perfectly in bad crosswind - that the Fox and its various descendants behave meanly at low speed. As I recollect, they have a bad reputation for suddenly dropping one wing just before touchdown.
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Old 11th Dec 2010, 22:53   #5 (permalink)
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I think it is important to note that there are a number of very different Kitfox models with very different qualities. I have no firsthand experience in any of them but have read quite a bit about them. I believe he Models 1, 2 and 3 did not handle all that well. The 4 or classic4 appparently was a major improvment and the current (bigger) Model 7 is better still. There is some good info on the Kitfoy website and there are builder/owner groups with online forums etc. Just google a bit.

There are also a range of engine options to choose from from 2stroke to Lycoming and everything in between.

Are you looking to buil one from a kit or buy one that has been completed by someone else?
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Old 12th Dec 2010, 04:29   #6 (permalink)
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Lincolnshire
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I owned a Kitfox 3 and it was quite a nice aeroplane. It was 912 powered. We never used the flaps since they seem to reduce roll authority on landing.
I agree with the previous comments, the progression from 1 to 7 indicates a general improvement in handling (and speed). 1 to 3 are like microlights, after 4s the handling became more like a light aircraft. Less twitchy, more stable.
Landing is not particularly bad but they are taildraggers so need some respect. If you land fast they will bounce. Later models have a Grove aluminium undercarriage rather than bungee rubbers. View over the nose is OK so you sit with the stick right back until the bouncing business is over. Or learn to get it right!
On the plus side they are as cheap as chips to operate, there are plenty in the country and have a wing fold so you could conceivably trail them home, if you have a long and high garage.
My mate has over 1000 hours on Kitfoxes and absolutely loves them.
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Old 7th Feb 2011, 07:46   #7 (permalink)
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Somerset, UK
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Friendly Kitfox owners?

Hi there, I too am considering buying my first aircraft, and after having really enjoyed flying a supercub and microlight flying, am attracted to something like the Kitfox as my own.

Having read the comments above, and others, it's obvious it has some 'quirks' but really seems you either love it or hate it.. and my modest budget means i'd probably be looking at one of the earlier marks.

So i think the only way to really find out is to try it, hence my post. Unfortunately i dont know anyone that owns one, and wondered if there are there any friendly kitfox owners out there in southern England who'd be prepared to show me around and take me up? Obviously prepared to pay fuel expenses etc. If so, please get in touch, i'm based in Yeovil.

As an aside, can anyone recommend any similar aircraft without these vices? Thanks!
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Old 7th Feb 2011, 18:37   #8 (permalink)

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Might you have better luck if you go to the "
builder/owner groups with online forums "
mentioned by 733 above?
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Old 7th Feb 2011, 19:56   #9 (permalink)
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As an aside, can anyone recommend any similar aircraft without these vices?
I heard much good said of the Rans S6, and I think it does qualify as "similar" though your definition might be narrower. As a beginner pilot, I certainly found it the easiest to fly of the various types I was offered by clubs/schools. Next came an FK-9, on which I soloed and passed the practical exam.
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Old 7th Feb 2011, 20:14   #10 (permalink)
Sir George Cayley
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The Avid Flyer was marginally less bad.

Or what about the new kid on the block? The errr Kid

Sir George Cayley
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Old 7th Feb 2011, 22:05   #11 (permalink)
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: suffolk
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The avid was marginally better.
Thats because they are essentially the same aircraft.One of the partners that designed the kitfox left to set up his own company Avid. ( or vice versa .I can't remember)
As an aside he also produced the catalina flying boat and a huge twin that was used as a flying hotel by some famous explorer .
Because he took all the experiance with him, the mk1 avid was essentually a mk 2 kitfox, so it was always half a model in front.
As the models progressed they certainly got better.
I had a very early Mk1 kitfox and soon learned that a few minor mods ( like gap seals on the rudder ) really improved it.
The kitfoxes and avids were really advanced microlights dressed up as gp A aircraft and got a bad rep when group a pilots bought them by the dozen as a means of cheap flying.
They knew nothing about flying low inertia aircraft and so many of them crashed that you couldn't get insurance on them .

Meanwhile, the people that had the skill to fly them ( microlight pilots) were denied the chance because they were group A.

Things have moved on a bit now and their faults are better known and understood and they now have quite a following. The early ones give some of the cheapest flying available and you need to be conversant with two stroke engines and willing to give them the attention they need to be relaible. If you love tinkering and enjoy taking engines apart it could be ideal. If you don't know the difference between a crankshaft and a camshaft then its not for you.

The later models with the rotax 4 strokes are much closer to "normal " light aircraft.

There are better aircraft out there that are more robust and possibly take less looking after for much the same purchace price, eg aeronca chief & champ, piper vagabond, or if you like wood the choice is even greater.
None of these have wing fold though and hangaredge will cost much more.

If you are unlucky enough to need an engine a new continetal will cost more than a complete kitfox. A rotax 582 can be rebuilt for 700.

Flown on a nice day a kitfox can be real fun, If you are happy to pick when you fly and accept some foibles the kitfox can give a lot of fun for little money. if you have a little more money available a Champ is a much better aircraft.

You get what you pay for there's no free lunches in flying but plenty of 100 ones!
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Old 7th Feb 2011, 23:06   #12 (permalink)
Join Date: Aug 2007
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There is a guy called Les James who has built more aeroplanes than most. Many of these have been Kitfoxes. He would be a good place to start if you are desperate to buy a Kitfox. The wing fold is a huge advantage if local hangarage is expensive. The big balloon tyres will get you in and out of dodgy fields. They will also save your skin and the aeroplane if your Rotax suddenly and unexpectedly quits. If you are used to flying two stroke microlights you will expect the unexpected.
Like Hatz says there are many alternatives. Look at useful load. Two fat folk and full fuel may not fit in the aeroplane of your dreams. Kitfoxes can be 1+1s. Look at the type of flying you want to do. Long distance touring would be possible on your own but not two up. A Kitfox will get in and out of a microlight strip where mogas is easier to get.
Kitfox 4s with 1200 lbs AUW and a 912 are very, very nice aeroplanes but rarely come on the market for reasonable prices.
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Old 8th Feb 2011, 07:32   #13 (permalink)
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Les James is at Market Bosworth. His contact details and more on the Kitfox can be found on this thread.. Monocock, who posts on that forum is on his second Kitfox and will also be able to help.
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Old 8th Feb 2011, 08:07   #14 (permalink)
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Somerset, UK
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Many thanks for all your advice, and alternative suggestions.

Now have some thinking to do!
Cheers. Lg.
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