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The Scamp called ‘Casper’

Like all stories, ‘Casper’s’ has a beginning and a long history to start with, and I have put ‘pen to paper’ to tell it.

After successfully completing the little Baker Supercat (called ‘Slim’), which had been an unwanted, unloved plane in desperate need of repairs and TLC, stored in a corner of Ultimate Aero’s hanger - I have to say, I had a wonderful experience and a great learning journey along the restoration way. Slim was inspired from the movie Planes and the main character called Dusty. He was lots of fun to fly and looked great as a small aeroplane.

My story started from the completion of one project in looking for that next challenge. Scanning the aviation for sale ads for small planes, I found my next project. I must have been mad, (yes, I know, most would agree with that) after just competing ‘Slim’ and with only 6 hours flying time on a full restoration - to be wanting to start again. I negotiated a deal to sell and buy my new plane project from the current owner of the Scamp. Next was to arrange the delivery and collection of the two planes.

With ‘cap in hand’ I told my plans to my old mate Nigel, and he just looked and shook his head at me, thinking what next. Before I knew it, Nigel had the Supercat on the back of the trailer, (that had been used so many times before to transport planes). Then, it couldn’t be a close destination, we had to drive to Bacchus Marsh in Victoria to do the exchange.

The Whitney Scamp has its own story. It is a light sporting biplane with an open cockpit, designed by Mr William ‘Bill” Whitney in Queensland for amateur construction by Mr Hargrave, of steel tube construction with fabric covering and was fully aerobatic. Work commenced on it in about 2000 and initially plans were to fit it with a Rotax 582 engine. It was first shown partially completed at a Caboolture airshow in 2003 and was sold incomplete to Mr Mark Coletti. More work was competed, and it was registered 19-4701 (c/n 1) on the RAA register, on 23 June 2006. On 25 June 2008 it was later placed on the market for sale to a person in Baccas Marsh, now making me the fourth owner from mid - 2017.

In adding to the history of this project, it was from conversations with a new startup company around 2006, that the Rotec seven-cylinder radial engine was commissioned to compliment the Scamp design. The engine in the plane is - I am told - the first engine off the production line.

So, back to Bacchus Marsh exchange. After a four-day round trip we arrive back in Boonah with the white painted Scamp, hence how the Scamp was named ‘Casper’. Now having the Scamp home and really looking over the project, I soon found out that this was not the straightforward project I was hoping for. On the trip home the white paint was pealing off in various places, indicating the application of the dope and paint had been faulty.

After many discussions with Nigel and much navel gazing, the easiest and best way to achieve a better result to assure the fabric finish, was to totally remove the completed fabric covering and start again.

Now the airframe was exposed, it was a timely time to refine and make many upgrades and improvements such as: getting the electrics and avionics done, replacing the rubber fuel lines with solid tubing as required, replacing nuts and bolts with AN certified aviation grade hardware, and modification of and changing the battery for a smaller lighter unit.

The engine was removed ready for firewall forward to be reinstalled after the covering and painting were completed.

Even at this point I still had so many issues to resolve: such as getting the engine running, the electronic ignition, and carburetor fuel supply problems. After three previous owners/builders, with many different ideas, it felt like this was a jigsaw with many wrong pieces. Being a first of design with no instructions, and nothing to buy off the shelf, everything had to be throughout and made to order as required.

After buying and rebuilding the plane, the budget way over what was estimated with a plane that is a one-off prototype, with no guarantee it was going to fly at all, or even if it was going to be enjoyable to fly. Particularly, unknown was whether the engine was going to be suitable and reliable once in the air? With no idea of airspeeds, would the plane be stable or even controllable? There were so many unknown answers to my questions.

So, after countless hours of work and beating my head against ‘the wall of working on the Scamp’, the time came to do the test flight. Weight and balance done, engine now running great, airframe checked over and over. All control wires were connected and tested. RAA paperwork was competed, and the test flight program approved.

This where I owe such a huge thank you to Nigel and his team at Ultimate Aero, for all their support and technical involvement. Without them at my side, I doubt this project would not have been completed. Nigel put his trust in all that we have done in getting ‘Casper’ ready to fly, and stepped up to the most courageous thing I could imagine. He jumped in the cockpit and did the first ever test flight. I was so humbled by this and cannot express how appreciative I am for Nigel doing this for me.

Well, the engine run up was done, and controls checked with all working great. Nigel buckled in, and completed a couple of runs up and down the runway. He lined up for what was thought to be another run. The engine roared to max power as before, then to my surprise ‘Casper’ was airborne and climbing out. Holy crap, we had done it! The Scamp flew and looked fantastic.

Nigel flew around for a short time and came back with one item to be worked on, as the tailplane needed to be adjusted as it wants to climb.

Tech stuff, cruise speed 80 knots at 3000 RMP, stalls at 45 knots with a very gentle left-wing drop. Approach speed at 70, landing 60 to 65 knots. Rate of climb 700 FPM at 70 knots. Very stable and responsive on the controls. Just a great fun plane to fly. Takes off and lands like a trainer.

After a couple of adjustments, Nigel was comfortable for me to have my first flight. I went for it and ‘holy snapping duck doo-doos’, what a buzz! What a great little plane! I even had a perfect landing.

Now at this moment ‘Casper’ has competed 7 hours of the 25 hours required for the test flight program.

The engine being some 20 years old and one of the first production engines, has come with its problems, and upgrades are now required and being undertaken.

Whitney Scamp fully restored light aircraft at Boonah Airfield in Queensland

The completed Scamp called 'Caspar'.


Boonah Airfield

Home to Aviation in the Scenic Rim


Postal Address:

PO Box 385

Boonah  Qld  4310


Phone:  1800 512 487


Degen Road, Dugandan,

Queensland  4310

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