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Kirkwood’s Dennis Kelly Flies ‘Home Built’ Aircraft

After some four years of work, pilot Dennis Kelly of the St. Louis suburb of Kirkwood, Mo., has made the maiden flight of the Thatcher CX4 aircraft that he began building from scratch in his garage in 2005.

Kelly began building the one-seat aircraft after a friend pointed it out to him on the Internet, after which he drove to Florida with friends to see a prototype. "I fell in love with the plane on the spot. I bought the drawings and construction manual right there and then," he says. The CX4 is relatively affordable at $14,500 and few special tools are needed to construct it.

Kelly began building it in his basement and moved it to his garage as it grew bigger, then took it to Creve Coeur Airport in September 2008 to perform final assembly. Now, he is hoping to reconstruct it to be more comfortable for his six-foot height and also to add a decal showing its namesake, the blue-gray gnatcatcher bird.

July 13, 2009

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