Acro Sport IIC-GGOJ is a 2002 Acro Sport II, Serial #692.

In 1982 I purchased the plans for about $75, moved the furniture out of my small (300 sq ft) A-frame home, and began building ribs every day before and after school. About 6 months later the wings began to take form. I purchased a welded fuselage and an 0320 Lycoming engine. In 1983, I introduced the project to Rick Riewe, saying that all I had left to buy was the propeller and that it was almost finished…20 years later, after numerous distractions.

In addition to help from RAA members, around 1999, Vic Prefontaine, Bill LeBrun and Ken Podaima agreed to be my mentors. With their guidance and advice, based on their many years of invaluable experience in the industry, GOJ transformed into a completed bi-plane! Vic dropped over every Sunday night to inspect my work, teach me the skills I needed to accomplish or correct the next task, and answer my long list of questions I compiled throughout the week. He taught me that anything was possible and introduced me to the process of problem solving - it doesn't come in a text book! Vic's skills riveting, aluminum, figuring out how something works or why something doesn't work, rigging and so much more were invaluable.

Bill came to the rescue numerous times machining a fitting, teaching me how to drill precisely, thinking through decisions, designing the landing gear, sorting out moving parts. At 8 am on Ken's first day back to the office after his holidays, I was waiting at his door with a bag of plans, a radio, and wiring diagram under my arm. Six months later, after meeting almost every lunch hour in his lab, Ken walked me (who used to think a battery with six holes was 6 volts) through the wiring process. When he finally came to actually see the project, it was a terrific feeling to show him how everything worked!

Throughout the building process, Vic, Bill and Ken referred me to other specialists for advice, for example, to go to Tom and Art for radio info, to Gil for fabric info, and to John for tail wheel info. In July 2002, Neil Stoesz did the test flight and then proceeded to teach me how to fly the Acro Sport.

Acro Sport II

I sincerely thank everyone for their help! The Acro Sport II flies 'hands off' on a calm day, loves strong winds, doesn't notice bumpy conditions, and feels frisky in the mountain passes. Going through the mountains in the Acro Sport is most breath taking; it really does feel like you could reach out and pet a mountain goat as we fly by. Rick has grown to love being a passenger in an open cockpit plane; at first the wind was stealing his mitts and maps, his photos were filled with flying wires and struts, and I'd forget to turn the heat! There's just enough room for basic survival gear and a VISA card. I've flown Rick in "GOJ" to go hiking in the interior mountains, kayaking amongst the Gulf Islands, seeing our grandchild in Calgary, camping across the prairies, and flying into Oshkosh! One day I might finally paint "GOJ"; for now I'm following Vic's advice to fly it first and have flown just over 300 hours since 2002.

Jill Oakes

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