Leonard Milholland’s History and Bio Information… A Bit of History and a Little Perspective When…
Leonard Milholland’s Builders
I was born in Kansas City, Missouri In 1924. I got interested in airplanes at an early age and built many model airplanes as I grew up. While in high school, I learned drafting, and I designed some of my own model airplanes. I soon had a basement full of model airplanes; some were trophy winners.
WWII started in 1941, and I enlisted in the Army Air Corps at age 17. I got my first airplane to crew soon after. I went from a BT-13 trainer to being a crew chief on a B-24 Bomber before the war was over. I took advantage of riding on every possible type of airplane while in the Army Air corps.
After the war, I started working for Shell Oil Co. as an instrument tech. During that time, I learned to fly at La Porte, TX airport just east of Houston, Texas.
While working at Shell, I built my first home-built airplane. It was a Junior Ace, a two-place high-wing plane. The Junior Ace was the first of 14 airplanes I ended up building. After retiring from Shell, we moved to Sport Flyers airfield on the west side of Houston. I built my 60ft by 80ft hanger and moved in the attached apartment.
What is the advantage of building your own airplane?
The biggest advantage is the expense; one can scratch build their own airplane for about half the price of an airplane kit. Also, one can put their own personal touches on it as you build. When you build your own plane, you are completely aware of its parts and functions.
What kind of experience do I need to build a plane?
If you have built a boat or a car or a motorcycle or done woodwork you already have the experience you need if not, then you can call on friends that have that experience.
How can I afford to build an airplane, don’t they cost a lot of money?
Building your own airplane is not a one-time big expense. One may just buy materials as needed and spread the cost over the time it takes to build, sort of a pay-as-you-go plan.
I don’t have a pilot’s license.
A pilot license is not needed with the Legal Eagle or the Legal Eagle XL as they are legal ultralight; also, a medical is not needed. I highly recommend flying lessons if you have not flown. At least a solo course. Don t try to teach yourself to fly.
What engine do you use in your planes?
We use VW engines, and the ultralights have the better one-half VW in them. The LSA planes use a full VW engine. We are now experimenting with a Briggs and Stratton industrial engine, which is a good replacement for the one-half VW engines. These engines are used on zero-turn lawnmowers. These engines are rugged and sturdy.
What should I start on the build?
I recommend, start by building a set of wing ribs. If you don’t like building you haven’t spent a lot of money. Also I recommend that you do something every day on your plane.
How long will it take me to build the plane?
That depends on your work ethic. Doing something every day is the best method to a fast build.
How much fuel do your planes use?
The LSAs use 4 gallons per hour. The Better Half VW Aero engines use about 2 gallons per hour. The Briggs and Stratton engine is similar to the Better Half VW Aero engines in fuel usage.
What kind of fuel can I use in my plane?
I have used several fuels with success, but I like aviation fuel as it does not have additives.
Where will I be able to fly my plane after I build it?
Avoid all controlled airspace. There many miles of free flying space out there.
How much runway does the Legal Eagle and Legal XL use to take off?
The Legal Eagle and the XL planes use about 200 feet to take off. If you have a short field, you should not have any obstacles on either end.
Are your planes difficult to fly?
Test pilots say they fly like a cub. The airplanes are very responsive to control inputs.