One Design News


Volume 1 Issue 1 October/November 1994

A Bimonthly publication for builders, pilots, and
Enthusiasts of the ONE DESIGN series

I would like to introduce myself, my name is Pete Groves. I have taken over the task of producing the One Design newsletter from Dan Rihn. I would like to thank Dan for asking me to write this newsletter, and for having the convictions, patience, and dedication in seeing the One Design concept through to this point.

I intend to make this the information source for builders, pilots, and enthusiasts of the One Design series of aircraft. This newsletter will contain updates on One Design projects. Building information and tips, photos of projects, information on aircraft as they fly, a section reserved for comments by Dan Rihn, updates on the two seat aircraft, information on parts and services available, a section for builders to buy, sell, or exchange parts, plans updates, revisions, and availability, and builder feedback. This last section is very important to a successful newsletter, this newsletter must be a compilation of the progress experiences, frustrations, and success of those involved with the One Design, otherwise it becomes the sole opinions and observations of the editor, and that would become pretty boring.

By way of a personal background, I am an aerobatic pilot. I currently own and compete in a modified Pitt S1S. I operate a custom aircraft company. I have flown the prototype, and am currently building One Design components.

Loyd Beaule's One Design

The One Design project of Lloyd Beaule’s during trial assembly.


I believe that most people receiving this newsletter are familiar with the genesis of the One Design, but a brief overview of the project for those of you who are not. The One Design is the concept of Dan Rihn, an engineer with Northop, and a long time Pitts builder, and unlimited level pilot. Dan felt the need for an economical airframe capable of unlimited performance, and a category dedicated to this new type of aircraft. Doug Dodge of Acro specialties was engaged to build the prototype, and Lew Shaw offered to finance the construction. Doug produced a beautiful prototype in record time, and from it’s first showing in assembled form at Oshkosh 93 it was an immediate hit. The aircraft made it’s first flight soon after, and was quickly sampled by the who’s who of the aerobatic world. The prototype has proven the design to be durable, and certainly capable of it’s proposed goals. There was immediate demand for plans, and Rick Dean took on the job of producing them. Aircraft Spruce was made the plans distributor, and as of October over 270 sets of plans have been ordered. The prototype was purchased this summer by Ben Morfew, who demonstrated the aircraft at both Sun and Fun and Oshkosh 94, the most frequent comment being, “who would have believed an aircraft could roll that fast!” The interest continues to grow, with many projects underway, approval being sought in Canada, Great Britain, Australia, and throughout Europe.


The prototype flew this year at both Sun and Fun, and Oshkosh in the hands of Ben Morphew, and was very well received. The aircraft is now undergoing an engine change, a AEIO360 180hp engine is being fitted. There will also be a smoke system installed. The aircraft will become an even more impressive airshow performer next year.


The first section of the plans contained some errors, these have for the most part been identified and revisions have been sent to the plans holders. The second section have now been sent, and received by most plans holders, these also contain the inevitable errors and changes. These will be noted in the next issue of the newsletter, as well as any remaining notes from the first section. This is where every one receiving plans can help, please inform me of any problems you identify, and this will be noted in the next issue.

ONE DESIGN WING – A construction overview

This is intended to describe one method of constructing this wing, it works for me, and turns out a straight wing. However, it is by no means the only way to build this wing. There are usually as many ways to do things as people doing them. We have built everything based on reproducing multiple units, therefore we built three or more of everything and our jigs reflect this. The construction of jigs must be weighed against the parts and number of units to built, sometimes it makes more sense to just build the part and forget the jig. I began the wing by building a jig, a combination spar lamination, wing construction jig. We chose to build the wing vertically, both to maintain accuracy and to save space. The spar table portion is 10” wide by 19’ and anchored to the floor and wall with adjustable thread inserts every 3’. This allows the jig to be true and stay stable. The table section has a lip on both sides and is drilled every foot to accept a clamping system we built.

We have based all of our jigs on the spruce wing, as spruce is available in our area in good volumes and we have had good success in obtaining it in the lengths we require. Our spars are one more lamination, but it sure looks impressive in the cockpit. We begin by selecting the best yield from each piece of wood, review your wood needs and remember that there will be quite a bit of offcut as you dimension the spar laminations. If you can obtain your spar lumber in full 9-5/16th width then buy it, as you will save a large labor step. If, however you can only get 6” boards you have to laminate. We jointed all of our boards and cut to approximate lengths, we then dimensioned each to 9-1/2. This enabled us to edge glue a complete set of boards on top of each other on the spar table at one time. We built a set of clamping blocks that attach to the jig at 1’ intervals with threaded rod on either side of the spar. This allows rapid clamping and enables us to vary the height to the spar laminations, it also provides even clamping pressure. Once the spar laminations are edge glued you have to decided how to assemble your spar. We have a separate jig that is half the length of the spar and has the taper built into both sides. We lay the boards on this jig and use a large router to cut the taper, we then turn the board around and cut the other half. We built this jig because we are building many spars and wanted all of the tapers to be exact and identical, but the jog took a long time. If I was building a single spar I would probably glue the boards up in full width, and then rough cut and finish plane the taper, the jig is probably not worth the effort. Once we have all of the boards tapered we have another set of jigs that fit over the precut taper of each board and provide a router template to cut the scallop. Again, for one spar it would be better to rough cut and sand each scallop. We chose the scallop over the taper because it is faster with templates, is easier to clamp for glue, and makes rib attachment much easier.

Once all of the boards are tapered and scalloped we put them back in the jig and glue and clamp the spar. This gives us a finished, tapered, scalloped spar that requires minimal glue cleanup with a plane.

We take the spar and lay it front side down on our spar table. We have all rib locations marked on the table and we now transfer them to the spar. We have a fixture that bolts to the table at the center over the spar and has preset brackets to accept the rear spare at the correct angle. We prebuild the tip rib with the spar gap set, and by fitting this to the main spar we can insert the rear spar. Now all that is required is to fit the remainder of the ribs in between the spars. We predrill the rear spar for the aileron hinges and fir these before the spar is glued in place. We find that by building the wing vertically you have gravity on your side, it allows the ribs to be set to plumb and makes for easy clamping. To attach the rib to the rear spar we use a set of blocks precut to the 11 degree angle, by clamping one on each side of the rib up against the spar you get a very tight joint. Remember that the rear spar must be 2-3/4 full width out to the tip, so no taper as shown on some drawings, the ribs also must be modified to provide a full 5/8ths trailing edge once the skins are added. At this point we also add the three back ribs and trailing edge on the rear face of the rear spar. We then flip the spar over and place it on a fixture in the center of the jig, this suspends the wing vertically above the jig. The nose ribs can now be fitted. Before gluing these, precut the 3 degree angle on the front of each rib to fit the nose boards, but do not glue the nose piece a this time. We found when fitting out first wing to a fuselage that the two root noseribs as shown on the plans are very tight to the truss, it may be an idea to give an extra ½” relief outboard with these ribs, this will also allow the skin to sheet the entire rib.

Well at this point you have a pretty substantial structure, next issue I will describe how we installed the fittings, completed the nose sections, built the ailerons, and skinned the wing.


Welcome to the first edition of ONE DESIGN NEWS. For the past 2 years I have been writing a small one page newsletter which was published by the IAC. This newsletter was intended to keep everyone up to date with the happenings of the One Design in its early formative stages. In May ’94 I announced that I was looking for the right person to take over the newsletter but I wanted it to be more of a builders newsletter. I also wanted it to include builders tips, advertisements for various parts suppliers and provide updates or improvements to the planes.

Shortly after making this announcement, Pete Groves sent me a copy of the Canadian One Design Newsletter, it became immediately apparent I had found my volunteer for the ONE DESIGN NEWS. Pete is an experienced aerobatic aircraft builder and has been contracted to build 3 One Designs, and as you can see from this first edition he is also an excellent writer.

I want all ONE DESIGN builders to think of this as their newsletter, it will be far better with your inputs and not just one persons opinions. It will only be as good as you make it. Please feel free to write, your suggestions are wanted and welcomed. I look forward to working with Pete and I am already enjoying seeing several ONE DESIGNS fast approaching their first flight.

This concludes the first issue of the One Design news, in the following issues I hope to cover many of the points already mentioned in greater detail, I will have part two of the wing construction, and I hope to receive some other project updates currently being prepared. The One Design rules are now final and these will be covered. I hope to include a One Design, G 200 comparison, and more photos. As I mentioned at the beginning this newsletter can only succeed with contribution from those involved and interested, this aircraft has generated immense interest and it continues to grow, an exchange of information can only further this, so send your ideas and observations. Thanks, Pete.

List of suppliers has been taken out of this reproduction of the newsletter. Up to date information can be found in the Links section of this website