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Welcome to "Building the Dream Aircraft Tundra."
The story really starts back in 1985. The "dream” was to build a boat, sail around the world and sell it. With the money from the sale, I was going to buy a Cessna floatplane and fly it to Alaska. Well, I did build the boat, got my private pilots license, sailed around the world and sold the boat. (see www.worldvoyagers.com) When it came to buying a Cessna, it dawned on me that I couldn't work on my own plane. So, I could either get my A&P license or build the plane myself. I chose to build it myself.
At first I was going to build a vintage wood and canvas flying boat, the Savoia-Marchetti S-56. The Savoi-Marchetti first went into production in the United States in 1928. There is one flying example and another that resides in the Air Museum on Long Island, New York. After looking at the one in the museum and talking to an A&P, I decided that this was not the type of aircraft to fly in the bush. They were still trying to figure out what made airplanes fly back in 1928. Besides, I had seen enough Lake aircraft taking off and landing to know that flying boats don't make good bush planes.
So, what to do? I looked into several "bush" capable kit planes. The first was the Zenair 801. Not the best looking perhaps, but unbelievable performance. The second was the Bush Caddy. It has a long history of production and better looking than the 601. The third was the Dream Aircraft Tundra. The first two are held together with "pulled" rivets. I know they hold, but how many certified planes use them exclusively? The Tundra has solid rivets and every hole in the entire plane is pre-punched. Every hole. This is because they make all the parts in-house on high tech CNC machines. While I never got to fly a 801 and I only took a ride in a Bush Caddy on wheels, I flew the company Tundra on floats with my wife Amy. While she was "eeking” in the back seat, I was doing 45 degree banks from left to right and enjoying the smooth and stable qualities of the airplane. From my first impression of a plane that looked like it came from a factory (not someone's back shed), to our test flight on floats, we were sold. Hook line and sinker.
So, we ordered our kit in October, 2006. In April my son and I picked it up at the factory in Granby, Quebec.
I will be posting our progress here on this website.
It took 10 years to build the boat, so who knows how long it will take to build the plane!