Yes, it's a mystery how someone can spend eight years building something
and yet not have enough interest in discussing their planes and projects
and even showing up for the Gathering.  The U.S. and other countries like
South Africa must have many hundreds of someone's life story sitting in
the corner of a hangar, covered with dust.  

It astonishes me as well at how little money sellers are asking for all
their years of work.  I guess that's all their worth since the KR wasn't
a "kit".  All the investment in building a KR was in the labor and twenty
or thirty years down the road, nobody gets much back on "labor."  It's no
small thing - the work itself, the inspections, the paperwork, the loose
ends and hoops involved in turning badly done drawings on a paper into a
real life machine that flies through the air.  Everyone was "airplane
mad" following WWII and seeing something for so little money
(comparatively) that could get them in the air really inspired a
generation of veterans.  

I guess there are as many reasons for this phemonenon (the neglected or
abandoned KRs) as there are old KR's sitting in out-of-the-way hangars
around the world.  I suppose people, many of whom were not pilots when
this "Build your own $300 plane!" showed up on the cover of PM.  There
were plenty of accidents and scare stories as a result, in the beginning.
 And the wives of course.  Wives must have hated those things.  

That damn non-removable epoxy fuel tank was such a bad design fault that
I'm guessing it's one main reason so many planes have been left to wither
away.  How to you work on or improve a plane when you can't get behind or
under the panel?   When the cockpit always smells like gas from
invariably leaking or disintegrating fuel tanks.  That epoxy fuel tank
was a horrible decision on the part of Rand Robinson, but they were
learning as they went along and I'm sure that would have been the first
thing to go if the company had continued.

Others might say it was the retractable gear design that was the biggest
design problem, but I disagree.  I stressed the hell out of mine when
learning to fly my first KR, with nary a problem.  I thought it was
ingenious, actually, especially when combined with blended covers that
acted as drag producers when gear was extended..

You can tell from the paint jobs and pictures that someone, way back
when, was really proud of what they'd accomplished - and rightly so.  
This one currently for sale is a good example.

This is a sad phenomenon, for sure.   If those old builders that
abandoned their planes and projects knew just what a joy the KR is to
fly, they might have changed their minds.  Sparky Sparks sure did his
part back then . . . Marty Roberts too . . . giving people the experience
of flying the KR and getting them over the "bump", that may have been
holding them back.  

Lots of stories out there.  A real wealth of experiences and adventures
focussed around this "fiberglass and foam" plane that really paved the
way for all the composite-based aviation industry that followed.    Maybe
somebody will write it someday.  

One thing for sure . . . for someone with little money starting out to
become a pilot in life, buying one of these KR's & fixing it up (learning
so much in the process) is guaranteed to turn out some of the best pilots
in the world.  The KR is the best aerodynamic instructional platform ever


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