CHOPPERGIRL'S AIRWAR

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Welcome to AIRWAR

I use to develop and mod video games, and had 100,000+ players over 5 years, play on my brutally intense hardcore modded game servers called AIRWAR, and this website (air-war.org) was the website for it.

Since then, I've bought a vintage motor glider off ebay for $38... and this website documents my progress and quest to build what I have dubbed "the world's cheapest bare minumum three axis controlled airplane"... where I substitute labor for money... Choppergirl's 38 Special.

My name is CHOPPERGIRL, and this is my airplane... Dorothy. She is named after Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. I think she's kinda special.

She was designed by Volmer Jensen, who also designed and built the Star Ship Enterprise in the TV Show Star Trek, and also by Irv Culver who designed the SR-71 Blackbird. She was the world's first motor glider; there are less than a dozen VJ-24W's still existing... three of those are in museums... two are DSK kits... of which mine is one, and the other owned by DSK. When I found her, she was rotting behind a storage shed..

Latest Pics

I think there is just something incredibly noble about saving something that the entire rest of the world has given up on and left to die... whether it is a person, a lost kitten, a fallen baby bird, an old house, a forgotten motorbike, an old classic car, or... an old airplane... you become.. a saving angel.

Watch me get my wings... using aerodynamic science, elite fixing skills, and *lots* of cleaning...























Unfinished HBA Tool Tray Tool Cabinet I'm working on, built 100% from discarded trash/scratch:











Builder's Log

"Dorothy" - Choppergirl's $38 Volmer Jensen VJ-24W antique ultralight motor glider on HomeBuiltAirplanes.com

VULA - Vintage Ultralight Yahoo Group - Picture Album

HBA Picture Album 1

HBA Picture Album 2

You can learn all about Dorothy below....





Poster board I made to display in front of my VJ-24W at future air shows and when parked on the runway.

Don't hurt your eyes squinting trying to read it, the text is pasted right below it on the page...




The Poster board reads:

HELLO! Meet my

1980 Volmer Jensen
VJ-24W (SunFun)
The world's first modern motor glider (ultralight)
My plane's name:
"Hopeless Place", after the Rhiana Song
"We found Love (in a Hopeless Place)

(renamed to Dorothy, from the Wizard of Oz)

This barn find was bought by me on Ebay November 31, 2015 for
$38 dollars U.S. -- VJ-24W ultralight aircraft
$25 dollars U.S. -- JLO RM-252 Engine (14hp?)
(After some internet research, I found engine turned out to be 10.5 hp, too underpowered to use on the plane.)

Nobody knew what it was, but I identified it by looking at 100's of photos :-)

Designed by Volmer Jensen and Irv Culver
First test flown by David Cook in 1980

Volmer Jensen

Who is Volmer Jensen? Have you ever heard of a little TV show from the 60's called Star Trek? Volmer Jensen designed and built the first model of the Starship Enterprise for Gene Rodenberry, featured in the opening credits of the old TV show, with two other guys in his workshop . He got the idea for the round part of the spaeship from stove burner coils. That model now hangs in the Smithsonian. Volmer's first plane was the Martin M-1 1939, and he designed gliders in the 50's, 60's, and 70's. He designed also several foot launch hang gliders, the VJ-11, VJ-23, and VJ-24.

A fellow named Stephen Lowther suggested he put an engine on the VJ-23 and then VJ-24, which he did, along with a seat and wheels, creating the VJ-24W (w for wheeled)... the model you see in front of you... creating the very first (or one of the first?) conventional three axis controlled powered wheeled modern ultralights. The ultralights started this little unlicensed category in US aviation called FAR 103. Under Part 103, a goob like me can dream of flying without forking over money to the state.

Oh, that little Star Trek TV show I mentioned? That fantasy fiction franchise became something worth $4 billion. Go figure.

Irv Culver

Who is Irv Culver? Have you ever heard of the Skunkworks, Lockheed's Advanced Development Projects Division? One day, when the Department of the Navy was trying to reach the Lockheed management for the P-80 project, the call was accidentally transferred to Culverís desk inside the smelly plastics workshop. Culver answered the phone in his trademark fashion of the time, by picking up the phone and stating "Skonk Works, inside man Culver". "What?" replied the voice at the other end. "Skonk Works", Culver repeated. The name stuck. Culver later said at an interview conducted in 1993 that "when Kelly Johnson heard about the incident, he promptly fired me. It didnít really matter, since he was firing me about twice a day anyways.

The designation "skunk works" is widely used in business, engineering, and technical fields to describe a group within an organization given a high degree of autonomy and unhampered by bureaucracy, tasked with working on advanced or secret projects.

Irv Culver worked on a little plane called the SR-71 Blackbird. Have you heard of it? There is one sitting in the parking lot of the Huntsville Air and Space Museum. I was not able to tow it home.

Culver is credited with coming up a solution to the P-38 Lightning compressibility problem. The P-38 was my grandfathers favorite plane, he flew 171 combat missions in it out of New Guinea. He is still alive.



At every gas station I stopped at someone would strike up a conversation about my plane. Note the guy on the left pumping gas looking... what the hey? He'd start talking to me in a few secs...



How I got my plane home on a boat trailer. My friend Jamie behind the car who went along as company.



As soon as I was home I assembled her in the dark in the rain right where I imagined she would always be. Ghost plane appears at 2am on my front lawn in the drizzling rain.



My planes been through hell and is tattered and torn and abandoned by the world just like me.



My favorite photo. The plane type was written on the back tail the whole time, but not visible in the ebay auction. The guy could of saved me hours of research by just taking a photo of the tail. When I redo her fabric I'm going to save the old tail cloth and frame it and hang it on my wall. Only link to whoever orginally built her as there is no aircraft data plate. Was built from plans or you could by a kit from DSK Aircraft.



The most dangerous, uncomfortable looking cockpit in the world. Well, I always said I would fly anything...

Only a badass helicopter pilot girl with nerves of icy cold steel would dare fly this deadly piece of shit. But where the hell am i going to get one of those?



So far I've only found less than a dozen of these in the world. This one (G-MBBZ) (#7) is in Newark Air museum and on Wikipedia and Airport Data was built by David Cook and Volmer Jensen in his basement (I believe). The photo makes it look like it has a very bad ass WW2 military paint color. You can see it flying with its original blue wings here. Since these were built from plans, they were built to the discrestion and taste of the builder. Mine looks to be a later model (total guess) with an upgraded larger pivoted bungee cord suspension, centered stick, better rudder pedals, and lowered more comfortable foot rest.

YouTube VIDEOS

Volmer Jensen VJ 24 SunFun built by Tim Lohrey

David Cook flying VJ24w G-MBBZ (Pictured above in Newark Air Museum)

V.J.-24w. "SUNFUN". World's First Ultralight Motorglider... 22 Hp. Australian Modification

Test-Flying, For Autodidactic Aeroplane-Designers...(VJ-24w SUNFUN/Budgerigar)

Autumn Air - 6 Camera POV Ultralight Flight by Brian Fitzgerald

Kolb Ultrastar Over the Rainbow - daydreaming video I made before finding my plane

Flying with Christina - Sure Be Cool If You Did - daydreaming video I made before finding my plane

Flying with Christina - Black Horse and The Cherry Tree - daydreaming video I made before finding my plane

Flying with Christina - A Thousand Miles

Flying with Christina - Fall for You

Flying with Christina - Fall for You / Kick the Dust Up

Flying with Christina - Say Something - Last daydreaming flying video I made before I found Dorothy

December 12, 2015... a local flyer, Al Patton, who had founded EAA chapter 172 and had built and designed various experimental planes, and had worked with my dad as an Air Traffic Controller several decades ago, had died a few days earlier. At the exact same time I was picking up and loading my plane hundreds of miles away, they were having his funeral unbeknownst to me. We must restore Dorothy, its a moral imperitive! :-)

My profile on HomeBuiltAirplanes.com

"Dorothy" - Choppergirl's $38 Volmer Jensen VJ-24W antique ultralight motor glider
HomeBuiltAirplanes Thread

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Contact & Website Administrator: choppergirl@air-war.org

BF2142. Built by DICE. Sold by EA. Perfected by CHOPPERGIRL. Playtested by YOU.