Dorothy over the Rainbow
The Lost Girls
I use to develop and mod video games, and have had 100,000+ players over 5 years, play on my 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.
I've also since bought a Chotia Woodhopper Project (with two mint Chotia 460 engines) for $99 off Barnstormers, which I've named Alice after Alice in Wonderland.
Dorothy 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 1960's TV Show Star Trek, and her wing was designed by Irv Culver, who designed the SR-71 Blackbird with Kelly Johnson, and worked on the P-38 Lightning. She was one of the world's first motor gliders and ultralights; 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 which is now long since defunct. When I found her, she was rotting behind a storage shed..
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... and prove to these old Elmers on homebuiltairplanes.com, that you *can* indeed build a bad ass little airplane for under $1000.
So far I'm less than $400 into it and she's looking pretty good!
A prop and some fabric, new control cables, some wing ribs, and a part here and there, and she's ready to go!
Check out my new bad ass Spitfire control stick below, which was a dead Weedwacker handle and cost me absolutely... nothing...
Here's the exact same engine, redrive, and prop that's going to be on Dorothy, so press play to hear what she will sound like!:
Cuyuna 430 ULII-02 / 2:1 / 50"x30"
Album of More Exhaust Derusting Pictures
More sounds of the Cuyuna 430 in fly by's...:
I also got a free boat trailer and boat off of freecycle.org! I'll need to derust it and weld 5 more feet to it as you can see. My dad says, not a problem.Album of more Trailer Pictures
You can see a mockup of an ultralight storage and transport trailer I did over it below:
Album of More Pictures of Paint Stripping Fuselage
Unfinished HBA Tool Tray Tool Cabinet I'm working on, built 100% from discarded trash/scratch:
Skonk works, because, well, the Lockheed P-38 was my fighter pilot grandfather's favorite plane, and Irv Culver who coined the term, designed my VJ-24 wing! I'm sure Lockheed owns the trademark on Skonk works, *but* I'm not using it commericially, it's just a nice decoration for my personal tool cabinet. I think Pepe has a lot more character than Lockheed's skunk... who is it, Tippy or something? Note my special U/O/hacker zero with slash character for the U/O in Skunk/Skonk...
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:
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 P.O.S. 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 discretion 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 VIDEOSVolmer 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! :-)
"Dorothy" - Choppergirl's $38 Volmer Jensen VJ-24W antique ultralight motor glider
So if I flew into a cloud...