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Fri, Jul 09, 2004

Double The Mifyter, Double The Fun?

While cruising the SportPlane area of Arlington 2004, my eyes took in the sight of an old friend... one that appeared to have gained some weight. While this is an affliction that has affected far too many of us (no comments from the peanut gallery... or the ANN Staff...); in this particular case the extra weight and width was looking mighty good.

Some years ago, I flew a delightful little single place sport biplane called the Mifyter. Then powered by a single Rotax 532 of questionable horsepower, the little single place Mifyter turned out to be quite the thriller; it was fun, it was agile, and it had the kind of manners that would keep the low time pilot out of trouble but give the old pro something to hang onto.

Well... that was then, this is now.

A new Mifyter has come to the fore. Realizing that the market for single place sport biplanes was limited, the original Mifyter was stretched and widened to accommodate a side-by-side seating arrangement, as well as the ability to break down into two separate pieces so that the bird could be transported from home to field -- or stored in somewhat tighter quarters for those without ample hangar real estate.

The new Mifyter II is a $17,995 kit, and even without the optional quick build kits that will be available soon, it takes some 650 to 850 hours to build. We are pleased to note that this kit requires no welding and that most of the fiberglass work has been completed before hand. The wooden wing includes precision cut parts, and wing ribs that are built with the Cap Strips already glued on. The Mifyter II uses Suzuki or Rotax power, so long as more than 65 horsepower is available. It cruises 70 to 75 mph, with a stall speed of 35 to 40 miles an hour and has a top speed of nearly 90 mph. The takeoff roll is 250 feet, landings require 300 feet, and the rate of climb is estimated at 950 feet per minute.

When I caught up with Rod Cowgill, the designer, the bird was only a few days from flying, and while the workmanship looked pretty complete, we're glad he isn't rushing the flight test program. It sure looks cute though, and we've been promised a chance to play with it at Oshkosh if circumstances permit them to get their flight test program completed over the next few weeks.

Side-by-side biplanes are rare in the sport aviation movement. Even rarer are those that people can afford; so we think the Mifyter II has a pretty good future ahead of it, especially when adorned with a few fake bombs and machine guns... like those we saw installed on the demo bird at Arlington. So suitably attired, you're sure to get the attention of all your airport buddies, so long as no one calls the TSA!

We anticipate checking this critter out in a couple weeks and look forward to letting you know how it does.



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