Sources:  Don Mitchell & Richard Avalon

The Victory Wing built by Don Mitchell in 1983.

(Text by Richard Avalon.)

I was spending a lot of time with Don and I asked him if he could build me an ultralight version of the U-2.  The standard U-2 weighed 320 pounds and we were shooting for 254 pounds and a stall speed of under 27 mph; the standard U-2 stalled at 32 mph.  So he built this ship for me.
         He did several things different with this airplane.  He used a wooden spar but light weight foam for the leading and trailing
edges, and this was hollowed out to save weight.  He then fiberglassed the whole ship with (I think) only one layer of light fiberglass cloth.  He made the pod the same way.  He built in leading edge slats in the outer panels to also reduce landing speeds, which were very effective. 
          We installed a direct drive KFM twin cylinder 22 hp motor, which weighted only about 50 pounds complete.  He started out with a single wheel but switched to a small duel wheel arrangement attached to the pod.  We almost met the weight requirement so we installed a ballistic parachute to gain the extra 10 pounds that we needed.
          Don finished the airplane, did the CG, weight and balance, rigged it,  all in Mariposa, and took it to Porterville for test flying.  I did some taxi work and then took it out to the main runway to do some high speed taxiing.  At about 150 feet into the first run, I was pulling back on the stick to see at what speed the front wheel would unstick, and the airplane took off.  Of course I was a bit suprised,  to say the least,  but what suprised me even more, it felt perfect.  I'm about 25 ft off the ground, stick is centered, the airplane is flying straight and level, in trim.  So I decided to just go for it.  I flew it around the pattern a couple of times and to say that Don is a great airplane builder is putting it mildly.  Right out of the box it flew perfect.
          The only problem was that we were under propped,  not enough pitch.  So back to the shop and as fate would have it the ship never was flown again.  We moved to Tehachapi and set up shop there and went on to the next project, the Stealth II.  I do have the wing now.  I took it apart with all of the control settings 'set',  and I plan on reconfiguring the airplane to look more like Wolfgang Uhl's U-2 in Germany.   And I will still try to keep it in the ultralight category.  Can you imagine, a U-2, with power, as a
true ultralight?  This was another, unfinished, chapter in the Don Mitchell aviation history story.




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