Wednesday, March 1, 2006
The Howard DGA
Still the ultimate handmade aircraft
Looking for his dream Howard, Rippon decided he would need to start almost from scratch. "I picked up three more Howards in pieces," he explains. That was the beginning of a 15-year project that culminated with the finished Howard DGA-15P NC1227 in 1999.
During the decade and a half he spent restoring NC1227, Rippon continued to work as a full-time corporate pilot, spending most of his time off on the project. He owned a Cessna 140 and a Stinson 108, both of which kept him up to speed on old tailwheel aircraft until the Howard was ready. He was so fond of the Howard paint scheme that he painted both the Cessna and the Stinson to match. After completing the restoration in 1999, he flew the Howard to Oshkosh, Wisc., where it won Grand Champion Custom Classic honors, the same award his previous Howard restoration won 20 years earlier.
Though he now owns a Bonanza, the big Howard is the machine in which Rippon and his wife Ellen love to travel. And he's quick to point out that without Ellen's patience and support, he'd have never attempted the restoration that has resulted in an airplane he considers so comfortable that he compares it to a flying armchair—a fast flying armchair.
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