Tuesday 22 March 2016

The Kitfox Godfrey Brothers.

Back in October 2013 Sir Minty did a major posting on the New Zealand Kitfox's.
I have reproduced portions of it here to save re-inventing the wheel.

The Kitfox was developed by Dan Denney in the 1980's as a STOL homebuilt aircraft with folding wings to enable it to be trailered home.  
It featured flaperons and a distinctive bump cowl under which it was intended to install a small radial engine.  However the radial engine never eventuated and the early Kitfoxes were powered by Rotax 2 stroke engines. 
Dan Denney formed Denney Aerocraft at Boise, Idaho to manufacture Kitfox kits, and more than 5,000 have been produced over the years.
The prototype Kitfox I first flew in November 1984.  Only 6 were produced but the aircraft proved popular and the Kitfox II soon followed.  
This had a wider fuselage and an increased MAUW of 950 pounds (436 Kg).  
The Kitfox III followed in 1989 and featured a larger fin and rudder and finally the design was developed into the definitive Kitfox IV with a taller fin and rudder and a MAUW of 1,200 pounds (544Kg).  It also had redesigned mixer box arrangement for aileron/flaperon giving more luggage space behind the seats.
 Variants of the Kitfox IV included the Kitfox Speedwing with a shorter wing, and the lightweight Kitfox Lite Squared.
In 1992 the rights to the Kitfox were sold to SkyStar Aircraft and they continued with the Series 4, and developed a completely new design called the Series 5 in 1994, which could be built as a tri-gear or a taildragger.  This aircraft kept the kitfox philosophy but was designed for larger engines such as Lycomings or Continentals, and also for the Rotax 912.  The Series 5 had a MAUW of 1,550 pounds (703Kg).  The Kitfox Series 6 and 7 followed, each a further refinement with improvements to the undercarriage, flaps and elevators, and for engines such as the Jabiru 3300.  Now there is a version with the Rotec R 2800 radial engine which in a way has gone full circle from the original radial engine which never eventuated.  Skystar Aircraft filed for bankruptcy in 2005, and the assets were purchased by a former employee John McBearn in 2006 under the name of Kitfox Aircraft LLC, which is still producing Kitfox kits.
As can be seen above, the Kitfox series of aircraft has been continuously developed, getting bigger and carrying more payload, however the Kitfox IV Classic has a length of 18 foot 6 inches (5.6 metres), a wingspan of 32 feet (9.76 metres) and a wingspan of 132 square feet.  The speed depends on the engine fitted, but with a Rotax 912 the Series 5 cruises at 110 mph.

We have had 18 Kitfoxes of various models in New Zealand to date.
ZK-KNZ (c/n 798/AACA/2013) is the  Kitfox III built by Great Lakes Aviation (Graham Knauf, Graham Taylor and SO Vowles) at Wanaka.  
It was first registered on 12/2/91 and first flew at Wanaka on 23/2/91.  
I remember that it was a demonstration aircraft, and it was damaged  on 16/5/91 when on demonstration to the New Zealand police.  It was sold to Albie Birdling of Little River on 22/10/93, however it was not flown for 10 years or so from early 2000.
It was purchased by Paul Godfrey of Rangiora on 10/7/12 and he refurbished  it to flying condition. with help from his Brother Michael. 
Michael then went and purchased ZK-KIV (c/n 1642) in December 2014, which is a Kitfox IV built by Charles Lamb and Arthur Ainsworth of Christchurch . 
This was first registered on 1/12/94.  Arthur took over sole ownership on 04/10/05 and it was re-designated as a Class 2 microlight on 11/01/12.  
With Michael it has undergone an extensive rework.
Below we see it at Rangiora last Sunday (20th).
In December last year Paul purchased ZK-JFA (c/n 94080051/MAANZ/527).
 This is a SkyStar Kitfox IV as built by Alex Taylor of Gore, and was fist registered on 22/3/95. It has a date of manufacture of 22-06-1995 and is Rotax 912 powered.
It is currently getting the Godfrey treatment and is seen below at Rangiora on Sunday (20-03-2016) having its fuel flow checked.
Now that Paul has the SkyStar Kitfov IV ZK-JFA - his earlier ZK-KNZ has been listed for sale.
Paul has previously operated the Thruster ZK-FHK, and still has the Maxair Drifter ZK-XPC.

There is another Denney Kitfox III based at Rangiora - the not that often seen ZK-JWN of Steve Noad. 


  1. And not even a nod to Dean Wilson!!!!

  2. Blue Bus certainly puts in a lot of time to get all this info, things
    JoePilot would never know.

  3. Yeah. Dan worked for Dean but left and formed Kitfox - hence the similarity to Avid.
    He has been mentioned in previous posts.