Rich has always held a keen interest in Little Toot since the day Arlo Schroeders'Hawk Pshaw flew to early EAA fly-ins and made the aviation magazines, such as during the era of AC-Spark Plug Flight Rallys that were cross-country events for the last Rockford & early Oshkosh fly-ins.
Growing up in the Flint, Michigan area, no one had yet built a Toot so Rich's first biplane was another sport biplane which he flew with an O-320 and a canopy before deciding to return to open cockpit flying. (see MAGNUM Miniplane article - Sport Aviation May 2006).
After flying the other biplane for some 250 hrs, the wings which were covered with cotton failed the punch test. Rich started looking for a biplane with a new set of wings with increased wing area and larger rib chord, so a Little Toot project listed for sale fulfilled that search and re-kindled his earlier interest in Little Toots'!
He ended up acquiring the previously started airframe (dubbed the Green Toot) from Tommy & Bob Borger New Years Eve 2009. After completing missing components (horizontal stab, vertical fin, control cables, etc.) Rich re-located the seat back 3-½ inches and built a taller wood turtledeck for use as either a baggage bin or fuel tank bay. His Little Toot will resemble the Ron Cribbs' Little Toot.
The Navy Toot was structurally completed by May 2011. Sub-systems like the fuel, electrical & brake systems & instrument panel are still being worked piece-meal in between covering chores. The airframe is currently being covered with Dacron.
Rich has plans to finish his Toot as a pre-WW II US Navy Neutrality Patrol biplane complete with pseudo-tail hook, open cockpit and an old fashioned three-paned Lexan windscreen. He will be applying the Golden-Age Navy paint scheme of yellow wings, gray fuselage, red squadron chevrons on top wing, colorful aft fuselage band with US roundels forward of the cockpit on the fuselage and roundels on each wing panel.
Rich has enjoyed pulling his project together and he can hardly wait to join up with other Little Toots!
BTW, just how long has Rich been a member of EAA? Pretty long since his number is 38744.