Progress Reports
4/23/2012   Making good progress. With the help of these men,the wings were hung on 4/22/2012.

The biplane only needs final bolt-up and details that will make it ready for final inspection.

The plan is to cowl it this week and will get more pics as a more complete biplane.  The center section fairing needs some trimming and run a weight & balance run is needed soon. Diligence in gap sealing the I-struts paid off. 

L-R is Bernie Olson, AcroSport II builder/pilot, Shelton Stewart, builder of 3 Pitts Specials, his father & retired Crop Dusting businessman Oscar Stewart, Shawn Scott, RV- 4 & RV-8 builder & Craig Dobesh, two Pitts Specials built under his belt.

Rich Wolf's
"Navy Toot" - N409RW

4/24/2012 Rich's Report:
Put the cowling on (4/23) and plan to weigh the biplane Tuesday (4/24)to see how the W & B is  looking.  Climbed in & out on the wing first time today.  It's the step from the wing to the cockpit that is the most challenging; I have to grab my pantleg to perform that stunt!

I'm not satisfied with my stick shape yet and may need to change the one I have out to allow proper full aft stick.

Still have a lot of bolting to work amongst other details.  The weighing should help me decide to stick with the metal prop or consider the less efficient wood prop.  I flew both props on the MAGNUM Miniplane but tired of the re-torquing of the wood prop and the threat of rain damage.

4/23/2012 Report below this

Rich Wolf's "Navy Toot" - N409RW
Progress Reports - May 21, 2012
This Little Toot will be my third homebuilt project and if you include the Citabria I built up from a "basket case", my fourth airplane project.  I've always been a fan of the Little Toot and my first recollection of seeing one was of Arlo Schroeder's "Hawk Pshaw" when he first started flying it.  I would have considered finishing mine that  way but I was influenced by my love of U.S. Naval Aviation history and the fact that there were no flying examples besides the Love Field Little Toot that the George Meyer family restored and donated for static display to the museum.

I'm recently retired from Lockheed Martin where I worked in Flight Test on the F-35 program that is building a derivative of each fighter for the USN, USMC & USAF.

This biplane represents the Neutrality Patrol markings that were flown 1939-1940 in the Caribbean while training pilots prior to war.  The blue tail group indicates an aircraft assigned to the USS Enterprise aircraft carrier.  The US Navy had a fighter squadron VF-6 which my markings represent that used the Felix the Cat logo.  The red fuselage band and upper wing chevron identify the aircraft as the section leader of the squadron.  Note the pseudo tailhook; I also have a pseudo gun-sight (that is removable for flight) that mounts just in front of the windscreen.  Biplanes of that era had flat-paned windshields so I replicated that using Lexan.

I reside in Hudson Oaks, TX 16 mi west of Fort Worth, 6 mi east of Weatherford.

I aim to have my Little Toot inspected by the FAA by June 5.  I won't have sufficient time to get 40 flying hours on it in order to fly it up to Oshkosh this year, so maybe next!

Rich Wolf's "Navy Toot" - N409RW
Progress Reports - May 26, 2012

Rich Wolf's "Navy Toot" - N409RW
Progress Reports - June 24, 2012
Rich Wolf's "Navy Toot" - N409RW
October 28, 2012
"Out of some six different biplanes I've flown, the Little Toot is by far the best! 

What a wonderful flying airplane that handles turbulence & crosswinds better than my Citabria!"

    -Rich Wolf, Builder of Navy Toot (N409RW)

Thanks to Donny & Joni:
You guys did great as a team directing me and positioning your Cessna 170 to get great pictures!  Of the many pics Joni took, about 80 were as good as the attached!!  I will burn a DVD of the best to hand off to you next time we meet up.

It was not easy given the rough air conditions we worked with.  I felt like I was a moving target and couldn't keep stable for any length of time.  But it surrely came together!!  Next time we will try to plan to fly higher - it actually looks as though we were only 1000 ft up when we were actually some 2000 ft AGL (3000 ft on the altimeters).

It was 50 degrees today at 3000 ft and I should've worn my flying gloves.  My leather jacket is just perfect for these temps!  I'm flying with clear plastic safety glasses to keep any debris from getting to my eyes, goggles are too confining for me!

Thanks again.  It was great fun!!

Rich Wolf

June 12, 2013 I recently bit the bullet and hired an upholstery man to fabricate a nice gray leather covered seat cushion, stick boot and gray Sunbrella cockpit rain cover.  In the meantime while I wait for the final goodies I decided to lighten up the seat back by converting from built up wood (3.5 lb)  to .032 AL (1.5 lb) with stiffeners added, saving 2 lbs in the process. 

Next I modeled some zigzag closeout panels out of cardboard and then fabricated them in .012 AL sheet.  These close out the behind the fabric view of the fuselage fabric. I also installed two AL sheet floorboards to the immediate left & right of the seat.  These have 90 degree sides that should prevent ball caps & such from falling under the seat.

Then I constructed a simple 4" H x 2" W x 12" L  chart tray to stow charts in for X-C.  This tray then allowed for a nice cove to store a water bottle too.


Rich Wolf offers good information for a seat and reducing weight to the aircraft.
This story appeared in the August 2013 issue of Sport Aviation magazine.
Thanks to Rich for taking the time to promote his aircraft, in particular,
and the Little Toot, in general.