By Pierre Marcotte, EAA 98319
My interest in aviation and all things connected to it, began at a young age. During WWII, my dad was a machinist at Canada Car in Montreal when they had converted the plant into a repair facility for warbirds and trainers.
By the time I became an impressionable teenager, he had purchased several aircraft, one of them being an Ercoupe. We flew together a lot, even when he flew the Coupe to Montreal from the Eastern Townships for his flight training (times have changed, not recommended)! I would hang around while he would go out for some circuits and bumps in a Cessna 120 trainer. The Ercoupe lives on to this day! As far as I know, it still hangs from the ceiling of a Cage Aux Sports pub in a South Shore suburb of Montreal!
Later on, the family moved to northern Ontario and I continued to be dad’s right seat partner. At one point, we flew to Lake Ivanhoe near Foleyet, for a beach landing. It was admittedly too late and too dark. The Coupe hit a boulder with the nose wheel as we touched down and within a few seconds, we found ourselves hanging from our belts, upside down with fuel leaking into the cockpit. We were able to get out with some bumps and bruises, but the Coupe was a mess! My dad and I spent the next winter rebuilding it and this is where I really got hooked on building airplanes!
So life went on, got married to my wife Denise and fathered a special needs son, Jean, who still lives with us, a darling human being. At the beginning of my banking career, I learned to fly in Cherokees, C-150’s, C-172’s and even on Champs while I was getting my float endorsement in North Bay. My first certified aircraft was a Piper Colt, and I eventually moved on to a 150, then a 172 and of all things, a 120 (memories of my dad’s training in Montreal!). I even obtained a night endorsement in the 120 while living in Toronto.
Denise, Jean, and I moved frequently — that was banking then — and we landed in Toronto. Did I mention that Denise is a saint for putting up with my uncontrollable urges to build airplanes, also known as Saint Den! Toronto is where I got the urge to build an airplane and I chose a Rutan design, the VariEze. This was 1978 and in the middle of building the Eze, we moved again, this time to Sudbury. This was the beginning of building for me, usually moving a project with our belongings inside a moving van, then completing the project, flying it a while, and selling it — and then building something else. By the time I finished the Eze, I had become sensitized to the Rutan epoxies. I truly enjoyed flying it, and to my knowledge, it was still flying a few years ago.
Aluminum construction turned me on and I completed and flew several RVs, and built all of John Monett’s designs going back to the Moni!
Homebuilding has been a passion for me and I have always been involved in some way throughout my 50 years of flying. In recent years, I also proudly became an MD-RA inspector and continued in this capacity for 15 years until my retirement from the program recently. Aviation is made up of some outstanding people, and I am fortunate to have known a great number of them.
The BK1.3 (my eighth build) is a Bruce King design from San Antonio, Texas. Unfortunately, Bruce passed away a few years ago, but he lives on through his BK. It is a plans only build; 300 sets have been sold and I believe that C-GOBK is the only one flying so far. There are a number of them out there close to completion. I built mine with a 2276-cc Great Plains, 80 hp engine, and I selected the flywheel drive set-up. Instrumentation and avionics are basic in my BK. I now have it trimmed out to fly hands-off on a smooth day. Cruise is 135 mph at 3400 rpm, and it jumps off the runway. I don’t mind admitting that it is a bit twitchy on the ground, but it keeps me pleasantly alert every time I fly. So far, I’ve got 50 hours on it and I’m still having fun! How could you beat that? Inexpensive flying and a bit of an interesting challenge at the same time.