Serge Vidal's South African KR2

Serge Vidal's South African KR2

created June 19, 2002, updated April 2006

Well, here are the pictures of my joy and pride, ZS-WEC, as she was 6 weeks ago. Today, the seats have been completed, and the cooling shrouds redone...because I'll soon fit a new engine (VW 2.4 liter instead of the 2.0 liter you can see here).

WEC was 7 years old and almost 300h on the clock when I bought her, so I overhauled many, many things, and I redid the interior, seats and seat belts, instrument panels, all the wiring, refurbished the engine...nbasically redid everything that I did not like.

This shows WEC with the engine running...and nobody on board! The trick? I have bolted a nice anchor for the tail in the concrete, so now, I know that WEC will never try to destroy its propeller again!\

The seats bottom cushions, as you see, were not finished yet. The handles on the left hand side in front of the stick are for the brakes (from a motorcycle). The instrument panel is aluminum, with Epoxy paint. The ugly thing on the right is an airscoop. The first serious modification I did, and I'm afraid I missed a few points. The seat cushions rest on four Nylon belts each.

The thingy on the right next to the Bendix radio is a home-made bracket for the Magellan 315 GPS. It has a cigarette lighter socket next to it.

Here is a nice view of the aileron, with the famous balance horns.

Here is a detail view of these horns.

Picture 6 is the engine, with its cooling shrouds. The oil cooler is at the original location. There is no magnetos: the motorcycle coils are driven by two sets of motorcycle electronic ignition. One is mounted at the rear, and has centrifugal advance/retard mechanism; one is mounted at the front, and consists of just two magnetic pick-ups, triggered by a grub screw on the propeller hub.

This picture shows the very impressive wiring, done for me by a professional aircraft electrician. The inside of that box is simply fabulous. Pity I did not open it for the picture!

Photos below added April, 2006

This is Kilimanjaro Cloud at the time of her glory, when she made me feel like I was the master of the blue South African skies. This picture was taken during a flight over Soweto, near Johannesburg. I took the picture myself, holding the digital camera at arm's length.

Johannesburg is at high altitude (5300') and has a warm climate, so some extra power is always welcome. Since the original 2.0 liter VW engine had nearly 400 hours on the clock, I decided it was time for an upgrade. I fitted this 2.4 liter VW with full dual solid state electronic ignition. Notice the huge section of the propeller.

I got a chance to test the new engine for only two hours. Then, I had to leave South Africa. My employer reassigned me to Tunis, Tunisia. I did not feel like leaving the aircraft behind, so I borrowed a trailer and towed her home, where she got packed by the movers in a 40-footer container, along with my furniture. Alas, private aircraft are not really welcome in Tunisia! By the time I got there, they had decided to impound my plane. She went straight to a customs hangar at the freight harbour, where she stayed for months, time for me to convince the authorities to let me re-export. Kilimanjaro Cloud made her second container trip to Orleans, France. There, she faces a new challenge: to convince the local authorities to let me register a foreign-built experimental. Also, I decided I had nothing to do in a country that did not like my plane. I am now in Paris, 150 km from Orleans. A bit far, but the airfield is nice, and the homebuilder's club provides a lot of technical and moral support.

Kilimanjaro Cloud got broken ribs! The airworthiness inspectors wanted me to check the torque of the WAFs. This could not be done without breaking a few ribs. This is how I ended up removing them completely (they were rusting, anyway), along with the control cables, aileron bellcranks, and all the parts that look worn or shabby to me. All of these will be rebuilt, or at least, resurfaced. I hope this will make them happy.

This shot was taken just before I started breaking the ribs. The cowl has been modified to accommodate the slightly wider 2.4 liter engine. The registration is painted on, so I had to sand it off, which means I will have to repaint the complete plane, too.

The seats are made in two parts: composite backrests, and foam cushions. I did the upholstery myself, just to show my wife how good I am with a sewing machine.

The last iteration of my instrument panel, featuring a turn co-ordinator.. Note the new throttle quadrant, and the transponder located against the left hand wall. The dials are very hard to see, so to change the squawk, I simply count the clicks.

That's all folks!

Johannesburg, South Africa