Developed in the late 1970s, the
Christen Eagle II set a new mark of excellence for home built kit
aircraft. The Eagle II, based on the famous Pitts Special, was
designed by Frank Christensen as an unlimited class aerobatic
aircraft that could be used for competition, advanced aerobatic
training and sport cross-country flying. Since its introduction,
more than a thousand Eagle IIs have delighted their owners and found
homes with both professional and amateur pilots alike.
Frank Christensen was a self-made millionaire
even before he entered the aviation industry. Prior to his aviation
career, Christensen built inverted oil systems for Curtiss Pitts.
This experience led him to begin thinking about developing a home
built aerobatic aircraft that anyone could safely build and fly,
regardless of their background in aircraft construction or
engineering. After his bid to buy the Pitts aircraft line failed,
Christensen set his plans to open his own aircraft company in
motion. The Eagle II debuted at the 1977 Oshkosh Fly-In and was
immediately popular with both professional and amateur aerobatic
pilots. After test flying the Eagle II, World Champion Aerobatic
Pilot Bob Herendeen stated; "All in all, I like the very light feel
of the controls of the Eagle II. Its responsiveness and roll rate
give one the feeling of flying in a Pitts S-1S, but with stability
more like that of the Pitts S-2A. The clean, comfortable cockpit
area and control stick position are ideal. I don't see how anyone
would not like this airplane."
The first Eagle II kits cost roughly $40,000
(minus a paintjob). By 1982, Christensen had sold nearly 500 kits.
The Eagle II set a new standard for home built kit aircraft. Unlike
most home built aircraft, which start with only a set of plans and
perhaps some building materials, the Eagle II kit contains nearly 30
individually packaged "sub-kits" that are assembled in numerical
order (without the need for any welding). Even the Eagle II's flight
manuals and assembly directions come computer "published" in
three-ring binders. The Eagle II's simplicity and Christensen's
remarkable "total concept" design have given the Eagle II kit a
remarkable completion rate of nearly 90 percent.
The Eagle II is really much more than a
high-performance, two seater aerobatic airplane you can build at
home. It's a whole new approach to homebuilt aircraft construction.
The picture above illustrates this. Here you see portions of the 24
kits required to build the Eagle II. Each kit contains a separate
section of the aircraft, and every part; every piece is available
today. Each section contains a comprehensive manual detailing the
construction methods through diagrams and instructions.
Being a kit aircraft, the Eagle allows a certain
freedom of creativity when building. The original colour scheme is
so popular that most Eagle's you see will likely look the same,
however, several owners have opted for their own colour choices and
some don't even have the Eagle logo at all, perhaps the most
interesting thing that has been done is the addition of the
6-cylinder Lycoming 540!
Lycoming AEIO-360-A1D, 200HP
17 ft. 11 in.
19 ft. 11 in.
125 sq. ft.
1025 lbs w/ electrical, radio,
25 U.S. Gallons (24 Usable)
rate of climb
landing distance, ground roll
limiting and recommended speeds
design manoeuvring speed (Va)
never exceed speed (Vne)
stall, power off (Vsl)
landing approach speed
All specifications are based on manufacturer's