Wittman W1O Tailwind

The Wittman Tailwind was a very important milestone in the history of modern homebuilt movement which dates from September 1952 when the current homebuilt regulations went into effect. The Tailwind was the first homebuilt certified by CAA to carry a "non-revenue passenger". This was a significant development because it took the homebuilt out of the strictly "toy" category and gave it just enough utility to make it attractive to a far wider audience."(Sport Aviation, 1993)
"That utility was just what Steve Wittman had in mind when he designed the Tailwind. EAA'ers immediately grasped the significance of the design: an airplane that required a minimum of skills to build, that was affordable both to build and operate...and yet was about as fast as the most expensive and powerful factory airplanes on the market (at that time)." (Sport Aviation,1993)

The Tailwind was designed and built in 1953 as a fast, economical cross country airplane, made to carry two people and 60 pounds of luggage. It is a very stable airplane with exceptionally gentle stall characteristics. The aircraft has a 4130 steel tubing fuselage and spruce and plywood wings. The aircraft is fabric covered. It was designed so that a number of engines may be used from 85 to 160 HP. Plans are also available for an Olds V-8 auto conversion.

Jack Cox wrote in Sport Aviation, "[The Tailwind] was a remarkable airplane when it was new in 1953 and it still is today. It is fast and fuel efficient, but the most impressive thing about the airplane is its handling characteristics. It has no bad habits on the ground or in the air. Especially with Steve's extended wing tips, the low speed regime is something that has to be experienced to be believed. I had the opportunity to solo Steve's Olds powered Tailwind at the Leeward Air Ranch last spring (of 1993) just prior to Sun 'n Fun and it was an almost shocking reminder that despite all the fabulous progress homebuilt designers have made in the past 40 years, the Tailwind was and still is an outstanding little airplane."

wing span
wing area
empty weight
useful load
gross weight
fuel capacity
Cont. 0-300 HP Range 145
5.5 ft
24 ft
876 lb

1425 lb
35 gal
600 n.m


takeoff distance, ground roll
rate of climb
max speed
cruise speed
landing distance, ground roll
service ceiling
750 ft
1200 fpm
200 mph
180 mph
650 ft
20,000 ft

limiting and recommended speeds

design manoeuvring speed (Va)
never exceed speed (Vne)
stall, power off (Vsl)
landing approach speed
45 mph

All specifications are based on manufacturer's calculations