Mike Kimbrel flies the Legal Eagle
By Leonard Milholland
"It flies like a Cub, a slow Cub." These were the words I got from Mike when he had landed after test flying my Legal Eagle ultralite. Mike Kimbrel's opinion was very valuable to me as Mike has many thousands of hours in a great variety of planes. Mike owns a DC3 and 14 other planes that he keeps at his farm airstrip in Oakville, Washington. He recently flew to England in his 310 Cessna mostly IFR so he was well qualified to test the handling of an ultralite. He is also the designer of the Banty ultralite and has sold many sets of plans for it.
I was invited to a wedding of one of Mike's sons. At the affair, we talked Mike and his wife, Mary, into coming home with us for a couple of days visit. I had for some time been trying to get some highly qualified pilot to fly the Legal Eagle and see how they liked the qualities that I had been enjoying for the last couple of years. I had always thought that the Legal Eagle flew great but I also knew that I might be a little blind to any faults that it might have, as it was my baby and had hatched it here in my own shop. The first evening after we arrived at my hangar home I flew the plane for Mike and let him observe as I flew around the pattern here at Sport Flyers field. The weather was not the best as the heat here in Texas had gotten the air a little choppy. After landing I told Mike, "You wait till morning." The windsock will be wrapped around the pole in the morning and I want you to get a smooth air flight. Sure enough, the early morning proved me correct with no wind. I was very impressed with the preflight that Mike gave the little ship before he was ready to give it a test flight. Nothing went with out being looked over carefully. This is probably why Mike has had very few problems in his many thousands of flying hours. Did I mention that he is a high time Delta pilot? With no wind conditions we could see just how quick the Legal Eagle could get off the ground. Well, we were pleased to see the plane took off in just 300 ft. and the climb was just as impressive. Mike stayed up for a long time and I was glad I had put a gallon of gas in before he left as I knew the Better Half VW used 2.1 gals per hr. and he could stay up as long as he wanted to. Mike made several orbits of our field and I could see him moving the controls to test the stability in several modes. Then he came in for a landing and made a touch and go this was repeated several times. What beautiful landings. Very smooth, not a bounce in a car load. What a pilot. It was plain to see that he was having a good time. With the no wind conditions we were able to see just how much distance the plane would need to land and stop. Wow, just about 200 ft. was all, then he had to use throttle to get back to the hangar. All this time I was taking pictures as fast as I could squeeze the shutter button. Mike taxied up to the hangar, shut down the engine and sat in the plane and began talking about another subject. I was anxious to find out about how he had felt the plane flew. I finally asked him what about the plane? How does it fly? Did you like it? Mike just looked at me and said, "Itís great it. Flies like a Cub, a slow Cub."