EAA Contest Winner
The Fly Baby is the winning entry in the 1962 Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Design Contest. Developed by the late Peter Bowers, the little plane specifically met the EAA's requirements for a low-cost, folding-wing plane that can be towed or trailered and is easy to build and fly. Still a popular design with many homebuilt-aircraft enthusiasts, the Fly Baby's plans sell for about $65. The finished airplane can fit in a standard garage and can also be built in biplane and twin-float seaplane versions.
The Fly Baby on display at the Museum was built by Al Stabler. He purchased plans in November of 1967 and made the maiden flight in his Fly Baby on February 2, 1971, at Kitsap County Airport (Washington state). The plane was retired in 1980 with about 130 hours of flying time.
Peter M. Bowers
Seattle resident Peter Bowers wrote his first aviation article as a high-school student in 1938. He eventually became one of the world's most respected aviation historians, with numerous books and hundreds of articles to his credit. Never far from a camera, Bowers also amassed one of the United States' largest collections of aviation prints and negatives. During World War II, he served the U.S. Army Air Forces as an intelligence officer and later worked for The Boeing Company for 36 years. Bowers built a replica Curtiss Pusher which he flew at airshows and the prototype of his own design—the award-winning Fly Baby.
Building His Baby
In Al Stabler's aircraft log, he gave an overview of how the Museum's Fly Baby was built. Actual work on the plane began early in 1968. The all-wood construction consisted of spruce structural members, fir plywood, and mahogany door skins. The gas tank and engine cowling were homemade and the wheels, propeller, and engine were purchased locally. The airframe was inspected by the FAA in September of 1970 and the number N4339 was assigned. Soon after, the wings were covered with Ceconite 101 fabric and nine coats of brushed-on dope. That November, Al began taxi tests and the following February, his Fly Baby finally took to the skies!
Although not intended for heavy aerobatics, the little Fly Baby can do simple loops, barrel rolls, and spins.