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21st of August 1973

Updated: Aug 22, 2021

Today's look at aviation history takes a look at the Aerosport Scamp.

The Aerosport Scamp

The Aerosport Scamp is a kit aircraft aimed at the homebuilt aircraft market. It flew for the first time on this day in aviation history in 1973. The small single-seat aircraft was designed by Harris L. Woods of Holly Springs, North Carolina (USA) features an open, single-seat cockpit, a fixed tricycle undercarriage, and a T-tail. It was claimed by the designer that the aircraft could be built by an amateur builder in 500 man-hours

Two models have been developed.

  1. The Aerosport Scamp A, the base model.

  2. The Aerosport Scamp B, a modified version of the Scamp A used for crop dusting operations.

Both Scamp A and Scamp B were designed to be powered by an 1853 cc Volkswagen car engine providing 60 hp, which would drive the two-bladed, fixed-pitch propellor. Although other Volkswagen car engines (1700 to 2100 cc engines) could be installed without changing the design. The special aerial applications kit to modify a Scamp A into a Scamp B comprised of a 15.85 gal (60 l) glass fibre chemical tank under the fuselage, a wind-driven pressure pump and spray bars and nozzles. The entire package weighed only 38 lb (17 kg), and the chemical tank could be used as a long-range fuel tank for ferry flights.

A Scamp B, crop duster

Designed to be operated from grass strips the Scamp had its gear configuration chosen to match the configuration of most of the aircraft used by the flight schools of the day. So amateur pilots would be "familiar" with the gear configuration. Aerobatic capability is limited as the aircraft has a design load limit of +6 G to -3G. Instead of making a strong airframe capable of full aerobatic flight the decision was made to concentrate on an aircraft with simple construction techniques for the home builder. By 1982, less than 10 years after the Scamp's first flight more than 800 had been sold. To keep it simple a lot of equipment and or controls you'll find on other aircraft were not used in the Scamp, some examples;

  • No flaps

  • No trim tabs

  • Wheel fairings on the main landing gear were optional

  • Rudder trim can only be adjusted on the ground

  • Ailerons using piano hinges

Originally an open cockpit aircraft at least on Scamp A ha has been modified to have a closed cockpit, as can be seen in the picture below.

Some specifications for the Scamp A

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1

  • Length: 14 ft 0 in (4.27 m)

  • Wingspan: 17 ft 6 in (5.33 m)

  • Height: 5 ft 6.5 in (1.689 m)

  • Wing area: 105 sq ft (9.8 m2)

  • Airfoil: NACA 23012[3]

  • Empty weight: 520–550 lb (236–249 kg)

  • Max takeoff weight: 768–798 lb (348–362 kg)

  • Powerplant: 1 × VW 4-cylinder air-cooled horizontally-opposed piston engine, 60 hp (45 kW) a modified Volkswagen automotive engine

  • Propellers: 2-bladed fixed-pitch propeller, 4 ft 8 in (1.42 m) diameter


  • Maximum speed: 91 kn (105 mph, 169 km/h)

  • Cruise speed: 78 kn (90 mph, 144 km/h)

  • Stall speed: 39 kn (45 mph, 72 km/h)

  • Range: 108 nmi (124 mi, 200 km)

  • Service ceiling: 12,000 ft (3,700 m)

  • g limits: +6 -3

  • Take-off run: 400 ft (122 m)

  • Landing run: 400 ft (122 m)

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