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The Taylor Monoplane was designed in 1956 and flew in 1959. The Monoplane was designed to be constructed in small spaces and was among the first homebuilt airplanes in the US to be powered by a Volkswagen engine.

Hugh Beckham built his Monoplane in the early 1960s. Hugh used his spare bedroom to set out and store pieces of the airplane such as uncovered wing sections and tail surfaces. The “main assembly plant” was in Hugh’s garage, where the Monoplane took form.

Hugh’s Monoplane was basically the stock design of John Taylor, although he made a few modifications. He changed the center section of the fuselage and the spars and lowered the engine thrust line for improved visibility. The engine was also moved seven inches forward, which improved the stall characteristics. The Monoplane was powered by a 29 hp Volkswagen engine.

When the Monoplane was completed, Hugh dubbed his creation “Fifinella”. He took Fifinella to the Rockford fly-in in 1965 where he proudly showed off his airplane and was willing to share his joy of flying the Monoplane.

The fly-ins were where Hugh discovered the main design flaw of the Monoplane: a disorder Hugh liked to call “camera rash”. The wing of Fifinella proved to be a perfect height for bystanders’ dangling cameras to crash into. The only cure for this was a watchful eye on Hugh’s part and a thoughtful eye on the bystanders’ part.

John Taylor’s design for the Monoplane enabled the aircraft to fly over 100 mph, take anything the pilot wished to give it, and operate on minimal fuel. More than 100 Taylor Monoplanes were built over the years.

Hugh Beckham donated Fifinella to the EAA AirVenture Museum in 1979.

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