Cirrus Design Corporation VK-30 – N33VK
In the early 1980’s, a trio of college students, all pilots, decided to satisfy a long-held desire to design and build their own airplane. Jeff Viken and Alan Klapmeier had been roommates at Ripon College in Wisconsin. Dale Klapmeier attended the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point. During those college years, they spent countless hours at the Waupun and Princeton airport and lots of time brainstorming about their airplane. Once they reunited after college, the three friends combined their knowledge and formed Cirrus Design Corp. From this collaboration came their first homebuilt design, the VK-30.
To achieve maximum aerodynamic efficiency, Jeff used his knowledge gained at NASA Langley to incorporate natural laminar flow for the wing, tail surfaces and the fuselage. Jeff’s wife, Sally, joined the group and designed the single slotted Fowler flap system, a key to the aircraft’s performance. The pusher configuration was decided upon to avoid propeller blast from drumming on the large windshield designed for maximum visibility. They received help and advice from long-time EAA member Molt Taylor who had been working on and writing about pusher designs for more than 40 years.
Landing gear was another consideration. Because of the pusher configuration, the Cirrus had to stand rather tall to provide prop clearance. This might have proved a problem if the team hadn’t recognized that the main gear on the Lake Amphibian was almost exactly what they were looking for. Cirrus contacted Lake and they were quite willing to make the gears for the VK-30. The nose gear is the wheel and strut from a Piper Warrior. The aircraft was built as a four to five place, cabin-class, all-composite pusher.
The Cirrus VK-30 is unique because of its size – the cabin is bigger than other homebuilt kits and can accommodate five people in comfort. The design progression began with the dimensioning of the large cabin, followed by the lofting of lines around it, both in side view and in planform, from a pointed nose back to the tail mounted prop. EAAers first saw it as a static display at the 1987 Oshkosh Convention and Fly-In.
The VK-30, serial #005, in the EAA collection is the first production prototype upon which all kits were based. It was the company “demonstrator” and appeared on various aviation magazine covers. Jim Patton flew the test flight on February 11, 1988. Cirrus estimates that 13 VK-30 kits have been built and flown.
The following is statement is taken from the manufacturer’s website: “Cirrus Design began in 1984 as a kit airplane design and manufacturing company in Baraboo, Wisconsin. Our first plane, the VK-30, became an inspiration for developing technologically advanced production aircraft.”
The Cirrus VK-30 was donated to the EAA AirVenture Museum by Cirrus Design in 2005. The plane was manufactured in 1991.
This aircraft researched by EAA volunteer George Arnold
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