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HEGY R.C.H.I. “El Chuparosa” – N9360

The El Chuparosa originated as a chalk sketch on a wall in builder and designer Ray Hegy’s workshop in 1948. Ray named his airplane “El Chuparosa,” the Spanish word for hummingbird, as anyone who heard it fly overhead could understand; it truly was a hummingbird.

No component to the El Chuparosa design was from any previously certificated aircraft, the airplane was entirely Ray’s design. The structure was conventional steel tube and wood, though only the wing spars and the knob on the top of the stick were made of wood. The El Chuparosa was powered by a 65 hp Continental A-65 engine. The prop was Ray’s own manufacture, 58 inches in diameter and 6 inches wide, with a pitch of 52.

Uncomfortable with the reduced challenge of buying new materials, Ray would scrounge far and wide to solve each problem as it arose. In this way, all of the parts for the airplane were fabricated from material scrounged from many sources. The wing spars were cut down from those of a damaged J-3 Cub, then re-glued into a laminated assembly. The upper wing was one piece, with a two degree dihedral built in. Wing ribs were reworked from Cub ribs with the 36 inch chord. Interplane struts were from a Piper PA-11 rear lift strut with adjustment for altering the incidence in the lower wing provided at the rear spar fitting.

In 1959, after nine years of work, the El Chuparosa passed FAA inspection and Ray was off and flying. Every year at the EAA Fly-In at Rockford (1960 to 1969), Ray would be up at the crack of dawn, zipping low over the campgrounds to perform the necessary services of camp alarm clock. The sound of El Chuparosa at flank speed was much akin to that of ripping canvas. Ray was so regular that campers could set their watches by his “Dawn Patrol”.

Ray’s airplane was a tiny, bright red biplane, complete with a warning sign by its augmenter exhaust that says “Beware of Blast”. After 18 years, 1520.4 hours of flying time, and literally tens of thousands of miles, Ray donated his El Chuparosa to EAA on August 14, 1977.

Hegy R.C.H.I. El Chuparosa Hegy R.C.H.I. El Chuparosa

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