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In 1980, Don Stits designed the Baby Bird, a tiny, high wing monoplane that was to be the smallest in the world. Don’s father, Ray Stits, designed the Sky Baby, which had held the title for smallest biplane since 1952. With the help of his wife, Lori, and their two children, the little plane began to take shape.

The Baby Bird was constructed of steel tubing in the fuselage and a wooden wing of only six feet, three inches. The airplane employed a tricycle landing gear and a lightweight German-made Hirth engine of 55 hp on the front end of an eleven foot fuselage. The engine swung a ground-adjustable wooden propeller of 44 inches in length.

By the summer of 1984, the Baby Bird was ready for taxi tests, which were completed by pilot Harold Nemer, a retired Navy pilot of appropriate stature. In August of 1984, the Baby Bird was deemed airworthy and took to the skies. Over the course of time, some 35 flights were completed by Harold.

In 1984, the Baby Bird was registered in the Guinness Book of World Records as the “Smallest Airplane in the World.”

After all the demonstrations of the small monoplane were completed in 1989, Don donated the Baby Bird to the EAA AirVenture Museum. The Baby Bird now resides next to its inspiration, the Sky Baby, creating a tiny display of remarkable Stits engineering.

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