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VOLMER JENSEN-RAMEY VJ-23E “Swingwing”

In 1971, Irv Culver designed the VJ-23E and Volmer Jensen built the ultralight, which was commonly known as the Swingwing. The inspiration for the Swingwing came from the rise of interest in hang gliding and ultralight soaring in the early 1970s. Volmer was concerned about the lack of control in the weight-shift system in hang gliders, so he designed the VJ-23E so that it had not only adequate control, but also structural integrity.

The Swingwing was mostly constructed of wood with aluminum tubing used for the tail boom. The wing leading edge was made of poplar plywood while the nose ribs were constructed of marine plywood. Spruce was used for tail ribs and cap strips for the wing spar. Wing and tail surfaces were covered with an aircraft Dacron trade-named Ceconite, a light fabric. The VJ-23E was manufactured in kit form that included virtually everything needed to construct the aircraft.

The VJ-23E had outstanding performance and was instantly popular worldwide. The engine was mounted above the wing in a pusher configuration and spun a Culver-designed propeller. The Swingwing performed well in many West Coast foot-launched power contests and one VJ-23E was even flown across the English Channel.

George Ramey built his own Swingwing, in which he installed a McCulloch 101MC engine. In 1999, George donated his VJ-23E to the EAA AirVenture Museum.

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