AirVenture 2017 Inspires Homebuilt Foam Board Ultralight

AirVenture 2017 Inspires Homebuilt Foam Board Ultralight

YouTuber Peter Sripol got his start in aviation like so many did, with a love of model and paper airplanes. The excitement of building something that flies is a joy that homebuilders know all too well.

Peter’s YouTube channel, PeterSripol, contains videos of plenty of model airplanes as well as other projects, including a children’s toy modified with a flamethrower. His interests are not strictly related to aviation, although his latest project certainly was.

After attending EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2017, Peter decided it was time for him to move up from model airplanes to something a little bit bigger. He said had been to AirVenture a few times in previous years, but only for one day at a time.

“This time I spent an extra day or two there with some friends who were working,” Peter said. “I camped outside the ultralight area and woke up and saw them flying every morning.”

That experience proved to be inspirational for Peter, who said he realized he missed getting off the ground himself after attending AirVenture.

“I went home and said, ‘I’m going to build an airplane,’” he said.

He ended up doing just that, and documented the process in a series of videos on his YouTube channel. With more than 400,000 subscribers at press time, Peter had a whole lot of eyes on him when he started his do-it-yourself ultralight build.

The first video in the series was published on August 12 and showed Peter buying the foam board insulation and other materials that would go into the airplane as well as the first steps in construction.

By October 25 he had the airplane mostly completed, with only final checks left to be conducted. Less than a week later, Peter uploaded a video of himself flying his ultralight in short hops.

Then, documented in a video uploaded on November 13, Peter’s ambitious ultralight took off for real. He said the experience was radically different than the Cessnas he had flown previously as a private pilot, and called it “overwhelming.”

“It just took off, it just floated off the ground,” he said. “I looked down and was like, ‘Oh, we’re flying.’”

That video has gotten more than 440,000 views in less than two weeks, with many commenters understandably impressed at Peter’s craftsmanship. The airplane has a 22-foot wingspan, is 17 feet long, and is powered by batteries. It uses model airplane engines and was constructed out of foam, fiberglass, wood, and some aluminum.

Peter is not done building, though. He wants to make a lighter, STOL airplane that he plans on being performance-oriented. As much fun as he’s had building and flying his current ultralight, Peter said he enjoys doing new and different projects once he finishes what he’s currently working on.

“The challenge is fun,” he said. “I like to push myself to try something new, otherwise I get kind of bored and lose interest in stuff.”

Fans of Peter’s YouTube channel will doubtlessly be excited to see whatever it is that he begins work on next.

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Ti is a publications intern at EAA who loves learning about aircraft, watching and writing about the NBA, and stand-up comedy. Find him on Twitter at TiWindisch and e-mail him at twindisch@eaa.org.