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Phils's "Little Stearman" Is now Complete and Flying: rotecradialand you are at its homepage

WOW! . . Away it flys . Little Stearman Takes Off

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Fisher Celebrity takes to the skies .Phil Flying his Little Stearman (Fisher Celebrity) .Phil's "Little Stearman" flys over Utah. ,R2800 powered Fisher Celebrity over Utah

Read about the Little Stearman"
EAA article on Phil Swensen' Fisher Celebrity (either click on the thumbnail or RH click and save for future reference...requires Adobe Acrobat )

Look out for more flight pics which are on the way ... see above for EAA publication on this beaut plane!

.....Now read about how this magnificent plane took shape....

Phil Swensen's Fisher Celebrity Biplane:

On the 31st Day of August 2003 the project starts with this email from Phil:
I am most interested in a Rotec 2800 for my Fisher Celebrity project. The Celebrity is an all-wood open cockpit biplane with an empty weight of about 600 lbs. I saw the Rotec at Oshkosh a year ago and thought it would be a great match for this airframe. I have the wings done, and I am well along on the fuse now, so I thought I would inquire about pricing and availability. I am in Utah - western US. Any information you can give me would be much appreciated.
Phil Swensen

As the Fisher Celebrity and the R2800 are an ideal fit an order for the engine soon followed; and as we were interested in tracking Phil's progress we requested photographs to track the project's progress - Phil obliged with our thanks:

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Construction ... ... ... ... ... ...

Engine Mount for The Fisher Celebrity: Frame Front View .Side View . Sive with engine

11th Dec 2003 Phil writes: A large package was delivered to my shop yesterday - and it was better than Christmas morning! As you can see from the attached photos, the R2800 made the trip uneventfully, and I was astonished at the beauty of the engine. This engine would look as a centerpiece on the wall of my living room! The workmanship is absolutely beautiful! Needless to say, I am having a great time showing it off to my builder friends. As you can see from the photos - the engine is still in the crate, and will probably stay there for a while until my project gets further along. To further illustrate the quality of your workmanship, you can see the engine mount loosely attached to the firewall. Judging purely from the size of the propellor - I think this engine/propellor combination is going to move this little airplane quite smartly through the air!

If you don't mind me making nuisance of myself, I will keep you informed as I move this project along. I will likely have a few questions as I come to the time of engine installation and oil tank fabrication. Initial startup is going to be an adrenaline-filled moment - even if it is a ways off. The engine is absolutely beautiful - thanks for your help and service. I suspect that we will see many of these flying in the future - it is a perfect fit for many of the emerging light-sport aircraft. I'll keep in touch.
Phil Swensen

12th January 2004 Phil writes : Your new website updates look great to me. I am very pleased to have my project as part of the site, and I look forward to keeping you posted on progress. Actually, I have been able to put some serious time in during our holidays, and I have enclosed a few updated pictures of the emerging fuselage. Note that I have attached the tail feathers so it is beginning to look like an airplane. I have also permanently attached the engine frame with AN6 bolts - so it now stands ready to accept that beautiful engine.

I have the wings done, so all of the wood structure is practically complete. With the straight wings, the spring gear, and especially the radial engine, this will look much like a scaled-down Stearman. I am considering a paint scheme to enhance that appearance. I'll keep you posted...
Phil Swensen

4th April 2004: Jim and Paul, I am continuing to make great progress on my Celebrity project here in Utah! ...

. ..I am in the stages of rigging now, and then preparing the structure for cover. I expect that I may attach the engine and run all of the wiring and plumbing before cover, and then disassemble to cover and finish. I will keep you posted with pictures.
Thanks for your help.

Phil Swensen

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12th May 2004 Phil writes:
Jim and Paul,
I am continuing to make great progress on my Celebrity project here in Utah!

I am in the stages of rigging now, and then preparing the structure for cover. I expect that I may attach the engine and run all of the wiring and plumbing before cover, and then disassemble to cover and finish. I will keep you posted with pictures.

Thanks for your help.
Phil Swensen


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Oil Tank


  Sunday 6th Feb 2005 Phil writes: Dear Paul and Jim

You two probably think I have forgotten you – but actually I have made significant progress on my Celebrity Biplane project here in Utah over the past few months. Nothing like a couple of feet of snow to keep you in the shop! I actually have been doing things in a bit of an unconventional process. All of the wood structures are essentially complete. The aircraft has been rigged and I have actually covered and stitched the lower right wing. I have since put the wings aside and began then began covering and finishing the fuselage just for a change of pace. Notice from the attached pictures that I am going with a scaled-down Stearman look – which will fit the radial engine perfectly. I have painted the fuse insignia blue while the wings and the tailfeathers will be bright yellow. This is actually the US Army scheme of the early WWII trainers. I have elected to go with the spring gear created especially for the Celebrity by Grove Aircraft. They have done a superb job with gun-drilled brake lines which will make for a very easy brake installation. The Red and White striped rudder really adds to the color and contrast scheme, in my opinion. Today came the fun part as I actually mounted the Rotec so I could precisely spot where the fuel, oil, throttle control, etc. needed to exit the firewall. I thought you might enjoy these pictures I took today – I haven’t stopped grinning yet! The engine is the perfect size for this aircraft, and it will have more than enough power for it. Let me know what you think of the pictures – and reassure me that you got them OK. You may even want to use some of them to upgrade my project on your website.

In any case, when I get the appropriate cowl on this engine I think I will have a beautiful project. It has been a source of immense enjoyment to me – and using this engine has greatly added to the excitement. Any help you can give me as I move forward would be greatly appreciated. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

Phil Swensen (Fisher Celebrity in Utah)


31 October 2005 Phil Writes: Jim and Paul,

Here are some long-overdue photos of my recent Celebrity progress.

I have the propeller installed, most of the engine instrument wiring done, and all of the fuel and oil lines in. By the way, you can see that the oil tank installation works very nice. It shouldn't be long until startup - slowed only by ability to get out and work on the project. Anyway, I thought you might want some info to update the web site.

The recent additions to the website look great. Many project underway now, and that nine cylinder looks really impressive. Keep up the great work! My new inlet pipes arrived in perfect shape.

Thanks - Phil Swensen
Celebrity Builder in Utah

Prop Installed

First Engine Start ... Gound Testing ...

8th Feb 2006 Phil writes: Paul and Jim,

Note the attached pictures showing the successful and thrilling first engine start of my R2800. It sounds beautiful and runs as smooth as a sewing machine!

It only took a minute to realize that I had reversed the out and in sides of the mechanical fuel pump in the initial plumbing. As soon as that was corrected the engine started within one turn of the blade!

I know that after all temps stabilize, you encourage running for a few minutes a full throttle - but it only took a small portion of throttle to raise the tail up even with full up elevator. This bird is going to have plenty of power. In fact, it was good that I had the tail tied down right close to the ground! Right after shutdown, I opened the drains on intake pipes 4 and 5, but only a drop of two of oil seeped out. You can be assured that I will fastidiously adhere to the startup procedures to protect against HL.

All temp and pressure gauges worked fine. The only instrument glitch was the tachometer. I used a unit which had been on my Kitfox/Rotax 912 - and it obviously needs some adjustment since it fairly early maxed out at 7000 rpm. I'll tackle that tomorrow and give you a further update. The engine idled beautifully and responded quickly and smoothly to throttle. I suspect that it never got up to much rpm (maybe 1800 or so - just a guess) since I was able to advance the throttle only a small percentage of total available throw. All the wing structure for this biplane will fall behind the gear, so I suspect the right W&B will be easy to accomplish.

By the way, is there any way that I can use a 2 1/4" Mitchell electronic tach that was designed to run on a Rotax 912 4-stroke with dual CDI ignition? If not, I'll get the VDO model and calibrate as per your instructions. Thanks for your continued support and readily-available advice and counsel.

Talk about a rush!

Phil Swensen (Utah)

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26th April 2006: Jim and Paul,

As you can see from the attached pictures, I am coming down the "home stretch" on my project. I will soon be taking it to the airport for the upcoming FAA inspection. I have a couple of hours on the engine, and it continues to run beautiful. A modest bit of ballast in the tail brings the CG right in line. My biggest remaining challenge will be to fabricate a cowl. I will bring it out only to the beautifully polished exhaust ring.
Philip R. Swensen

Tansform to an awesome "Little Stearman". Instruments and cockpit . Pilots Area . Little Stearman's Tail Feathers .

From: Philip Swensen
Date: Jul 12, 2006
Subject: First Flight!
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All Done All done . . Philips area!

Finished Plane Looks Fantastic. WOW! ................................

1st Pre flight check

Preflight Checks

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Little Stearman

Away it flys

Takes Off...
First Flight...

Fisher Celebrity  becomes a Little Stearman.

Phil Flying his Little Stearman (Fisher Celebrity)

Phil's "Little Stearman" flys over Utah.

Fisher Celebrity takes to the skies

Jim and Paul,

I am still feeling the rush of a successful first flight of "Little Stearman" powered by a beautiful R2800! My project received its airworthiness certificate on June 26th - but with the arrival of kids and grandkids I couldn't get time to concentrate on the first flight until yesterday morning, July 11th. I had done much taxi testing, but was totally unprepared for the smooth and rapid acceleration as I advanced the throttle with no brakes or tie-down. I'll bet I was off the ground in 250 to 300 feet. The engine ran perfectly - smooth as glass, with PLENTY of power. I flew for about a half an hour before landing with a huge grin on my face! I have attached a couple of pictures - but I still have to get some close-up flight photos. There were many comments of those on the ground of how nice that radial looked and sounded on this project. I have some routine trim adjustments to make - and then I'll get some in-flight photos from a chase plane. The attached photos give you an idea of how the aircraft looks on the ground - and then some long distance take-off photos of the first flight.

Paul, one quick question. In cruise flight this airplane flies beautifully at what may be considered fairly low power settings. Seriously, when running somewhere between 2800 to 3000 rpm gives me plenty of performance - even climb. The CHT's remain around 260 degrees and EGT's about 1250 - given my present instrumentation. Is there any downside to running at this lower power setting? Static runs on the ground result in about 3200 rpm, but I am certain that in flight at full throttle I could get the engine up near red line. In flight it never seems to be "lugging" or "laboring" in the slightest. The slightest change in throttle settings results in immediate and spritely response. It seems to me that the propellor is about a perfect match for this engine and airframe. I may be biased, but I think the engine is a perfect match for this project!

Obviously, I won't be able to get the required 40 hours before Oshkosh - but I will visit with you there with an updated photo album. You would be free to use it as you talk to customers if you would like. For the pure recreational joy of flight, I think I am going to enjoy this project for a long time to come!

Please give me a quick response to report that these pictures arrived OK. (Rotec: all looks great and as it should be)

Thanks Much: Professor Phil Swensen.

7th Nov 2006 Phil writes : Jim and Paul,

Here is a picture that I thought you might enjoy.

You can see what a perfect match this little airplane is for that beautiful R2800.

Looks fun, huh?

By the way, the EAA magazine "Light Sport Pilot" will be running a cover story on this project within the next few months! I am very pleased at that prospect - and I will keep you posted as soon as I learn in which issue it will appear. I hope all is going well for you folks. I continue to LOVE the engine. (The the way, an unsolicited email came to me last week from a fellow flying a Celebrity who is retrofitting his engine. He was not pleased with the performance of engine he had on it. I raved about the R2800 and he reported that his is going to order one. I can't remember his name right now but I will look through my past emails and send it on to you.

Regards: Professor Phil Swensen

(Absolutely Stunning! It has indeed become a "Little Stearman"! )