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Stits SA-3 Playboy

In 1952 Ray Stits designed and built the single-place Stits SA-3A Playboy. It was his third aircraft design. A subsequent variation was the two-place, side-by-side Stits SA-3B Playboy (his fifth design) in 1954.
One of the more popular designs by Ray Stits, the Playboy was designed for backyard builders to construct from easy-­to-follow plans or simple-to-do work kits. The Playboy can handle any one of several four-cyclinder engines in the 85- to 160-hp class. Probably the most common is the 85-hp Con­tinental. Construction is mixed, with wooden wings and a steel-tube fuselage. All surfaces are fabric covered. The Playboy is easily recognizable because of its sliding canopy and strut-braced low-wing design.
The Playboy is rated for aerobatics, but it doesn’t have inverted fuel or oil, so you’d have to stay with positive Gs, and with 65 horses there are limits to what it can do. It’s responsive, but yet not light on the controls, but the tail is extremely light, so even on run up you have to be careful to hold the tail down, or she’ll want to nose over.
SA3B Two Place Playboy                                                  Courtesy Don Stits
The original Playboy has been rebuilt and now resides in the EAA museum.


Original SA3B Two Place Playboy Data Sheet                       Courtesy Don Stits
The Stits SA-3A Playboy served as a catalyst for Richard VanGrunsven, who, after modifying and improving the Playboy in 1965 (and calling it an RV-1), was further inspired to build an airplane of his own design — the RV-3.
Wingspan 22’2”
Length 17’4”
Height: 6 ft 4 in
Gross Wt. 902 lbs
Empty Wt. 600 lbs
Top speed 145 mph
Cruise 130 mph
Climb rate 1050 fpm
Range 400 sm
SA-3B Playboy

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