Windecker AC-7 Eagle / YE-5
Composite Aircraft Corporation Eagle
The Windecker Eagle single-engine, low-wing, four-place airplane was built of fiberglass-reinforced epoxy and introduced about 1967. The Eagle was fabricated of a resin called "Fibaloy" developed by Dr Leo Windecker, Midland, Texas. It was supposed to make the aeroplane extremely strong, light, easy to manufacture and, because of its rivetless, seamless loveliness, unsurpassedly fast. First flown in 1969, the prototype spun in; it wasn't fast enough and it cost as much as its aluminum competitors.
It was not a lack of prospective buyers that sank the Windecker; it was under-capitalization. The cost of getting the Windecker's foam-and-fiberglass construction past the FAA is rumored to have been about $20 million; and, although the project started out with generous financing from a large backer, the financing simply stopped, probably because once a certain amount of money has gone down the drain, even an optimistic backer will take flight be-fore sending down even more. Plagued by persistent financial difficulties, the manufacturer, Windecker Industries, was 15 months be-hind schedule when the first production Eagle emerged from the factory at Midland, Texas. Five airplanes later, the financial ogres halted the program.
During the Have Blue era the all composite Windeck Eagle light aircraft was modified and tested by Lockheed for USAF for stealth potential as the YE-5A. But the problem of shielding the remaining metal parts (engine, hydraulics, undercarriage) remained, although the YE-5A did contain internal radar absorbent material (RAM) for this purpose.
Jerry Dietrick, a Florence, Kentucky mechanical engineer, formed the Composite Aircraft Corporation to acquire the molds, tooling equipment and other assets in 1977 so he could form his own corporation to reopen the factory. Dietrick's own Eagle, one of the six production aircraft made, un-derwent detail modifications that would be included in future models if the factory reopened.
Composite Aircraft Corp, of Florence, Ken-tucky, had given details of its plans to produce three derivatives of the all-plastics Windecker Eagle, the design and production rights for which were acquired after Windecker Industries Inc went bankrupt. The four-seat high performance Eagle, of glassfibre and epoxy construction, had been certificated by Win-decker and six examples were built; two of these owned by Jerry Dietrick, president of CAC. The planned developments are Eagle 1, with the same 285 hp Continental IO-520-C engine as the original model but an improved one-piece tapered wing with winglets and a single spar in place of the three-piece rectangular five-spar wing; Eagle 2, combining this new wing with a 317 shp Allison 250-B17C turboprop and Eagle 3, with a new fuselage incorporating a six-seat pressurised cabin and turboprop engine. One of the original Eagles was being fitted with an Allison turboprop to help development of the Eagle 2.