Windecker AC-7 Eagle / YE-5
Composite Aircraft Corporation Eagle


windecker-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 Eagle (aka X-7) N801WR 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 be­fore sending down even more. Plagued by persistent fi­nancial difficulties, the manufacturer, Windecker Industries, was 15 months be­hind schedule when the first production Eagle emerged from the factory at Mid­land, Texas. Five airplanes later, the fi­nancial ogres halted the program. Production models were Eagle I (aka YE-7) priced at $36,000. Eight were built N801WR-804WR, and N4195G-4198G. NASM has Eagle N4197G s/n 6 at Silver Hill.

 

Windeck-AC7-02
Windecker Eagle Prototype N801WR

 

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. A militarised Eagle I c/n 008 (delivered in 1973) as 73-01653, powered by a Continental IO-540G, 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, underwent detail modifications that would be included in future models if the factory reopened.


Composite Aircraft Corp, of Florence, Kentucky, 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 Windecker 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.

 

Eagle / Eagle I (A7SW)
Engine: Continental IO-520B, 285hp
Wingspan: 32'0"
Length: 28'5"
Max speed: 220 mph
Cruise speed: 212 mph
Stall: 63 mph
Range: 1100 mi
Ceiling: 18,000'
Seats: 4