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Bowers Fly Baby 1-A



Originally designed in 1960 by former Boeing engineer Peter Bowers to compete in the first EAA design competition, the Fly Baby is a single-seat, open cockpit, folding-wing monoplane powered by engines ranging from 65 to 100 hp. It is built primarily of wood, with fabric covering. It's got a big cockpit as Peter Bowers is six feet two inches tall.

First flown in 1960 the Fly Baby 1-A single place monoplane won the 1962 EAA competition for the best amateur plane with a C-85 engine. The Fly Baby has the distinction of being one of the most enduring designs in the homebuilt field. It has been tested with floats and in 1968 was fitted with biplane wings which were interchangeable with the single wings. The wings are a wooden structure covered with Dacron fabric, and the fuselage is a conventional plywood-covered wooden structure with a single open-cockpit seat. Plans were made available to amateur constructors.

Most are powered by Continental A-65, C-75, C-85, or O-200 engines. The 100 hp Continental is recommended over the 85 hp engine as it is only 13 pounds heavier, and gives a cruise speed of 92 knots with a two-blade fixed-pitch propeller. The fully aerobatic aircraft has a 22 foot wingspan and is 19 feet long. It will climb at 700 fpm and weighs 651 lbs empty with a MAUW of 972 lbs.

The prototype Fly Baby 1-B biplane, which first flew in 1969, could be converted from mono-plane to biplane in around an hour. The two monoplane wing panels are replaced by four smaller ones, plus a center section for the top wing. The biplane wings take longer to build, since there are four panels and a center section, and they're swept rather than straight. And there are some internal braces and external tangs that have to be added to the fuselage. This can be done after the fuselage is done (The prototype was converted after completion), but it is easier during construction. The biplane is slower, and the wings don't fold.

In monoplane or biplane configuration, the Fly Baby does meet the US rules for Sport Pilot.  In the United States, you do not need an FAA medical to fly a Fly Baby.




This plane is a structurally simple and easy-to-fly airplane designed to the requirements of the Experimental aircraft Association for home construction and storage in a space 7 x 8 x 20 feet, which is equivalent to the standard home garage. Great emphasis has been placed upon safe flight characteristics and good low speed performance for takeoff and landing at some sacrifice of high speed. The structure has been designed for standard airplane engines from 65 to 85 horsepower and the aerodynamic features are of sizes and proportions suited to obtaining the best all-around performance in this power range. Because of this, there is not enough advantage to be gained from using engines of significantly higher power to offset the cost and weight penalties. Increasing the power to increase the aerobatic capability is not recommended. Fly Baby will do simple recreational aerobatics very well but is not intended for rough air show or competition maneuvers.

Bowers recommends Continentals between 65 and 85 horsepower. The Fly Baby isn't a fast airplane so bigger engines don't really give much. A reported Fly Baby which replaced the A-65 with a C-85, increased the cruise from 80 to 95 mph and his rate of climb from 500 to 1000 fpm.





Engine: Continental C-85, 85 hp.
HP range: 65-100.
Speed max: 120 mph.
Cruise: 100 mph.
Range: 240 sm.
Stall: 45 mph.
ROC: 1050 fpm.
Take-off dist: 350 ft.
Landing dist: 400 ft.
Service ceiling: 14,000 ft.
Fuel cap: 12-16 USG.
Weight empty: 605 lbs.
Gross: 925 lbs.
Height: 7 ft.
Length: 18.9 ft.
Wing span: 28 ft.
Wing area: 120 sq.ft.
Seats: 1.
Landing gear: tail wheel.

Engine: Continental O-200, 100 hp
Ground run: 265 ft/81 m
Dist to 50 ft: 715 ft/218 m
Landing dist from 50 ft: 1300 ft / 397m
Best rate of climb speed: 57 mph /50 kts IAS
Cruise climb speed: 69 mph/60 Kts IAS
Maximum level speed: 112 MPH/97 knots IAS
maximum climb rate: 1300 fpm at 50 KIAS
normal climb rate: 1000 fpm at 60 KIAS


Engine: Continental
Wing span: 8.53 m
Wing area: 11.04 sq.m
MAUW: 420 kg
Empty weight: 274 kg
Fuel capacity: 45 lt
Max speed: 177 kph
Cruise speed: 160 kph
Minimum speed: 72 kph
Climb rate: 5 m/s
Seats: 1
Plan price (1998): $65





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