Mini-IMP Aircraft Company
With the ever increasing emphasis on energy conservation and the high cost of “store-bought” lightplanes making fun flying more and more prohibitive, the need for a low cost, easy-to-build, high performance, sophisticated “homebuilt” lightplane has become very apparent. The difficulty with most sophisticated homebuilts in the past has been that they usually have been very complicated, high powered, and have involved years of time to construct. The Mini-IMP is a “second-generation” version of the original Taylor “IMP” two place homebuilt. This original version proved to be too complicated, and too costly to build for the “average” homebuilder. However, since the IMP configuration offered great opportunity for further simplification, and had the potential of giving performance equal or better than some of the other “mini” designs being offered, it was decided to scale the IMP configuration down to single place, design it to accommodate a great variety of available engines, and further simplify its construction.
Construction of the Mini-IMP is basically all metal. However, in order to obtain the desired aesthetic and aerodynamic shape, the designer has incorporated a few fiberglass parts which are quickly and easily assembled over the basic structure. These parts are easily removed for inspection and maintenance. The entire aircraft can be “stripped” down for access to any and all components in a few minutes. All of the formed fiberglass components are available at modest cost. This assures the builder that his Mini-IMP closely conforms to the original prototype in performance as well as shape and size.
The Mini-IMP has proven to be a poor “aerobatic” design. This is mainly due to the fact that the propeller blast does not impinge on the tail surfaces. Thus, you cannot “blow the tail around” as is necessary for many aerobatic maneuvers. Limited aerobatics such as rolls, loops, wing-overs, etc. can be performed nicely. However, it is basically NOT an aerobatic design
Upon Molt’s passing, his widow, Mrs. Lillian Taylor, asked Dr. Richard Steeves (editor of the Coot Builders Newsletter and distributor of the Coot plans) to license individual builders to construct single examples of the Mini-IMP design. In July 1999, Mrs. Taylor and Dr. Steeves further granted those rights (to distribute drawings and license individual builders) to the Mini-IMP Aircraft Company. The drawings are available for $205 in U.S. funds made out to: Mini-IMP Aircraft Company, PO Box 2011, Weatherford, TX. 76086-2011. The Mini IMP Aircraft Company will license individual builders to construct single examples of the Mini-IMP design, and the drawings are available for delivery. The License fee has been established and the drawings closely reflect the construction of the prototype in every detail. The designer, his heirs and assigns, plans distributor, and Mini IMP Aircraft Company, its officers and stockholders accept no liability, either expressed or implied, in regard to any examples of the Mini-IMP constructed by any licensees since they have no control over the workmanship or materials used by individual builders, nor is it possible for anyone to construct an exact copy of the prototype since neither production tooling nor acceptable quality control are available for the construction of other examples of the aircraft. The Mini IMP Aircraft Company sells the License to Build and various component parts which closely duplicate components used in the construction of the prototype aircraft. The various components available from Mini IMP Aircraft Company and its dealers are not subject to license but are built under close quality control to aircraft standards. However, components sold by Mini IMP Aircraft Company are NOT guaranteed or certified in any manner as to their suitability for use for any specific purpose, aircraft or otherwise. It is the responsibility of the individual builder to determine the suitability of any component for inclusion in their aircraft.
ADDITIONAL MISCELLANEOUS INFORMATION
It is impossible to anticipate all of the questions, which might be asked by potential Mini-IMP builders. However, we will try to cover a few items here that we have found to be of interest from the many people who have contacted us regarding the project. First, we do not recommend the use of SAFOAM in the fuel tank (see the article in Sport Aviation, Dec. 1972). We DO NOT recommend the installation of fuel tanks any larger than the one shown in the drawings, although it would be entirely possible to seal up additional areas of the wing during initial construction in anticipation of larger tankage if desired. The very high cost of the Continental O-200 engine makes it probable that this engine would cost (new) more than the rest of the entire airplane and its equipment. However, the Mini-IMP is structurally suitable for use of this engine (100 HP). The components listed in this brochure are the only ones we have available. We do not offer a complete kit of material at this time but are investigating the possibility of offering a “turn key” package in the future if demand warrants and the financial realities allow. We do not anticipate offering a factory built certified model commercially although the forthcoming "Light Sport Aircraft" category may enable a modified version of the Mini-IMP to be built and sold directly to the flying public. The Mini-IMP could be fitted with a jet engine although this would be very expensive, and it is not felt that the overall performance and range possible with a jet engine would be desirable except for very special purposes. The Mini-IMP could be trailered for short distances on its own gear and it was anticipated originally that we would incorporate this ability. However, experience with the prototype has shown that the very small tires which are needed in order to make landing gear retraction practical do not lend themselves to extended road towing. Further, the spring leg gear used in the Mini-IMP does not lend itself to lengthy ground towing due to wheel geometry changes when the wings are folded with attendant potential excessive tire wear. Therefore, the Mini-IMP should be towed on its own trailer.
The empty weight of the prototype Mini-IMP came out to 520 pounds, including the radio, instruments, Flexidyneä full of flow charge, and engine full of oil. This is with the long wing (25 ½ foot one piece unit). With the slightly shorter folding wings, the weight will be about the same, with the weight of the fold fitting, etc. making up for the slightly shorter wing length. The folding wings will result in the overall length being exactly the same as the fuselage. Thus, the wing tips will fold aft to be even with the tip of the propeller spinner. Flight tests indicate that it may not be desirable for the conservative pilot to build the Mini-IMP with shorter wings since they would inevitably result in higher takeoff and landing speeds. It is recognized that some builders will want to experiment with very short wings either after having built the long wings to get some experience with the aircraft, or at the outset of construction. It is obviously desirable to keep the weight of the Mini-IMP as low as possible. The addition of an electric system with radios, starter, alternator, battery, etc. can be expected to add at least 50 pounds to the weight of the aircraft. While the basic structure of the Mini-IMP has been designed for 1000 pounds gross weight with a 6 g ultimate load factor (4 g limit), it is apparent that the basic structure has actually come out somewhat stronger than that. However, static tests to determine actual ultimate capacities are not anticipated although, as mentioned, the wing attach fittings were tested to 14 g before they failed and the tail surfaces had taken no deformation or permanent set at the 9 g loading. Higher weights may necessitate the use of thicker landing gear legs, but the present 7/16 inch landing gears are entirely adequate for 900 pounds gross.
The Mini-IMP is modern, sophisticated, high performance lightplane. It is extremely easy to fly, it has exceptional stability and maneuverability without being the least bit “touchy” or sensitive. It is extremely comfortable, has room enough and performance enough to carry heavy, big, or tall pilots. It has a very big baggage space in the O-200 powered model, and the VW engined version has a baggage space adequate for most short trips. The range possible with your version of the Mini-IMP is dependent on the tankage you incorporate in it when you build it. The drawings cover how to increase fuel capacity if you want it. If you have additional questions do not hesitate to write to us. To assist us in answering your questions include a self-addressed envelope and list your questions far enough apart so that we can reply and return them to you. If we are delayed in getting your answers back to you it is only because there are apparently going to be a lot of Mini-IMPs flying around one of these days.
Do not expect the Mini-IMP (or any other
design) to be all things. We have
tried to convey to you some idea of why the design has been arranged as it has.
We do want to point out that the Mini-IMP is now a well proven
configuration which does meet the design expectations which were laid down for
it when it was originally conceived. We
are fully aware of the capabilities and limitations of other designs which might
be considered comparable. We are
also fully informed on the many types of materials which might be utilized to
construct an aircraft of this type. At
this time we feel that the Mini-IMP represents an optimum design for someone who
wants an aircraft with its capabilities. It
is an ideal “first project” for someone building his own aircraft. The design is as simple to build as any design with
comparable performance. There is no
such thing as a low cost aircraft. However,
the Mini-IMP is as inexpensive to build as any other design of equal capability
and at this point we do not know how to make it any better nor has anyone else
been able to come up with any suggestions to that end.
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