June 2, 2023

By Michael Stephan
Since the pandemic has shut down our in-person Chapter meetings, I flew out to Stephenville on an early August morning and met Don Christiansen to award him our Chapter’s First Flight Plaque. With me and holding the camera was Norm Biron. He also brought the plaque.
This is a very special picture, since first flights are rare occurrences. We have only had a few of them the past 5 years. So being able to congratulate a builder for a first flight on behalf of the Chapter is very special.
Don, Norm and myself celebrated by having breakfast at restaurant just down the road from the airport. We don’t get to see Don that often, so it was enjoyable to spend time catching up and listening to some of the stories of him flying the Rans S-21 in the Idaho BackCountry.
One of the revelations that I learned about the Don’s S-21 is the Whirlwind ground-adjustable prop. Don said it was pitched to optimize cruise speed, but when he arrived in Idaho and planned to fly in the high density mountain air, he was able to adjust the pitch to generate more RPM and hence more horsepower.
Having hopped around Idaho for the summer, Don said the airplane will be in the paint shop next month.