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Dennis McGuire


Jacksonville Fla - Dennis McGuire

Here is a photo of my Volksplane I built back in the 70's. notice the large cub tires. Used to land on Florida Beaches and small pastures. 1600cc VW stock engine. Never a problem with her and the fun airplane I ever had. ​

What stage of building the VP-1 are you currently in, how long have you been building it and when do you plan on finishing it?

Finished 1978

Have there been any obstacles that you have had to overcome at any stage, stories, lesson learned?

I never built before the VP-1 so I had a learning curve to overcome. I made many friends in the local EAA chapter and had many mentors to show me how to do the basic things. You can read so many books but nothing like go visit the guys who are building airplanes to see for your self and pick their brains. I did not know how to weld or have the equipment so I had experienced guys do that for me. The biggest obstacle was getting married and starting a family that is why it took me 7 years to complete her. I had plenty of help from the EAA Chapter 193 guys and that is a must to build it right. Now I am returning the favors by helping others who are just starting like me back in the 70's. I guess pay it forward thing. Also what took so long building was I was sick a lot during the construction time and had many operations to overcome. 

Completing the VP-1 is a momentous occasion, it's been compared to adding a new family member - tell us about your big day.

Well it was down at St Augustine Fla Airport 4 Oct 78. I did some test hops about 3 -4 feet off the ground and found the tail spring was not tempered. I forgot to bring it back to the shop after I bent it and drilled the holes. So once I fix that oversight I started test hops again. I was getting worse at it so when my main mentor showed up he said quick that and fly it. One I saw him I knew it was the day. Beautiful day wind straight down the runway. Well they told me to fly her straight for a while before attempting any turns. Well I did that but flew straight for a lot longer than what they mention. I remember flying over swamp and almost to the ocean before I made my first turn. I kept climbing to about 2500' and circled the airport for some time. Remember thinking to myself why do I do these things to myself. I could be at home sitting safe and sound drinking a beer and watching a football game. But oh no here I am flying this creation that might kill me. Well after a few stalls and steep turns it was time to bring her in. As with most first flights mine was the best I ever made. Rolling to a stop I was greeted by my mentor and others to congratulate me. What a feeling you can't describe in words. I called my wife that I flew the VP-1 and I survived. You will never forget your first of anything in life. 

Tell us your experiences flying the VP-1.

I had a ball flying the Volksplane. So many memories. The visibility was awesome and that made even better. I landed just about everywhere, beaches, small fields in the middle of nowhere. One day I almost lost it by trying to land on Bird Island but more of a sand bar. As I touched down the and wheels start digging in the wet soft sand. I thought she was going over. I pulled the stick back and went to full power. It seemed like forever that I was going over and there I would be upside down on a sand bar in the Atlantic Ocean with no one around. Thank GOD she pulled out so I could live another day. One day I was wondering if the VW engine would air-start with turning off the engine and trying to restart by diving. Well I have done it Cubs, Taylorcrafts etc but with the small prop and higher compression it will not. I climbed to about 8000' and turned the engine off with the key. Then dived to VNE plus and it would not turn over. At about 6000' now I just set up for landing dead stick. No problem with that height I timed it just right and had it down perfect that I ended up right in front of my hanger. Was thrilling to glide down dead stick. I have flown under bridges and dogfighted with friends and some planes I still don't know who they were. Beat most of them because the VP would turn on a dime. I did get in trouble one time when I caught up with the Sheriff's helo. I also worked for the Sheriff Office and when I got to work my Capt had me come into his office with a photo of me flying next to the Helo. It seems there were on a mission and I got in their way. I guess it was a bad time to ask my Capt if I could have the photo. He turned beat red and threw me out of his office. My next adventure was trying aerobatics. Loops, barrel rolls and spins. Loops were more L shape but spins were the best fun. Did a couple spins down through clouds, that is weird. Always had fun with clouds. Flying through them and around them. One neat thing to do is fly just above pure white clouds and have the sun cast your shadow on the clouds. Doing that you can see the pilots cross. Sometime there would be a perfect circle rainbow around the cross. Like that old poem, reached out and touched the face of GOD. All and all flying the VP gave me great flying skills and fun. The only draw back was range. If your building one find a way to make larger tank or Aux tanks. 

What do you know about Mr. Evans, the Engineer the Designer of the VP-1?

Was very friendly. When I was building mine there were no e-mail etc. He would respond to my letter in a timely manner.

Anything else you want to mention that we did not ask you? 

Build it per plans and a light as you can. But you do need extra fuel to have any range. Mine came out tail heavy, so I added oak wood spacers to the firewall. I had a standard 1600cc VW engine. 

Want to learn more? 

You may contact Dennis via email to discuss his experience.

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