Europa Flyer Index

Europa Flyer Index v92 Butcher


Jim Butcher

Jim Butcher

Flying Experience
I hold a Commercial pilot license with Instrument and Glider ratings and have been flying since 1979. I flew a Mooney M20F and later a Mooney 231 for several years flying mostly for business, averaging over 200 hours per year. The Mooney was sold in 1990 and I didn’t fly until 2005 when I started flying our Europa. I now have 850 hours in Europa and 3000 hours total.

Special Skills/Experience
My wife Heather and I built our Europa together. It was a great experience and very helpful having two viewpoints to interpret the manual and two sets of eyes inspecting the work. Heather became the expert on fiberglass work and finishing, I did most of the electrical design and fabrication and we did assembly together. Heather holds the Repairman Certificate for our Europa and conducts the annual Condition Inspection. She holds a private pilot license with Glider rating but has chosen to retire from piloting since I enjoy that a lot and she finds it tedious. We plan our trips and outings together. In the air we work as a team and find it very effective and fun.

We live just outside Kalamazoo, MI which is in the southwestern corner of Michigan, about halfway between Detroit and Chicago. Our weather is greatly influenced by Lake Michigan. Our Europa lives in a hangar at Almena Airstrip (near the town of Paw Paw, MI) identifier K2C5, about 10 miles from home. Almena is a grass strip, 3300 ft long but trees at both ends force displaced thresholds so the usable length is closer to 2100 ft.

Aircraft and Current Status
Ours is kit A185. It is a XS mono-wheel with a Rotax 914 turbo and Airmaster prop. We built it per the manual with very few modifications. It is IFR capable with Garmin 430 GPS, Nav, Com and dual screen GRT Sport EFIS. We did not fit an autopilot and we find hand flying easy, even for long trips. We have nearly 900 hours on it. We have a set of glider wings to build but we prefer to fly and travel, so our progress on them has been limited. We have completed Mod 78, the ailerons and air brakes and attached the outboard sections.