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Monday, April 19, 2021
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Aviation enthusiasts making history in Spanish Fork

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Right herebrat the small-town Spanish Fork Airport we have aviation history being made by abrcouple of innovative aviation enthusiasts, twin brothers Mark and Mike Patey.

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These guysbrhave created so many unique and record braking airplanes one aircraftbrmaintenance technician at the airport, Hal Jackson, calls them Howard Hughesbrtimes two. Mike’s latest project, a super STOL turboprop (jet prop) airplanebrhas the national and international aviation media buzzing with excitement. STOLbrstands for Short Take Off and Landing airplane.

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Mike’s four-seatbrairplane can take off in 97 feet and land in 110 feet at sea level and at ourbrhigher altitudes it takes just a little bit more. The airplane cruises aboutbr200 miles-per-hour with a service ceiling of 28,000 feet. Mike calls his brightbrred creation DRACO, which is Spanish for dragon.

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Hebrdemonstrated DRACO at the Spanish Fork Open House event on Aug. 24 to thebramazement of the crowd. Mike was flying along-side a couple Carbon Cub STOLbrwhich are impressive performing airplanes themselves. Now we see why DRACO hasbrwon so much media attention and numerous trophies since it has been flying.

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Slow flightbrand STOL characteristics are great for back-country airplanes, but what mostbrpeople like about airplanes is speed. A few years back the Patey brothers set abrworld speed record for piston-powered airplanes flying west to east across thebrUnited States.

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The two madebrthe simultaneous flights in identical home-built airplanes, one flying abrnorthern route and the other a southern route, in a little over six hoursbrflight time. That flight beat the previous record set by Howard Hughes in 1937brin his H-1 Racer, which took seven hours and 25 minutes. To go even faster Mikebrextensively modified a Lancair Legacy to accommodate an 850 horsepowerbrturboprop engine. The airplane is made entirely with carbon fiber material forbrlightness and strength. The airplane is called Turbulence and has a topbrrecorded speed is 438.02 miles per hour.

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Mike has abrcouple of more projects on his mind. One is a back-country airplane to bebrcalled Scrappy, because it will be made from a left-over parts. For a higherbrand faster goal Mike is thinking about a tandem seat, pressured airplane hebrwill call ballistic.

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In a recentbrinterview Mike was asked if he thought of himself as an airplane builder or asbra pilot. He immediately responded pilot, but then added he likes the challengebrof creating something new.

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When askedbrwhat he thought of the Howard Hughes analogy, he just smiled and shrugged hisbrshoulders. (Helmick is a Serve Daily contributor.)

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