IAN McDONELL COLLECTION
No. 9642. Thorp T-18 Tiger (VH-WKV c/n RAV-03)
Photographed at Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia May 3, 2009, by Ian McDonell

Thorp T-18 Tiger

01/31/2010. John W. Thorp, a well known designer of light aircraft, designed the Tiger two-seat all-metal sporting aircraft in the early sixties, and plans were marketed through the Thorp Engineering Company. At least 1,300 sets of drawings have been sold and over 400 T-18s have been flown. The first T-18 to be completed was N9675Z with an 180 hp Avco Lycoming O-360 engine. Built by W. Warwick, it flew for the first time on May 12, 1964.

The initial version had an open cockpit, later a sliding canopy was introduced. Luther Sunderland of Apalachin, New York, designed folding wings, these can be folded back on each side of the fuselage, for road transport, in less than five minutes. This version is known as the T-18C.

The T-18 established 34 FAI records, of which 31 still stand. At least 27 of the records were established with N455DT (c/n 455), constructed by Donald P. Taylor in 1971.

Between August 1 and September 30, 1976, piloted by Taylor, N455DT became the first homebuilt aircraft to circumnavigate the world, covering more than 24,627 mls (39,633 km) in 171.5 flying hours.

On July 31, 1983, Taylor completed the first-ever flight over the North Pole by a homebuilt aircraft, using the same T-18. During the 1983 annual Oshkosh Fly-In and Convention, the aircraft was donated to the EAA Museum.

Created January 31, 2010