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Steen Steenship
LaMar Steen's First Airplane

The Steenship Then: 1966
LaMar Steen's original Steenship, circa 1968. Photo from Air Progress Homebuilt Aircraft Magazine, Summer 1968.
The Steenship, as it first appeared sometime in 1966-68.

The Steenship Now: 2003
LaMar Steen's original Steenship, now owned by Burt Nichols, circa 2003 (Burt Nichols photo)
The same plane 35 years later. Burt Nichols owns the Steenship today, and flies her a lot. You can't keep a good design down!
The flagship of Steen Aero Lab's airplane lineup is of course the Steen Skybolt. However, Lamar Steen, our company's namesake, actually started out with a different plane... a two-place, low-wing design named the Steenship. Strongly resembling a Stits Playboy, Lamar stated that the only reference to it in the Steenship's construction was a photo of the Stits plane he had hanging up on the wall of his shop. The Steenship has wooden wings, a tube-and-fabric fuselage, and originally sported a many-coat nitrate dope covering job. The modified O-290-G engine produced 140hp and gave the plane a very respectable cruise speed of 165 mph. In addition, it was stressed for aerobatics (+/- 9 G). Construction took 3-1/2 years and cost $3,800. It first flew in 1966. So far as we know, no plans were ever made available for the Steenship, and no original blueprints or construction drawings exist today.

The May 1989 issue of Sport Aviation had an article about Bob Leonard's restoration of the plane in Healdsburg, CA. In mid-2002, Burt Nichols in Arkansas purchased it (still retaining the original registration number N881LS) and he flies her regularly. In fact, Burt tells us that he flew the plane for 200 hours in the first 9 months he had it! (That's an average of 45 minutes a day, every day.) He then decided to upgrade the original Lycoming O-290 to a Lycoming O-320. As of July 2003, he's very close to first flight with the new engine. Burt says that he's "looking forward to the next 2000 hours or so!"

We have more pictures of the Steenship posted here in our Projects Gallery.

 


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      Steen Aero Lab      1451 Clearmont Street NE   Palm Bay, FL 32905 USA     
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