30 Years and Who’s Counting?

Marquart Charger
Ken Orloff’s spanking new Marquart Charger is a welcome addition to the Oshkosh homebuilt tie-down.

Once the EAA mainstay, new plans-built completions are a rarity at AirVenture these days, but as Ken Orloff's magnificent Marquart MA-5 Charger fledgling proves, the breed remains an important contributor to sport aviation.

Like many, Orloff of Groveland, California got started on his Charger decades ago, but took time out for life and building a Lancair IV-P (now there’s a wide-span of interests). He finished with the help of many, including his A&P and our guide to the plane, Scott Rexwinkle.

[sc:ad180]An exceptionally smooth paint finish is a highlight; credit goes to Steve Green Aircraft Painting and Stewart Systems products. Rexwinkle built a paint booth in Orloff's under-house hangar, Green trucked in his painting equipment and spent three months in the Orloff's guest house while applying the finish. The colors were picked from available Stewart Systems offerings by Ken’s wife Lynne and Alicia of Scheme Designs. Rexwinkle said he really enjoyed working with the fume-free Stewart Systems products.

Marquart Charger
Composite props are not typical on biplanes, but the gorgeous Whirlwind on Orloff’s Charger is a perfect fit, including the high-gloss finish and happy color match on the red tips. Power is from a LyCon 180-hp O-360-EXP Lycoming.

Rexwinkle also emphasized the engaging nature of plans building. Unlike the more limited kit-building experience, plans-building exercised Rexwinkle’s creativity, especially in systems layout and non-structural parts such as the cowling. None of those are mentioned in the plans and are up to the builder’s imagination.

Cruising at 120 mph Orloff flew 2 ½ hours per day for four days to debut his Charger at AirVenture. We're sure he enjoyed every minute of it.

Marquart Charger
Orloff’s simple yet bold paint scheme sets of the Marquart’s lines. Not visible under the custom cockpit cover are a handsome pair of low-profile bubble windshields.
Marquart Charger
A modern biplane, Orloff didn’t shy from contemporary avionics while retaining a steam-gauge nod to tradition. The sumptuous leather was expertly executed by Tim Hallock of Aviation Designs; overall cockpit design was by Lynne Orloff.
Orloff Marquart Charger
There was no skimping in the front cockpit! Many homebuilts are never finished half this well in the main office.

Tom Wilson

Tom Wilson is a professional magazine writer and nurtures an ongoing affair with all things internal combustion. His writing is most often found in automotive magazines, but aviation is his first love. Working as a line boy, he learned to fly while in high school, but still hasn't mastered the art of keeping a paper chart in an open cockpit.

2 Replies to “30 Years and Who’s Counting?”

  1. Dr. Orloff was one of my professors many years ago at San Jose State University. His aerodynamics classes were always my favorite and he was a great teacher. I remember him mentioning his Marquart project several times, and that was 1982ish. These things take time! Congrats to Dr. Orloff, it's a beaut.

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