Timber Tiger Ryan-A-Like

From any angle the Timber Tiger says "Ryan." The five percent small scale is essentially indistinguishable without an original Ryan nearby.

So, what's a nice Ryan like this doing in the homebuilt display at AirVenture? Looking the part, obviously, and yes, it is not a Ryan. It's the new Timber Tiger ST-L, a 95-percent, Light Sport homage to the art deco Ryan.

There's no missing the oval shape of the Ryan ST series. This Tiger Timber version can be finished as an S-T, ST-A, PT-16, PT-20. The radial-engined PT-22 used a more rounded fuselage and is not designed to be replicated in the Timber Tiger airplane.

As for why a Ryan clone, Timber Tiger owner Nick Pfannenstiel simply says, "I just grew up in the wrong decade." He notes you just don't see the classic airplanes much anymore and is missing, "neat looking airplanes with character." The ST-L ought to help fill that gap.

You're forgiven if you're thinking a LOM or other in-line engine is needed. Turns out such power plants are a bit too large and the ST-L is designed for the D-Motor LF-26/-39 or Rotax 912 UL/ULS/iS, all of which fit under the ST-L cowl. All others--save a few auto conversions--will need cowl cheeks, which sort of kills the concept for us, but to each their own.

Also surprising is even though the ST-L is five percent smaller overall than the Ryan, it has a bit more shoulder and leg room than the original, plus a more favorable power-to-weight ratio depending on the engine used. This is mainly due to 300 lb less empty weight than the original.

It looks classic inside, too. Though a little smaller on the outside than an original Ryan, the Timber Tiger is said to offer better leg and shoulder room.

Construction is all metal, using conventional riveting in the fuselage along with honeycomb ribs. The airfoil is the Riblet GA30-612 (same as a Kitfox, it is believed), and no aerobatic capabilities are planned as the ST-L is designed to be a nice Sunday flier. This is also the big reason it's so much lighter than a Ryan.

The tailwheel is a locking/full-swivel unit without steering, so the modern disc brakes will come in handy.

Timber Tiger has the ST-L organized into two kits. The fuselage and landing gear kit is $20,000; the flying surface and finishing kit lists for $12,800 and there is a $1,000 discount if both are ordered at the same time. Naturally these do not include the usual engine, prop, avionics and other "accessories," but it's worth noting the streamline bracing wires are not included either. With 16 wires this is not an inconsiderable expense.

So far Timber Tiger has just the one display airframe but is busy building more. First flight is scheduled for next spring. Timber Tiger is currently taking $1,500 kit deposits, but is not accepting anything else at the moment.

Timber Tiger is headquartered in Brighton, Colorado. For more information see www.timbertigeraircraft.com.

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.

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