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Stits Playboy information needed

Posted By:
Michael Johnson
Homebuilder or Craftsman
#1 Posted: 3/4/2010 12:49:04

Hello everybody

I recently received a Stits Playboy project with no engine. To get the aircraft flying it's gonna need some work but it's all there and I would like to make it as original to Ray Stits as I can.

Finding information on the Playboy is pretty tough, does anybody here know much about it? Anybody have any good stories about flying one? I'm trying to learn everything I can about the design for my project.



Steve Soper
Homebuilder or Craftsman
#2 Posted: 3/18/2010 20:00:25


I think the Playboy is a great little bird!  I have flown several, a couple of single seaters and owned a 2 place.  Nice straight forward flying plane.  Not the fastest with the strut braced wing but does pretty well for its time.  My son now has a 2 place we are rebuilding.

The single seats I flew had Continental 65 to 80 HP and did fine.  My 2 place had a Lycoming O-290G 125 HP and at the time seemed like a hot rod (I had a Cub before that).

As for specific information, I don't have any on the SA-3A but my son has a set of plans for the B.

Steve Soper

Terk Williams
#3 Posted: 3/19/2010 09:07:48

'Mornin Michael

I had the pleasure of rebuilding N38K for a gentleman back in the 80's. That was Ray's prototype 3B. I got the airplane as a pile of parts long since disassembled.  It was only after I saw Ray's signatures on the spars that I looked at the logs for an N number.  I had the logs on top of a Stitts catalogue where all of Ray's airplanes used to be shown in little 'tile' pics on the back.  I could read the N number and saw the logs and realized that this WAS the same airplane...  I was a Stitts dealer at the time and called Ray and we talked about it.  I later called for a few 'recolections' on how to put things back together.

N38K had a C145 on it when I got  it and it was a blast.  Two things to note:  Watch the area where the struts go down to the spars.  That tends to hold water against the wood spars.  I rebuilt 38K BECAUSE the spars were all rotten at the strut fittings.  The second detail is in installing the jackscrew if you are using a Piper type elevator for pitch trim.  I managed to get ours upside down.  The initial test flight was exciting. Fortunately I had been doing maintenance test flights on civilian and mil stuff and was used to having to 'fly the airplane'... no matter what is took.....  The early Piper drawings showed the jackscrew upside down and for lack of a better drawing that's the way I put it in.  Be careful too to have a correct elevator stop.  That got interesting as well when the elevator ( with no stop) stalled about 75 ft up on final.... It was the third or fourth landing and my first attempt to make a full stall landing. It's exciting to follow the first rule of a failure while  test flying. In short ..."undo the last thing you did".  When I pulled too far back on the stick (and it was feeling a bit far) I had to push forward stick (just 'enough" at 75 ft off rwy 9C at Opa Locka)  to get the nose to come back up....  (when it stalls it starts to pitch down.  To get it up you first have to get the tail flying....)    Again, we had no plans... just the old airplane parts and a couple of calls to Ray. 

Enjoy the bird.  You might just check with Ray Stitts about details.  I think he's still right side up out on the left coast.  The guy that might also know how to reach him would be Norm Douthit at 888-811-2232.  He ran the Stitts Poly Fibre company as Ray's right hand until the company got sold. He is probably the second most knowlegable man alive on the product.  He is still in the business of selling the product and advice and goes by Norm Douthit Aero.


I haven't seen my pictures of 38K in a while but if you want send me a note at iterk@aol.com and I'll see if I can find them.



Michael Johnson
Homebuilder or Craftsman
#4 Posted: 3/19/2010 13:57:26

Terk, i can't tell you how much I appreciate the contact info and the story, you totally made my day!

I called and talked to Norm and he gave me Ray's number, I have yet to call him but i have plans to do so. I'm a big fan of everything Stits aircraft, unfortunatelly the designs fell off the "home builders map".

The one thing that I'm having a tough time with is the wing root fairing. Not a lot of photos are available but I looks to me like a structure is built and the fabric is faired into it. I'm still researching it to have a plan of attack. I'm gonna run up to the museum in Oshkosh next week to look at the one they have in the museum. Below are some photos I found of what the fairing may look like.

Doyle Fuselage.jpg

Fabric side.jpg


In the last photo it shows the TE fairing. The plans show a small drawing with no dimensions. If you have any photos of the restoration or input on how I should approach this please feel free to advise.


Thanks again ( to both of you ) for the information!