The second new bird was the KR-3, a tiny 2-place, VW powered amphibian. Trailered in by Stu Robinson from his Gold Country shop east of San Francisco just in time for Chino, the airframe was a month or so from completion. The KR-3 is unmistakably Rand-Robinson in its wood/foam/Dynel construction, use of a turbo-charged Revmaster and a KR-2 canopy, but new ground is plowed the rest of the way. Most notable is a hydraulically actuated tricycle gear. Retraction and extension are a matter of flipping a micro switch to the appropriate position and pumping a light handle located between pilot and passenger. Completion and initial flight testing were expected before Oshkosh.
In talking with Ken and Stu it was obvious that the dynamic duo haven't begun to exhaust their supply of ideas for new airplanes and related products. A VW twin and some eyebrow-lifting performance specs were mentioned in the same breath by Ken and, perhaps even more interesting, a new tri-gear version of the KR-2 ... utilizing the KR-3 hydraulic gear, I would assume. Further, it would have an all-composite fuselage, a la VariEze, but would retain the wood spar in the wing. Pre-moulded foam cores for the fuselage would simply be glued together by the builder and glassed inside and out. (This, I predict, will become the standard practice on all composite designs in the not-too-distant future.)
Ken and Stu suffered a bit of misfortune on Sunday that was totally unnecessary. Their KR-2 demonstrator (the prototype, N4KR) had the canopy open and the top cowling removed for display, as is their custom, when someone decided to blast off with a tri-gear Beech 18 parked nearby. As it swung out of its parking spot, the prop wash blew off the KR-2's canopy and flung the cowling against the fuselage, knocking a hole in it. Some tents, display boards, etc. nearby were also damaged. "Why me!" was about all Ken could say afterward.