N81EU was built in Detroit, Michigan while I was posted there for 4 years. I work for the German Foreign Service and was previously posted in Athens, Tokyo, Taiwan and Cambodia.
The Flying Bug is with me since childhood. In the neighbourhood was a helicopter service flying Bell-47's over our house every day. In Japan I did some Paragliding - and spent my six weeks in hospital with a fractured spine.
I saw the Europa in a magazine some time in winter 92/93. Like everyone I had received by that time the information package - and Video - of Kitfox and Lancair homebuilt aircraft. The Europa had strong points with its practical monowheel-retracting gear, easy (dis-)assembly for transportation and the interiour setup with plenty of space for luggage. Someone had told me to call any kit-supplier and ask questions to make sure it is a solid company. Thus - one day when I talked to Alizon Holland @ Europa Aviation I asked how many planes the company had sold by then. She said "75" and I responded: "OK, make that 76". The other person had told me to make sure they had at least one or two hundred kits sold to customers...
I calculated to finish the plane within 6 months ~ they said it doesn't take any special tools nor skills and can be done in 5oo hours. It soon became clear that it would take a little longer. Every year I went to Oshkosh promissing to come with MY plane the next year.
Building was done in the two-car garage and put a lot of stress on the family with regards to odours, sticky door knobs and scissors gone to work in the "Aircraft Factory". The cars had to be parked outside for the entire four years. Fortunately the Porsche was made of Aluminum ;-).
Late - together with fellow German aviator Joerg Linke - we bought ourselves a used Beech Sport 150. This was a sweet and slow little airplane. She took me over the Rockies four times - flying us all the way to San Fransisco one time. Or when the weather was too good to be sanding in the garage, we took her for a spin to Meigs Airfield for the evening.
She was ready to fly in Sept. of 1997. The
FAA-Inspector and my
EAA-chapter 113, Mettetal, Michigan were very helpful in making this dream come finally true.