The insatiable curiosity of Darryl Murphy of Chilliwack has led to his induction into the Experimential Aircraft Association’s Homebuilders Hall of Fame.
Murphy was recognized by the EAA on November 8 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, as part of its annual program lauding notables of the recreational aviation community.
“Darryl Murphy brought his curious, insatiable mind to the world of amateur-built aircraft designs,” said Charlie Becker, EAA’s director of chapters and homebuilding. “Throughout his aviation career, he has always been exploring new ideas and concepts to make recreational aviation more fun and accessible.”
Murphy started in the late 1970s designing and building a rigid-wing hang glider, which was a rarity at that time, according to the news release by EAA.
Becker, who is responsible for overseeing the EAA homebuilding programs, put Murphy’s skills in context.
“It is a daunting task to build an aircraft at home,” Becker said in an interview with The Progress. “It takes perseverance and there’s a steep learning curve. No one starts off knowing how to build an aircraft.”
The type of kit aircraft that Murphy designed for homebuilders only started to be produced around 1970.
“The kit made it much more achievable,” Becker underlined.
Murphy’s company was one of the firms that made it possible.
“All you have to do is follow the instructions, and at least there is a roadmap, and you don’t have to chase the parts and pieces from the plan,” he said. “The kit eliminated the chase. It allows an amateur to build and fly.”
Murphy’s first powered aircraft design, a single-seat biplane, first flew in 1984.
“Using innovative construction techniques, he upgraded his designs and founded Murphy Aircraft in 1985,” according to the release.
Murphy Aircraft designs included such notable aircraft as the Renegade biplane series, the all-aluminum Rebel, the Maverick, the Elite, and the sturdy Moose bushplane.
“To develop a kit company the way he has, and to see it through a number of years of operation, with eight different designs, that is quite unusual,” Becker said. “He’s definitely a creative guy.”
There maybe 10 such companies in the kit building world of similar size and stature.
Murphy officially retired in 2014, but he still had one more design in him, with the bike-rack equipped Murphy Radical.
The EAA was founded in 1953 by a group of individuals in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, who were interested in building their own airplanes. With growing participation in aviation, the EAA went on to include antiques, classics, warbirds, aerobatic aircraft, ultralights, helicopters, and contemporary manufactured aircraft.