• UnOfficial Velocity History RSS Feed

    by Published on 07/20/2012 10:37 AM

    Check out this Wiki article for the complete history, but here are the highlights of the folks that have made Velocity what it is today.
    by Published on 06/10/2002 04:10 AM

    Danny MaherDanny J Maher - Founder/Designer/President 1984-1992 (excerpted from Sport Aviation 1985/1986)
    Danny J Maher grew up in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and went on to earn a Chemical Engineering degree. He worked in shipping, in electrolysis prevention, but began a hobby of racing boats. At 25 he had built a 32' ocean racer powered by a straight-drive Chevy V8 427 that would do 55MPH. This lead to a business in building offshore racing boats. This business was very successful, and after a decade he sold the company and "retired" at 35 to Sebastian.


    Velocity PrototypeDanny then bought and built an Ultralight (Wizard) and taught himself to fly (suffering a crash). During a visit to Merritt Island Airport, he admired the Long-ez of Neil Hunter, who's "Big-EZ" was a cover plane for Sport Aviation in April 1986. Wanting to buy one, this is when he first heard about "homebuilding" and the EAA. Danny became enamored with the long-ez, and built 2! The first was done in 10 months, the second was a test-bed for his ideas. He wanted to make the plane more comfortable, with more space, and more upright seating.

    Velocity PrototypeDanny Maher founded Velocity in 1984 in Sebastian, Florida with Danny as President. Pete Hoffman was the Vice President, and Neil Hunter was in charge of Public Relations. The prototype was built in 7 months, and first flew in the summer of 1985. It weighed 1,100 pounds empty, with a gross weight of 2,550 pounds and a Lycoming 180 HP engine and composite prop (built by Danny). Cruise was claimed as 220 MPH. Flight testing of the prototype was completed in mid-October 1985, and thus did not attend Osh Kosh (Airventure), but was debuted at Sun-n-Fun in 1986. That first airplane, with a serial number of DMO40, was registered as N401DM. This airplane was flown by Billy Henederson of Sport Aviation, who noted 1500-200fpm climb rates and a top end of 184 kts. This first aircraft also featured a retractable nose gear. Note that the original aircraft did not have full-length rudders.

    The serial numbers started with DMO-Dan Maher Original, number 40. It's believed that the number 40 was chosen to reassure buyers that they were getting a proven product! The aileron push-pull cables were Morse marine style, because he was familiar with thier operation. The brake master cylinders were from the Datsun/Nissan B210's clutch! Build time was estimated at 800-1000 hours with the kit in the $18,000 range. The kit featured 43 1/2" wide fuselage, though the prototype was only 42 1/4". Similarly the height was 40" on the prototype, 41" on the kit, and length wsa 81". The main wing area on the prototype was 96.4 SQFT and the canard was 19.75 SQFT, for a total area of 116.15 SQFT, for a gross loading of 19.37 lbs/SQFT. These were increased slightly for the kits. The outer wing panels were modified Long-EZ airfoils, but the strakes and canard were Danny's design, and Roncz vortilons were added to the main wings. Danny is the registered builder of 4 velocitys (DMO040, DMO100, DMO255, and 029; N401DM, N7044Q, N255DM, and N4253M registration).

    These wing dimensions were maintained until 1992 when the 173 (or as it later came to be called, the "Long Wing") wing was offered. This was a play on the Cessna 172, and was meant to tame the handling characteristics to the point where any pilot could comfortably handle it. The 173 was intended to be unpaved-runway-capable, with sturdier gear that stand about 2.5" taller than the original, with bigger 6.00x6 main wheels, more wing and canard (20%) span, and a thicker airfoil, and a 58 MPH stall speed and 190 MPH top speed (5). This also was just after the (see Kitplanes November 1991 Kitplanes December 1992) so called 'deep stall' mystery was solved. As part of this solution, the wing trailing edge was extended to the aft edge of the tip sails, and the aft inboard camber was changed (2), and 60" leading edge cuffs were offered to existing aircraft owners. The cuffs are required for DMO serial numbers below 115 (approximately, 3). Kits after 115 were shipped with the new wing, and an extra forward fuel baffle (3). The new "Standard" wing dimension were 29.4' span, 122 SQFT wing area, and the 173/Long Wing dimentions were 31' span, 145 SQFT wing area.

    by Published on 06/10/2002 12:13 PM

    Alan ShawAlan Shaw - Original Partner 1986-post 1995
    Alan had been working in wind surfer designs in the mid-1980s, and became Danny's partner in the original company, with a 10% share of the company, and was the brain trust for the molds. Danny had seen the molds Alan was working on for the "Sea Shark". Ted Yon, EAA since 1954, senior aerospace engineer, played the most important role advising on rigging and structures. Ted, who is now also a FAA designated engineer, did the span loading and resulting spar cap lay-up calculations as well as our Wiffle Tree design. At some point, Alan started the Dynamic Wing Company to build fast-build wings for builders, selling over 180 sets. John Fleming and Malcolm Collier were original employees of "Dynamic Wing" company. Alan is the registered builder of velocity DMO0085 (N8101S registration).
    by Published on 06/10/2002 12:14 PM

    David LeeBig OrangeDavid Lee - Original Production Manager 1986-??
    David Lee was the original production manager, and is the registered builder of 2 velocitys (DMO042 and DMO043, N80VA and N81VA registration).
    by Published on 06/10/2002 12:16 PM

    Neil HunterNeil Hunter - Original Public Rleations Manager 1986-??
    Neil Hunter was a retired USAF pilot who built a Long-EZ and flew it to Brazil and back (Sport Aviation January 1986), a larger "Big-EZ". Both of these aircraft were sold to AeroMet in Tulsa to be converted to UAVs. Neil's Velocity was built in 8 months (July 1986-September 1987). First flight was at Merritt Island Airport, Florida, in February 1988. It was fitted with a Great American propeller, originally a 66x76" but was changed for a 62x76" for better static RPM. Neil's was the first airplane to feature the nose oil cooler/flap design for heating. It weighed 1,150 lbs empty, and the ailerons were 3" longer.

    Tragically, Neil was fatally injured on 24 October 1992 in a wake-turblulence encounter near Orlando, where his Velocity became inverted and could not be recovered (Sport Aviation December 1992).
    by Published on 06/10/2002 11:20 AM

    Carl PescarellCarl Pascarrell - Original Test Pilot ??-?? Carl Pescarrell was the first test pilot for Velocity. He had been a naval aviator, formation flying instructor, and airline capitan, and test pilot for Swearingen with over 17,000 flight hours. He was running a spin-training business out of the St. Augustine airport.

    He came in and worked the original deep stall issue after Neil Hunter's first incident into a canal. Carl replicated the issue with the cg near the aft limit (cg range was 114.09 to 120.5), and though he was wearing a chute, decided to stay with the airplane after noticing how low the descent rate was (after opening the canopy), and landed unhurt off of St. Augustine. For future test flights, Jim Patton (former Chief of Flight Operations for NASA) was retained, and a movable 210 lbs weight was installed in the copilot floor (excerpted from Sport Aviation July 1991).
    by Published on 06/10/2002 10:22 AM

    Duane SwingDuane Swing - CEO 2008-Current (Owner 1992-200 See Duane's autobiography here. Started "homebuilding" with a Q2 that first flew in 1983, while his son Soctt was completing a Master's degree, in their Dayton garage/shop. Around 1987 he bought a previously owned (but not started) Glassair, which was sold to a friend shortly after completion, and their first Velocity was started shortly thereafter. This first Velocity was completed in 1988, on which they developed the retract system that they marketed as Tri-Q Development. It was first displayed at Osh Kosh in 1988, shipments started after Osh Kosh 1989. Sadly, the first aircraft was destroyed by fire days from first flight. To support the RG business, they started their second Velocity right away, and it was completed in August 1989 (N125V), and was the first retract.

    This led to a "builder's assistance" program, which was based at the airport at Phillipsburg Ohio, which they bought. The facility would allow three planes to be worked on simultaneously, and seven aircraft were completed before closing the business and moving to Sebastian. In July of 1992, Danny and Duane entered negotiations to sell Velocity to the Swings. Duane and Scott bought even (45%, since Alan Shaw owned 10%) shares of the company. Danny stayed on as a consultant for a short period of time. An interesting couple of side-notes, the Swings intended to offer a belly-mounted baggage pod and a Subaru engine conversion).

    In 1993, the Subaru engine was featured in Sport Aviation, as well as at Osh Kosh Airventure, but fell out of favor shortly thereafter, and apparently this disappoint lingered as Velocity has since seemed (to me) to be somewhat gun-shy of automotive conversion powerplants. I have never heard what happened to the baggage pod idea, but there is at least one Velocity sporting a (Cacek) "Draggage" Pod. Also in about 1993, Alan Shaw's Dynamic Wing Company began marketing fast-build wings.

    Duane announced his intention to sell his stake in 2002.
    by Published on 06/10/2002 01:24 PM   

    Scott SwingScott Swing - Vice President of Product Development/Director of Velocity Service Center 2008-current
    Scott Swing got his PPT in 1980, and started a Master's degree from Wright State University in 1981. That summer he and Duane decided to build a Quickie 2 at Osh Kosh. After completing his degree, he took a job at Quickie in Mojave. He sold the Q2 to buy his share of the family's first Velocity. Scott was a co-owner and vice president from 1992 until the Rocket Racing Composite Corporation purchased Velocity in April of 2008.
    by Published on 06/10/2002 12:30 PM

    Jean PrudhommeJean Prudhomme
    Jean Prudhomme apparently ran a builder's assistance program (I can't find any direct documentation of that), and is the registered builder on 3 Velocitys (DMO230, 3RX002, 3RX053 registered as N242JP, N140JP, and N274JP). I'm told that he was instrumental in the design of the XL variant of the Velocity, but that an aeronautical engineer was brought in later to deal with some issues. (This per a conversation in Sebastian with an engineer who was involved with the failed Orion venture in Hamilton, OH that was going to build aircraft very similar to the velocity - the gentleman's name escapes right now).
    by Published on 06/10/2002 12:31 PM   

    Mark MachadoMark Machado - Owner Velocity West 1995-1999 - Production Manager 2000-2001
    Mark got his PPT in 1982, and bought Long-EZ plans in the 1984. Mark then bought a pair of highly modified aircraft, a Long-EZ and a Vari-EZ, in Nova Scotia and reworked them and got them flying.

    N131MMMark Machado bought his first Velocity kit in 1990, but was not started until 1992. First Flight on N131MM, his first Velocity, was on 1 April 1994. Later he decided to open a builder's assistance center, called Composite Aero. This facility later became a licensed sales entity, Velocity West, at Lincoln Memorial Airport near Sacramento in 1995. One of the demonstration aircraft built at West was equipped with a V8 automotive engine. In April of 1998, they hired Scott Baker to be their staff CFI (see Scott Baker). In 2000, the Machados became shareholders in the company and moved to Sebastian, but leave a year later (unexpectedly). By the time they moved to Sebastian, Mark had built 5 aircraft. Mark is the registered builder on 2 Velocitys (N642JM and N131MM). While at Sebastian, Mark filled the role of Production Manager.
    by Published on 06/10/2002 12:33 PM

    Nancy MachadoNancy Machado
    Nancy Machado is Mark's wife, and as a full partner, helping to build and answer builder's questions. She appears to have filled the role of Event Coordinator and Sales Manager while in Sebastian.
    by Published on 06/10/2002 12:35 PM

    Scott BakerScott Baker - President of Velocity Aircraft/Director of Manufacturing - April 1998 - May 2010
    Scott started out with the Machado's at Velocity West/Composite Aero in April of 1998. According to the Velocity Views, he started out as their flight instructor. When the Machados closed Velocity West to move to Sebastian, he opened Sierra Bravo to continue assisting Velocity Builders. A few months after the Velocity Service Center was opened, Scott moved to Sebastian to manage it. Scott has held a variety of titles through his many years at Velocity, but the majority of his time has been spent as Production Manager.

    Sadly, Scott's time at Velocity has also come to an end in the recession of 2010. I understand that Velocity needs to be lean to survive, and as a builder I want and need them to survive. But times like this make me wonder at what cost, success? Scott is so much a part of our Velocity experience I can't really separate the two in my head. He was the one that worked us through the purchase paperwork. He was the welcoming face when we showed up at Head Start, and shepherded Elizabeth through her transition training. We we needed to repair our wing, he was the one answering the phone and assuring me that Velocity, that HE, would do whatever it took to get us back in the air. Scott has a giant heart and is a true gentlemen, and to say he will be missed is a weak tribute to his legacy. Yet I will miss him. All the best to you Scott.
    by Published on 06/10/2002 01:36 PM

    Brendan O'RiordanBrendan O'Riordan - Test Pilot/Trainer pre2000-December 2005?
    Brendan O'Riordan attended the University of Nebraska at Kearney, where he attained his fyling ratings and graduated from Utah State University in Logan Utah, where he received his A&P. He has been flying since 1990 with about 2300 hours logged to date. He holds both a CFII as well as an MEI ( multi-engine instructor). As a mechanic he has worked on planes from as small as 152's up to C-97's, DC-3's, C-130's and a couple other big radial and turbine airplanes that are used as firebombers. (BIO)

    I couldn't find any in-print data on Brendan, so these are my personal recollections. Brendan came to the factory as a test/demo/instructor pilot, and was featured prominently in the "Introduction" video that came in the intro pack you could order. Mine came on VHS, the new ones are on DVD, so I don't know if it's exactly the same or not. Brendan was great, and was a fixture on the airshow circuit, talking about the airplane. In time, he became the force behind keeping the manuals up-to-date, and managed some of the website updates, KPCs, and wrote the ever popular "Shit that Flys" column in the Velocity Views.

    Those who knew him were shocked and concerned when he went down in "Bob1", where the Brazilian Wings were found to be incorrectly constructed (either the winglet spars were missing, or where not properly bonded to the wings if I recall correctly) and caused winglet flutter. But, he did a nice job getting her to the runway, and suffered only minor injuries when she rolled onto her roof. Brendan left Velocity because there were no chicks to score in Sebastian. Really.
    by Published on 06/10/2002 01:38 PM

    Nathan RigaudNathan Rigaud - Test Pilot/Trainer - xx-late 2006
    Nathan joined velocity as the "new" CFI around x, and holds and ATP rating as well as being an A&P. Nathan married Rhonda, also from the factory. Nathan was a big fan of the Pitts, competing in S-2C in the IAC aerbotics champtionships, and formed (with John Cargill) 2Bums Aircraft to assist builders on the same field as the factory (60 W. Airport Drive).
    by Published on 06/10/2002 12:39 PM

    Ken BakerKen Baker - - February 2010
    I'm told that Ken Baker was raised in a cave by bears (I'll have to ask his father about that one someday).
    Other tidbits:
    • I lived in a hangar one year in Yuba City, CA building an XLRG and a Turbine Legend
    • I helped put myself through college building Lancair Legacy’s, IV-P’s and working on RVs
    • Before I came to Velocity I helped build the first two prototype aircraft for a UAV manufacturer using the Velocity airframe.
    • At Velocity I do our advertising design, the builder’s manual, the website, the parts department, technical support, all of our CAD design, technical writing, airshow organization, airshow sales support, and am the unofficial company aerial photographer. I also made the pretty Velocity sign at the front gate.

    Sadly, Ken's story at Velocity came to an end in February 2010. The economic downturn was hurting Velocity's bottom line, and Ken found greener pastures at Scaled Composites. Ken is a class act, and the Velocity family wishes him nothing but the best in his future endeavors
    by Published on 06/10/2002 01:41 PM

    Dan AndersonDan Anderson - Test Pilot/Trainer - April 2005-after May 2006
    Dan is a Certified Flight Instructor and led Velocity Flight Transition Training, demonstration rides, and helped out at air shows. In addition to his Velocity duties, Dan organized a flight school specializing in teaching new students to fly in the new Light Sport Aircraft and licensing program. (Velocity was branching out by organizing a small flight school that features the Fantasy Air Allegro 2000 aircraft, a Light Sport Aircraft imported from the Czech Republic). Unfortunately, Dan's stay with Velocity was short enough that I didn't really get to know him.
    by Published on 06/10/2002 01:42 PM

    John AbrahamJohn Abraham - Test Pilot/Trainer - May 2007-Current
    John Abraham.
    by Published on 06/10/2002 01:43 PM

    Don Hauck - Vice President of Sales - April 2008-Current email
    Don is a commercial multi-engine instrument pilot and the former Southwest Regional Sales Manager for Columbia Aircraft where his responsibilities include prospecting new leads through networking, contact with flight schools, referrals, and trade shows. Don earned the position of top salesman for 2006. Additionally, Don is a flight instructor, having received his CFI in 2000 and since then working in affiliated with Orange County Flight Center as flight instructor. In less than two years, Don earner the following certifications: Certified Flight Instructor (CFI), Certified Flight Instructor - Instrument (CFII), Multi-engine Instructor (MEI), Instrument Ground Instructor (IGI), and Advanced Ground Instructor (AGI). Previously, Don owned Western Printing, a midsize printing company in Newport Beach, California, specializing in small businesses printing.
    by Published on 06/10/2002 12:44 PM
    Granger B. Whitelaw

    Granger B. Whitelaw - Vice President of Sales - April 2008-about 2010 email
    Granger Whitelaw served as President and Chief Executive Officer ...

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