About Wild West Aircraft Nampa, Idaho
My name is Steve Henry I live in Nampa, Idaho. My EAA number is 767865. My Airplane is a Just Aircraft/Wild West Aircraft Highlander that I put my own special touches and modifications on. When we built our first Highlander about 15 years ago we painted it bright yellow with blue trim. Because of some videos that I made flying this airplane I became known by my yellow colored aircraft and so I have just stuck with it on my subsequent planes.
It took me about six months to build this airplane at home in my shop. One nice feature about the Highlander is the folding wings, so that I can easily roll it out the door and trailer it to the airport once I have it completed. I worked on it basically full-time for about six months building this aircraft. It took about 1000 hours.
This aircraft has a Yamaha four-cylinder, four cycle 1000 cc, 150 hp engine. It is the second Highlander that I have built with the Yamaha and I am liking them a lot! I build my own motor mount, exhaust header, air-box, throttle assembly, coolant tank etc. it is definitely more work than putting a traditional aircraft engine but I like this engine so much that I think is worth the extra effort. I am willing to make these special parts for others who may want to put the Yamaha on their Highlander or SuperSTO. I flew it for 160 hours or so with a Rotax gearbox adapted to it and it worked just fine. But there is now a gearbox made just for the Yamaha Apex engine by Skytrax in Arizona and that is what I have been using for about the last 65 hours of flight time. It is much heavier duty and is rated for much higher horsepower which opens the door for turbocharging these engines! These engines are used in snowmobiles and people have been turbo charging them for years so there is already a lot of knowledge and history to go on.
I have actually started building myself a new Highlander with the Yamaha turbo charged engine as well as a completely different wing that I am building from scratch. My avionics are mostly from Grand Rapids Technologies. I have one of their engine monitors and also their sport ex efis. I do make several modifications to my Highlander including but not limited to slightly extended wings and flaps, a leading edge cuff on the wings, reshaped ailerons, the Yamaha firewall forward, a larger header tank and many other small details. I covered it with the Oratex fabric system and I am very pleased with it. My main landing gear legs and shock struts are made by Shock Monster. The tail wheel is a Tundra Lite mounted on the same swing arm and shock system that comes on the Just Aircraft SuperSTOL. I have Beringer wheels and brakes. I use 29 inch Alaskan Bushwheel tires. Having good suspension and tires is incredible for the off airport flying that I like to do. It holds 32 gallons of fuel which gives me good range burning 3 to 6 gallons per hour.I stayed motivated during the build process just by looking forward to the completed airplane and being able to fly it! I do have to break it down into segments though, it is pretty daunting to think of building the whole airplane. I really do try to just take it one day at a time and one step at a time.
I flew to Valdez, Alaska, in 2014 and got 3rd place in the toughest class, Alternate Bush. At the High Sierra STOL Drag competition in Nevada, I won 1st place in 2016, came in a close 2nd place in 2017 and got second fastest time in 2018.
I have been winning various STOL competitions and won 1st place for the last two years at Oshkosh. I also received the Charles Lindbergh Reserve Grand Champion Award for Light Sport Plane in 2018.
I really enjoy Xtreme off airport flying And this is a perfect aircraft for landing and taking off in short radical places. Another of my favorite things to do in this airplane is flying in short takeoff and landing competitions as well as the STOL drag race at the High Sierra Fly-in in Nevada. I have a YouTube channel in my name you can check out if you would like to see how I like to fly. Building, flying and successfully competing in the aircraft that I built has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done!