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CHOTIA-VORNDRAN JC-24-B “Weedhopper”

John Chotia designed the Weedhopper in the late 1970s with the goal of creating a low cost, fun, safe airplane. After eighteen hang gliders and five powered ultralights, the Weedhopper was the culmination of all John’s designs. This slow reinvention of the airplane allowed John to re-evaluate just how much structural complexity was necessary.

The final design came down to just ten simple points. The Weedhopper was powered (in order to be independent of wind and hills), the wing structure was rigid (to retain stability and safety), it could be aerodynamically controlled, and was capable of lifting an adult. The wheels on the Weedhopper allowed “less than athletic” people fly in safety, ground handling was easy and convenient, and the landing gear was stable. The structure was simple, low cost, and rugged, was easily portable, and only required one person to set up.

The Weedhopper was flown in moderate turbulence and handled it quite well, the only problem being low speed and high drag. This allowed sudden gusts to sap momentum and forced the pilot to use more power. The Weedhopper was powered by an 18 hp Chotia 440 two-cycle engine.

The Weedhopper opened a new area of recreational flying. It was low cost, yet still safe, functional and not underpowered or difficult to fly. After 12 years of carrying the cost and effort of development, John enlisted the help of Ultra Systems, Inc. to promote and produce the Weedhopper. Many Weedhoppers were built and flown in the 1980s.

Pete Petrillo donated his Weedhopper to the EAA AirVenture Museum in 1989.

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