The Smith Special also known as "Smitty's Termite" or simply the Smith Termite is a single place homebuilt aircraft built primarily out of wood.[2]

Smith Special "Termite"
Smith Termite - Oregon Air and Space Museum - Eugene, Oregon - DSC09872.jpg
Smith Termite in the Oregon Air and Space Museum
Role Single-seat Homebuilt aircraft
National origin United States
Manufacturer Termite Aircraft
Designer Wilbur L. Smith
First flight Feb 10 1957
Unit cost
approximately $1150 to build in 1971[1]

Design and developmentEdit

Wilbur L. Smith, was an experienced wooden construction aircraft homebuilder, having built a Pietenpol Sky Scout in 1930.[3] He designed the Termite using chalk on a basement floor. Don Cookman later drew up the plans.

The aircraft is a braced parasol wing monoplane with all-wood construction. The exception being the motor mount, struts and landing gear are made out of steel. It was designed to use an engine from an Aeronca aircraft. Spruce was used as the structural material with birch plywood covering. The spars are from an Aeronca K. The controls are modified from a Piper Cub. The aircraft does not have brakes or a tailwheel.[4]

Operational historyEdit

A Continental A-40 was installed after an engine failure resulted in a forced landing, flipping the aircraft on its back during testing.[4]

Aircraft on displayEdit

The Smith Special "Termite" is displayed at the Oregon Air & Space Museum in Eugene, Oregon. The fabric covering has been removed to show the all wood construction.[5]

Specifications (Smith Special "Termite")Edit

Data from Sport Aviation

General characteristics

  • Capacity: 1
  • Length: 16 ft 5 in (5.00 m)
  • Wingspan: 23 ft (7.0 m)
  • Airfoil: Clark Y
  • Empty weight: 394 lb (179 kg)
  • Gross weight: 628 lb (285 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Aeronca E113-C , 36 hp (27 kW)
  • Propellers: 2-bladed


  • Maximum speed: 81 kn (93 mph, 150 km/h)
  • Cruise speed: 70 kn (80 mph, 130 km/h)
  • Stall speed: 28 kn (32 mph, 51 km/h)
  • Range: 170 nmi (200 mi, 320 km)
  • Service ceiling: 8,000 ft (2,400 m)
  • Rate of climb: 450 ft/min (2.3 m/s)

See alsoEdit

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era


  1. ^ Leo J. Kohn (Winter 1971). "The true cost of building your own plane". Air Trails: 63.
  2. ^ Air Progress Sport Aircraft: 74. Winter 1969. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ Sport Aviation. February 1960. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ a b "Smitty's "Termite"". Sport Aviation. January 1958.
  5. ^ "Oregon Air & Space Museum". Retrieved April 13, 2011.