HP-18J, Twin Turbine Self-Launch Homebuilt Sailplane
Chris Esselstyn has been a Sales Engineer in the Pattern Making/Tool and Die manufacturing industry in SE Wisconsin for 31 years. His aviation ratings are SEL with Instrument and Glider additions. His hands-on building background started as a pattern maker and was fueled by his love for experimental aviation and the EAA Oshkosh airshow each summer. His father was also a great influence with his builds of an RS-15 sailplane and numerous other father/son projects during his youth. Over the last four decades Chris has built four experimental airplanes; three scratch-built canard composite airplanes, and the turbine-powered HP-18J sailplane. He has accumulated over 3,000 hours of flight time in his own home-built experimental aircraft and now spends more time in gliders than powered aircraft. In 2010 he transitioned from powered experimental aircraft to sailplanes and built the turbine-powered HP-18J. Most of his composite construction experience was developed through the Rutan aircraft plans built aircraft builds. He is currently working on his latest project — a salvaged ASW27, with turbine additions for self-launch and sustained flight. Chris’s wife Cathleen has been supporting his hobby and his passion for aviation and experimental aircraft throughout their marriage.