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Robert H. Starr
Robert Huie Starr
|Known for||Worlds' Smallest Airplane Guinness Title|
Robert H. Starr (February 6, 1924 – June 15, 2009) was the designer, builder and pilot of The World's Smallest Piloted Airplane, the Starr Bumble Bee II. The Guinness Book of Records awarded The Bumble Bee the official world record title in 1985.
After his military service he flew P-51, 44's and F-86's in the California Air National Guard and spent a year on active duty with Air Defense off the southern California coast. During his duty with Air Defense Command he was scrambled to investigate bogies in radar range off the California coast. From Starr's memoirs: "On several occasions, me and my wing man had visual confirmation of what could only be described as a UFO, mostly cigar shaped objects with no visible means of propulsion and yet each time we gave chase at full throttle, they left us behind as if we were standing still. I had many experiences with UFO sightings during my time with the Air National Guard".
Flying small planes
In 1950, Starr was the primary test pilot of the previous world's smallest airplane record holders named Sky Baby and Stits SA-1A Junior. The partnership on the Sky Baby project ended, but he knew he could build a smaller more stable airplane. So, in 1980 at the age of 60 he designed and built the Bumble Bee I which he flew on January 28, 1984. He made modifications on his design and then built the Bumble Bee II the following year. He flew the Bumble Bee II on May 8, 1988 and broke his previous record. During one of the subsequent flights of the Bumble Bee II, the engine failed on downwind and the plane was destroyed in the resulting crash. Starr sustained serious injuries in the crash but subsequently recovered. The Bumble Bee I world record holder plane is on permanent display at the Pima Air & Space Museum in Tucson, Arizona.
In civilian life he had participated in most of the largest Air Shows in the United States and had also been a test pilot for experimental aircraft over the years.
- Death certificate
- "Smallest aircraft". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 2021-08-31.
- Trenner, Tricia (May 2006). "Think Small". Air & Space Smithsonian. 21 (1): 55.
- "Stits SA-2A Sky Baby". Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 2021-08-31.
- "Flight of the Bumble Bee Airplane • Disciples of Flight". 2013-04-19. Retrieved 2021-08-31.
- "No. 2443: Dornier X". uh.edu. Retrieved 2021-08-31.