Keath Toney worked as a building contractor (most recently in Florida) before moving here to be near his aging father. He now resides in the White Knoll area of Lexington, SC. [UPDATE: Keath moved to a new location near Rutherfordton, NC in October, 2010. He is now making new friends there, keeps his plane at a local airport, and even has his own flying strip at his home. We wish him the best of luck in the future.]
He bought the above red and yellow Kolb Mark III (with a Rotax 582 engine) experimental aircraft in the summer of 2008. He has been diligently working on it since then ... making improvements, getting the instruments working, buying communications and navigational gear (radio, headsets, intercom, GPS), testing the engine, etc. The above photos were taken on his first outing at Gaston Airport (2SC8) on November 11th, 2008. Randy and Keath fast taxiied the plane down the runway several times on that date, but a blown regulator (due to shorted battery) curtailed any further activities.
Keath has been trying to get into the air in his Mark III for the past couple of years. Unfortunately, he has experienced a number of setbacks and frustrations. Once he got everything on the plane working properly, he had to find someone willing and able to fly the plane for the first time. Although several pilots fast taxiied the plane, it was Mike Newman of the Carolina Sport Flyers (based in Hollyhill) who finally flew the plane for the first time in July, 2009. Then, Keath had difficulty finding a CFI willing to instruct him in his own plane. Recently, CFII, Mark DiBlasi, agreed to take Keath on as his student. Finally, Keath has cleared all those hurdles and soloed in early March, 2010. He is now looking forward to accumulating some serious flying hours as a student pilot working towards his sport pilot rating.
Also, Keath spent a lot of time working on an open trailer to transport the Mark III. Although it worked pretty well, the wind and road took it's toll on the Mark III. Recently, Keath and Randy worked out a trade in which Keath got Randy's enclosed 30' trailer (shown in background below), so Keath now has his own portable hangar, although he hopes to eventually find a more permanent hangar. Here are several photos taken on August 9th at Gaston Airport.
Below are some of the most recent photos taken by Eddie Price on March 20th, 2010 of Keath flying and taxiing in after the flight. It was fairly windy that day too with a crosswind (see windsock). Congratulations Keath ... looking good!
Oh, did I mention that Keath is also an avid RC flyer? He has just completed an exact RC replica of his Kolb Mark III. Click the thumbnail below for more photos.