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  Aircraft History, Specification and Information
Stits Playboy
2001 Stits Playboy SA-3A - C-GIIP
2001 Stits Playboy SA-3A - C-GIIP (sn P824)
Photo taken Aug. 18, 2005
Chilliwack Airport, BC - Canada (YCW / CYCW)
Photo © Marcel Siegenthaler

The Stits SA-3A Playboy (also called the Stitts SA-3A Playboy) is a single seat, strut-braced low-wing monoplane that was designed by Ray Stits for amateur construction. The aircraft was designed and the prototype was completed in a three month period during 1952. The design went on to become one of the most influential in the post-war boom in aircraft homebuilding.

A side-by-side two seat version is known as the SA-3B.

N617K Stits Playboy SA-3B
Stits Playboy SA-3B
N617K (sn P-2970)
Photo taken Jul. 14, 2007 @ Arlington Northwest EAA Fly-In July 2007 Arlington, WA USA (KAWO)
Photo © Marcel Siegenthaler

Design and development

The Playboy was the third of fifteen different aircraft designs created by Stits, who migrated in the 1960s from selling plans to developing the Polyfiber line of aircraft coverings and related paint formulas.

The Playboy was designed to be constructed from either plans or from a series of partial kits. The construction is mixed with the fuselage made from welded steel and the wings built from wood. The aircraft is fabric-covered and incorporates a sliding canopy. The aircraft is unusual in that the low wings are strut-braced.

The engine range is from 85 to 160 hp (63 to 119 kW) with the 85 hp (63 kW) Continental C-85 the most commonly used.

The first in the series of Van's Aircraft designed by Richard VanGrunsven, the Van's Aircraft RV-1 was a modified Playboy and directly lead to the Van's Aircraft RV-3 and the highly successful RV line of aircraft.

Operational history

Having been sold in 1955, the prototype Playboy passed through several owners' hands before being donated to the Experimental Aircraft Association. Ray Stits was the first member of Chapter 1. That plane is now in the Airventure Museum in Oshkosh, WI.

Canada's first licenced amateur-built aircraft was a highly modified Playboy that was built by Keith S. Hopkinson. Hopkinson used the basic Playboy design and incorporated a Piper J-3 cowling, a Cessna 170 propeller spinner, de Havilland Tiger Moth wing struts, Cessna 140 conventional landing gear and Stinson 108 wheel pants.

In March 2010 there were still 41 Playboys registered in the USA, six in Canada and two in the UK.


  • SA-3A
    Single seat version
  • SA-3B
    Two seats in side-by-side configuration version
  • Super Playboy
    A one-off design with two foot wing extentions powered by a 150hp Franklin

Aircraft on display

  • Canada Aviation Museum - first Canadian homebuilt aircraft, modified Playboy C-FRAD
  • EAA AirVenture Museum - prototype Playboy N8KK

Specifications (SA-3A)

General characteristics
Crew: one
Length: 17 ft 4 in (5.28 m)
Wingspan: 22 ft 2 in (6.76 m)
Height: 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Wing area: 96 sq ft (8.9 m2)
Empty weight: 600 lb (272 kg)
Gross weight: 902 lb (409 kg)
Fuel capacity: 14 US gallons (53 litres)
Powerplant: 1 × Continental C-85 four cylinder, four-stroke piston engine, 85 hp (63 kW)

Maximum speed: 145 mph (233 km/h; 126 kn)
Cruise speed: 130 mph (113 kn; 209 km/h)
Range: 400 mi (348 nmi; 644 km)
Service ceiling: 12,000 ft (3,658 m)
Rate of climb: 1,050 ft/min (5.3 m/s)

Last updated Jaune 08, 2012
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Stits Playboy".
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