About James

jamesJames and Kathy Wiebe previously developed and marketed digital forensic computer storage devices as the founders of Wichita-based enterprise, WiebeTech LLC. They acquired the tooling, existing parts and manufacturing rights of an older aircraft in March of 2009. James immediately began improving and reinventing this design, and has created the new Belite aircraft.

James is an avid pilot, having begun his flying career at Cessna Aircraft as a summer intern in 1978. James recalled that he was unable to join the flying club, due to the waiting list at that time. He was unexpectedly moved to second shift in the middle of the summer, and as a result, was able to start his pilot training. Two months later  he passed his check ride.

James has combined his passion for flying with the creativity and experience he demonstrated in his previous business ventures. He has developed new lightweight processes which he has incorporated into the Belite airplane’s structure to keep the Belite well below the 254 pound limit specified in FAR Part 103.

At EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) AirVenture 2011 (Oshkosh) James was awarded the prestigious “Dr. August Raspet Memorial Award” for outstanding contributions to the advancement of the design of light aircraft and the Experimental Aircraft Association.

In October 2011, the Belite Aircraft was featured on Discovery Channel’s “MythBusters,” where the myth was confirmed that a duck-taped aircraft can fly.  A Belite Aircraft performed the feat, and  James flew the plane.

4 thoughts on “About James

  1. Thanks James for the blog and your efforts over the years:
    The engine comments are most appreciated, and I can understand people liking that VW i/2 for power. I myself drove a VW years ago that blew a valve but still drove it home that was 150 miles away yet.
    If I can come up with the money, would not hesitate to buy a Belight as my medical condition would require me to go to ultralites
    Started flying in 1957, bought a 1939 J-3 cub with a 65 lycoming engine (rare) for $700.00, put 300 hours on the cub, then got my private, commercial, multi engine, instrument, commercial helicopter, helicopter sling load certificate, commercial helicopter flight instructor rating with 10,000 hours, with 52 aircraft checked out.
    A piper cub will fly sideways if one cross controls in a 40 mph headwind, and controls the power throttle.
    This is not about me, but if the Belite flys similiar to the J-3 cub, its the ultralite for me.
    40 mph in a piper cub? Yes when flying fire patrol for the forestry service, and landing the width of the runway, not the length.
    When flying lite airplanes, on the ground use above normal power settings and brakes when taxing to more air over the control to keep from getting flipped over.

    Ralph

    • Feel I must respond to my last post regarding the VW car that blew a valve. The engine had 100,000 miles on it. I bought it for 200.00 in 1976 and it was running on 3 cylinders. Front spark plug had no electrode, Taking the plug out the threads were stripped. Put a heli coil in and installed a new plug. Run fine for a year.
      Drove it about 150 miles to Casey, Illinois to instruct 2 people to solo in a Bell 47-G5 helicopter The airport manager and his son wanted to get their helicopter rating, and had bought the helicopter. They both flew Cessna Ag wagons in their spray operation.
      So besides the training them I got my Ag spray license and did a little spraying in the Ag wagons.
      I soloed both of them in the helicopter and restricted them to 100 feet above the ground. The Airport managers wife told her husband no more helicopter flying and to sell it.
      Got into the old VW, and headed home, and thats when I dropped a valve
      So if I give the impression that the VW engine was not a good engine to fly behind, I hope this corrects that,
      Getting home I went back to flying charter at Byerleys Aviation in Peoria, Illinois flying almost all Aero Commanders including the Aero Commander 1000.
      So looking forward I would love to fly behind that 1/2 VW engine in the belite.

      Ralph

  2. Hi James. My name is Ben. I really enjoyed reading your review on the polini 250. Have you had much time to put any more hrs on it? If so, has it continued to run reliably(exhaust starter gear shaft etc?). I’m currently averaging around 100 hrs per engine on my vittorazi 185 and minaris. And my vitro keeps eating exhausts ever 20-30 hrs, so for about 10lb more, this motor looks quite interesting.

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