James 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.