Heath Kit Airplanes

Did you ever assemble a Heathkit short-wave radio, or hi-fi amplifier?
If so, you remember that Heathkits came as a pile of parts, with an extremely well-written book of directions (…insert a 300 ohm resistor into the holes marked R1, and solder one leg of capacitor C2…) With decent assembly skills, and almost no knowledge of electricity, you were able to build your own radio at a price considerably below the cost of an already assembled unit.

You probably did not know that the original “Heath Kit” was not a radio – it was an airplane! In 1926, Ed Heath produced the first Heath Parasol – using a modified Henderson DeLuxe four cylinder motorcycle engine.

You could buy a Parasol, fly-away, Chicago, for $975. If you couldn't afford that, you could buy it, less the engine, for $690.

Still too much? Okay. You could buy it in kit form. The kit came in eleven groups. The first group cost $12.47. The total cost of the eleven groups, less the engine, was $199. Still too much? Well, you could buy the blueprints for $5 and get your own materials.

The only tools necessary to assemble one of the kits were a pair of small pliers, screwdriver, hacksaw (with plenty of blades), hammer, small hand drill, chisel, center punch, file and drill.

Heath B4 Engine
New England Air Museum
See link below for more pics

Overhead Valve Heath-Henderson
w/propellor and hub: $390
DeLuxe version (pictured) $325

The Ed Heath Story
EAA 865 - Home of the Heaths
EAA 231 - More about Ed Heath

The Heath B4 (DeLuxe Conversion) engine
Heath B4 & Parasol pics

Heathkit electronic kits
Wikipedia article