Mite of the Month for June, 2001
Ernie Buenting's N496M is a 1951 M-18C, serial number 246. Ernie bought this Mite as a project without an engine in the Santa Anna area in 1967. He added a Continental A75 engine out of an Aeronca Champ, did the woodwork and fabric and got it going. It has remained basically unchanged since he finished it in 1972. With regular doses of lubrication, maintenance and fuel, it has served him well over all these years.
Ernie, of Upland, CA has mostly done California flying in his little airplane. 496M has only the basic VFR instrumentation. If you look closely you will notice that it has an unusual sloped windshield and external chrome heat muff on the exhaust.
Ernie had a patch of bad luck in N496M. He lost a propeller when the right main gear collapsed. He says this serves as a good reminder to all Mite owners to make sure the gear are set to over-centre when adjusting the retraction system.
Photo credits: Dave Rutherford, Michael Harms