Denney Aerocraft produced the first Kitfox kit in November of 1984 in a small factory in Boise, Idaho. The Kitfox was designed as a lightweight, two-place sport aircraft with excellent STOL (Short Takeoff and Landing) performance and the ability to operate from short and unimproved airfields. The Kitfox features folding wings and is easily trailered, allowing owners to share hangar space or keep their Kitfox's at home in a single car garage. Six Model 1 Kitfox's were delivered that first year. Since 1984, over 5,000 Kitfox kits have been delivered to builders throughout the United States, Canada, and over 42 foreign countries. Under Dan Denney’s leadership, the Kitfox evolved from the original Model 1 to continually improved versions referred to as the Models 2, 3, 4, andClassic 4.
In June 1992, SkyStar Aircraft Corporation purchased the rights to produce the Kitfox kit from Denney Aerocraft. SkyStar immediately began development of a completely new Kitfox, the Series 5. This larger aircraft was designed to fit the needs of a growing segment of the marketplace that wanted a “Weekend Cruiser.” These pilots wanted a recreational airplane that combined the best attributes of the Kitfox with greater useful loads, certified engines, increased cabin space, and larger cargo capacity. The Series 5, which offered both a taildragger (the Outback/Safari) and a tri-gear (the Vixen/Voyager) configuration, answered these requests and became one of the most successful introductions in the history of the kit plane industry.
In January of 2000, an employee group acquired SkyStar Aircraft, and an exciting new chapter began for the SkyStar team. SkyStar announced the new Kitfox Series 6, an airplane that incorporated all of the best features of all versions of the Series 5. The Series 5 evolved into the Series 6, and then the Series 7. In October of 2005, Skystar encountered financial difficulties and ceased operations.
In April of 2006, the assets of Skystar were acquired by Kitfox Aircraft LLC, a newly formed organization operated by John and Debra McBean. The McBean's own and operate Sportplane LLC, a Kitfox specialty supply firm they founded after John's departure from Skystar in 2003.
The Denney Kitfox is a series of small personal kit aircraft with folding wings that was originally designed and manufactured by Dan Denney and his company Denney Aerocraft of Boise, Idaho.
The Kitfox is unique in that it was one of the first designs to make popular a quickly folding wing that greatly eased transportation and storage. The aircraft is amateur-built and not type certifiedand was originally designed to accommodate a Rotax engine.
The large appeal of the aircraft was in large part due to the fact it could be built by any handyman in a two car garage and then towed to the airport with the wings folded. The design allowed for easy conversion to floats or skis. Over 4500 kits have been delivered in 42 different countries.
When it was first flown in November 1984 from the Denney Aerocraft factory in Boise, Idaho, the first Kitfox was a two-seat short take off and landing STOL aircraft capable of flying from unimproved strips. The Model 1 Kitfox features folding wings and was intended to be towed home from the airport and stored in a garage. Originally the design was intended to use a new radial engine in development at the time and the early Kitfoxes had round cowls with bumps to accommodate the radial heads. The engine did not work out and the design moved to using Rotax two-stroke engines instead, but the popular style radial cowling was retained on many models. In 1984 a total of six Model 1 Kitfoxes were delivered and then the model range was expanded to include the improved Models 2, 3, 4, and Classic 4.
In June 1992 Denney Aerocraft sold the rights to the design to SkyStar Aircraft. Skystar started work on a new aircraft, the Kitfox Series 5. This aircraft was designed to be larger, with an increased useful load, cabin and cargo space. It was also intended to use certified aircraft engines. The Series 5 was produced as a conventional landing gear-equipped aircraft with the namesOutback and Safari and also as a tricycle landing gear equipped aircraft, the Vixen and Voyager. An employee group took over SkyStar Aircraft in January 2000. The reorganized company launched the new Kitfox Series 6. Later in 2000 the company also introduced the Kitfox Lite Squared, a lightened version of the Kitfox Classic 4, as a two seat ultralight trainer for the single seat ultralight Kitfox Lite.
In 2002, SkyStar introduced the Kitfox Series 7. This aircraft featured cruise speeds of up to 160 miles per hour (257 km/h) and a service ceiling above 25,000 feet (7,620 m). The new Series 7 fit the then-proposed Federal Aviation Administration Light Sport Aircraft category better than the Lite Squared and became the company's model for this market. As the LSA rules were further developed and gross weights increased, it became evident that a special version of the Kitfox Series 7, to be known as the Kitfox Sport, would not be needed and that all three Kitfoxes then in production - the Lite, Classic 4 and Series 7 would meet the revised the LSA category definition.
In late 2005 SkyStar Aircraft filed for bankruptcy. In April 2006, the assets of Skystar were purchased by Kitfox Aircraft, a newly formed company owned by John and Debra McBean. John McBean is a former SkyStar employee, having left the company in 2003.