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Update December 2014; Legal Eagle XL-58 is no longer in my custody, it has moved on to a new owner. However, this site remains as an aid to those considering a Legal Eagle and to assist current builders. I enjoyed XL-58 immensely but needed to make room for new projects. My deepest graditude to Leonard Milholland and the host of Eaglers I have communicated with while enjoying the Eagle experience. Blue Skies!   

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Welcome to Sam Buchanan's Legal Eagle XL project web page! This site includes construction details of the fabrication of my Legal Eagle ultralight aircraft (serial number XL-58). This plans-built aircraft is designed to be easily constructed with conventional aircraft techniques and is powered by a half-VW engine. The Legal Eagle was designed by Leonard Milholland, and plans are available from Leonard in Brookshire, Texas. The Eagle XL is the latest version of the single-place Legal Eagle and represents a subtle upsizing for larger pilots while remaining in the realm of legal ultralights.

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You know you've achieved perfection in design, not when you have nothing more to add,
but when you have nothing more to take away.   

--Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Why We Fly (a video featuring XL-58) 

XL-58 YouTube Channel

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Flying XL-58 (operational notes including the following updates)

New Gear
Trim Tab
Elevator Stops
Tie Down Rings
Aileron Gap Seals
Modified Tail Group

Construction and Flying XL-58 Featured in EAA Webinar
watch Sam present the webinar here

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The Legal Eagle is not my first shop project. The past two decades have had my shop busy with three airplane projects, a Stalker V6 kit car, two VW restorations, a custom truck, and the occasional cedar strip canoe project. The RV Journal is the detailed website that details the construction of my RV-6 which has been flying since September, 1999. I also serve as a Technical Counselor for the Experimental Aircraft Association and a moderator for the largest Vans Aircraft online community.

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Sam Buchanan's RV6 project, N399SB

So...if there is an RV-6 available to fly whenever the mood strikes, why the desire to build a pokey little ultralight? The answer probably revolves around an interest in returning to my aviation roots which were R/C and light aircraft. My first full-scale aircraft project was a Fisher Flying Products Super Koala, and that was quickly followed by a TEAM Minimax. Both aircraft were a delight to fly, but two-hundred hours was deemed all the two-stroke engine experience I wanted.

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These aircraft were the precursor to a restoration of a 1940 J-3 Cub which delivered an enormous amount of flying enjoyment. It is the desire to recapture some of the Cub experience with minimal cost, very little operating expense, and freedom from the regulatory restraints of certificated aviation that is the motivation for this project. The fact the Legal Eagle has a steel tube fuse pushed me into adding gas welding to my shop skills.

I hope you enjoy following the construction of my little plane. Low-n-slow flyin'.....we're back!

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This site is intended for entertainment purposes only. This site is not affiliated with Leonard Milholland in any way. The construction info on this site pertains only to the fabrication of Legal Eagle XL #58; if you use this site as a guide for building your Legal Eagle you are a gullible individual indeed! All aircraft projects should be overseen and inspected by folks who know something about aircraft construction.

Please submit all questions and comments to the editor of this site.

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Building Log for Sam's
Legal Eagle XL

Shop Prep and Preliminary Planning

Building the Tail Surfaces

Building the Ribs

Building the Fuselage
Page One
Page Two

Building the Fuselage

Building the
Landing Gear

Building the
Fuel Tank

Building the Seat

Building the Wing

Firewall Forward
page one
page two
page three

Lift Reserve Indicator

Final Assembly
Page One
Page Two
Page Three

Flying XL-58

Video Camera

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"Working Smart"
How to Maximize Shop Time

an article by Sam

Updates to XL plans

The Legal Eagle Yahoo Group

The 1/2VW Yahoo Group

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Hummel 1/2VW Engines

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Meco Midget Torch

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Great Plains
1/2VW Engines

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Aircraft Spruce


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Wicks Aircraft


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Slick Magneto
Overhaul Manual

Articles on Float Design and Construction