Lionheart began as the personal, passion-driven project of Larry French. Stemming from his admiration of the vintage Beechcraft Model 17 Staggerwing, Larry set himself on a journey to recreate the 1930’s era legend by using modern aircraft production techniques. The maiden flight was on July 27, 1997. Just a few days later Lionheart made its public debut at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. Within 9 months five kits were sold. A dream-turned-reality coincidentally seated Mr. French firmly in the owner’s seat of a brand new company: Griffon Aerospace.
Lionheart is a Cabin Class aircraft measuring about 20 feet from firewall to rudder. Due to the compact shape of the stagger wing, it can be constructed in a relatively small space. Interior cabin volume and seating is similar to a Piper Malibu, but wider at the shoulders. The primary structure is made of high-temperature carbon fiber composite molded in precision production tooling. Since the composite build offers so much rigidity Griffon was able to forgo wing uprights, which results in a very slick and eye-catching overall shape. The heartbeat comes from the well-proven and powerful Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp Jr. radial engine.