Billy Miller’s eye-catching Thatcher CX4

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There’s a sporty little gem tucked away in a hangar at Montgomery County Airport in North Carolina, when its builder and pilot, Billy Miller, isn’t flying it in those “Carolina blue” skies.

This plans-built Thatcher CX4 (S/N 426) is one of only 70 CX4s listed on the FAA Registry as of May 2020. N426F received its airworthiness certificate Dec. 28, 2017 — and Billy is one proud “papa” of Guardian.  

Billy is 6-feet tall and finds the 23-inch wide cockpit quite comfortable.

As a child, Billy used to ride bicycles with his brother to Moore County Airport to look at airplanes and play in a derelict AT-6 that sat on the ramp. He also built plastic models of airplanes, and finally, at age 48 in 1994, he decided to learn to fly. He took flying lessons in a Piper Tomahawk and earned his certificate in less than six months. 

“I flew for a while renting the plane, and then it got hard to get it when students were flying it — it just wasn’t available,” recalls Billy. “About 20 years later, I joined the EAA Chapter at Gilliam-McConnell Airfield and got to helping an A&P/IA work on airplanes. That’s what really got me back into flying. The mechanic ended up being airport manager at Montgomery County Airport (43A), and I helped him build engines and work on planes. During that time I saw the Thatcher aircraft in a magazine and I just got it in my head that I wanted to build that plane.” 


David Thatcher of Pensacola, Florida, designed the CX4, introducing his prototype to the experimental world during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2004. The attractive, all metal airplane immediately garnered attention from admirers, and plans were soon being sold to prospective builders in numerous countries. 

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