Three engineering siblings launch a company and the home-built airplane of their dreams

Growing up in tiny Frederic, Wisconsin, the Karl brothers were always tinkering. Always building something — “or taking things apart, probably more often than building things,” says oldest brother Ryley Karl, laughing.

Nobody’s laughing now. DarkAero, the company launched by the Karl brothers in 2017 after they all quit their corporate jobs and pooled their savings, has grown into a full-service provider of aerospace composites training, classes and consulting, in addition to manufacturing and selling its signature product: an experimental kit airplane called the DarkAero 1, which is headed into flight testing this summer and already has more than 150 preorders from interested customers.

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Note: All three of the Karl brothers studied engineering at UW–Madison.