Wednesday, May 30, 2007

EAA 105 newsletter posted

One of the finest -- if not the finest -- EAA newsletters in the hemisphere (and beyond) is EAA Chapter 105 in Oregon. It's the "home wing" and it's usually RV intensive.

This month's version was posted tonight by Benton Holzwarth, the unsung hero of the RV world as far as I'm concerned. It's got details and NOTAM for the Van's Homecoming, which is moving to Scapoose this year. There's also a write-up of the annual visit to Van's.

Len Kaufman wrote an excellent article on ELTS. The old 121.5 models are being phased out. Now, when I was at the SportAir workshop in January, Dick Koehler said you might as well stay with them since they're cheaper. But now I'm not so sure.

Question that came as I browsed the Yahoogroup tonight. Do all the new fancy glass EFIS units require capacitive fuel senders?

Oh, that reminds me, the RVator arrived at Casa Collins this week. The most interesting item was the RV-12 stall speed. The LSA apparently is apparently stalling higher than the required speed under the light-sport rules. They've tried everything, Ken Scott reported, but nothing has worked so far. So there'll be some redesign of the wing. I'm really interested in the RV-12, although the picture of Ken sitting in it looked like pretty cramped.

It was quite a treat tonight to check Van's Air Force's front page (which I do every night) and see Doug Reeves sending me happy birthday wishes. Yep, May 31 -- 53 years old. I have no idea how it happened. Of course the answer is it happened one year at a time, one week at a time, one day at a time....

I stuck a BBQ update in the VAF forums earlier Wednesday. We're up to about 220 people so far.

Vicarious flight

If you're an armchair flyer -- as am I these days -- then two travelogues are worth your time today -- both on VAF. Here's a trip to South Dakota. And here's a trip to Scapoose for transition training in an RV-10.

My favorite of the month, though, is still T.C. Chang's flight down the New York City corridor. See RV Hotline.

Our Daily Thread - I'm not sure there has been a hotter thread in months than "the perfect" panel on the RV-10 list. Get your calculators out.

TIPS - Tim Olson has just updated his page that is devoted to RV-10 options. Go there.

Now, obviously, I was on Tim's site this morning, but I missed this one. Fortunately, Tim dropped me a line this morning to tell me about it. "Hopefully people will at least spend the time to do a good
job on their panels," he said.

Now if you followed the RV Hotline for the year-plus I worked on it, you know that I've found lots of stuff on panel design. This is one of the best I've read yet.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

An emergency landing executed flawlessly

The big story today is a nice emergency landing by an RV-8. Well "nice", perhaps, isn't the right word. There's nothing "nice" about having to make an emergency landing. But it certainly was a nice outcome. I've not heard of either of these pilots. It's funny, really, how you begin to recognize all of the online RVers, and begin to think that everyone who's building is online. Obviously, that's not the case.

Anyway, they landed in a field after initially checking out a golf course. I've thought a lot about whether golf courses make good places to land. And since I played (and I use that term loosely) a game yesterday, I checked out the distance between foursomes to see if landing would be possible. It would certainly require short-field technique, but even if a golf course is crowded, there should be enough distance.

Of course the problem with golf courses is unless they're a par-5, they're usually not very straight, and usually have a lot of undulations in them.

Our Daily Thread: RV Builder Bobby Hester usually starts some good threads about building. He cross-posts quite often, so if you want to follow along, with a coherent voice, you have to really work at it. The question is:

My swiveling nose wheel has gotten jerky. Will just squirting a few shots of grease in the zert fitting take care of this or do I need to take it all apart clean, grease and reassemble? 65 hrs. on it.

You can find answers on the Ohio Valley YGroup (checkout the breakout force, whatever that means), the RV Builders YGroup (regrease every 100 hours), and the RV List (no replies yet).

Tips: Dimple or countersink? That's the question on Rivetbangers when it comes to the skin holes in the rear wing spar. Once the ribs are riveted in, it's impossible to dimple the rear spar/rib hole (and they don't tell you to dimple ahead of time there). There is a suggestion on tha thread to dimple the two together. Don't do that. Trust me on this. I did that with skin holes where the wing fairing nutplates go. The results are horrible and, I'm sure, introduce stress cracks. Repeat after me: countersink.

Calendar: EAA 9 has scheduled a Bob Nuckolls seminar for Columbus in early December. Hmmmm... I may end up going to that one. I sent a note to Bob last year to see if we could get one in the St. Paul area, but I never heard back.

Monday, May 28, 2007

The canopy connection

Before I screwed up an aft canopy channel on Thursday, I was making decent progress on my RV-7A canopy. Oh,the plexi is still down in the former bedroom of my youngest son (who no longer lives at home), but I was on schedule to cut the canopy during the hot Minnesota summer months.

I guess I still am, but I've slowed considerably. Sometimes I think you can overthink things when building an RV airplane. I've spent hours looking at the canopy side rail, after reading threads about how it expands or contracts from how it is initially fitted. Do I have it perfectly aligned with the fuselage at this point? How do I know? The more I read, the more confused I get.

In particular, I'm trying to understand what the instructions mean when it talk about rolling the side canopy onto the F-716 tab. I assume I bend and twist it. But can the side tab also e bent and twist to mate properly.

I looked at Checkoway's site and while there are many pictures, of course, there isn't the single one I'd like to have. Incidentally, I see Dan has started a plane-weighing business.

I put out a call on the Yahoogroups site, but nothing yet. Oh Ron Fearnow was kind enough to take a picture, but it's a slider. And it's not quite as close as I need.

Neal George was busy doing some cutting this weekend, by the way. He sent a shot of him cutting his cowling. Cool.

Neal calls it the $900 cut.

Anyway, back to me. I remembered to check Walter Tondu's site on the subject. Walter really has a great site and good instructions on the canopy. But, alas, no shot of the tab. Although this one comes close.

Now, if I could just find one of the exterior. Incidentally, great links on canopy work appear on this week's RV Builder's Hotline.

Our Daily Thread - During the fuselage construction process, you have to build spacer blocks to simulate the main wing spar. A thread on the RV Builders Yahoogroup this week asked how, and I know what he meant. The instructions make it sound like you have to get accuaate down to 1/32" and, in a way, you do. But how do you find a perfect fit? I used a beer carton in my mix, and apparently other folks had similar ideas to use whatever was around.

Today's inspiration: The perfect evening flight. Take it from Jeff Orear of Peshtigo, Wisconsin. He posted on Rivetbangers. We'll be seeing Jeff at the RV Builder's BBQ, because I just got his reservation last week. I think we're going to actually hit the 350 person max this year. Cool.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Over the Airwaves

Having done so for over a year, I know how difficult it is to put out a regular newsletter of information. Certainly, right up there in the superstardom is a guy named Bob Miller from, I believe, upstate New York. Every other week, he distributes "Over the Airwaves," a newsletter for pilots about safety issues. Among the many articles this week is one keeping safe in turns.

Imagine what happens if we takeoff 250 pounds overweight. In a 75 degree level turn bank, our overweight airplane now weighs 10,070 lbs! Will the wings bear the weight??? Willing to bet your life on it?

Over the Airwaves publishes every other week. Next week,he's going to look at an RV-4 accident.

It was a lovely day in Wichita, Kansas. A bit windy but that goes with the territory. An RV-4 pilot and his wife took off for a planned trip to Missouri.

Things were perfectly normal until a sudden distraction grabbed the pilot's attention just as the airplane became airborne. The canopy suddenly popped open! The aircraft instantly yawed about 45 degrees and pitched upward. Tragically, this pilot is now a widower.

He's also going to consider the difficulty of landing a light-sport category aircraft. I admit I'd never considered such things but the effect of gusty winds, among other things he says, is worthy of consideration.

I'm so pleased the EAA is giving the Tony Bingelis award at Oshkosh to Dick Koehler. Dick, that's him standing over his worst student in the picture, was the instructor at the wiring workshop class I took at Oshkosh in January. He was terrific.

On the flying front, the folks at Palmetto Flight have posted a review of their flight over Fort Jackson, South Carolina last week.

Dave Gamble, the father of the PapaGolf Chronicles went flying yesterday.

Anyway, as we turned final and Guy was just beginning to assess what he had seen of my piloting skills in the previous 15 minutes in order to calculate the odds of surviving the landing, just as any other pilot-passenger would do, I let fly with a jubilant "That's IT!!" I can't say for sure whether the non sequitur shifted the calculated odds towards the negative to any appreciable degree, but I imagine it gave him a moment's pause as he considered the implications to his personal well-being of my apparently having remembered something about how to land an airplane at nearly the last possible moment. Now that is a good time to pull off a solid 7 of a landing! A solid 10 would have been nicer, but over the narrower runway at MadCo I flared about an inch too low. That's not a terrible things, and it really only manifests itself as a bit more squish in the tires and a fairly chirpy arrival.

Our Daily Thread I guess this is my Vertical Power pitch of the day. Marc Ausman posts this on Rivetbangers.

Guys, I hope you don't mind if I make a plug for the company, but wanted to let you know that we are now shipping the wiring harnesses and have an introductory special: buy a harness now before end of July, and get full credit for that harness when purchasing a system before the end of the year. More details at:

This week, Avery Tools is having a sale. Ten percent off everything in the '07 catalog and 1/2 price ground shipping. This doesn't include tool kits.

Speaking of shipping, I ordered a new rear canopy channel and splice joint plate from Van's on Thursday. On Friday I got confirmation it's been given to UPS for delivery. Scheduled delivery? Friday. A week? Who takes a week to deliver anymore? What can brown do for me? Don't take a week!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Is this thing on?

Rob Riggen has published this week's RV Builder's Hotline, featuring a look at flying an RV to Sun F Fun. Go here. I wrote a column for this week's issue but the links got dropped as well as a picture of the subject of the column. To see the original, go to my other blog, Stirrings from the Empty Nest.

My favorite RV blogger, Dave Gamble, has a dissertation today on his fabulous blog, the PapaGolf Chronicles, about the crash of an RV in Ohio, where he lives, but relates it to the image homebuilt airplanes have among the non-flying public.

Bad news from the Texas fly-in today. Apparently it's been weathered out for many people. That's what I'm getting from this thread on VAF.

I'm attuned to any threads out there about canopies, since that's what I'm working on now. The subject of what to do with canopy ears has come up today on VAF. And two of my favorite posters reply with tips -- Dan Checkoway and Roberta Hegy.

Our Daily Thread - I think the fastest-growing activity among RV pilots these days is video. Yesterday I saw a fabulous video over South Texas on YouTube. You can find it here. So on the SoCal Yahoogroup -- membership required), they're playing with someone's new lipstick camera.

Marc Ausman, at Vertical Power (we'll be seeing him at the RV BBQ) has posted some videos of his new EFIS in action. This is really cool. Patience, however, it takes awhile to download.

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