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EAA Experimenter - EAA's Homebuilders e-Newsletter EAA Homebuilders
JAN 2011 | VOLUME 3 | NUMBER 1
William Stinson's Thatcher CX4
William Stinson's Thatcher CX4

William Stinson’s first attempt at an amateur-built experimental aircraft is certainly a winner. The single-seat, all-aluminum, semi-monocoque construction beauty is powered by a 1915-cc Great Plains Aircraft Supply (GPAS) Volkswagen conversion, reported to make 69 hp max, 65 hp continuous. The first time Bill saw a CX4 was at a pancake breakfast. It was David Thatcher’s plane, and Bill struck up a conversation with him, not knowing who he was. Bill didn’t think much more about it until he went to Sun ’n Fun Fly-In at Lakeland, Florida, the next year and saw the airplane there again. He sat in it, fell in love with it, and made the decision to try his hand at manufacturing an experimental aircraft. Read more

Hints for Homebuilders
Homemade Prepreg for Composites
Mark Forss of EAA’s SportAir Workshops demonstrates a quick, easy, and cost-effective way to make a composite prepreg using basic tools and materials.
Watch the video


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The Impossible Turn Revisited
Do what you've been trained to do

Throughout the years, I’ve read seemingly countless articles in various magazines concerning “the impossible turn.” For those not familiar with the phrase, it refers to turning back to the runway behind you in the event of an engine failure. The concept is simple, unless you have sufficient altitude, your rate of descent is too great for your rate of turn, and simple math will tell you that you’ll hit the ground before completing the turn. Quick example: A 500 feet/minute rate of descent coupled with a "standard rate" turn (2 minutes to complete a 360-degree turn) means that you need at least 500 feet of distance between you and the ground to complete a 180-degree turn. So unless you have a minimum 500 feet above ground level (AGL), and considering altitude loss for winds, and runway realignment, the turn is "impossible."
Read more

Pat Panzera

Experimenter Improves with Your Help
The best stories come from you, and we implore you to share your building experiences with your fellow readers. We need your help in providing content for each issue of Experimenter. Please consider submitting an article, especially the next time you feel compelled to write a report to your e-mail group, type newsletter, or EAA chapter newsletter. Help us build up a stockpile so we can do a better job bringing you Experimenter each month. And please remember to take our survey when you are done with this issue of Experimenter.

Airline Transport System Still Needs Sport Aviation
The issue of airport expansion had been a long ignored problem in 1989 when Paul Poberezny and other sport aviation advocates were invited to Washington, D.C., to present the GA perspective to Department of Transportation and FAA representatives as they prepared to examine airline access and the need for new airports. EAA advocated for continued access by GA since it was this sector that would train the people who would power the airline world. The problem is even more acute today as GA access continues to be squeezed and the pilot population shrinks each day. Read Paul's Pick

Paul Poberezny

Operating Limitations - The Devil Could Be in the Details

As promised in last month's column, this month I'm going to explore some details of amateur-built aircraft operating limitations and point out some of the potential "gotchas" that you need to look for while operating it. There are lots of variations in operating limitations, so you need to be careful not to assume the limitations issued to your aircraft are identical to other similar aircraft you’re familiar with. Let’s work our way through a typical set of operating limitations in detail.
Read more

Joe Norris

CX4 Evolution and Growth
Bill Stinson's CX4 was the first customer-built CX4 to fly in 2007. Since that time, the worldwide body of CX4 builders has grown dramatically; kits and major assemblies are now available, and the visibility of the airplane around the country is taking off. We now take a deeper look at some of the milestones in bringing this design to the homebuilding community.
Read more

CX4 Evolution

CONTACT! Magazine Celebrates 100th Issue
Last year CONTACT! Magazine celebrated its 100th issue. This year we celebrate our 20th year as a nonprofit corporation fulfilling an educational and a philanthropic mission by serving the experimental aviation community. To commemorate these milestones we've placed four recent issues of CONTACT! Magazine online as a free gift to all who are interested in experimental aviation at its finest. Read more
CONTACT! Magazine
Wicks Aircraft
Building an Intake System
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that if care isn't used when bending ridged tubing, you'll kink or otherwise restrict the flow through the tube. This goes for custom intake runners as well as exhaust headers, which is the topic of this month's How To.
Read more
How To

Singapore Skyranger Swift
We've finally completed building our plane after close to 500 man-hours. We believe that many could have completed it in a much shorter time frame, but this being our first build and with our limited experience, we consulted our MA on any doubts and made sure that it was correctly done the first time.
Read more
What Our Members Are Building

This month's Mystery Plane is a plans-built VW-powered low-wing cantilever monoplane that comes from France. The structure is fabric-covered wood. Three variants have appeared over the course of about 27 years: The original single seat flew in 1962, the more powerful "Super" version in 1985, and the larger two seat in 1989. The wing is built around a single spar and has constant chord to mid span, with semielliptical outer panels. Read more
Mystery Plane
Zodiac CH 601 XL Fix Meets 51 Percent Rule
The FAA says an upgrade kit (6-ZU) offered by Zenith Aircraft Company to address concerns about the design of the Zodiac CH 601 XL meets the requirements of the 51 percent rule. The kit was offered in 2009 after several accidents involving structural failures in a number of aircraft. Zenith noted in a statement that the string of accidents had no one root cause but was a combination of design and operational factors.
Read more
Zodiac CH 601 XL

Start Making Plans for International Learn to Fly Day May 21
Last May, EAA members, chapters, and other aviation groups and enthusiasts introduced the wonder of flight to more than 40,000 people at 450 local events during the first International Learn to Fly Day. Mark your calendars and start making plans for the second annual event, set for Saturday, May 21, 2011. Read more

Rebuilding the XP-82 Twin Mustang
Not long ago, Tom Reilly, EAA 802376/Warbirds 552913, and his warbird restoration group got started on a restoration that, when finished, will resurrect one of the rarest airplanes in the world: the Merlin-powered North American P-82 (Twin Mustang) prototype, the only one of an estimated 60 built planned to fly. Reilly had his eye on a P-82 he immediately fell in love with when he toured Walter Soplata's extensive collection of warbirds. By the time he acquired the funds it had been sold - twice. Reilly was sure his dream of owning a Twin Mustang was over.
Read more
Rebuilding the Twin Mustang

Nominations Sought for Bingelis, Spirit of Flight Awards
Is there an extraordinary tech counselor in your chapter? Or a pilot whose accomplishments and dedication to aeronautics have "flown under the radar"? They may be appropriate recipients for two awards presented annually at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh - the Tony Bingelis Award and the Spirit of Flight Award, and nominations for each award are currently being sought before the February 1 deadline. Read more
Spirit of Flight Award

EAA No. 2 Carl Schultz Dies 
Served as EAA's first vice-president

Carl E. Schultz, EAA 2, who helped found the EAA, serving as the organization's first vice-president, died on December 25. Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1918, Carl spent his entire life devoted to airplanes, flying, sawmills, his family, and, most of all, his "bride," Pearl. Schultz soloed in 1937 and earned his airframe and powerplant certificate around the same time. Aside from a brief stint as a co-pilot for BF Goodrich in the 1940s, Carl's mastery of metal and mechanics served him well throughout his professional career as an aircraft mechanic and later in the research engineering departments of several major small engine manufacturers. Read more
Carl Schultz
Carl Schultz (right) with EAA Chapter 18 Technical Counselor and former EAA Board Member Ron Scott.
Got a question? Send it to us at
Whether you're building, restoring, or just an enthusiast. we want to know what has you stumped.

Q. I just read an article regarding factory-built special light-sport aircraft (S-LSA). The article mentioned that S-LSA can be converted to experimental light-sport aircraft (E-LSA). Is this true?

A. Yes, there is a provision in the regulation that allows the owner of an S-LSA to convert the aircraft to E-LSA. Specifically, 14 CFR 21.191(i)(3) states that an experimental airworthiness certificate may be issued to an aircraft that "has been previously issued a special airworthiness certificate in the light-sport category under §21.190."

Read more Q&As

Confused by a strange aeronautical term? EAA's online Aviation Glossary can help.

MONOCOQUE - Type of fuselage design with little or no internal bracing other than bulkheads, where the outer skin bears the main stresses; usually round or oval in cross section. Additional classifications are (1) semimonocoque, where the skin is reinforced by longerons or bulkheads, but with no diagonal web members, and (2) reinforced shell, in which the skin is supported by a complete framework or structural members. French: monocoque, single shell.

More glossary terms

Sport Aviation, September 1999
The Super Sport Cruiser
By Jack Cox

From the "what ever happened to" category, the KIS Cruiser showed all the promise in the world - a superperforming four-place composite kit, costing as little as many two-place kits on the market at the time and outperforming virtually every single-engine four-place production aircraft of its time. Read the article

From the Archives
Carter PAV Makes First Vertical Takeoff
The Carter Personal Air Vehicle (PAV) prototype accomplished its first vertical takeoff this month (January) as it wraps up the first phase of flight testing. Combining the best attributes of an airplane, helicopter, and gyrocopter, Carter Aviation Technologies founder Jay Carter is attempting to create a vehicle that can go fast, with VTOL capabilities, and be easy to fly. This week's testing focused on computer automation, which Carter told EAA Radio's Fareed Guyot should allow someone with a driver's license and a little training to just point the craft in the direction they want to go. Listen to the interview
Thin, Light, Strong, and Energy Dense
The 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics went to Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, who extracted graphene from a piece of graphite when they stuck a piece of adhesive tape to it and peeled away a single atom-thick layer of the thinnest, strongest material in the world. Could this be the next building material for aircraft? Read the article
Thin, Light, Stron, and Energy Dense
How to Identify a Lycoming Engine
From time to time, some of us need to research the specifications of a variant in the Lycoming family of aircraft piston engines. This table spells out the subtle and significant differences from one model to another, and within the same model. Read the table
Cold or Warm Weather, Carb Ice Can Ruin Your Day
to attempt a restart and execute a forced landing. To avoid people on the ground, the pilot tried a sharp bank, and the plane spun in from 80 feet. The impact destroyed the airframe and severely injured the pilot and his passenger. The cause was carb ice, on a warm summer day. Read more
Carb Ice

Ebneter's E-1
Arnold Ebneter was wrapping up his bachelor's degree in aeronautical engineering at Texas A&M University in 1958 and he needed a final project, so he decided to design an airplane that would set a speed record over a long distance. His paper wowed the faculty, but it took 52 years to build and then attempt the record. You can read Ebneter's story in the January issue of Sport Aviation. View Arnold's personal build photos
Homebuilders Gallery

Aerodrome of Democracy: How Canada Trained Allied Pilots
One of the greatest military and industrial achievements of the World War II took place in Canada. The British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) was a massive exercise in planning, construction, and community involvement that, in a few short years, trained hundreds of thousands of airmen from Canada, the British Commonwealth, and the United States.

All webinars begin at 7 p.m. CDT. To find out more about upcoming EAA Webinars and to register, visit the webinars page.

EAA gratefully acknowledges the support of Aircraft Spruce and Specialty Co. for its generous sponsorship of the webinar programs.

The Homebuilders Corner message forum at Oshkosh365 is as active as ever. Have a look at the list below and follow the links to read the actual questions and discussion topics.
Oshkosh 365

Can You Help?

Interesting Discussions

Poll POLL - I Fold 
SeaRey just announced a folding-wing version of its amphibian, which joins a long line of designs that sought compact functionality, such as the Spezio Tuholer, Stits Playmate, Kitfox, Zenair CH 701, and the Glasair Sportsman. 

Q.  Given the opportunity, would your next project or acquisition involve a folding-wing design?

Poll - Vote Now!



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