EAA Experimenter - EAA's Homebuilders e-Newsletter EAA Homebuilders
APR 2011 | VOLUME 3 | NUMBER 4
Glen Marshman's RANS S-9 Chaos
Glen Marshman's RANS S-9 Chaos

Strictly Business
My goal was to build a new aerobatic airplane that would be competitive in the Intermediate category, qualify as a light-sport aircraft (LSA), be cheap to fly and maintain, and cost $35,000 or less.

When the LSA category was proposed, I thought it was a great idea. It seemed to finally be a cost-effective way to have fun flying. Once on a visit to the RANS factory I spotted an S-9. However, it would be years later that this neat little bird was back in production. While I was waiting for my kit, I gave thought to how I could go about making this aircraft really perform. The answer was simply to build it light and give it a lot of horsepower. Read more

Hints for Homebuilders
Placards and Markings
Joe Norris explains the requirements for N Number (or "registration marks"). Joe is the former EAA Homebuilders Community Manager (now a volunteer), as well as a DAR, an A&P aircraft mechanic with Inspection Authorization (IA), and an EAA Technical Counselor. Watch the video

CLARIFICATION: Last month in HFH we referenced the "Bob stick", a tool used to flange lightening holes on sheet metal ribs. Bearhawk builders use it in reference to designer, Bob Barrows. The origin of the "Bob stick" is unclear and likely predates Mr. Barrows, but Experimenter was not suggesting the Bearhawk community or Mr. Barrows originated the term.

Follow us on Twitter Become a fan on Facebook EAA Community - Oshkosh365 Subscribe to RSS Feed

CAFE Time! 
More about electric flight

Right about this same time last year, I was writing my editorial just before heading out to attend the CAFE Foundation's Electric Aircraft Symposium, just as I am this year. A lot has happened in the past 12 months to sway me over the fence I was sitting on last year - not really sure if electric flight would be viable in the foreseeable future - but I'm still not completely void of a healthy amount of skepticism. I haven't drunk the Kool-Aid yet, but the glass is on the table. 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.

Your Actions Matter
"Will the actions of a very few bring about legislation to prohibit the construction of aircraft by the average citizen either for personal education and pleasure, or for the development of new ideas and design?" Paul wrote of this concern in February 1960 as he challenged amateur builders to conduct themselves responsibly so as to not invite onerous legislation spurred by "unfavorable publicity and public sentiment to be cast our way in much the same manner many of us look upon others' activities that we don't have a personal interest in." Read Paul's Pick

Paul Poberezny

Operating Limitations - Wrapping It Up
Editorís note: This is the last column from Joe Norris who retired from EAA this month
Over the course of the past several issues we've talked about many of the details of amateur-built aircraft operating limitations. This month in the final chapter of the miniseries we'll discuss the inspection requirements for your aircraft. Technically, this isn't an "annual" inspection, even though it's required to be performed annually. There are just a few more details to talk about, so let's get right to it.
Read more

Joe Norris
Wicks Aircraft
Flying in the B-17
Aluminum Overcast

Earlier this month, Editor Pat Panzera was allowed to take his grandson Alex on an exciting adventure, a flight in the EAA's B-17, Aluminum Overcast. Alex has written for Experimenter in the past, and as excited as he was about his recent experience, he couldn't wait to share it with our readers.
Read more
Alex by the B-17

Zenith STOL CH 750 X-Plane Simulator Files Available for Free Download
Aircraft designers and savvy homebuilders have known for a long time that X-Plane provides a very useful and realistic flight simulation. From simply flying preloaded aircraft to designing your own from scratch, X-Plane offers realistic feedback on a professional level - at an amateur-level price. Now the popular CH 750 experimental aircraft has been expertly molded and is ready for you to load into your version of X-Plane for free.
Read more

Project Paralysis
Most of us at one time or another have been stricken with a case of project paralysis. No one is immune; there is no vaccine. But there are some steps that can be taken to guard against the affliction. Earl Downs, a regular contributor to EAA publications, offers these tips to help you stay the course, to see your project through to completion while avoiding project paralysis. Read more
Project Paralysis

It's Not Another Ducted Fan

Unlike the normal mode of achieving lift or thrust by moving an airfoil quickly through the air (wings on a plane or blades on a helicopter, propeller or fan), the Gramling VTOL aircraft creates lift and thrust by moving air quickly over fixed airfoils. Theoretically, this proposed method of propulsion could prove more efficient and more stable, enabling an aircraft to launch from a driveway, backyard, or rooftop. Read more

Fully aerobatic biplane, affordable to build and fly
Named "Best" in the combined Ultralight/Lightplane category during the 1992 EAA East Coast Fly-In at Wilmington, Delaware, this little biplane is robust enough to be competitive with the International Aerobatic Club's intermediate level. The prototype, which took six months and $12,000 to build, first flew in 1986. After logging 120 hours, the designer/builder sold it for $15,000. But during those 120 hours, a second one was constructed in four months. Read more
Mystery Plane
Aircraft Spruce
Homebuilder Dream Job Available at EAA
Do you eat, sleep, and breathe homebuilding? Is every one of your friends building an aircraft? When Sport Aviation hits your mailbox, do you disappear for an hour? Is your dog's name "Cleco"? Do you think it's crazy to buy an aircraft when you can build one yourself? If you are nodding your head in agreement then you might just be the right person for the Homebuilders Community Manager Position at EAA. The Homebuilders Community Manager is responsible for the planning, implementation, and ongoing management of programs targeted at the aircraft builder and restorer (aka the "craftsman" segment of EAA's membership) as part of EAA's organizational goals. For more information on the position, visit EAA's career's page.

Plans and Kits for Cloudster Ultralight Available
From the April issue of EAA Light Plane World
Jeff Erekson of Simplex Aeroplanes in Manchester, Connecticut, announced he will distribute plans and kits for the Cloudster ultralight, one of three planes designed by Scott Land in the late '90s. The design uses conventional gear with three-axis controls. The pilot's legs go up the side of the fuselage to the rudder pedals, making it a true open cockpit flying machine. Major components of the plane are all wood with metal struts, and the wing construction is similar to the Mini-Max. Read more

EAA Input on Homebuilt Advisory Circular Helps Prevent New Regulations
EAA's input on a new FAA advisory circular (AC) that urges transition training for those moving to amateur-built aircraft helped address major areas to improve safety without resorting to additional burdensome regulations. That AC was released by the FAA this week and is the result of a committee co-chaired by Sean Elliott, EAA vice president of regulatory and industry affairs. Read more

'Savvy Aviator' Mike Busch Joins EAA Webinar Series
EAA webinars generously supported by Aircraft Spruce & Specialty Co.

Maintenance expert and EAA Sport Aviation columnist Mike Busch (A&P/IA, CFI) is bringing his expertise to the popular EAA webinars series, where he will host monthly webinars that will engage and inform aircraft owners on a variety of topics. Busch, EAA 740170 and founder/CEO of Savvy Aircraft Maintenance Management, is a renowned aviation writer, teacher, aviation type club tech rep, aircraft owner advocate, and entrepreneur. Read more
Mike Busch

Judgment Announced Against Hart Aero
A consent judgment against Douglas Hart of Springfield, Missouri, owner of Hart Aero, was announced on March 17 for alleged violations of Missouri's Merchandising Practices Act, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster said. According to Koster, Hart sold airplanes and light aircraft to consumers nationwide through his website and told consumers he would buy the necessary materials, build the aircraft, and deliver finished aircraft. However, he failed to deliver the completed aircraft, nor did he refund his customers' money upon their requests. Read more

EAA SportAir Workshops

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'm planning to build an aircraft that could be licensed with a gross weight of 1,550 pounds or 1,320 pounds. If I originally certificate the plane with a gross weight of 1,550, could the plane be recertificated at 1,320 to meet the light-sport aircraft (LSA) definition at some point in the future?

A. Unfortunately the answer to your question is no. The definition of an LSA, as found in FAR 1.1, specifically requires that the airplane be originally certificated and continuously operated within the LSA definition in order to be eligible for operation by sport pilots. If you want the airplane to be sport pilot eligible at any point in the future, you need to certificate it within the LSA definition right from the start, and it must be operated within the LSA definition throughout its entire lifetime.

Read more Q&As

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

COANDA EFFECT or WALL-ATTACHMENT EFFECT is the tendency of a moving fluid, either liquid or gas, to attach itself to a surface and flow along it. As a fluid moves across a surface, a certain amount of friction (called skin friction) occurs between the fluid and the surface, which tends to slow the moving fluid. This resistance to the flow of the fluid pulls the fluid toward the surface, causing it to stick to the surface. Thus, a fluid emerging from a nozzle tends to follow a nearby curved surface - even to the point of bending around corners - if the curvature of the surface or the angle the surface makes with the stream isn't too sharp. Discovered in 1930 by Henri Coanda, a Romanian aircraft engineer, the phenomenon has many practical applications in fluidics and aerodynamics.

More glossary terms

Sport Aviation, September 1984 
Pong Dragon
By Jack Cox

Designer Alex Pong describes his new, small (15 inches in diameter and only 44 pounds), six-cylinder, four-cycle, air-cooled radial aircraft engine, rated at 35 hp at 2450 rpm, but is rather guarded in the process, as he had concerns for the patent. This 1984 article begs the question, whatever happened to the Pong Dragon? Read the article

From the Archives
Building a Volksplane
A video montage showing the progressive steps of completing a Volksplane, from initial doodle to first flight, numbered for your convenience. Watch the video
See How It Flies
By John S. Denker
A unique spin on the perceptions, procedures, and principles of flight. Read more
See How it Flies
The Southern Illinois Big Muddy Air Race
June 4, 2011

Sam Hoskins, featured in the August 2010 issue of Experimenter for his recent participation in the 2010 EAA AirVenture Cup Race, is promoting a new race this year. Like the AirVenture Cup, the Big Muddy Air Race is open to just about any aircraft, and it will be using the Sport Air Racing League set of classes to keep things fair and fun. The race will feature an unusual "pylon turn" over the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. Read more
Big Muddy Air Race

Burt Rutan: The Scaled Composites Years
For a man who is about to retire, Burt Rutan has been pretty active as testing continues on SpaceShipTwo and other projects in the works. As he prepares to retreat to northern Idaho, the May issue of EAA Sport Aviation took a look at Burt's career during the Scaled Composites years. There were plenty of photos left over and we saved a few that highlight Rutan's design legacy. It's a legacy that attempts to provide solutions to a diverse range of aviation and space applications.
View the gallery
Homebuilders Photo Gallery

Columnist Mike Busch to Present Monthly Webinar on Maintenance
Mike Busch, maintenance expert and EAA Sport Aviation columnist, will be presenting monthly webinars on GA maintenance. Be sure to reserve some time for Mike Busch's presentation the first Wednesday of each month unless something like a holiday or AirVenture gets in the way. This great addition to the EAA webinar series and begins with "Troubleshooting Basics" on May 4.

All webinars begin at 7 p.m. CDT unless otherwise noted. 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 their generous sponsorship of our 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


Q. How soon do you expect that electric GA flight will be a viable alternative to the current petroleum-fueled powerplants, assuming fuel prices remain stable?

Poll - Vote Now!


Please review and rate
this issue of Experimenter and its articles.

Join EAA
The members of EAA invite YOU to become part of the EAA community.
:: Renew :: Gift
Member Benefits :: About EAA

Contact! Magazine


We welcome your comments and suggestions.
Copyright © 2011 Experimental Aircraft Association, Inc.
3000 Poberezny Road, Oshkosh , WI 54902
800-236-4800 :: 920-426-4800

Disclaimer/Privacy policy