EAA Experimenter - EAA's Homebuilders e-Newsletter EAA Homebuilders
OCT 2011 | VOLUME 3 | NUMBER 10
Roger Godfrey’s Sonerai IIL
Roger Godfrey’s Sonerai IIL

Roger Godfrey’s Sonerai IIL
Ex-Navy pilot Roger Godfrey of Ottumwa, Iowa, spent nearly eight years building his Sonerai while raising a family, building cars, adding on to his home, and changing careers. A phenomenal feat by any measure. During his time of ownership and following a long hiatus, he upgraded the engine after an uneventful in-flight failure and changed out the wings for a different airfoil after Mother Nature threw a hangar door at it. After all this, he finally flew his resurrected plane to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh.
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Hints for Homebuilders
Each month we present the most recent "Hints for Homebuilders" videos as featured in e-Hotline since the last issue of Experimenter. EAA recently taped 25 new Hints episodes and they will be coming soon to e-Hotline and, in case you miss them, future issues of Experimenter.
• Fly Cutter 
• Solenoids: Master and Starter
• Metal Shrinking
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The Loss of a Great Friend
By Pat Panzera, Editor

Whereas this editorial should be a report on the CAFE Green Flight Challenge as promised last month, it is with a heavy heart that I instead dedicate this issue of Experimenter to our good friend and propeller guru Paul Lipps who lost his brief battle with lung cancer earlier this month. For those who may not know who this remarkable and unforgettable individual is, we offer the following series of articles previously printed in CONTACT! Magazine from July 2004 through December 2010, and include some Experimenter articles published during that same period. In short, Paul's unorthodox perspective led him to look at propellers a little differently than most and to design a prop that defies logic at first glance, with performance numbers that are equally unbelievable. But once the design rationale is understood, we would have to wonder why all propellers aren't designed in this manner. Designer of Light Speed Engineering's Plasma Ignition Systems, Paul wasn't only a creative thinker, but also a likeable, compassionate gentleman. The experimental aviation family needs more people like Paul Lipps; he leaves a void that will be difficult to fill. 
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Paul Lipps
Paul Lipps presenting a propeller forum at the 2005 Alternative Engine Round-Up

The Average Sport Flyer

In 1959 Paul wrote about one of the biggest foils of the aviation enthusiast that still holds true today: economics.

"We in this phase of aviation often hear the statement, 'They [the manufacturers] should build a $1,000 or $2,000 airplane. They would sell them like hot cakes.' But would they? Not at least to the average sport flyer; otherwise the Trade-A-Plane listings of aircraft would certainly be lacking secondhand aircraft in the $1,000 or $2,000 bracket. I would like to clarify the statement average sport flyer." Read Paul's Pick

Paul Poberezny

Dave Conrad's Tailwind W10

How does one fly with a tailwind 100 percent of the time? When flying a Tailwind! That's a question and answer proposed by EAA Homebuilders Community Manager Chad Jensen in his first in a series of articles dubbed Project Patrol. For his first report he chose a project that's close to his heart - one he's already somewhat biased toward - the Wittman Tailwind W-10. Read more and view the gallery
Project Patrol

We Need Your Help! 
Experimenter is about you, the homebuilder. Whether you are building or flying an experimental aircraft, we need your story! If you don't think you have a story worth sharing, this short video may help. While not every plane or project can be highlighted in the pages of Sport Aviation, your fellow readers still want to see your accomplishments, including any tips you may have to share, or tools you may have created along the way. All we need is 500-1500 words, 5-10 photos and a brief description or caption for each one. If you would like to write more, it is encouraged, and don't be surprised if we contact you to ask more about your project. The best stories come from you. And please remember to take our survey when you are done with this issue of Experimenter
Wicks Aircraft
A Tribute to Paul Lipps
The ELIPPSE Propeller
Paul Lipps read Modern Propeller and Duct Design, where he learned about Peter Talbot's "Prop Performance" computer program - all of which led to him designing an elliptically shaped propeller. Learn the hows and whys of the enhanced performance he's getting with just such a propeller on his Lancair 235, as well as some propeller myths Paul seeks to put to rest. Read more
The ELIPPSE Propeller
Tom Aberle's Phantom
In most cases it takes a team effort to break new ground in any field, and air racing is no exception. The requirements of adequate funding, enlightened engineering, meticulous preparation, and skillful piloting must be brought together to form an alliance that can compete effectively, let alone win the National Championship. This story is about one such group, put together by Tom Aberle of Fallbrook, California. Read more
Tom Aberle's Phantom
Paul Lipps' Lancair 235
We've already read about Paul's revolutionary propeller in the pages of the February issue of Experimenter, so now we'd like to showcase the balance of his plane. He started with the wings and left almost no area of the plane untouched, making some very interesting and thoughtful modifications. Read more
Paul Lipps' Lancair 235
How Fast Are You Really Going?
Here I am toolin' along in my Fast-Glaster behind that big ol' TIO-540, lookin' at those two multi-function displays (MFD): 280 knots and 322 mph! Hot dog! And I just came from the avionics shop where the avionics tech worked his magic on my pitot-static system while I fed numbers into the computer from my laptop, so I know what it says is true. Read more
How Fast Are You Really Going?
How to... 
Prop Balancing
Here's the incredibly sensitive prop static balance device that Jeff Jeter designed and made for me. When correctly adjusted, it will show an out-of-balance indication when a No. 4 washer is placed at the tip of a 63-inch-diameter prop. Read more
Prop Balancing
The ELIPPSE Propeller Proves a Winner Once More
Paul Lipps has been featured in past issues of Experimenter. His unusual propeller designs are becoming as legendary as they are controversial. Biplane builder and Reno racer Tom Aberle has become quite a believer as Paul's propeller designs have allowed him to bolt on an almost embarrassing amount of additional speed, and this year's numbers at the Reno National Championship Air Races are no exception. Read more
The ELIPPSE Propeller Proves a Winner Once More
Continuously variable transmission propeller speed reduction units – what do you think?
The following article is merely a discussion on the potential of utilizing the technology used in the continuously variable transmission found on some all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles, and a small number of automobiles. The idea is similar to a constant speed propeller except the engine speed (and horsepower) is increased, or otherwise variable, with the prop speed staying relatively constant. Some may already see a flaw in this concept. However, read the article and share your thoughts at EAA Forums. Read more

Zenith Aircraft Company's 20th Annual Open Hangar Day
...and Builder Fly-In Gathering

The gang at Zenith Aircraft recently held its 20th annual Open Hangar Day and Builder Fly-In Gathering at the kit manufacturing factory in Mexico, Missouri. On September 17, 2011, despite some rain and unexpected cold weather, the company had a wonderful event, proving once again that it's about the people and the planes, and not the weather! Read more
Zenith group

EAA President Rod Hightower Visits My Titan T-51 Project
I was lucky enough to have met EAA President Rod Hightower and have him visit my Titan T-51 Mustang project. Our local FBO in Medina, Ohio, was the site of one of Rod's tour stops this year. Gary Baker, president of EAA Chapter 846 in Wadsworth, Ohio, put out the red carpet for the event. It seems Gary and Rod have known each other for a few years. Rod came to town a few hours early and had some time to kill, so Gary took him out to show him his project: an RV-6 he has been working on for a number of years. As luck would have it, Gary rents a building from me; it was a perfect chance to have Rod look at what I'm building only 100 feet from Gary's RV-6: my T-51. Read more

COPPERSTATE Readies for 39th Annual Event
Organizers and volunteers for the COPPERSTATE Fly-In & Aviation Expo are making final preparations for the 39th annual event at the Casa Grande Municipal Airport in Casa Grande, Arizona. COPPERSTATE 2011 (October 20-22) promises to be filled with outstanding aircraft - flying and on display - informative forums, presentations, and workshops, and plenty of the latest aviation products in the exhibit tent. Read more
Graves: LightSquared Plan Will Cost Billions, Harm Safety
October 13 - Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO), an EAA member, pilot, and chairman of the House Small Business Committee, emerged with a dire warning following a full committee hearing this month on the proposed LightSquared broadband project and its potential interference with GPS signals. Read more
Duct Tape Mythbusters
The Discovery series Mythbusters tests the theory in this week's episode as to whether a plane can be repaired to airworthiness with duct tape. It stems from a 2009 incident in Alaska where a bear tore through a Super Cub (pun coincidental) as it was looking for fresh bait unwisely left inside the plane. That PA-18 was repaired with the duct tape and flown out. Mythbusters airs next Wednesday, October 19, at 9 p.m. EDT, 8 p.m. Central. Watch the trailer
Experimental Fatal Accidents Exceed FAA Not to Exceed Level for 2011
The FAA set a Not to Exceed (NTE) level of 70 fatal experimental aircraft accidents for the fiscal year 2011 that ended on September 30. Unfortunately, that did not happen as the year ended with 73 fatal accidents, up from 65 the year before. The FAA number includes all subcategories of experimental aircraft including amateur-built (AB), E-LSA, racing, exhibition, R&D, and market survey. Read more
The Cozy Mark IV
e-Go Appeals to the Inner Pilot
If Sigmund Freud were to build a fast, fun aircraft, he might have called it the e-Go. In 2007 Gioto Castelli and Tony Bishop entered and won a Light Aircraft Association design contest to produce cheap, easy-to-build, and state-of-the-art aircraft that fit into the United Kingdom's new Single Seat De-regulated Rules (SSDR) category. E-Go went for state-of-the-art and now its single-seat composite canard pusher prototype, which also fits experimental, LSA, and ELA standards, is nearing completion with an expected first flight next spring. Read more
Members React to Medical Exemption Proposal
As expected, the EAA/AOPA proposal to allow driver's license medical certification by those who fly recreationally under certain guidelines has drawn a considerable number of questions and reactions from EAA members and other aviators. The exemption process would include a required online aeromedical education component that EAA and AOPA believe would enhance aviation safety and knowledge of aviation medical factors. Read more
Ed Fisher To Be Inducted to Homebuilders Hall of Fame
Ed Fisher, an EAA member since the late 1960s, grew up in an EAA family, and by age 12 he was helping his mom and dad build airplanes at Birdland, the family airstrip in Thompson, Ohio. Ed's first completed homebuilt was Sonerai 1 Blueberry, which he started in high school, and was to be the first of 18 homebuilts he completed. His first "original" design was the Zippy Sport, which placed third in the 1983 Western Flyer/EAA ARV design contest. Read more
Ed Fisher
EAA Seeks New Member Services Manager
Are you a passionate EAA member who is actively engaged in general aviation? Do you have a background in customer service? EAA is seeking a full-time manager for our membership services department that will help transform EAA's Member Services team into a first-class group that can provide knowledge, expertise, and exceptional service to create meaningful experiences for our members. Read more

Build Your Own Aircraft - EAA SportAir Workshops Can Show You How!
Take hold of your dream of building your own aircraft! Learn the skills and techniques required at EAA SportAir Workshops. These two-day workshops take place all over the U.S. and cover a variety of aircraft-building topics. You could master the basics of aircraft sheet metal, discover how to weld, figure out how to fabric cover airplanes, gain confidence with composites, excel in electrical systems - and more! You'll receive hands-on training and guidance from the experts at EAA. We provide the facility and all the tools and materials, so the only thing you need to show up with is a desire to learn! To find a workshop near you, or to register for a workshop, click here.

EAA's Green Flight Challenge Coverage: 
Experimenter Editor Pat Panzera spent the week at the CAFE event and reported on it daily. Watch for a full report in the next issue of Experimenter. But for now, we present the following articles reprinted from EAA's e-Hotline e-newsletter:
Pipistrel Taurus G4 Wins Green Flight Challenge
Team Pipistrel along with partners at Penn State won the NASA Green Flight Challenge sponsored by Google that concluded earlier this month. Team Pipistrel, flying the Taurus G4, was able to achieve an efficiency rating of 403.5 passenger miles per gallon. The second-place finisher e-Genius achieved 375.8 passenger miles per gallon, which is far more than the 200-mile standard required for the contest. In announcing the prize, Joe Parrish of NASA said the competition aircraft are five to 10 times more efficient than normal aircraft, emphasizing that existing aircraft could not achieve this efficiency and "innovation was required." Read more
Pipistrel team
e-Genius Named Quietest Aircraft at GFC
e-Genius was named the "quietest aircraft" at the Green Flight Challenge sponsored by Google held earlier this month. The two-seat electric airplane whispered the best amongst the four competitors, where noise levels ranged from a minimum of 56 dBA to a maximum of 72 dBA. By comparison, the takeoff noise of a turbo-fan aircraft at a similar distance is 110 dBA, more than 16 times louder. Read more

Light Plane World
Looking for more coverage of light-sport aircraft, trikes, and ultralights? Check out the pages of EAA's Light Plane World. The following articles are features found in the recent issue and are typical of what you can expect from every issue.
A Very Special Eipper GT400
If you saw Rick Pierson's Eipper GT400 Special at a fly-in somewhere, you might think it's merely a very beautiful version of this well-known design. Calling it a "Special" is an understatement once you begin to explore the extensive changes and improvements in the airplane. He worked very hard to reduce drag and to save weight to the point of using thin washers and thin stop nuts wherever feasible. The resulting performance of the aircraft is indeed extra special. Read more
Eipper GT400
Sport Pilot Instruction Petition Available for Public Comment
The FAA has officially published the petition for rulemaking from the EAA, AOPA, NAFI, and GAMA that would allow sport pilot instruction hours to count toward higher certificates and ratings, and the public comment period is now open. In an interview September 6 with Roy Beisswenger on Powered Sport Flying Radio, EAA's Government & Advocacy Specialist David Oord said he believes the long delay was due to a technical oversight, and he explained why the change is important. Read more
David Sykes' Epic Flight Completed
British paraplegic pilot Dave Sykes has completed an 11,714-nautical-mile solo flight from York, England, to Sydney, Australia, in an open-cockpit, weight-shift-control P&M Aviation Quik. The trip, which began April 28, took four months and crossed over more than 18 countries. Dave doesn't have the use of his legs, so all takeoffs and landings were flown with one hand while the other hand was used to control a modified ground steering lever. Read more
David Sykes' Epic Flight

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 was able to come to Oshkosh for the EAA convention this summer, and heard some great speakers at the forums I attended. Is there any way to get recordings of the forums?

A. Recordings of the AirVenture forums are done by Dave Yeoman, a volunteer, for historical records. Dave has been recording the forum presentations for more than 30 years, and the recordings are available here.

Read more Q&As

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

BATHTUB CURVE - The term "bathtub curve" (as in graphing a chart) is widely used in reliability engineering. It describes a particular form of the hazard function which comprises three parts:

  • The first part is a decreasing failure rate, known as early failures.
  • The second part is a constant failure rate, known as random failures.
  • The third part is an increasing failure rate, known as wear-out failures. 

The bathtub curve is generated by mapping the decreasing rate of early "infant mortality" failures when first introduced, the steady rate of random failures during its "useful life," and finally the increasing rate of wear-out failures as the product exceeds its design lifetime. The resulting shape of the plotted graph resembles the cross section of a typical bathtub, hence the name "bathtub curve."

More glossary terms

The Beginning of the Corvair Engine Conversion
Sport Aviation, March 1962
Pietenpol Corvair Conversion

By Bernard H. Pietenpol

Many of us who are avid fans of experimental aviation are familiar with the work that Bernard H. Pietenpol did with converting the Chevrolet Corvair engine for experimental aviation, specifically in his Pietenpol Air Camper. But what many may not know is that Bernard first flew the Corvair by installing a factory-new 1960 145-cubic-inch 80-hp Corvair engine in a Piper J-3 Cub. Read the article

From the archives
Cozy Close-up: New Camera Mount Yields Amazing Video
Always looking for that unusual and different angle to shoot video from, Cozy Mk.IV pilot Ken Murphy has given us another one. This time, Ken's video partner Bruce Sturgill mounted an HD camera on a short boom protruding from the nose of his aircraft, looking aft, giving amazing, rock-stable HD video. From this angle, the viewer enjoys an exceptional point of view, one you're not likely to experience in a typical flying day. Read more and watch the video
Cozy camera mount

A Visit to Scaled Composites
Poking around the famous Mojave Airport, home of Burt Rutan's Scaled Composites, one is liable to find just about anything involving cutting-edge experimental aviation and potentially rare vintage aircraft. And if you're lucky enough, you might get to take a flight in one. Read more
A Visit to Scaled Composites

Flying Around the World in Long-EZ
On September 11, 2010, Linda and Patrick Elliott took off in their Long-EZ with no intention of flying around the world. "We said we'd see how far we can get," Linda said. That sentiment has taken the couple from Surrey, England, nearly two-thirds around the world, to their arrival in Wisconsin for the start of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2011. Read more
Flying Around the World in Long-EZ

Thermalling in a Taylorcraft
Taping the altimeter, an old sailplane trick, YouTube member "popsdory" shows us that it's entirely possible to gain altitude in small aircraft with the propeller stopped and that energy management is key to a textbook dead-stick landing. Best viewed full screen. Watch the video
Thermalling in a Taylorcraft

Aerotow of a Yando Goat Ultralight Sailplane by a Trike
Alan Beavis of Melbourne, Victoria, in Australia soars above it all in his Yando Goat ultralight sailplane, getting his altitude from a friendly trike towplane. Watch the video
Aerotow of a Yando Goat Ultralight Sailplane by a Trike

Chris May's Baby Ace
In the October issue of EAA Sport Aviation, we met Chris May who found out over the course of restoring a Corben Baby Ace that he really likes bringing airplanes back to life. When he bought his Baby Ace, he found the wings were built like "high-quality furniture" despite their dirty and dusty outside appearance. But there was a second challenge: how to rebuild this aircraft while keeping it flying at the same time. View the gallery
Photo Gallery

Avoiding the Base-to-Final Turn Accident

With the FAA and EAA's recent emphasis on reducing fatal accidents in the experimental category, this webinar will examine a common type of accident that is very preventable. Gordon Penner will provide simple and clear explanations of the elements leading up to a base-to-final stall/spin accident, how to recognize and stop these elements, and the true nature of stalls and spins that most pilots haven't been taught.

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.

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