EAA Experimenter - EAA's Homebuilders e-Newsletter EAA Homebuilders
NOV 2011 | VOLUME 3 | NUMBER 11

Lyle Forsgren converts a sailplane into a homebuilt single-engine airplane

Motorgliders aren't typically the first thing that comes to mind when we think of experimentals. While there are experimental motorgliders out there (great kits are available from Europa, Sonex, and other such companies), the idea of converting an old glider to a single-engine land airplane is something I hadn't given any thought to. Turns out this idea has been fairly popular (although the new 51 percent rule makes it more difficult now), taking an older model sailplane and giving it new life by adding an engine. And I found someone who had done just that, right here in Oshkosh. Read more

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.
• Drilling Acrylics
• S
ervicing Flush Fuel Caps
• Riveting 101
• Balancing Your Propeller
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Please don't be afraid to take the survey

It's time once again to go through the mailbox and answer a few letters, the majority of which are actually comments and questions posted in the survey we conduct in every issue, one I would encourage you to participate in. Please remember that when you click on the survey link, you won't be required to enter any personal information. There's no logging in, no passwords to remember, no unexpected surprises at the end, and this isn't some stealthy method of gathering anything but your honest opinion. I read every comment in every survey and use that information to assure myself that we're delivering top-notch content in each issue. So with that, I would encourage you to click the "Read more" link, read the letters, and then participate in the current and future surveys. Read more

Pat Panzera

Have Things Really Changed?

There's a lot of great discussion and feedback out there on how EAA's focus and direction are changing. It's important to note that the inclusion of all things aviation has always been at the forefront of the organization. As Paul Poberezny wrote in November 1988, none of the EAA founding members ever dreamed that the stature of the organization within the aviation community would grow so large. Read Paul's Pick
Paul Poberezny

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
Air and Its Majestic Role in Producing Lift
Paul Lipps was an extraordinary thinker with an innocent sense of humor. Known most for his work in the advancement of propeller efficiency, Paul's ability to see complicated things in simple terms had him question conventional wisdom in all aspects of his life, especially those used in aviation, a passion of his since his first flight in a Cub when he was just a teen. The following article was written in his usual tongue-in-cheek style that hopefully you'll find as fun to read as he intended. The topic is a bit controversial, but no matter your opinion, it will get you thinking about what's going on with your wing. Read more

Tip Tanks: Design - Fabrication
For Designers and Homebuilders
Ordinary building materials like stucco, drywall compound, and ¼-inch Douglas fir plywood are transformed into a simple fuel tank shape, following the full-size patterns outlined in a new publication by longtime EAA member Mick Myal. The end result is a two-piece fiberglass/vinylester tank that is sized by the builder to meet his mission/fuel needs. His book Tip Tanks: Design - Fabrication shows you how to create tip tanks for your aircraft and includes full-scale plans that help take the guesswork out of the design. Read more
Tip tanks

Bruce Sturgill's The Big Book of RV Aircraft
A great holiday shopping idea
It's getting close to that time of the year again, thinking of what you'd like your spouse, kids, or significant other to get you for Christmas. An excellent gift that comes to mind (besides avionics or an engine) is one that can be enjoyed by you family, and friends, now and for many years to come. One such gift would be a coffee table book of airplanes-and not just any old airplane book, but one devoted only to RV aircraft. The Big Book of RV Aircraft is Bruce Sturgill's second coffee table book on a specific aircraft type. The first was The Big Book of Canards, put together using pictures taken by photographers, owners, and builders of canard aircraft from around the world, just like the RV book. 
Read more

Mike Studer's Corvair-Powered Cassutt
When considering his options for an aircraft to build, Mike Studer's goals were simple. He simply wanted a fun, fast aircraft that was reasonably inexpensive to build, own, and operate. That's why he opted to build the sport version of the Cassutt. The Cassutt is a small, single-seat, mid-wing experimental aircraft, made mainly for air racing. It was designed by Tom Cassutt in 1951 and can still be built today from plans as an experimental, amateur-built airplane. No kits have ever been available; this is a plans-only build. The aircraft is still active in the race scene today and used in the Formula One class competitions every year at the Reno National Championship Air Races. Read more

What Our Members Are Building

Tab-Holding Jig
A unique method to hold tabs while welding to round tube
Mark Eminger, a Christavia MK1 builder from Cloverdale, Indiana, sent us this very helpful construction tip. He’s designed and built a very simple jig for holding clip-nut tabs while welding them to fuselage tubing, aiding the builder in such a way that could easily reduce setup time by at least 5 to 10 minutes per tab. Read more
Tab-Holding Jig
Burt's 'Research Project'
Tinkering with the wing ship-seaplane idea

When we heard rumors that Burt Rutan, in retirement, is back at the drafting table, we thought we should go right to the source. In a private chat last week (November 9), he confirmed he is working on a new design, Model 372-3. "It is a combination wing ship and seaplane," Burt revealed about 372-3, inspired by a Soviet "ekranoplan" he learned about while on a trip to Russia nearly two decades ago. But he also made it clear we should not expect to see anything anytime soon. Read more
Burt's Research Project
Sharpen Your Homebuilding Skills in Houston, December 10-11
If you've ever dreamed of building your own aircraft, or are currently in the process and want to perfect the techniques before applying them to your own project, don't miss your chance to sign up for the upcoming EAA SportAir Workshops in Houston, Texas, December 10-11. These two-day workshops cover a variety of aircraft building skills and techniques. Master the basics of aircraft sheet metal, find out how to properly cover an airplane with fabric, become confident with composites, excel in electrical systems, and more. Best of all, we provide the place, the expertise, and all the tools and materials. For more information on the workshops offered in Houston, or to register for a course, click here.
SportAir Workshops
The Eagle Has Landed
For the last time
An important airplane that fueled the growth of the homebuilt kit aircraft industry arrived in Oshkosh last month, where it will take its rightful place in the EAA AirVenture Museum's aerobatics gallery. The prototype Christen Eagle II, Frank Christensen's powerful and nimble aerobatic biplane designed in the 1970s, flew a nine-leg journey from California with longtime builder and airline pilot Dick (Butch) Pfeifer, EAA 42135, at the controls. "Well, that's the last landing for this airplane," Pfeifer said as he exited the rear seat. Read the story and see photos
Cyber-Homebuilding Draws New Fans
Largest Wisconsin Daily Features cover story on
The story of two young men scratchbuilding a Bearhawk in a basement while a Web audience watches and comments in real time was Thursday's cover story in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Wisconsin's largest daily newspaper. Caleb Ihrig, an Oshkosh engineer, and EAA Multimedia Journalist Brady Lane are friends and building partners who wanted to use basic tools and their basic mechanical knowledge to show how accessible homebuilding can be. A baseball cap-mounted camera streams live video to the Web, which allows viewers to comment, offer tips, and learn along with them. Read the article | Photo gallery | EAA Radio interview
Dream. Build. Fly.
The Cozy Mark IV
Thousands Enjoy Sun-Drenched Copperstate
About 500 aircraft and 5,100 attendees attended last week's 39th annual COPPERSTATE Fly-In & Aviation Expo at the Casa Grande Municipal Airport, Arizona. According to Fly-In Manager Jim McChesney, attendees enjoyed a wide variety of aircraft on the ground and in the air - from ultralights, to World War II fighter jets, to micro-jets and much more. "And, as always, we received many compliments on how family-friendly the event was," McChesney said. Read more
Copperstate Grand Champion
EAA Chapter 1 Hosts SportAir Workshops at Flabob November 19-20
Don't miss your chance to attend the upcoming EAA SportAir Workshops being held at historic Flabob Airport in Riverside, California, November 19-20. Hosted by EAA Chapter 1 at its hangar located on the airport, these two-day weekend workshops cover a variety of aircraft building skills and techniques. You could master the basics of aircraft sheet metal, figure out how to fabric cover an airplane, gain confidence with composites, excel in electric systems, or find out just exactly what's involved in kit building. We provide the place and all the tools and materials, so the only thing you need to show up with is a desire to learn! For more details on the workshops offered, or to register for a course, click here.
SportAir Workshops
EAA, AOPA FAQ on Medical Certification Exemption Request
EAA and AOPA have joined in developing a Frequently Asked Questions sheet to answer the most common questions regarding the upcoming exemption request allowed expanded use of a driver's license in lieu of third-class medical certification. The two organizations in September announced their intention to file the request with the FAA shortly after the first of the year. The FAQ sheet also includes a link for EAA members and other to register for regular updates on this important issue for aviators. To see previous story, click here.
Virgin Galactic Unveils 'Gateway to Space'
First purpose-built commercial spaceport is here
Scores of enthusiastic future astronauts, celebrities, key government officials, and several EAA leaders were among the hundreds of invited guests on hand Monday to help dedicate Spaceport America, the world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport in southern New Mexico. Virgin Galactic Chairman Sir Richard Branson, who along with his children Sam and Holly will be the first commercial passengers on SpaceShipTwo, provided one of the day’s highlights when they rappelled from the roof of the gleaming new 114,000-square-foot building proclaiming the terminal as the “Virgin Galactic Gateway to Space." 
Read more and see the photo gallery
Experimenter Subscribers Save on 'Hints for Homebuilders' DVD Combo Pack
If you love reading about homebuilt aircraft but are apprehensive to begin your own project, EAA has a deal that could help you toward those first building steps. For one week only, Experimenter subscribers can pick up the Hints for Homebuilders DVD combo pack for just $19.95. Featuring demonstrations and narration by the experts at EAA, these "how-to" videos cover a variety of aircraft building skills and techniques, including the basics of sheet metal construction. You'll learn the tips and tricks - as well as the tried-and-true methods - of building your own aircraft. This offer is good through November 23, 2011. Enter the coupon code EXPERIMENTER when you check out to receive these special savings. Order now, or by calling toll-free, 800-564-6322.
Hints for Homebuilders DVD

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.
New Soaring Trike From North Wing
North Wing, manufacturer of weight-shift trikes and wings for trikes and hang gliding, has announced a new lightweight soaring trike will soon be available. The trike is lighter and more streamlined than the North Wing ATF trike and is powered by a four-stroke Bailey engine. The trike can fly with the North Wing Stratus XP wing, your hang glider wing, or a paraglider wing designed for power. Visit their website for more information, or call 509-886-4605.
North Wing
Zenith and UL Power Announce Firewall Forward Kit
Zenith Aircraft Company and UL Power North America LLC announced the availability of complete firewall forward kits for the CH 650 kit aircraft. The firewall forward package includes the direct-drive, air-cooled, UL350iS aircraft engine. The 130-hp powerplant is a horizontally opposed, four-cylinder, four-stroke engine with FADEC. The full firewall forward kit includes everything builders need to install the engine in their Zenith airframe, including engine mount, oil cooler, fuel pumps, propeller and spinner, and fiberglass cowl. Read more

Flying in the Thunder Over the Valley Air Show
Mike Geddry Sr., CEO and curator of the Santa Maria Museum of Flight, Santa Maria, California, said that he would like me to fly in the August 2011 Thunder Over the Valley Air Show with my experimental gyroplane. I agreed without really thinking about it. Then I thought, what could a homebuilt gyroplane do in an air show that would be interesting? I felt it was an opportunity and vowed to make the best of it. At the very least it would make a good story for hangar flying. Read more
Thunder Over the Valley Air Show

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 just purchased a used Lycoming IO-360-A1B previously installed on a Type-certificated airplane. I'm assuming the engine is in fair to good shape, but I still would want to make some changes. Because I'm not an A&P mechanic, my question is, can I do this work on my engine since it's going in my experimental?

A. You absolutely can. Anything that is used as part of an experimental amateur-built aircraft becomes experimental as well, and you may repair, modify, alter, or maintain it in any way you see fit-it's your experiment.

Read more Q&As

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

VARIOMETER - also known as a vario, rate of climb and descent indicator [RCDI], rate of climb indicator, vertical speed indicator [VSI], or vertical velocity indicator [VVI]) is one of the flight instruments in an aircraft (mostly used in sailplanes, hang gliders, paragliders, etc.) used to inform the pilot of the near instantaneous (rather than averaged) rate of descent or climb in order to detect the presence of a thermal or other forms of lift for unpowered aircraft.

More glossary terms

Sport Aviation, May 1980
Gary Green's Award Winning Cassutt IIIM
By Gary E. Green, EAA 69220

It all started over a beer at the Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, officer's club in early 1971. A friend of an acquaintance mentioned he was building an airplane, and the conversation accelerated from there. He was talking about a machine called a Cassutt that was capable of speeds in excess of 250 mph. I couldn't believe it. I was a MAC C-141 pilot in the U.S. Air Force and had never heard of EAA or the homebuilt aircraft movement. Read the article

From the Archives
Video of the Tail Wheel of a Mustang II on Landing
This video was shot to see if the standard tapered tail wheel spring shimmies left and right, causing directional instability after tail wheel touchdown. You'll see how the wheel actually spun to 90 degrees during the many spring bounces. The side springs and chains were shortened after seeing how loose they appeared in flight. 
Watch the video
| Visit the complete website

The Eyeballing Game
Yes, this is a game, but for those who build things with their hands and sometimes have to eyeball dimensions and alignments, this is a nice distraction. Read more

New Split-Cycle Engine Concept: The Doyle Rotary Engine
Check out an interesting new engine design that is similar to a radial rotary from a bygone era but does it without the use of a crankshaft. The pistons are oriented with their crowns toward the center of the engine. This four-stroke engine has no valves and instead uses chambers, similar to a two-stroke but located in the top of the head. Watch the video

Got Weather?
Look at some stunningly beautiful photographs of weather phenomena that, while breathtaking to witness from the safety of the ground, we don't think many of us would want to fly through any of it. 
View the gallery

Surfing a River?
As the ocean tides come in and the river's flow of water to the sea reverses, a gentle tidal wave that the locals like to surf - for literally miles on end - is created. A troupe of microlight pilots captured this phenomenon on video. So if you like science, surfing, soaring, and scenery, you might like this video, too. Watch the video

An Owl Landing
This very detailed, slow-motion video of an owl coming in for a landing gives us a surprising view of the aerodynamics and airflow over the wing as he flares for a landing. Watch the video

Eric Clutton's FRED
For anyone interested in a simple, rugged, homebuilt aircraft for low and slow flying, maybe consider Eric Clutton's FRED. In this brand-new video by Mike Perkins, builder of G-PFAF, we see an early flight by this cheery yellow little homebuilt at Sutton Cheney airfield circa 1999. 
Watch the video

Brandon Jewett's Super Chub
In the November issue of EAA Sport Aviation, Brandon Jewett shared the story of his one-off original design, borne of a need for more space in the flight deck. At 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, the only airplane Brandon ever flew comfortably was the Airbus he flies for his day job. His solution was to build a bigger Super Cub, made by modifying a Wag-Aero 2+2 frame, that he lovingly calls the Super Chub. 
Watch the video
| View the gallery | Read the AirVenture Today article
Photo Gallery

Options for Building a Super Cub
Join Bill Rusk as he gives an overview of the options available for building a Super Cub, to include a brief look at the kits available, such as Cub Crafters, Legend Cubs, and Backcountry Cubs. Also included will be discussion on scratchbuilding Super Cubs from plans and a look at common modifications to this always popular workhorse.

All webinars begin at 7 p.m. CST 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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