EAA Experimenter - EAA's Homebuilders e-Newsletter EAA Homebuilders
DEC 2011 | VOLUME 3 | NUMBER 12
Project Patrol
Project Patrol

George Stulgatis' Christavia Mk I
A completed Christavia Mk I is a bit of a rare find, but there are thousands of plans out there (now being sold by Aircraft Spruce). The Mk I is the two-place tandem, the Mk II is the two-place side by side, and the Mk IV is the four-place version. The FAA database lists only 55 of all types currently registered, which is the reason I am claiming the Mk I as a rarity. Our subject project this month is owned by George Stulgaitis, EAA 845312, of Madison, Wisconsin, whose journey started when a friend gave him a VW engine and he mounted it on an air-powered sled for running on a nearby frozen lake. Then he thought, "If only it had wings…"
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.
• Panel Labeling
Troubleshooting a Leaky Carburetor
• Storage of Sealants
• Low Budget Hydroforming
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Las Vegas Hardware Show
Tool Hunt, Part Two

Part one of my report on the 2011 National Hardware Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center that took place earlier this year has already been published in EAA's weekly e-newsletter e-Hotline. In it I wrote about some of the interesting items I discovered during the show that might be of interest to the homebuilder. If you haven't read it yet, I would suggest that you do so before reading this article. If you have read it, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I hope you'll enjoy part two. Read more

Pat Panzera

The View From the Outside

This pick fits right in with the old saying, "the more things change, the more they stay the same." As I wrote nearly 40 years ago, back in January of 1972, we had members and non-members alike coming to us in attack mode by saying we forgot the little guy. Take a few minutes to read what I said then, and I think you'll be intrigued and might just agree that "the more things change, the more they stay the same." 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
Germany’s Take Off GmbH
Boxer engine conversion experts

During an extended tour of European general aviation airports in the spring of 2010, one engine gaining popularity among homebuilders caught my eye. Whether used as a pusher in the Merlin weight-shift trike or mounted under the cowl of a Breezer or BX-2 Cherry, the two-cylinder, four-stroke, air-cooled boxer motors from the German company Take Off Ultraleichtflug GmbH represent a very interesting alternative powerplant in the 90- to 115-hp range. Read more
Boxer engine conversion

Tennessee Valley Air Race
Last month the Tennessee Valley Air Race was held in Alabama as part of the Sport Air Racing League. Midget Mustang owner Greg Bordelon (Green Machine - SARL #117) along with fellow Mustang owners Les Burrill and John Keich brought their aircraft to compete in the event which included a time trial and pumpkin drop. The 125.2 nautical mile course is probably the only circuit race that includes a Saturn V rocket as a pylon. Read more
Tennessee Valley Air Race

Tip Tanks: Design and Fabrication
For Designers and Homebuilders, Revisited

In the November issue of EAA's Experimenter e-newsletter, we published a short description of a new book, Tip Tanks: Design - Fabrication. Several readers e-mailed to say they were upset that the lead-in to the article seemed misleading. They anticipated finding an article and what we presented was an announcement of the availability of a new book. So we contacted the author and asked him if he wouldn't mind writing an article on the subject. He agreed. Read more
Tip tanks

Letter to the Editor
Please don't hurt anymore gliders

In the November 2011 issue of Experimenter, we published an article on converting a vintage glider to an experimental single engine land aircraft. While the concept is as innovative as the method and the automobile engine used to complete the task, the idea of (essentially) destroying a two-place glider to make a single-place airplane didn't sit well with one particular Experimenter reader who wrote a letter to make the case that perhaps we should respect vintage aircraft of all types and search out wrecks for modification. Read more

Sonny Furman's Spacewalker II
Working just from plans, Sonny Furman has been building his Spacewalker II for less than 1.5 years as of this issue. He's not certain if there are any other Spacewalkers powered with the Corvair engine, but since most have utilized the 65-hp Continental, on up to the O-200, it would seem logical that the Corvair should power his aircraft nicely with an expected cruise of 95 to 110 mph. Read more

What Our Members Are Building

Creating a Photo Book
It's easier than you think…

There's nothing like the feel of a good quality book that shows off some of your proudest moments or handiwork. I guarantee that if you have a photo book lying around, everyone will automatically pick it up and start thumbing through the pages. Your aircraft project could be one of these books, too. The key is to have a good system for taking and collecting build photos and whatever off-the-shelf programs can help you get published. Read more
Photo book
The Ultimate Homebuilder - Frank Robinson
People build their own aircraft for all sorts of reasons, but high on the list is a desire for a machine you just can't buy from a factory. And that's exactly why Frank Robinson built his own helicopter. And that was 10,000 Robinson helicopters ago. As helicopter technology matured the major makers focused on building ever larger, more powerful machines. The other large market segment was for utility use such as servicing offshore oil rigs, or lifting stuff on slings. The potential market for a personal helicopter was simply ignored by everybody except Frank. Read more
Frank Robinson
New Diesel Aircraft Engine Makes First Run
A mid-range diesel engine designed specifically for medium single- and some twin-engine GA aircraft ran for the first time last week. Built by Engineered Propulsion Systems of New Richmond, Wisconsin, the prototype engine is a 4.4 liter liquid-cooled flat eight or “flat vee” featuring a 180 degree “v” with a target output of 350 to 400 horsepower that will run on both diesel and Jet A. Read more
Flat vee engine
The Cozy Mark IV

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.
One-Off Homebuilt Sportstar N47CC
We get a first look at Sportstar N47CC, a one-of-a-kind experimental amateur-built aircraft that meets LSA requirements, designed and built by Charles Hooper of Lakeview, Arkansas. The fuselage is "S" glass and carbon fiber. The cantilevered wing, rudder, and stabilator are all metal. A single stick in the center controls the aircraft. The firewall forward is from a Zenith 601, and the engine is a Jabiru 3300. Read more
North Wing
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've finished my annual condition inspection, and the airplane is all put back together and ready to fly. Have I met my obligation to fly the airplane legally?

A. No. The airplane isn't considered airworthy until the logbook entry has been signed and dated, and installed in the logbook if a sticker is used by you (the repairman certificate holder or original builder that holds the certificate) or an A&P mechanic certificating that it has been found to meet the annual condition inspection criteria and is airworthy.

Read more Q&As

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

BOXER OR BOXER ENGINE - Any horizontally opposed engine in which the corresponding pistons reach top dead center simultaneously, such as those found in most light GA aircraft. Examples include Lycoming, Continental, Franklin, Jabiru, and Rotax engines. Examples of automobile engines that fall into the category and are commonly converted for aircraft use include the air-cooled Volkswagen engines, Porsche, Subaru, and Chevrolet's Corvair. Lesser-known boxer engines include the Citroën 2CV for automobiles and BMW and Honda (Gold Wing) for motorcycles. Boxer engines shouldn't be confused with the less popular opposed piston engine designs (sometimes referred to as "180-degree V engines" and almost never found in engines with less than eight cylinders) in which corresponding pistons share a crank pin, and thus each will reach top dead center half a crankshaft revolution after the other. More glossary terms

Sport Aviation
, July 1963
Cockpit Design Simplified
By Michael C. Myal, EAA 7978

Mick Myal, who contributes an article in this month's issue on tip tank design and fabrication, once obtained a patent for a vehicle occupant packaging tool, the principal part of a design system used today by all road-vehicle manufacturers. With his eye for ergonomics, Mick wrote in the July 1963 issue of Sport Aviation about a simple solution to the problem of cockpit layout design. But considering the continued girth expansion of the "average" American adult, perhaps the human dimensions table should be revisited. Read the article

From the Archives
EAA SportAir Workshops
Soaring Society of America Annual Convention
It's that time of the year to begin making your travel plans to attend the SSA Convention, February 2 to 4, 2012, in Reno, Nevada. The convention will be held at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center with hotel accommodations at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa. Special SSA rates are available. SSA Convention 2012 Reservations. Registration for the convention opened November 1 online, and registration forms are in the November issue of Soaring. Read more

Darren Barnfield's VP-2
Darren Barnfield of Hastings, Victoria (Australia), had his Volksplane VP-2 project featured in Experimenter almost a year ago. Not long ago Darren had his plane signed off; he's now ready for his initial flights. In these two videos we see Darren's engine runs, one of which was powerful enough to lift the tail while still parked. "First flight will happen when it happens," Darren told us. Video 1 | Video 2

First Glance at the SPA Panther
The Panther is designed to be a versatile, mid-sized, single-seat, low-wing experimental aerobatic airplane with quick-fold wings that can be built to be flown by a sport pilot, or a private pilot. Why do we need another one? Compromises. Every designer picks his own set whether it be engine choice, construction, technique, or building modes (like plans versus kits), just to name a few. The Panther will offer unparalleled versatility as the Burger King of airplanes-"Have it your way." You choose the engine, landing gear configuration, wing length, safety features, open or enclosed cockpit, and kit or plan/kit combo…you make it how you want it. Read more

Propeller Bolt Belleville Washer Retention System
After losing his wood-core propeller from his O-360 Lycoming powered Cozy MKIV due to improper torquing of prop bolts, Marc Zeitlin rediscovered an old system for ensuring the proper hub compression for wooden props involving Belleville washers. If you're interested in using a relatively lightweight system on your prop bolts that will make your wood prop installation far more robust and less likely to depart your aircraft, read more.

The Bloop1
Not too different from last month's Project Patrol where Lyle Forsgren successfully installed an automobile engine in his vintage Schleicher Ka-7 sailplane, the evolution of hang gliders to ultralights came about in the same manner: adding engines to gliders. Introducing the Bloop1. Mike Sandlin describes and demonstrates his latest creation in this 5-minute video.
The Bloop1

Wood Prop Maintenance
When was the last time you performed routine maintenance on your wooden propeller? The seasons are changing, so if it's been more than a few weeks ago-get on it! The Stagger-EZ's "prop self-destruction / near prop loss" encounter was James Redmon's second personal experience with this phenomenon, something he hopes he'll never encounter again! Read more

A Great Little Machine - Another Day at the Races
Sam Hoskins recently returned from Taylor, Texas, where he competed in the Rocket 100, the last race of the 2011 Sport Air Racing League season. His highly modified Quickie Q-200 was reported to have run very well, and a great time was had by all. Read more

Velocity Twin Pusher
The team at Velocity Aircraft has posted some new photos of the Velocity Twin. If you haven't been to the website recently, it's worth checking out. Looks like the structure is mostly built…nice job! Read more
Twin Pusher

A New Way to Share Project Information
EAA member Jim Tomaszewski just finished a new website for homebuilt aircraft. He and his team are trying to grow it to be the world's largest single collection of homebuilt aircraft and project listings. Feel free to visit and list your aircraft for the world to see. A huge benefit of the site is the ability for guests to search for specific aircraft/engine combinations. View the website
Website for homebuilt aircraft

Phantom Ray Makes First Two Flights
Just eight days after its first flight, Phantom Ray completed its second flight on May 5 at Edwards Air Force Base, California. Phantom Ray took off at approximately 12:15 p.m. Pacific. Similar to its first flight on April 27, the autonomous vehicle taxied, flew to 7,500 feet, conducted several maneuvers, and landed safely after a 17-minute flight. Read more
Courtesy: Boeing

George Stulgaitis' Christavia Mk I
Our gallery this month features more pictures of George Stulgaitis’ Christavia Mk I, a true rarity due to the model and the fact that it was actually completed. The project started when a friend gave him a VW engine and he mounted it on an air-powered sled for running on a nearby frozen lake. Then he thought, "If only it had wings…" View the gallery
Photo Gallery

All About Magnetos
Maintenance expert and EAA Sport Aviation columnist Mike Busch, A&P/IA, presents an informational webinar about magnetos, including how they work, functions of key components, failure modes, preventive maintenance, preflight and in-flight mag checks, high-altitude misfire causes and cures, troubleshooting ignition problems, and more.

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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