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EAA Experimenter - EAA's Homebuilders e-Newsletter EAA Homebuilders
JAN 2011 | VOLUME 4 | NUMBER 1
Project Patrol
Project Patrol

Quad City Aircraft Challenger II Special
The freedom of this column called Project Patrol allows me to swing fairly wildly from one end of the experimental amateur-built spectrum to the other, yet still fall within our interest group. While last month I wrote about a seemingly rare plans-built airplane in the Christavia Mk I, my topic this time is one of the most popular kit airplanes available today, the Quad City Challenger. 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.

Servicing Disk Brakes
Brake Systems
Priming Mating Surfaces
Lock Washers
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How to Build on a Budget
The advice you get is sometimes worth less than you pay for it

We all love to read articles or e-mails that include advice or tips on how to find great deals on the items (or services) we all need to complete our experimental aircraft projects. Every month in our survey I find requests for such articles, and from time to time we receive submitted articles that touch on the topic. Just today I found in my in-box a note from an individual who wrote to the e-mail group (to which I belong) telling how he went about having a deep-sump oil pan built (by a friend) that only cost him a case of beer. And quite frankly, this ticked me off. Read more

Pat Panzera

The Never-Ending Threat

Threats to general aviation have been around as long as general aviation has been around. As 2012 begins, I think about what I wrote in January 1989 when I reflected on then-36 years of history of the EAA, and how far we had come to protect the various general aviation groups. Well, here we are, with 59 years behind us, and we're still here working for our members to protect the right to learn, build, and fly. 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

Engine Basics: Detonation and Preignition
All high-output engines are prone to destructive tendencies as a result of overboost, misfueling, mistuning, and inadequate cooling. The engine community pushes ever nearer to the limits of power output. As it often learns, cylinder chamber combustion processes can quickly evolve into engine failure. This article defines two types of engine failures, detonation and preignition, each as insidious in nature to users as they're hard to recognize and detect. This discussion is intended only as a primer about these combustion processes since whole books have been devoted to the subject. Read more

So Your Plane's ready To Fly?
Wayne Norris is no newcomer to first flights in an experimental aircraft. With five builds to completion in the past 13 years, all with successful first-flights, maybe he's doing something right that we can learn from. Although it's not possible to write a comprehensive article that covers all possible situations with all possible homebuilts, this short list of advice might be one that we can all use as a starting point from which we build our own list. Read more

Belleville Washers Revisited
In the December 2011 issue of EAA's Experimenter e-newsletter, we listed a little blurb about Marc Zeitlin's successful use of the Belleville washer to maintain propeller bolt tension during the expanding and contracting cycles of wooden propellers. Marc recently made some minor changes to the spreadsheet he has on his website, and we felt that they are important enough to bring to your attention. Read more

How to Build an Aircraft Engine Preheater
After seeing an article on preheaters in the November 2011 issue of Sport Aviation, Sam McNair recalled a unit he built about 20 years ago based partially on a design seen in another issue of Sport Aviation. It answered his need for a powerful preheater that didn't require electricity (unavailable out on an exposed ramp) or propane (which doesn't vaporize well at subzero temperatures and is hazardous to store) and was still robust and secure enough to leave at the tiedown. Read more
New Pilot Earns Private Ticket in Homebuilt
Like many aspiring private pilots, Blake Crawford took and passed his checkride as soon as he possibly could - on his 17th birthday last week. What made Blake's private certificate less than ordinary, however, was the fact that he flew it in a homebuilt RV-7A, which he also had a hand in building with his father at their home on the Polly Ranch Airpark near Houston, Texas. Not only that, said Blake's flight instructor Valerie Vaughn, but one of Blake's instructors was "time-to-climb" world record holder Bruce Bohannon, and the person who signed off on his checkride was aerobatic champion pilot and DPE Debbie Rihn-Harvey. Read more

Electrolight2 Helps Vintage Gliders Motor Aloft
Electravia has successfully flown the ElectroLight2 motor glider to test its latest electric motor system, the E-MOTOR GMPE 102. The company is developing the system as a powered option for vintage gliders employing an A60 Fauconnet glider, a wooden-winged, welded mesh airframe design from the late 1950s, as its technology demonstrator. The aircraft, classified as an ultralight under French rules, made six flights with test pilot Samy Dupland at the controls. Read more

Battery Ruling Could Harm Electric Aircraft Growth
EAA and the Electric Aircraft Development Alliance (EADA) are opposing a proposed Department of State rule that would place strict restrictions on the types of lithium-ion batteries that would be available on the commercial market-place. EAA submitted comments to the State Department explaining that such limits could greatly hamper the further development of electric aircraft that has emerged in recent years. Read more

Earn Your Repairman (LSA) Inspection Rating Through EAA SportAir Workshops
Seats are still available in the upcoming EAA SportAir Workshop "LSA Repairman Inspection" to be held in Frederick, Maryland, January 21-22, 2012. This FAA-approved, 16-hour course is a comprehensive learning experience that prepares you for a 50-question test. Upon successful completion of the test (score 80 percent or better), you'll be able to perform the annual condition inspection on any experimental light-sport aircraft you own. Read more

Prepare for Your First Test Flight with EAA SportAir Workshops
If you're a builder or restorer of a newly completed project, you won't want to miss the upcoming EAA SportAir Workshop, "Test Flying Your Project," being held on January 28-29 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Topics covered include the evaluation of the aircraft, including weight and balance and performance characteristics; pilot preparedness and fitness; suitability of the airport; documentation and utilization of data from the test flights; communications between EAA Flight Advisor and pilot during the test flights; safety and emergency procedures; and preparation of a Flight Manual or POH. This one-day workshop is offered both Saturday and Sunday for a fee of $25. (Note: This is the only time in 2012 that this workshop will be offered in Oshkosh.) Read more

Homebuilt Aircraft Council Seeking New Members
Are you passionate about experimental aviation? Do you want to help guide the direction of the homebuilt airplane community within EAA? Then you may be a candidate to serve on the EAA Homebuilt Aircraft Council, which is looking to fill three to four council positions in the coming months. Prospective members must be willing to travel to Oshkosh two or three times a year for council meetings, plus there may be other meetings and responsibilities occurring during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. Read the HAC charter here. If you're interested in serving as a member, complete the online application form here.
Hightower to Speak at Illinois Ultralight & Light Plane Safety Seminar
EAA President Rod Hightower will be keynote speaker at the 32nd annual Illinois Ultralight & Light Plane Safety Seminar on Saturday, March 3, in Springfield, Illinois. Registration begins at 8 a.m. Program starts at 9 a.m. and winds up at 4 p.m. Rod's keynote is scheduled for right after the lunch break. Attendance is free. Aircraft will be on static display along with dealer and manufacturer displays and door prizes. FAA Wings credit is available. For more information, visit the Safety Seminar website.

Advance AirVenture Tickets Now On Sale: Admission, camping, and aircraft rides
Advance purchase of admission tickets and camping are now available for EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2012, providing greater convenience for those traveling to "The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration." The 60th annual gathering will be held July 23-29 at Wittman Regional Airport. Both EAA members and non-members can purchase tickets in advance via a secure website, allowing them to speed through the admissions process when they arrive. 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.
Henry Mignet HM 360 Project
What got me started on building an HM 360 Pou de Ciel (Flying Flea) goes back over 55 years to the mid to late 1950s. Back then, we kids were called ramp rats, and we were always welcome because we would do any kind of work for a little flying time, or better yet, some flight instruction. One day I saw a picture of an HM 14 on the front page of a magazine in the airport office, and I said to my friend John, "If I live to be an old man, by gosh, I'm going to build me one of those planes." Read Light Plane World
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 have a heavy wing on my airplane. Aileron trim tabs have helped, but it's still not correct. What else can I try?

A. First, is your airplane equipped with a slip indicator? If so, is the ball centered? If not, maybe it's a rudder trim situation as opposed to aileron. If you don't have a slip indicator or you suspect it might be giving inaccurate information, tape a piece of yarn to your windshield and observe it in flight over the speed range, and check for yaw. You may find out the rudder can be trimmed to pick up that heavy wing due to a slightly misaligned vertical stabilizer.

Although some might think that the prop blast will skew the yarn to one side, that's not always the case, especially at higher speeds. Just make sure the yarn is centered well and that the tape doesn't cause any unwanted turbulence.

Read more Q&As

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

PERFBOARD is a material for prototyping electronic circuits. It's a thin, rigid sheet typically made from paper, laminated with phenolic resin or a fiberglass-reinforced epoxy laminate. Predrilled holes are located at standard intervals across a square grid of 2.54-millimeter (0.1-inch) spacing and are ringed by round or square electrically isolated copper pads. The builder makes all connections with either wire wrap or miniature point-to-point wiring techniques. Components such as resistors, capacitors, and integrated circuits are soldered to the prototype board. More glossary terms

Sport Aviation
, May 1983
Turbocharging: Why, How and the Revmaster System
By Herbert L. Gillespie, EAA 70419

Ever consider adding a turbocharger to a Volkswagen engine converted for experimental aviation? The fine people at Revmaster Aviation have been doing it successfully for a very long time. In this May 1983 issue of Sport Aviation, author Herbert L. Gillespie wrote about the nuances that go into turbocharging an aircraft engine, specifically the way Revmaster was doing it back then. Read the article

EAA SportAir Workshops
Thatcher CX4 Builder Makes Progress
Doug Humble of Omaha, Nebraska, has been making progress on the forward fuselage of his plans-built Thatcher CX4 in recent weeks. He's installed the floor ribs, and then the floor skin was cut, bent, and shaped, the rivet holes drilled in preparation for its installation. He's also created the center control cover which is held in place by screws instead of rivets so it can be removed.
Read his blog

Mark Calder's Part 103 Robin Ultralight Project
Every good aircraft design has a "mission" before the actual drawings are started. A good designer will refer back to this mission every time a design decision must be made. Good design, after all, is just a series of good design decisions. The cost of an aircraft is usually proportional to its weight. If in addition to low weight, low drag also can be achieved, then smaller and less expensive engines can be used. The Robin expands on the design mission of Mark Calder's earlier design, the Wren, by using a longer-span (40-foot) wing and a low-speed laminar flow airfoil. Follow along with Mark as he breathes life into his Part 103 Robin.
Read more

Spacewalker Landing Bird's-eye View
Martin Hone shot this stunning video of his Spacewalker II-RR during a picture-perfect landing. The wide-angle video camera was mounted on the port leading edge and was aimed at the cockpit forward, showing his stunning Rotec radial engine in all its glory. Martin's plane was featured in the June 2010 issue of Experimenter e-newsletter.
Watch the video

FAA Advisory Circular 90-109
The purpose for Advisory Circular 90-109 is that it provides information and guidance to owners and pilots of experimental airplanes and to flight instructors who teach in these airplanes. It contains recommendations for training experience for pilots of experimental airplanes in a variety of groupings based on performance and handling characteristics.
Read more

Sirocket Twin-Jet Ultralight
It's the Sirocket, and it looks and flies like the name implies. Called a single-seat deregulated (SSDR) aircraft in the United Kingdom, the modified Sirocco microlight features two twin JetCat P200-SX large-scale model turbines, each producing 52 pounds of thrust. Builder Dave Stephens has almost eliminated the wing dihedral and shortened the wings by 8 feet. Its first flight reached nearly 60 knots, but aileron flex prevented an attempt at the max speed of 80.
Watch the video

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