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EAA Experimenter - EAA's Homebuilders e-Newsletter EAA Homebuilders
Project Patrol
Project Patrol

Terry Ruprecht's Vans RV-9A
I’ve known Terry Ruprecht, EAA 762620, of Mahomet, Illinois, for the better part of six years now. He is one of those guys with whom everyone gets along and loves to hang out. His airplane of choice is the Van's RV-9A, which fits his mission and personality perfectly. He did the traditional search for the perfect aircraft to build, and like many of us who go through the process with a logical approach, he ended up with what may be one of the best all-around homebuilt airplanes out there. 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.

Gas Welding Tip Selection
Tubing 101
Piano Hinges
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Join Me at Sun 'n Fun

March 1, 2012. That's the day I wrote this. It's also the beginning of the 2012 flying season, especially in the Central California area where I live. The trees are blooming, the crops are being planted, the sky is clear and blue, spotted with bright-white cumulous clouds topping out at 5,000 feet. And Sun 'n Fun International Fly-In & Expo is just 26 days away (less when you read this), which means I have a lot of work to do!

For the past 10 years (up until last year) as editor of CONTACT! Magazine, I had a vendor's booth at Sun 'n Fun but also volunteered in the forums area where I maintain a tent reserved for nothing but Alternative Engine presentations. Last year I dropped the booth and started concentrating on just the engine forum presentations. Read more

Pat Panzera

To Grow Participation in Aviation

When I look back on what we were providing in 1963 for videos, it eerily parallels what we are providing today in a different format with the Hints for Homebuilders series. Back then, we had 15,000 members with 1,800 amateur-built airplanes; today we have 176,000 members with some 33,000 amateur-built airplanes. I still get a lot of letters these days, and I also have the fine folks on the EAA staff to keep me informed of what is being talked about on the various online forums. Something else struck me as amusing, though, when I heard what is being talked about these days: EAA is growing too large, and why doesn't EAA just become one with another or many of the other organizations out there? Seems I've heard this somewhere before. 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

Nate Kimball's Affordaplane
When Nate Kimball decided to build a plane, he didn't feel the need to take it seriously. As a pilot of radio-controlled aircraft, he took on the challenge as more of a large-scale model project, but as time went on, he was overwhelmed by the desire to fly. But once he faced the reality of putting human life at risk, his attitude changed as did his outlook on life. Read more

Checking Out the Homebuilts at Sebring 2012
The U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, Florida, is well known as a show that almost exclusively features special light-sport aircraft (S-LSA), but you'll find a few homebuilts there, too. Several S-LSA manufacturers offer traditional 51-percent experimental amateur-built (E-AB) kit aircraft that are sport-pilot eligible; there are also the lesser known experimental light-sport aircraft (E-LSA) kits, too. Read more

Engine Basics: Detonation and Preignition Part Two
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 | Read part one

Converting Giant R/C Plans Into Your Walter Mitty Fighter, Part 2
Right at two years ago (February 2010 issue of Experimenter) we published the "What Our Members Are Building" article by Vince Homer that spoke about converting giant radio-controlled (R/C) aircraft plans for the purposes of building a scale homebuilt aircraft. A similar article was published in June 2009 when we showcased Jack Bally's 1/3 scale replica B-17. In this issue Vince Homer shares his love for small- and large-scale aircraft in an inspirational and educational way that may help you create your own "Walter Mitty" fighter. Read more

How to Make an Oil Seal Installation Tool
When a special tool is in need, all isn't necessarily lost. You're building an airplane, right? So how hard could it be to build a tool? It's not very hard at all is what Bill Craft of EAA Chapter 287 discovered when tasked with replacing his oil seal on the front of his Lycoming engine. A little trip to the plumbing section of the hardware store, a little crafting in the shop, and voilà, a tool is born. Read more
Transponder Code 1202
The Soaring Society of America recently announced that the FAA has now assigned transponder code 1202 for use by gliders not in contact with an air traffic control (ATC) facility with an effective date of March 7, 2012. The notice was published in JO 7110.577. Gliders operating in areas where there is an agreement with local ATC to use a different code should contact the agreement sponsor for guidance on which code to use. Read more

New, Fast, and Efficient: Aerochia's LT-1
It's real, it's flying, and it's coming to AirVenture Oshkosh this year. We're talking about the Aerochia LT-1, a new experimental amateur-built kit with a speed range from 60 to 160 mph. Andy Chiavetta, EAA 508794, has partnered with four-time Reno Sport Class champ Darryl Greenamyer, EAA 691087, to produce the slick single-seater with an estimated kit price (firewall aft) will be in the $20,000 range. Read more

Sonex Onex Earns FAA Kit Approval
Sonex Aircraft LLC has earned kit approval for its single-place Onex from the FAA National Kit Evaluation Team (NKET). Sonex General Manager Mark Schaible made the announcement during this week's EAA webinar about the Onex (pronounced "One-X"). The FAA will now publish an amateur-building checklist for the folding-wing, sport pilot-eligible aircraft, which will allow Onex builders to show compliance with the major portion requirement of the 51 percent rule. NKET approval is not only important to builders in the United States, but also to builders in many other countries whose aviation authorities base their homebuilt aircraft regulations upon NKET approval. Read more

Auxiliary Rotary Engine for Electric Aircraft by L-3
A rotary engine is being developed by L-3 Communications as part of the hybrid power system for an electric aircraft. The R350, L-3/Magnet-Motors' electrical motor and drive system, was showcased in recent airliner electric taxi trials. L-3 plans to translate that electric technology into a propulsion system for large stealth UAVs, with the new heavy fuel rotary engine to provide auxiliary power. Read more

EAA SportAir Workshops
More than 100 current and future homebuilders attended the recent SportAir Workshops held at EAA headquarters, learning the basics of fabric covering, composite, sheet metal, and other building skills. To learn more about future SportAir sessions held across the country, click here. See the photo gallery.

Pipistrel Taurus G4 Nominated for Collier Trophy
The electrically powered Pipistrel G4 that won NASA's Green Flight efficiency challenge is one of four aircraft nominated to win the National Aeronautic Association's 2012 Collier Trophy. The other finalists are the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, Lockheed C-5M Super Galaxy, and Gamera Human Powered Helicopter. The Collier Trophy is awarded each year for "the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America." The achievement must have been demonstrated in actual use, not merely proposed or planned. Last year the Collier went to Sikorsky's X2 helicopter that demonstrated technology that advanced helicopter speed to new levels. Read more

ASTM LSA Committee to Hold Electric Aircraft Workshop at Sun 'n Fun
The ASTM International Committee for light-sport aircraft will host a day-long "International Workshop for Electric Aircraft Standardization" during the Sun 'n Fun Fly-In at Lakeland, Florida. The workshop, slated for March 28 at the Hilton Garden Inn, aims to bring civil aviation authorities, researchers, and manufacturers/designers together for discussions on standardizing technologies of this emerging aircraft category. The workshop is being held in cooperation with EAA and the Lindbergh Electric Aircraft Prize (LEAP). Registration is required by March 16 and will be on a first-come, first-served basis. To register, click here. For more information about the workshop, click here.

Small Engine Maker Limbach Flugmotoren Sold
After more than 40 years of operation with some 6,000 engines manufactured, the Limbach family has sold its company, Limbach Flugmotoren GmbH, to German-Chinese investor Shuide Chen. Peter Limbach, the previous owner, will continue to assist the new company in technical issues, but it's anticipated that manufacturing of the engines will be relocated to China while research and development will remain in Germany. In making the announcement, the company also hinted that a new family of ultralight/experimental/light-sport aircraft engines is under development, ranging from 50/60 hp to 120/130 hp. The new company's strategy will be to open up new markets, predominantly in Asia. For more information, click here.

EAA, Homebuilt Community Praised for NTSB Survey Involvement
EAA and the amateur-built aircraft community have received praise from the National Transportation Safety Board for their involvement in an extensive survey that built a key information resource on accidents and safety. Throughout the 2011 calendar year, the NTSB has been conducting a study of experimental amateur-built (E-AB) aircraft to evaluate the safety of this growing and innovative segment of general aviation. In addition to using the information gathered during its accident investigations, the NTSB has been working with the FAA, EAA, and individual owners and builders to evaluate a range of issues unique to this popular segment of general aviation. Read more

Da Vinci Human Birdwings Use Android and Wii Remote
The Human Birdwings project in the Netherlands combines da Vinci-style aero concepts from the past with modern day consumer electronics. When the "pilot" attaches the large fabric-covered wings to his arms, accelerometers in Android smartphones and a Wii video game remote help convert the pilot's arm movements into a motor-assisted, bird-like flapping of the wings. These Human Birdwings haven't demonstrated sustained flight yet, but refining the design could launch an interesting new way of flying. Read more

Wicks Aircraft Supplies Hardware Kit for Onex
Wicks Aircraft Supply, located in the heart of the Lower 48, has reached an agreement with Oshkosh-based Sonex Aircraft to supply the hardware kits for its popular new Onex (pronounced "one-x").

The low-cost aerobatic plane is the latest offering from the Wisconsin company, and since its Oshkosh introduction in 2011, the folding-wing Onex has shown that the single-place market is more viable than many have recently thought, bringing low cost and efficiency back into fun, personal flying. 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.
Editorial: Change is Good
My prediction for 2012 is that there will be many changes. Some have already begun, and I want to offer a few words taken from a classic science fiction movie. In the 1984 movie Dune, Duke Leto Atreides tells his young son Paul that change is good and not to be feared. He says, "Without change something inside us sleeps. The sleeper must awaken!" It's a good message for all of us including those in the news this month. Read more

You Can Train for Sport Pilot in Your Homebuilt
I experienced a life-changing event in 2006 - my neighbor took me for a ride in his Cessna. Until then, I had no encounters with small aircraft and assumed that it was a hobby only accessible to the rich. My neighbor showed me that it really was within my reach.

I knew immediately that I wanted to fly. After months of exploring the Internet and serious soul searching, I decided light sport would fit my interests and wallet perfectly. Read more

Mary Jones Interviewed on Powered Sport Flying Radio
Mary Jones, longtime writer and executive editor at EAA, was interviewed on the Powered Sport Flyingradio show with Roy Beisswenger on December 20, 2011. She began 28 years ago covering the world of ultralights under the tutelage of Jack Cox and gradually advanced to directing the entire publishing effort at EAA.

Also Roy announced he's taking some time off from doing the the live radio show. Read more
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 just purchased a partially completed kit from its second owner. I have the build log and most receipts, but the first owner's ownership documentation is missing. How can I prove ownership when I go through the registration process?

A. FAA document AFS-750-94 gives us the answer in paragraph 17. "…AFFIDAVIT. If, for good reason, the applicant cannot produce the required evidence of ownership, they may submit for consideration an affidavit stating why they cannot produce the required evidence, accompanied by whatever further evidence is available to prove the transaction. This evidence may be statements of witnesses, evidence of attempts to contact former owner(s), copies of canceled checks, etc. Returned certified mail should be attached to the affidavit."

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

ANODIZE or anodising, is an electrolytic passivation process used to increase the thickness of the natural oxide layer on the surface of metal parts. Anodizing increases corrosion resistance and wear resistance and provides better adhesion for paint primers and glues than bare metal. Anodic films also can be used for a number of cosmetic effects, either with thick porous coatings that can absorb dyes or with thin transparent coatings that add interference effects to reflected light. In addition, anodizing is used to prevent galling of threaded components and to make dielectric films for electrolytic capacitors. Anodic films are most commonly applied to protect aluminum alloys, although processes also exist for titanium, zinc, magnesium, and niobium. More glossary terms

Sport Aviation
, May 1972
Heintz 'Zenith' Flight Report
By Harold Best-Devereux, EAA 9421, IAC 1184

The minimum in airplane construction is a live target for engineers, particularly in the domain of homebuilts. While some build for building's sake, the majority have the final aim of flight and do not want to be either too long about it or spend anymore pennies than necessary. Simplicity is certainly more difficult to produce in current aviation than complication as we all know, so in addition to a hand clap for Steve Wittman, John Thorp, and Bud Evans, hats off to a young French designer, Christophe Heintz. Read the article

EAA SportAir Workshops
Dragonfly Takes Flight
In the February 2011 issue of EAA's Experimenter e-newsletter, Charlie Johnson was featured in our What Our Members Are Building feature, showcasing the overhaul and new engine installation in his Viking Dragonfly. One year later, Charlie found himself with nothing left on his list of stuff to do, so he went flying. Although his performance was a little off the mark and he has more experimenting to do, it still works very well.
Read the past article | Watch the video

Urban Paragliding
Sometimes known as parkour, freerunning (or free running) is the urban form of acrobatics in which participants, known as free runners, use the city or rural landscape to perform Spider-Man-type movements and other seemingly gravity-defying stunts through its structures. In this video, Jean-Baptiste Chandelier gracefully unites this art form with his paragliding skills to do the seemingly impossible.
Watch the video

New Engines for Experimental Replicas
Locating plans or enough reference to build decent copies of WWI aircraft is hard enough. It's even more frustrating if the information exists but the correct engine doesn't. Sometimes it means that a more recent engine is substituted. This can be a good solution if you want to end up with an aircraft that is reliable and can be maintained without too much trouble. However, it's only when an aircraft is flying with an engine from 1914 to 1918 that you can really see and hear history coming to life. This attention to history is becoming more important for a growing group of aircraft builders, and it’s providing a lot of satisfaction to air show visitors in New Zealand.
Visit the website

Common Cleaners Can Turn to Poisonous Gas
Even when being relatively careful with over-the-counter cleaners, bad things can still happen to the unsuspecting. Warning labels? They are so pervasive that they've lost all meaning to most of us, and with the over exaggeration of many of the warnings, do they really mean much even when read? This welder found out the hard way when one drop of common brake cleaner nearly killed him and caused him permanent damage.
Read more

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