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

Arvin and Greg Larson: Kitfox IV and Number 11
Capitol Drive Airport in Pewaukee, Wisconsin, is one of those airports that I hope never goes away. It's a small airport with a north/south paved runway and an east/west grass strip. The row of hangars can't be seen from the road (which is why I missed my turn initially during my visit), and it has a great small town airport feel, even though it sits on the outskirts of Milwaukee. I made the hour-long drive to this airport to see one specific modification on one specific airplane - a Kitfox IV. Built by father and son team Arvin and Greg Larson, this little plane has a unique external throttle handle designed for use while hand-propping the engine. 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.

Engine Control Clamping
Replacing a Starter Rope on a
2-Stroke Engine

Greasing Rod End Bearings
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Golden West Regional Fly-In

The fly-in season is in full swing. There are hundreds of events listed on the EAA Aviation Calendar of Events, and even more that aren’t listed. With EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2012 about six weeks away, there is still much to do before and after The World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration, and one of those events I’d like to personally invite you to is the Golden West Regional Fly-In at Marysville, California, especially if you’re a fan of alternative engines and grassroots experimental aviation. Read more

Pat Panzera

Ultralight's 30th Birthday

This year we celebrate 30 years of the Part 103 Ultralight. As I think back on where this came from, and how it developed, I remembered a column I wrote back in 1984 about how the early days of the Ultralight movement were coming along. It’s interesting to note the amount of support that was given to the movement at that time. 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

Belite Ultralight Aircraft and Instruments
James Wiebe, CEO of Belite Aircraft, has created what he describes as a miniature Cub in an ultralight package. His FAR 103 legal ultralights are focused on using good design and modern-technology materials to produce excellent performance for normal-sized people. But along the way, James has created some very unusual aircraft instrumentation that isn't only affordable but weighs very little. Read more

Cheap Learning Is Just That: Cheap
As a teacher, I see K-12 students (and adults) involved in various learning settings and processes such as school, tutoring, online courses, graduate school, community ed, etc. I've seen three-hour courses and workshops offered, along with the "compressed" version of the same class. They generally charge less for the shortened version of a given class. Read more

Update on Raceair Designs and Lil' Bitts
Ed Fisher was inducted into the EAA Homebuilders Hall of Fame in 2011 and deservedly so. He is a prolific designer, innovator, and homebuilder, and he continues to produce designs that are responsive to changes in the way we fly and build. But he infuses classic lines and appealing touches into his designs that keep them from being too trendy or odd-looking. In the last year, Ed and his wife, Val, have made some decisions that promise to keep Ed and his Raceair Designs true to their roots, and some of those decisions were made because of what Ed was hearing from homebuilders. We featured Ed's plane Lil' Bits in the July 2009 issue of Experimenter, and Ed is finally ready to bring it to market. Read more

Tommy Thompson's 3/4 scale 1918 Fokker D-VIII
I have always liked the WWI-era airplanes. Overall they are simple to build, fly slow, and appeal to lots of aviation enthusiasts. Plus it's a rare sight to see one flying. The Red Baron died at age 25, just two months before the D-VIII saw production. Two hundred and ninety-five were built during the last six months of the war. Only 36 ever saw combat, and a D-VIII had the last aerial confirmed kill as well. It was nicknamed the Flying Razor, and I'll share with you my build of this modern rendition of this historic aircraft. Read more

How To: An Unusual Source for a Stick Grip
Here's a little trick I learned while building my Safari helicopter. Wanting to keep my hands on the controls, I needed a stick grip that had sufficient switch locations to provide for: 1) push-to-talk; 2) radio frequency select; 3) balancer activator switch to allow for single pilot operation of the dynamic balancer; 4) on-off for a video camera; and 5) preferably a four-way hat switch to activate trim controls on the cyclic. Read more
NTSB Examines E-AB Safety Factors: EAA credited for safety programs and leadership
The National Transportation Safety Board highlighted 16 recommendations to improve homebuilt aircraft safety at a full board meeting May 22 in Washington, D.C., and the board also complimented EAA and its programs as helping to make the amateur-built aircraft community a safer place. An extensive safety study of homebuilt aircraft began in 2011 with EAA assisting NTSB by encouraging EAA members' involvement in an in an initial survey which established an accurate, comprehensive database of the homebuilt community. More than 5,000 EAA members participated in the survey. Read more

Reno Air Races Secures Insurance, Announces Safety Changes
At a press conference Tuesday in Reno, Nevada, Mike Houghton, president of the Reno Air Racing Association (RARA), announced that a $100 million insurance policy had been secured, paving the way for the National Championship Air Races to be held September 12-16 at Stead Airport. Read more

UL Power Firewall Forward Kit Available for Zenith CH 750
Zenith Aircraft Company and UL Power North America LLC have announced availability of the UL Power complete firewall forward kit for the Zenith STOL CH 750 light-sport utility kit aircraft. The complete firewall forward (FWF) engine package includes the modern, direct-drive, air-cooled, lightweight, and fuel-efficient UL350iS aircraft engine from UL Power. Read more

AD Issued on Lycoming Engine Carburetors
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

First Customer-Built Onex Flown
Bill Fisher, of Jackson, Tennessee, made the first flight of a customer-built Onex (pronounced One-X) aircraft, Sonex reported. Fisher flew his new, single-place, AeroVee-powered aerobatic light-sport aircraft on Thursday, May 10. Fisher bought the fourth kit off the line after the company began taking orders about a year ago. Since that time a total of 77 kits have been sold, according to Mark Schaible of Sonex. The Onex features a folding wing, which means it can fit into a garage or T hangar with other aircraft. Sonex claims builders can get their aircraft flying for as little as $25,299. Visit Sonex for more information.

Big Win for Experimental Aircraft on AD Applicability
EAA and experimental category aircraft owners waited a long time for this piece of good news, but it finally arrived on March 12, when the FAA published an updated Advisory Circular (AC 39-7D) on Airworthiness Directives (ADs). The circular formally set FAA policy that ADs are not applicable on non-type certificated aircraft, except when specifically noted. This is an issue that has been on EAA's "Top 10" list of advocacy issues and has been part of the agenda at the last three EAA/FAA Recreational Aviation Summits. The absence of FAA headquarters guidance had created a patchwork of regional policies that varied and at times conflicted with each other. Read more

Carter PAV Milestones
Carter Aviation Technologies (CAT) reported continued progress in early March during Phase II flight testing of its PAV (Personal Air Vehicle) gyroplane. CAT made available a new video showing some impressive zero-roll takeoffs without the rotor reaching optimum rpm. Phase II flight testing continues, during which the company hopes to increase cruise speed, altitude, and time in air. Click here to watch the video or learn more about the program.

Report to Homebuilders Gives High-Level View
The annual EAA Report to Homebuilders is now available, giving the GA community a broad overview of the amateur-built aircraft fleet, updates on safety, and the resources available through EAA to those who are building their own aircraft. It is the only annual report dedicated to homebuilt aircraft that looks at that category outside of the entire general aviation fleet. 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.
If It's Broke, Fix It
It began as an occasional single drop of fuel from a brass fuel shutoff valve at the lowest point of the fuel system on a weight-shift-control experimental light-sport aircraft. It was rarely noticed, and never apparent when operating from sod airstrips. The owner considered it to be little more than an inconvenience for months, until it was parked for a time on a concrete tarmac for breakfast at a local airport restaurant. Read more

Teacher Flies High Learning and Teaching Aviation
Rob Rice never dreamed that he'd be learning to fly a light-sport airplane as part of his first teaching job when he was earning his master's degree in integrative science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education at Virginia Tech. Most sunny afternoons, however, Rob can be found at the Bay Bridge Airport in Maryland doing exactly that. He was hired to teach an aeronautics ground school; the high school sent him to be trained as a sport pilot so he could better teach his class. Read more
Confused by a strange aeronautical term? EAA's online Aviation Glossary can help.

Brake Mean Effective Pressure (BMEP) is a very effective yardstick for comparing the performance of an engine of a given type to another of the same type and for evaluating the reasonableness of performance claims or requirements. The definition of BMEP is: the average (mean) pressure which, if imposed on the pistons uniformly from the top to the bottom of each power stroke, would produce the measured (brake) power output. Note that BMEP is purely theoretical and has nothing to do with actual cylinder pressures. It is simply a tool to evaluate the efficiency of a given engine at producing torque from a given displacement. Read more

EAA SportAir Workshops
The Construction of a Light Airplane, or How to Build a Piper Cub
This educational movie allows us to watch the construction of a 1943 Piper J-3 Cub filmed at the actual Piper aircraft factory in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, as part of an educational series filmed by the School of Engineering. Watch the video

EAA Mourns Loss of Leonard Eaves
EAA extends its deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Leonard R. Eaves, EAA Lifetime 2194, who lost his life in the crash of his Skeeter 1M homebuilt on Saturday, March 3. He was reportedly en route to a pancake breakfast in Ponca City, Oklahoma, when the crash happened on Clarence E. Page Airport near Yukon, Oklahoma. Leonard was 92, and is survived by his wife, Rita. Read more

Engine Failure in Yak 50: The Positive Effect of Remaining Calm
A Yak 50 loses oil pressure over the Lake District at 1,250 feet. Engine runs until dry before seizing, gearbox u/s and windmilling prop at 3,100 feet followed by glide, wheels up (no flaps on the 50) into a rough field with an upslope at 500 feet above mean sea level. First impact to full stop 154 feet, first belly impact approx 115 feet. Aircraft did not go through wall, right aileron did contact with a fence post. Wind reported at Carlisle less than 5 kts - windmills visible not turning and shut down. Ground soft. Watch the video

Design by Rutan
A retrospective of Burt Rutan's high-performance art

You can always tell a Burt Rutan airplane, just as you can always tell a Dr. Seuss drawing or a Beatles song. It’s not only the configurations — though canards, winglets, or twin booms sometimes give them away. It’s not just the materials, though composites have been key to Rutan’s achievements and helped make him the hero of the homebuilder. The January 2012 issue of Air & Space magazine presented an exhaustive article on the various designs created by Burt Rutan. Read more

Pneumatically Pumped Up
High-pressure air may be a practical way to increase minimalist aircraft aerodynamic efficiency, control, and STOL performance, while lowering weight, complexity, and cost. Once again, Dean Sigler serves up another generous helping of his excellent science reporting in his CAFE Foundation blog. Read more
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