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Hey, I See Grass; Let’s Go Fly!

By Ian Brown, Editor – Bits and Pieces, EAA 657159

Many of my flying friends either did not fly at all this winter or described their flying as fairly miserable. As I look out of my window, I still see snow on our local ski hill, but I also see crocuses in bloom and daffodils that are thinking about it.

I was fortunate enough to overwinter in Florida and managed to fly about 30 hours over the winter season, most of it in clear blue skies. I flew seven people who had either never flown in a small plane or not had a GA flight in a long time. Being there also enabled me to attend the Sebring Affordable Aircraft Expo and Lakeland Linder’s Sun ’n Fun International Fly-In & Expo and then cap it all with a super flight back to Canada.

You can read about my time spent at Sun ’n Fun and the flight back to Canada in this issue. I’m looking forward to seeing many of you this season and perhaps encouraging you to become a contributor.

The NTSB recently put out a series of safety videos including an item on misrigging a trim tab. I have a friend who had a potentially life-threatening accident due to this being done by an errant mechanic. Aircraft mechanics are human and prone to errors like the rest of us. Take a look at this well-produced video as I think it’s a good reminder to all of us to check extra carefully after maintenance work has been done, whether we did it ourselves or someone else did. With a homebuilt aircraft, it’s one area where perhaps an extra pair of eyes would help, too.

If you’ve ever wanted to fly a P-51 Mustang, you can get pretty close for free by watching this video of Kermit Weeks flying one with a nice, if noisy, commentary.

Every month I receive a newsletter from Jasmine Molle, EAA Chapter 266, Montreal, with several interesting articles. One this month is about a project to use latex paint on a fabric-covered aircraft. You can find many articles in the archive of newsletters as well as a link to the latest issue at the chapter’s well-organized website. If you have a Canadian chapter newsletter, please add me to your distribution list.

The chapters page on EAA.org includes a “Find a Chapter” search tool that lists all active chapters, with links to either an EAA-provided website or the chapter’s own site. I encourage readers, especially those involved in their chapter’s website, to visit this area and make sure everything listed is up to date.

A good way to grow your chapter is to let people know you’re there. Many local pilots may not be aware of your website or your existence as a chapter, but they’re probably going to look for you at the EAA website “Chapters” tab.

Mike Busch, engine maintenance guru, recently put out an article in his Savvy Aviator newsletter about how to destroy your engine in one minute. Although he confesses that the causes of runaway engine detonation are often lost in the aftermath of one of these powerplant-destroying episodes, he cautions all of us to make sure we pay attention to cylinder head temperatures on takeoff and to make sure that our engine timing is spot-on. He said that recent maintenance as a time to be especially vigilant.

So now we have mentioned two things to look for after maintenance: engine timing and misrigging. Spring is the time when many of us make a start on those last maintenance tasks before the flying season.

As we mentioned last month, Bill Evans is taking a break this month from his series on his Hoerner wingtip tanks due to commitments at Sun ’n Fun, but we wish him success installing them and look forward to an article about it for the June issue.

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh is rapidly approaching. The F-35A Lightning II will be on static display from midweek to the end of the convention. This is the new fighter designed to replace the F-16, F-18, Harrier, and Sea Harrier aircraft currently in use by the U.S. military and which is the subject of much discussion about its appropriateness as a Canadian replacement for the CF-18. The F-35B version is a STOVL aircraft destined to be capable of landing on aircraft carriers. This will be the first civilian air show that the F35A has appeared at.

Happy and safe flying to all of you. Hopefully you’re planning to get more involved in flying and attending fly-ins this season. If you don’t have an aircraft you will still be welcomed at the many fly-ins, which usually include inexpensive food, nice aircraft to check out, and perhaps a pilot will even volunteer to take you for a ride.

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