shadow

First Flight Celebration

We have a new airplane completion in the Chapter as Tom White flew his RV-8 on Aug 18th. For years we have only had a handful of few first flights, and in the last three months we have had three. Don Christiansen, Greg Schroeder, and now Tom White. Tom’s RV-8 is the lightest RV I have weighed in all the years I have been weighing airplanes. When Mel inspected the plane I asked him if any parts were missing, because I don’t know how Tom did it. I was impressed with his RV-8 build.
Light airplanes fly the best and Tom’s should be a real nice flyer. Congratulations Tom!

 

 

 

In conjunction with the rash of first flights, we have implemented our plan to celebrate them. So, we exited our COVID caves, gathered together at Northwest Regional Airport (home of Greg and Tom) and safely distanced and celebrated these huge milestones.

Tom rolled out the grill to cook a few hotdogs, and Norm brought a cake to celebrate the first flights. Several other members flew in to help get into the spirit of flight. Norm brought his Glastar. Brad Roberts flew his RV-6 and Joe Migas and A.D. Donald flew their Cessnas in.

Also taking part was Don Christiansen who brought over his recently completed Rans S-21. So we all got a good look at that new airplane as well. We spent several hours looking at new planes, eating hotdogs and cake, and enjoying the rare opportunity of each other’s company in this very strange year. We had a great turnout for our first celebration.

 

 

 

 

I want to thank Ann Asberry and Norm Biron for arranging our lunch. I especially want to thank Tom and Greg for hosting the gathering. I also want to thank all those who made it out to Northwest Regional which made the day very special.

 

 

Don Christiansen Receives his First Flight Plaque

By Michael Stephan
Since the pandemic has shut down our in-person Chapter meetings, I flew out to Stephenville on an early August morning and met Don Christiansen to award him our Chapter’s First Flight Plaque. With me and holding the camera was Norm Biron. He also brought the plaque.
This is a very special picture, since first flights are rare occurrences. We have only had a few of them the past 5 years. So being able to congratulate a builder for a first flight on behalf of the Chapter is very special.
Don, Norm and myself celebrated by having breakfast at restaurant just down the road from the airport. We don’t get to see Don that often, so it was enjoyable to spend time catching up and listening to some of the stories of him flying the Rans S-21 in the Idaho BackCountry.
One of the revelations that I learned about the Don’s S-21 is the Whirlwind ground-adjustable prop. Don said it was pitched to optimize cruise speed, but when he arrived in Idaho and planned to fly in the high density mountain air, he was able to adjust the pitch to generate more RPM and hence more horsepower.
Having hopped around Idaho for the summer, Don said the airplane will be in the paint shop next month. 

First Flight of N800GY

It is with great excitement to announce that another Chapter member has completed a First Flight.
On August 20th at Northwest Regional Airport N800GY took to the skies for the first time. On his builder’s log Greg said this about that day:
“Today is the long awaited day. First Flight! Thank you Norm, my ground crew. It has been a heck of a journey … I have turned from builder to maintainer & operator.”
Congratulations Greg!!

By Greg Schroeder
I ordered the Sportsman 2+2 tail kit from Glasair back in Nov of 2005. I started building and checking things off the list, then moved to Florida in 2011, then to Dallas in 2014 and saved the kit from a divorce. I have finished the roller coaster ride of building and completed first flight the morning of August 20th from 52F. There has been a lot of help from the Glasair Owners forum both online and in person. The factory sent irregular shipments of parts to replace the ones I screwed up from time to time and Dan Dudley provided me transition training to make sure I could fly the Sportsman. A few months ago I stuck my nose in an open hangar and met Tom White who became my building brother. We went through the last few months to first flight in lockstep. Jim Novak and Joe Migis fellow builders and chapter members who helped and cheered me on. Michael Stephan provided scales and support with weight and balance. It was then time to ask the DAR, Mel Asberry, if it was airworthy.
Mel worked me through the FAA paperwork and got me to airworthiness. The crew chief Norm Biron provided a second and third set of eyes on any squawks while I worked to get us to zero. Norm is a great mentor and ground crew member helping get the plane into the air and continues to be a sounding board for my steps through Phase I. In summary, I found out it does take a whole team of people to get an airplane completed.
I’ve had many rides in GlaStars and Sportsman owners/ builders. I want to thank all those who have patiently answered questions both simple and complex. I am looking forward to completing Phase I and return the favor of those rides. I will see you all at a Fly in, and join the formation into KOSH.
N800GY is no longer a project but a plane. I look back and simply can’t believe what it took to get to this point. Persistence, maybe stubbornness, are the only words that come close to encapsulating the experience. To other builders, stick to it. Keep making progress. The tasks do come to an end, and all that is left to do is fly it.
N800GY flew like a dream. I do have the heavy left wing and have to work on cooling. All issues others have seen with lots of potential solutions. I’m working on the Garmin VIRB cockpit video. I’m working through Phase I using the EAA Flight Test Manual task list moving toward Phase II.

Legend Cub Factory Tour

by Michael Stephan

This Cub, proposed for the Army, has a carbon fiber removable fuselage cover that could include a stretcher or third seat.

The McKinney Chapter arranged a tour of the Legend Cub Factory in Sulphur Springs on March 16th, and we were lucky enough to be able to tag along. We had a large number of members attend.
The popularity of tube and fabric aircraft is on the rise as an explosion of bush-flying videos are posted on the internet. So it was no surprise to see so many interested in seeing the Legend Cub Factory. I’m one of those interested.
The Legend Cub is not a typical cub. These Cubs are bigger, safer, and fabricated to exacting standards with the combination of high tech materials and methods along with some old school craftsmanship.

Legend Cub on the assembly line getting the firewall forward installed

All the parts are fabricated in precision jigs that are checked for accuracy several times a year.
Lightness plays a big part and Legend is using newer materials to aid in that matter. Composite honeycomb-core floors are practically weightless. The floats are also made of a carbon and kevlar honeycomb composite. They are so light two people can lift them easily. There is also more lightweight composite material used in the fabrication of the cowls.

We are starting to see more technology in the landing gear as performance takes precedence over originality. More shock struts and less bungees is what you will find, and some of the struts are highly engineered.

The factory also does a fair amount of refurbishing and repair for customers. New Cubs shared the floor space with others getting repaired as well as a few upgrades. Legend also does high end restorations as well.

Serial #4 Bonanza undergoing restoration

One of those restorations currently underway is the first customer delivered Bonanza. Serial number 4 was being completely restored on factory floor. Look for it to be on display at Oshkosh this year.

Darin Hart leads the tour of the Weld Shop

Founder Darin Hart , hosted the tour of the welding shop and the fabric covering area. He gave a compelling history of the company as well as what makes a Legend Cub a high quality and unique airplane.

If you have enough money, Legend can build just about any Cub you want. Other Cub manufacturers get a lot of buzz and cost more than planes twice their size, but Legend has a
product that gives you more for a much lower cost. There is a bunch of Legend owners that would agree with that.

I would love to have one.

Old School Craftsmanship still used to cover the Legend Cub
Precision Jig used to fabricate the Elevators

 

 

Pete Miller moves to the airport

I moved my RV-7 from my garage to the airport on February 21, 2019.
Dave Buono is renting me the back corner of his hangar at Aerocountry.. I don’t know what to do with this much room after being in the garage. My RV is a hangar-mate to Bruce
Fuller’s Bearhawk.

I called a few towing outfits in McKinney. Some didn’t even want to talk to me. I think they thought I was moving a 737 or something. I found a company called Expert Towing. They were
eager to help. One of their drivers came to the house a couple of days before I wanted to move just to make sure he understood my needs, the size of the airplane, etc. We arranged a date and a price.

The morning was rainy with some thunder, but by the time the truck showed up, things calmed down. The airplane had never been wet before, though… Chris and Alonzo from Expert Towing were very professional and catered to my wishes and my knowledge of the airplane.
I lost the truck in my own neighborhood, so I just headed to the airport on my own and waited for them. They weren’t far behind, though. Unloading went very smoothly. The next week, I rented a 16′ truck to move my wings, various parts, and toolboxes. We filled that truck and made sure every item was firmly tied down.Now we’re in our new home, and I’ve even already started doing a little bit of work on the airplane.

 

Brad Roberts’ Onex

By Michael Stephan

Last month I paid a visit to Brad Robert’s OneX project. After a bit of time off from it, I was glad to see all the recent progress. That airplane is
nearly complete. He has all the firewall forward finished. The instrumentation is in and functional. He is using the MGL Avionics instrumentation as is common in many Sonex builds, due to the compactness of the unit and the limit space available in the panel. We did a few functional checks on the control system and everything is looking good. The only construction left was on the outboard wing panels which includes the unique folding mechanism.

Like he did with his RV-7, Brad plans to paint the OneX before the first flight. On the bright side, there is a lot less airplane to paint with the Onex. He used the Stewart system on the RV and he plans to use that paint again. It is a water-borne paint and is much safer to use and he got good results with it on the RV.

 

The OneX is an interesting plane. The kit from Sonex is very refined and simple construction that incorporates blind rivets. It is no slouch in the air either. The 80 hp Aerovee engine provides ample power to pull the plane at a brisk 155 mph, and even though the wings fold the OneX is aerobatic.

You can learn more about the OneX at www.sonexaircraft.com/onex.
Our Chapter has several projects that I expect will finish this year and Brad’s OneX might be the first.

 

Mel Asberry Awarded the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award

At the May Chapter meeting, we had a special presentation of the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award for 50 years of Aviation professionalism, skill, and expertise for Mel Asberry. Presenting the award is Tony Baumgard of the North Texas Flight Standards District Office.
This is a major achievement for any pilot. The FAA is focusing on improving safety and rewarding those that practice that over a long flying career is a great way of doing that.
Mel is a great example of diligence and professionalism. He exemplifies what the award is. All the knowledge and experience Mel has accumulated, he generously shares with the aviation and homebuilt airplane community. We are proud to have him as a Chapter 168 member.

N8281V Flies!

On Sunday May 6th, RV-8 N8281V took to the skies for the first time. With Mark Merrell, its builder, at the controls it flew for an hour.
Mark reports that the flight was uneventful. The engine was new and needed the hour to aid in the break-in. The flight circled the Parker County airport at 4500 ft. The autopilot flew part of the flight and worked well.
“I’ve done my speed tests and am happy with the results.” He noted.
As of last weekend, Mark has put ten hours on the RV-8 and has done the first oil change. We will get more reports as the phase one testing continues.
Mark has experience ferrying planes for Van Bortel in Arlington. So climbing into an unfamiliar plane isn’t unfamiliar to him. Although you can’t be any more familiar with an airplane that you built yourself, the flying qualities are however a new experience.
I became familiar with this RV-8 when it spent some construction time at Grand Prairie Airport. I would see Mark’s hangar door open, and I couldn’t resit seeing what he was working on. He had most of the airframe finished and was installing systems and avionics. I was interested in the electronic system controls of the VPX system. Designed by Vertical Power Systems, it replaces circuit breakers, relays, switches and displays the status of the entire electrical system on his EFIS display screen. It uses Electronic circuit breakers in place of mechanical ones. It also has functions that control the flaps and indicate their position as well as trim relays and their position. Built in is a
wig-wag function for the lights. External switches connect to the box, but electrical loads can also be switched using the display screen interface. That box does a some of neat stuff.
N8281V is IFR capable, which is not easy to accomplish in the limited space of an RV-8 panel. For his panel Mark chose Garmin radios and intercom, Advanced Flight Systems EFIS and autopilot, and a Dynon D-10 as redundant flight instrumentation. His panel is very clean and well done.
Mark has a bit more finishing to do before paint, but this is a very nice RV-8.

Congratulations Mark!

A Restoration at Grand Prairie

By Michael Stephan
Our little airport in Grand Prairie has developed into a very interesting aviation community. With our comparatively short runways and well maintained facilities, we have a close community of flyers and builders. Coincidentally many of us are members of Chapter 168.
Last month we saw the beginnings of Charlie Wright’s RV-10 project. This month we will get a closer look at Ted Harrison’s restoration of a Cessna 210.
Ted has a flying Cessna 320 with recent upgrades. With it done, he has turned his attention to an older project.
Now Ted purchased the 210 with hail damage as a non flying airplane 15 years ago that was in pieces. With the wings and tail feathers able to be stored in his hangar at GPM, the fuselage went to his house in Grapevine.

A sign company crane was deployed to lift the fuselage (sans gear legs ) into the space next to his house. I applaud anyone who puts an airplane fuselage in the yard at home for 15 years. I’m going to try that one.

The wings were repaired. The horizontal stab and elevators were re- skinned. Those parts were painted at

NW Regional by Grady and stored in the back of Ted’s hangar, but the rest of project sat dormant while the Harrison kids were growing up. Now that they are through school and starting their own families, Ted’s attention has turned back to the 210. First challenge was to get it out of the yard and to the a hangar at GPM. Moved onto a trailer modified to accommodate the wide landing gear, it safely arrived at it new home in Grand Prairie.

   
A few months back Tom Ferraro spoke at our Chapter meeting about the differences between building versus restoring, since he had done both. I have built before, but now I am watching Ted do a restoration. Being involved with aviation his whole life, Ted has an A&P license and is very familiar working on airplanes. He knows his way around the huge manuals chocked full of diagrams and part numbers.
Now the work begins. I am learning quite a bit watching his progress. Old airplanes have old parts that have to be repaired, reconditioned or replaced. Replacement parts from the manufacturer are very expensive if you can even find them. Many serviceable parts have to be found in salvage yards. Ted has a super-power of being able to find a workable part at a reasonable price, although reasonable is sliding scale that tends to still be expensive. But
as Ted says, “It is what it is.”
Not liking parts sitting on the floor, the tail feathers were mounted on the fuselage. A bigger feat was installing the wings. The cantilever design of
the wings made the fit onto the fuselage very complicated. Luckily, we have a forklift nearby to do the heavy lifting, but the massive pins that hold the wing to the fuselage are a critical and an extremely tight fit. Freezing the pins, and several friendly helping hands, wiggling wings and tapping pins, allowed both wings to be installed before lunch.

The 300 HP Continental engine was removed and is being rebuilt. That is a task not for the faint of heart. Ted sent all the parts out to be checked, reconditioned or replaced. The price of engine parts is incomprehensible, But as Ted says, “It is what it is.” He purchased new cylinders from Superior.
The crank was reusable and after sourcing new parts and cleaning and reusing others, Ted had a complete set of engine parts that he took to Lucky
at Air Salvage to assemble. New tires and brake rotors were added to the Cleveland wheels and all of the gear is rebuilt and ready for retraction tests.
The wiring will be a challenge as most of the old wiring to the old equipment will be replaced with new wiring for new equipment. Looking at some of the old autopilot devices, I is amazing how different today’s digital autopilots are compared to equipment from 30 years ago.
Ted’s standards are high and not doubt this will be an excellent rebuild. He has a very positive and infectious attitude and as he says, “It is what it is.”

Sun N Fun 2017

by Jim Caniff

 

This was the 16th year in a row that I have attended Sun n Fun and there has been an evolution in the event. It is now an entertainment venue for the non-flying public and it is still very much a fly-in and exhibition for the GA pilot and homebuilders.

The 2017 Sun n Fun event had something for everyone. It is no secret that the non-flying public is a major part of the attendees and revenue at Sun n Fun. For the general public there is of course the airshow, a car show and the static military aircraft exhibits and much more.

The airshow crowd was not in the way in the exhibits and Sun n Fun is still a very worthwhile show for the builder. It is just my opinion but I got the impression that there was actually two shows going on at once. One for pilots and homebuilders and the other for the non-flying public.

The airshow attendees brought something to Sun n Fun – the next generation of pilots and other aviation career people. There were parents with youngsters and a fair number of teens to 20 something folks. An event like Sun n Fun exposing people possibly making career choices to what aviation has to offer can only be a positive thing.

The fact that Sun n Fun began as a fly-in for homebuilders and general aviation has not been lost. This year the majority exhibitors were displaying aviation related items. There appeared to be much less of jewelry and trinket sellers. Exhibitors like Dynon had plenty of equipment to demonstrate and staff to answer questions. Most of the usual major exhibitors were present. There several exhibitors specifically geared for the homebuilder selling neatly packaged aircraft hardware and parts. Many vendors had show specials running.

There were many new products introduced at the show. Two especially interesting product are the BOM and Beacon from Levil Aviation. The BOM is a completely self contained AHRS/AOA powered by it own small propeller that Wi-Fi links to your iPad or whatever. It mounts to an inspection cover. The Beacon is 2020 compliant ADS-B out device that is completely contained in the antenna. The only external connections are the GPS antenna/ power and RS-232 to your display. Very interesting! Garmin had a slew of releases, too numerous to review here.

Also for the pilots and homebuilders were the forums and workshops. These ran all week and covered everything from ADS-B to vacuum bagging.

My only regret at Sun n Fun is that because I was working most of the day as a volunteer I did not get to see more of the event, especially the forums and workshops. As we do not work during the airshow I was able to get some photos of that and a few other sights. This is only small part of the entire event.

Patrouille de France is the precision aerobatic demonstration team of the French Air Force. Originating in 1931, it is the world’s oldest precision flight demonstration teams. Pilots currently fly the Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet.

Patrouille de France performed just one day on opening day. They are making a tour through the US to commemorate the 100th anniversary of America’s entry into World war I and the accompanying advent of US air combat.

With the French team being here it gave the opportunity to see another unique aircraft. That would be the Airbus A400M which serves as the support aircraft for the Patrouille de France. Everyone that saw it said it looked like a C-17 with turboprops.

 

 

 

 

 

On Thursday of “Sun n Fun Week” the Blue Angels arrived. They did a reconnaissance and practice performance on that day and then they did their regular performance on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The show was excellent as usual and certainly a big draw for the general public looking for a great aerial performance.

 

Another anniversary being celebrated at Sun n Fun was the 30th year of operation for Stallion 51. They provide flight training and other services for those operating the P-51 Mustang. There were 18 P-51 aircraft at the event and about a dozen in the airshow. Stallion 51 pilot Lee Lauderback flew the “Crazy Horse” two place trainer Mustang in a solo performance, a heritage flight and in other formations.

Always impressive for sight and sound, six P-51s and their Merlin V12 engines in formation.

A heritage flight is always great to see (and hear). This years included two Mustangs, an A-10 and a F-16. The F-16 was from the Viper flight demonstration team based at Shaw AFB. The Viper team also performed in the airshow.

For a local connection the Cavanaugh Museum B-25 appeared in the warbird airshow escorted by two P-51s.

The display of warbirds even continued into the Vintage area. There was this very fine example of the military version of the Cessna 195.

The Vintage area had so many great aircraft a day could be spent there photographing and documenting them. Since this time was not available a fine example was picked from the many. Below is photo of an absolutely beautiful Beech Staggerwing that was prime example of the quality of aircraft on display.

While there is much emphasis on the airshow and entertainment for the non-flying public Sun n Fun is still  a worthwhile fly-in. The Homebuilt and Homebuilt Camping areas were well occupied.

The fly-in part of Sun n Fun started off little slow this year due to bad weather up north. Once that cleared there was a steady stream of aircraft arriving.
The event was very safe with only one notable incident for the week. A twin had a gear collapse on landing and this caused a partial runway shut down for about an hour. The sole occupant was not injured.

The only other incidents were a few dead batteries and flat tires. A good week indeed.

There was a pretty strong crosswind on the runways in use on first few days. The tower was obviously aware of this and announcing to all pilots attempting a landing that if that wanted a go around please do it without hesitation. There were a few takers and no ground loops etc. Safety is always first at the event.

That’s it for 2017. Hope to see you at Sun n Fun next year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lee Lauderback in Crazy Horse

 

Always impressive for sight and sound, six P-51s and their Merlin V12 engines in formation.