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
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.

Richard Wingfield’s RV-14 Flies!

wingfield_14_ff02EAA Chapter 168 congratulates Richard Wingfield for his August 13th maiden flight of his just completed RV-14.  The speeds and handling are exactly what Vans Aircraft has advertised with the 210 hp Lycoming IO-390.  A little bigger engine for a little bigger airframe yields the same as the previous RVs.  The flight was uneventful and everything worked as expected.    The big challenge was getting the Garmin G3X touch system configured.  And Richard is really excited about the performance of that panel.wingfield_14_ff01

Richard was early to order his slow (QB was not available) build kit.  Yet Vans was a little slow to get the final kits out after the 2012 Oshkosh debut.  So there was about six-month delay in getting this RV-14 into the air.  According to Vans website there are now 12 RV-14s flying with the tail wheel version like Richards being only a couple.

As to a little background, this is Richards third RV.  The first being an RV-6 that he bought in the early 1900s.  It was an incredible build completed in Georgetown and was the first in Texas.  The second was an RV-8 that he built in the 2010-time frame.  And now this RV-14.

wingfield_14_ff03Finally, Richard held an appreciation dinner for all the help he received on this RV-14.  As someone said, the restaurant parking lot was full of cars.  But the table only included eleven people, all from either Chapters 168 or 1246.   This is a good example of how aviation people with amazing talents are more than happy to help someone get their airplane into the air.  The RV-14 is a different breed from previous RVs so sometime we need to get Richard to tell us the story.

Airventure 2016: Day 2

Oshkosh on Sunday

By Michael Stephan

Sunday at Airventure is a free day, in more ways than one. First, it requires a ticket that is also used for Monday, and since most of the vendors are still setting up for the start of the show on Monday, they are not open on Sunday. So, you are free to roam the flight line looking at airplanes and watching new arrivals stream in.

I have several friends that are attending the show this year, so on Sunday I found their planes/campsites, sat in the grass and visited with them for most of the afternoon. Luckily they has spots near the taxiway and we watch the streaming aircraft land and taxi. More than once our conversation was stopped with, “Wow, did you see that one.”

It was hot and humid that afternoon and it took several glasses of water to stay hydrated. Staying in the shade of the airplane was a relief from the heat.

Other than a few pictures of the early arrivals, I didn’t get much accomplished, but it was quite a relaxing afternoon with friends.

This Skyote was excellent, and is now also offered as a kit.



This Murphy Moose on floats has a James Bond theme. It was called Moosey Galore.

osh16_02_03 osh16_02_01


Airventure 2016: Day 1

Sometimes getting there is the adventure

13724104_594060937430238_915477317704438323_oThe day was to start early. Get the airplane out and fly to AeroCountry to meet up with fellow RV-8 driver Ken Krebaum. From there we would launch our 2016 trip to OSH. I spent weeks prior getting the airplane tuned up for the trip. Tweaking, testing, washing for the annual excursion. But you can’t always predict failures. Strapped in and ready for fun, I found that the master switch battery contractor was not so eager. So my day wasn’t going to begin until I changed it. Having several projects has the benefit of having spares. I put one of them on. I called Ken informing him my problem and we decided to meet at our first stop in Missouri instead of McKinney.

The Weather always cooperates…….Sometimes

Tailwinds and blue skies all the way to northern Missouri was the flavor of the first leg. But things changed as we looked toward Iowa and Wisconsin. Massive storm systems live there. But we soldiered as far as we could get and Ken’s plan to skirt around the edge worked well. It did involve an hour or more of flying below a 2200’ ceiling on a hot and humid day. But, we were flying in the shade. Safely at our destination south of Oshkosh, we rest up for a busy week.

Project Visit – Pete Miller’s RV-7

he16_06-3Last month Pete Miller invited us over to inspect the progress on his RV-7. We have seen Pete’s project progress over the last few years, and now things are getting serious.
A few weeks ago a couple of us went to Pete’s and helped drill the rear wing spar to the fuselage. Since then he has completed the canopy frame construction and is marking and measuring the canopy for fitment to the frame. That is one of the most difficult tasks for a builder. Not because the parts are difficult to handle or cut, but that they are expensive and difficult to replace if you make a mistake.
The canopy also takes time to get it to fit right and that doesn’t happen until after a series of cuts and plastic removal are done, which is scary for the first time builder. Pete is doing a good job of getting it right the first time.he16_06-4

Project Visit – Greg Schroeder’s Sportsman

he16_06I recently counted 14 active projects in our chapter, and over the last several months we have been able to travel around and visit them. Recently we visited two of them and both of them are well on their way to completion. In April we saw the Sportsman project being crafted by Greg Schroeder at Northwest Regional airport.
Greg is well on his way to finishing. Even though at first look, the plane looks empty, there is quite a bit of meat and potatoes in there. The forward side of the firewall is nearly finished with only a few things to add. The fuel system is complete. The control systems are in. Most of the electrical wires have been run. So, this Sportsman should be flying in the not too distance future.
Greg intends to build it initially as a nose-gear airplane, but has made provisions to change it to a tailwheel in the future as he desires.


he16_06-2 he16_06-5
This is quality work accomplished by Greg.