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From Al Hodges
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Appendix A - Guide
Appendix B - Formation
Appendix C - Resources
Two Thousand Ways to Fly A Canard
Suggestions from Experienced Southern California EZ Squadron Members
Resulting From A Century and a Half of Combined EZ Flying Experience.
Primarily for Non-Builders
To Burt Rutan, who resides in Mecca, spelled M-O-J-A-V-E.
Burt, thanks from all of us who appreciate your putting the fun back into flying.
First Flew A Canard
Busch 1982 Builder - Long-EZ
Ed Esteb 1987 Builder - Long-EZ
Jerry Hansen 1983 Builder - Long-EZ
Al Hodges 1989 Bought - Long-EZ
David Orr 1988 Builder - Long-EZ
Dan Patch 1981 Builder - Vari-eze
Ed Sammons 1986 Bought - Long-EZ
Sid Tolchin 1987 Builder - Long-EZ, Bought Vari-eze
At publication (2004), these pilots have combined canard flying experience of over 150 years!
Note: Not one of these pilots agrees with all the methods and concepts presented.
You can always tell a pilot; but you can’t tell him much!
Any information provided in this document is for information purposes only and is not to be construed as flight instruction by any interpretation. Any of these maneuvers you may attempt during flight are your sole responsibility and/or the responsibility of your flight instructor. The pilots making contributions to this collection shall be held without fault or any responsibility by the pilot and his heirs should any accident or incident occur during your operation of an aircraft.
This publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise in its unmodified entirety and distributed without charge without the prior written permission of the publishers.
Two Thousand Ways to Fly A Canard
Tips From A Century and a Half of Combined EZ Flying Experience
Pilots' Creed — The pilot is the highest form of life on earth.
With more than two thousand homebuilt, canard aircraft flying today, there are over two thousand ways to fly a canard. Experimental aircraft are all unique, and so are their pilots. The reason for writing down some tips from a group of pilots with over a century and a half of combined canard flying experience is to provide the many new pilots of canard aircraft a basis for starting to learn. Most of us did not receive any dual instruction in a canard aircraft. Canard aircraft are forgiving aircraft, making transition easier for all of us. Building a composite aircraft may not teach you to fly the aircraft, but it does give you many, many years to learn from other canard pilots during the building process. Pilots, who purchase a completed aircraft, do not have this advantage, and there is a learning curve for the new Experimental pilot. Burt Rutan stopped selling plans over fifteen years ago, so many new canard pilots are buying aircraft, not building them. These suggestions are provided to ease transition and reduce the need for luck while learning.
I purchased my Long-EZ and flew it solo after paying the money to take my chances. The builder took me up to learn to use the stick, but without rudders in the back seat, the learning experience was very poor. A couple efforts to land the plane on a cloud and osmosis were the extent of my flight training lessons in the EZ. It was not enough. After I took off from the seller’s airport to go to Tamiami (TMB) in Miami, Florida, I had about fifteen minutes to learn to fly the plane from the front seat. On a busy, busy Saturday afternoon at one of America’s busiest General Aviation airports, I did land the plane on a 5,000 feet runway, but not until I made two inglorious aborted landings. The tower was not pleased. I did not feel comfortable until I had over fifteen hours of self-training in the Long-EZ. Only then would I permit anyone to ride as a passenger.
Ed offers his view as a CFII. “I refuse to give flight instruction in an airplane I cannot control. An eze without rear controls does not qualify for dual instruction”
When I purchased my Long-EZ, I knew nothing about composite construction and aircraft maintenance. This has changed, from necessity. Another Vari-eze and Long-EZ owner says, “I have found that an important issue here is that, builder or not, the pilot (pilot/owner) should become very interested in all facets of the structure. My pre-owned Vari-eze proves this point to me many times compared to my Long-EZ that was built by Ed Esteb and Bill Hargis and me (with the canard community heavily involved). There are "quirks" of the builder that can be discovered only if the pilot delves into the innards. I'm not advocating changes or modifications necessarily, I am advocating knowledge about the workings, observation for weak points, areas of wear, needs for lubrication or rewiring, checking for small oil or fuel or hydraulic leaks, etc. I cannot think of a single instance, on either the Vari or the Long, when I have removed the cowl, that I haven't noticed something that required a tweak, whether moving a wire or tie-wiring a bundle, wiping a spot of oil or noting a telltale tiny streak of green, or tightening a bolt or nut, or using epoxy to fill a tiny nick in the prop.”
During the fifteen years I have owned the Long-EZ, I have learned there are differences between canard aircraft and standard configuration aircraft. More importantly, I learned from personal experimentation and testing, from personal mistakes, and from experiences of other pilots. Willing eze pilots do contribute advice to make the world safer for new canard pilots. This document continues the practice of passing along information to help reduce risks, incidents, and repair expenses. Most pilots understand the need to keep on learning, and after over 56 years of flying, I am still learning.
You can always tell a pilot; but you can’t tell him much!
How can an old, bold pilot live until 97?
Jimmy Doolittle, at 97 years of age
Use these suggestions with a lot of luck to delay the fateful day when:
Only two bad things can happen to a pilot, and one of them will:
a. One day, you will walk out to the aircraft knowing it is your last flight in an airplane, or
b. One day you will walk out to the aircraft not knowing it is your last flight in an airplane.
Canard aircraft buyers usually do not help build and test-fly the aircraft. But a canard aircraft buyer should follow the test flight procedures specified in the Owner’s Handbook. Practice these maneuvers above 3,000 feet AGL. Almost certainly, you will need that empty space below you, sometime. Remember the pilot’s old axiom:
The three most useless things in a pilot’s life are:
1) The altitude above you,
2) The runway behind you, and
3) The gas you did not put in the tank.
Until you can prove that you can do it better, follow Burt Rutan’s advice in the Handbook.
The canard provides 20% of the lift. Damage to the canard can reduce this lift to a dangerous level. When I encountered my personal “Sucker Hole” in 1992 (See Canard Pusher-75, April 1993 on v2.ez.org ), hail destroyed the leading edge of my canard, reducing the laminar airflow. Only with full aft trim and heavy aft stick pressure could I maintain straight and level flight for two hours to reach Oshkosh. Burt Rutan’s comment was, “I would not high speed taxi that aircraft.”
Differences – Canard Pushers and Standard Configuration Tractor Aircraft
There are differences between operating canards and operating standard configuration aircraft. These differences – not problems, just differences – require learning new techniques for:
* Straight and level,
* Landing, and
Otherwise, canard aircraft are like any other aircraft.
Never feel sorry for a person who owns an airplane.
Alec Baldwin, the movie "The Edge"
Pre-Flight - loose screws and etc.
Pusher aircraft operate with an inherent risk not found in tractor aircraft. Pieces of metal, screws, exhaust valves, or other items that depart the aircraft may chip away part of the wooden propeller. I have replaced two wooden propellers for this reason during my fifteen years flying the Long-EZ. A broken valve broke off a piece of the propeller so large that resulting vibration made an immediate landing necessary! (See Incomplete Trip to Tallahassee, v2.ez.org/articles.htm )
Every pre-flight should include a check of the tightness of the cowling screws. As the years fly by, cowl removal to change oil, plugs, inspect, replace hoses, clean the engine and parts, and the myriad other reasons to remove and replace cowls result in less gripping power and the need to tighten the screws more than when the aircraft was new. The clutch on my power screwdriver is now set at three, whereas it used to be set at two.
Another canard pilot forgot to put any screws in the cowling. David Orr testifies that it is the quickest way to make 5” strips out of the cowls, but David denies being the guilty pilot!
Pre-Flight - Water in the fuel:
This is a good place to clear up an FAA old wives tale about water in the fuel tank. There used to be, and probably still is, a question on the FAA Private Pilot Written Exam about the reason to fill fuel tanks after every flight. The FAA answer – and a wrong answer – is to prevent condensation of water in the tank as air cools.
Water in the fuel tank results from three possibilities and neither is from condensation of humidity inside the tank. They are:
1) Rain leaking around the fuel caps as the seals deteriorate,
(The seals on my Long-EZ gas caps are “O” rings.),
2) Pumping fuel contaminated with water into the tank, and
3) Doubtful, but possible, from rain being blown into the fuel tank vents.
Obviously, you need to drain the fuel tanks prior to flight to remove water and contamination, just in case.
This conclusion is after parking a Long-EZ on the ramp in hot, humid, rainy Miami, Florida for twelve years. Condensation was so heavy in Miami that I used an old towel to wipe off the dew to keep the Long-EZ clean and had to wring out the towel several times. Because the Long-EZ can carry 52 gallons of gas, I never filled the tanks except one time as a test. To lower the nose of my EZ for parking with over forty-five gallons of fuel results in gasoline spewing out the tank vents into the back seat and leaving light blue stripes on the wings after the gas runs off onto the ground. The warmer the weather, the more blue striping.
Fifty-two gallons of unnecessary weight (312 pounds) for local flying is not practical. Some people have opined that condensation happens in metal tanks but not in composite. This is not logical as humidity in cool air condenses regardless of container material. Early morning flyers can verify that dew does form on composite aircraft.
For twelve years, I filled the tanks to about 45 gallons and flew the plane until I needed more fuel. This would average about 25 gallons of air in the tanks during the twelve years, more than the fuel capacity of some aircraft. The only time I found water in the tanks was when the “O” rings needed replacing.
An additional theory to enforce this conclusion, but one I never proved, is the vapor pressure of evaporating gasoline in the tanks probably exceeds the outside air pressure as air cools, so no moist air would enter the tanks through the vents except when flying. Regardless, after twelve years of real world experience, I am convinced the FAA is wrong, again.
There is the question of “P” factor, but this is not the forum for that discussion. (For a book debunking “P” Factor and other old wives tales, download See How It Flies by J.S. Denker.)
Pre-Flight - Tires:
Canard flyers know that checking tire pressures, fuel quantity, water in fuel, and oil and hydraulic fluid levels are an integral part of flying, and to a greater extent in Experimental aircraft than when flying commercially built spam cans. “Kick the tires and light the fires” is an invitation to disaster.
Tire pressure needs careful, regular checking. Aircraft tires on light aircraft leak air very quickly. I use 5.00 x 5 tires with 45 pounds of pressure. Air needs to be added about every three weeks. The nose wheel, carrying no aircraft weight when parked, leaks less.
A very knowledgeable mechanic advised me to use 10 ply tires because the Long-EZ uses differential braking for steering. Ten ply tires are stiffer and resist the stress and strain when braking and turning better than six ply tires. Retreads (longer lasting than new tires) are available for around $35 per tire. (See sources in Appendix A, Resource Guide for Nonbuilder Owners of Canard Composite Aircraft by Terry Yake.)
The disadvantages of ten ply tires are:
1) Ten ply tires are heavier than six ply tires,
2) 5.00 x 5 ten-ply tires are bigger and create more drag than small tires, and
3) The stiffer, ten ply tires do not give a visual indication of low tire pressure when the plane
is empty. When you start to taxi and suddenly realize you need full power to move, you
know your tire pressure is low. Check the tire pressure before starting the engine.
The advantages of ten ply tires are:
1) Longer tire life (My first pair of new, ten ply tires needed replacing after five years. I have
been using my second set (retreads) for over six years.)
2) Stronger and thicker may mean fewer flat tires and damaged tubes. (I have never had a
flat tire since installing ten ply tires over eleven years ago.)
The pilots flying faster ezes use small, lower air resistant 5.00 x 4.0 tires, which are not available in 10 ply versions. David Orr, claiming the title of the “King of Flat Tires,” says that his nose wheel leaks faster than the mains. Out of sight when retracted, the nose wheel still can be lowered a few inches, far enough to check the tire pressure, before leaving the hangar.
Pre-Flight - Fuel Quantity:
The original design of the ezes specified sight gauges (what an oxy-moron!). These are difficult to see from the back seat, and almost impossible for the pilot to see in flight, especially if carrying luggage. You must know the fuel consumption for your aircraft at different power settings. Observe, keep records, and TEST. By knowing your fuel consumption and how much fuel you are carrying, you can plan your flight time accordingly. You enjoy another advantage in a Long-EZ. According to the FAA, a day flight requires carrying the fuel you need, plus thirty minutes of reserve. The Long-EZ lets you calculate the fuel you need, then add another hour or two. You should never join that group of pilots that have run out of fuel within ten miles of the airport. The Long-EZ tanks hold 52 gallons, enough for the O-235 equipped aircraft to fly for ten hours if leaned for economical cruise. Most pilots have bladders smaller than the plan’s gas tanks, so flight time is usually less than ten hours.
David Orr recommends using one tank until only ten gallons remain for the reserve. He then flies off the other tank until empty. He knows he has to land when the engine quits or to switch to the reserve. There is no rush to switch tanks as the plane must slow from cruise speed to 100 mph or less before the propeller stop wind milling. If are not aware by this time, the silent engine is the loudest sound you will ever hear. You will wake up!
Pre-Flight - Portable Step:
As we get older, climbing into the Long-EZ gets harder. One simple solution that draws laughter from the young crowd is to use a large tin can with a string tied to it for retrieval once the pilot is seated. The empty can holds the string without tangling until next time, and the can is easy to place on the floor in the back seat for flight.
have a bad back, with or without an old body, your alternative is an electrical
1) Bill Oertel, 3216 Broco Lane, Norco CA 91760-1817, phone 909-734-7569),
2) Steve Wright: http://www.canard.com/noselift or http://bluemountainavionics.com and
3) Jack Wilhelmson http://www.eznoselift.com
The alternative to getting old is not considered a viable alternative.
Life, without flight, is not worth living.
Richard Bach, A Gift of Wings
Extend (open) the air brake to avoid rocks and trash lifted by the front wheel from being thrown back into the wooden prop. Some canard aircraft are equipped with slick nose wheel tires (no tread) to reduce throwing up rocks. (For repair and care of the wooden prop, consult Bruce Tifft’s maintenance guide, a part of Appendix A, Resource Guide for Nonbuilder Owners of Canard Composite Aircraft by Terry Yake.) When taxiing into position for take-off, have the aircraft moving before applying full throttle (reduce the probability of the propeller picking up rocks).
Avoid idling too long before take-off. While on the ground, engine cooling is very poor as there is no prop blast to force cooling air into the cowling.
Lean the mixture, even during ground operation, to reduce loading the spark plugs. Mixture should be full rich for take-off except when leaning slightly to increase RPM at high elevation airports. One pilot mentions that he always takes off with slight leaning. When doing your run-up, test for maximum RPM with small leaning adjustments. Your mixture control could be slightly out of adjustment.
Avoid overuse of the brakes for steering as heat build up can melt the landing gear strut. Very thin brake pads can lead to a hanging brake, generating even more heat. Crosswind take-offs are especially annoying with the wind-vane effect on the winglets requiring extra braking to taxi the aircraft straight. The brake-heat problem is much less on aircraft without wheel fairings (wheel pants). If you operate from a wide runway, start you take-off from the downwind edge of the runway and turn the aircraft at an angle into the wind to reduce the crosswind component. As speed increases and rudders become effective, braking is not needed.
If taxiing with an open canopy, a common practice during the summer, be aware of wind strength and direction. A sudden gust from the wrong direction can break the original design canopy stop and slam the canopy against the wing with a strong probability of breaking a thin canopy. Replacement is expensive, time consuming, and eliminates flying your plane for a few weeks. A gas spring replacement avoids this problem. (Aircraft Spruce or an RV store offer low cost gas springs. Shop for the best price and get the weakest unit with the very critical open-closed dimension to fit your canopy.)
If your aircraft has the original design canopy stop, when parking on a ramp in hot weather, place a towel or other cloth over the instrument panel to shade your radios and leave a towel or cushion under the canopy for ventilation. But, be sure the safety latch catches before leaving the plane, as a strong gust can lift the canopy and break the canopy stop and possibly the canopy.
Avoid high speed taxiing. Period. A slight bump can cause the nose wheel to lift off the ground, risking a prop strike on the taxiway. This is not the recommended method to reduce the diameter of the prop. You need every inch of prop diameter possible for maximum horsepower and thrust. Another unwanted result of high speed taxiing is brake overheating and strut meltdown from differential brake steering.
Retract the air brake before take-off, unless you are on a gravel strip. Then, retract the air brake after take-off. There is little drag at slow speed so it is not critical to retract the air brake immediately after becoming airborne. The drag increases at higher speed, as you will observe when you try to lower the airbrake during an approach at over 100 knots. Also, when manually closing the air brake at high speed, expect to get a hard rap on the left hand when it closes. Some people advocate electric speed brakes. One disadvantage of the electric speed brakes is they can get stuck open. An open speed brake can interrupt the cooling airflow into the cowling, causing engine over-heating during flight.
During your run-up, you should set pitch trim for take-off. I use the eyeball method to have about ¾ of an inch space between the trailing edge of the elevator and the trailing edge of the canard. Every aircraft will be different due to construction, pilot weight, and CG. This method works for me.
The front wheel will lift off the runway about four hundred feet before the mains, so the result of rotating a canard aircraft is not the same as for rotating a standard configuration aircraft. Those ten seconds with the nose in the air and the mains bumping along the runway are an eternity during your first take-off. There is reduced danger of nose wheel shimmy by lifting the nose wheel off the ground as soon as possible. During landing, hold the nose wheel off until full aft trim and full aft stick no longer hold the nose up.
After take-off, be very careful to visually align the canard with or slightly above the horizon, depending on your seat cushion and height. If the canard is too high above the horizon, the canard can stall, much to your surprise after hearing all those stories about canard aircraft not stalling and not spinning. During take-off is not the time to be surprised. Canards and main wings can, and do, stall, though gently. Any aircraft can stall. During your testing, you should determine when your canard stalls and how slowly you can safely fly, but do this testing above 3,000 feet AGL. During take-off is not the recommended time for this test.
If operating from a short runway, know your GO-NO GO speed and distance. Waiting too long to abort on a hot day with a heavy airplane can cause grass, a fence, or worse to collect in your nose wheel and in the cockpit. This can happen at sea level as well as at Big Bear (over 6,000 feet elevation). I use a conservative 60 knots IAS as my GO speed with runway ahead.
Engine Failure after take-off — To turn back or not to turn back
Engine failure after reducing power after take-off does happen. One of my two engine failures in over fifty-six years of flying occurred when I throttled back. Manufacturers of engines say it isn’t so, but as long as I can remember, experienced pilots have proclaimed that the high-risk moment for engine failure is when you reduce power after take-off. Pilots can and should operate the engine at full power for as long as needed to get to a safe altitude. Use that power, in spite of an urge to throttle back. Five minutes at full power while climbing at 1,000 feet per minute is more than enough to reach 1,000 feet AGL. Four hundred feet AGL is not a safe altitude for power reduction.
Few pilots prepare for an engine failure on take-off, but every aircraft owner should know the minimum altitude AGL necessary for a safe turn back to the airport in his specific aircraft and with his personal skills. In addition to the altitude loss during the turn, you need additional altitude to glide to the airport and position the aircraft for landing.
It is very tempting to try to return to the airport, and we have lost EZ pilots that way. That long runway behind is much nicer than the houses in front, but it may not be an option. Learn how much altitude you need to do a 30 degree teardrop from the point of power failure in a climb to wings level on downwind and final, and add a hundred feet for surprises.
Turning back is an option only if you are above the minimum altitude determined by practice for your aircraft and your personal flying skills. Observe the surrounding area for possible emergency landing sites, but realize that almost straight ahead is the only option when the aircraft is below your minimum turn-back altitude.
If an elevator spring breaks during take-off, Rutan designed it to be fail-safe. The plane zooms up (NOT DOWN) and is easily controlled with stick pressure. Obviously, the opposite spring should not break, as there is little tension on it while taking off. Sid recently installed a carbon-fiber elevator spring, a high tech solution for a metal spring subject to breaking.
If taking off with a strong or gusty crosswind, use aileron to hold the up-wind wing low as wind getting beneath the wing can cause the plane to bank very quickly in the wrong direction! The large surface of the winglets aggravate this action. This is another surprise you do not need.
Maintain tight control of the stick during take-off, especially in a high-density altitude condition. Gusty winds can cause the nose to drop back on the runway at high ground speed. The small wheel is not designed for this harsh treatment.
If at a high elevation airport, remember to lean mixture for maximum RPM before take-off.
Learn the angle of climb (rate of climb) to obtain good cooling and fast climb for your high power setting. My Lycoming O-235-L2C number four cylinder runs hot unless the angle of climb is lowered. Know your aircraft!
If you have a cylinder head temperature gauge read out but for only one cylinder, attach it to cylinder three or four. My number four runs hottest.
Climb to your cruise altitude as soon as possible, then level and after achieving cruise speed, lean for your maximum fuel economy/RPM/safe cylinder temperatures combination.
Straight and Level:
You have to fly the airplane every second to control yaw. Stick movement rarely exceeds ¾ inch, but the adjustment is continuous during flight. This is a good reason to install an autopilot for long trips. My EZ-Pilot relieves the stress on this 76-year old body and was appreciated during my 34-hour round trip from San Diego to Kitty Hawk for the Centennial in December 2003. You can download a free EZ-Pilot manual at http://www.trioavionics.com to understand the ease of use and features of an autopilot that make flying easier and safer. Pitch in the Long-EZ is very stable and easily controlled with trim.
Mountain flying. Receive flight instruction, study the FAA circular for mountain flying, and learn from local pilots. Mountainous terrain generates strong, unexpected air currents that can surprise you, and that big chunk of granite coming head on is not what we desire in a scenic view.
One safety precaution is to approach ridges at a 45º angle and with at least 1,000 feet of altitude above the ridge elevation. Ridge and lenticular cloud rotors may cause you to need a way out if sudden, unexpected, and strong winds take control of your plane or prevent you from crossing the ridge. If you do encounter an unexpected strong downdraft, follow the technique used by birds – dive and turn away from the danger. Diving gives you speed, and speed is power for controlled flight away from a problem. Usually, you will avoid this risk by arriving at the ridge at least 1,000 feet higher than the terrain.
A bit of advice from an old mountain pilot is, “If you see a mountain goat standing on a cloud, do not fly into that cloud.”
The original canard on the Long-EZ is moisture sensitive. You should test yours. When I bought my Long-EZ, I lived in Florida and had an abundant, daily supply of rain showers for this test. I flew into a rain shower, and the stick pulled out of my hand. I lost 500 feet before I could grab the stick. After drying off the canard, I flew into the shower again, holding the stick firmly. Pitch trim gave me full control of the loss of laminar flow from the rain, and as it dried, the trim was slowly readjusted. My canard is moisture sensitive and easily controlled, not a problem.
Sid says, “Another has to do with flying IMC, especially in visible moisture or in rain. The very rapid change in elevator adjustment, with concomitant application of remarkable trim changes required, cannot be emphasized enough. Power is necessary as well, at times full power with careful leaning to maintain airspeed and altitude control. I have encountered beads of moisture, heavy rain, icing and even hordes of insects, all producing similar effects even to a lesser extent with modified canards, but have never experienced complete loss of control albeit with some loss of altitude.”
While flying straight and level, occasionally, you may notice the stick starts to get heavy. By observing carefully, you will see tiny droplets of water flowing back along the bottom of the canopy. You are in the presence of virga, even on a sunny day. Also, flying into the top of a cloud will cause the same reaction. All of these are entertainment, not problems. High altitude does not change the reaction, as I determined by flying into a small rain shower below a lone cloud over a 13,000 feet bald mountain west of Yellowstone. (Don’t you love the thrill of test flying?)
Enjoy calm flying at high altitude, but be prepared for cold flying. Without heat, the EZ does get cold. Layering gives good protection. My December 2003 trip to Kitty Hawk was the best test I ever made of layering. At every stop, I was sweating after several hours flying with outside air temperature below freezing. The main entry for cold air is the elliptical hole for elevator movement. Plastic newspaper bags over boots help maintain warm feet. Weather stripping seals the canopy well, but a scarf is useful to protect the face from air entering the temporary open spaces caused by the lifting canopy during flight.
David Orr discovered 12 volt electric socks in a motorcycle store. He gloats over other pilots suffering cold knees and feet.
The comfortable, semi-reclined seat is conducive to napping. The EZ-Pilot autopilot protects me with a feature that circles the last waypoint instead of continuing across the Pacific.
If you fly too slowly, the canard will stall around 60 knots, the nose will drop until speed increases, and then the plane levels off, after a 10-20 feet loss of altitude. You will bob down to the ground unless you add power. This is the safety factor of a canard because the main wing continues flying (normally, no stall) as its stall speed is closer to 53 knots.
Bugs, dirt, and other disturbances to air flow do not cause serious problems on my canard, though some pilots have reported lift loss problems with bugs on the leading edge of the canard and wing. You need to check this and know the result of laminar flow disturbances on your aircraft. During my “Sucker Hole” flight, the entire leading edge of the canard was destroyed by hail. I needed full aft trim, plus positive stick pressure to maintain straight and level flight, but the plane did fly. Note Sid’s comments above.
Stay out of icing conditions. I have never had a problem, and other pilots have encountered ice and lived to tell about it, including Sid Tolchin on his Long-EZ trip to Iceland. The efficient airfoil of the EZ may be critical in icing conditions, so it is better to avoid ice. Fly low where it is warmer, or higher if in an inversion.
We do not speak openly of our faith and beliefs, but some of us are firm believers that electricity is witchcraft. Flick the switch and gyros turn.
Sid comments, “Another is dependency upon the electrical system. My Vari-eze had no electrical capability when I first flew it, and performance was just fine. But it did show me how electrically dependent I have become in 50 years of flying, carrying me back to my first 7AC Champ. I have had a couple of episodes of loss of electrical supply in several aircraft. These have impressed upon me the need for backup. Yes, the airplane will fly but flight will not have all attributes of safety and comfort. Even in canards, flying is expensive, but there are priorities. No one would consider flying with a known flat tire. The cost of a handheld comm has come down so much that its availability should be a part of preflight. I'm a great believer in pilotage but I feel the same about a backup Nav and the cost of a used GPS handheld is less than the cost of a fuel fill up. I am not about to reduce this to absurdity but I do feel very strongly about these two items.”
Since 1975, new light-weight starters and alternators have been developed. Talk to other Vari-eze pilots for their advice. Old age and hot sun do not make hand-cranking enjoyable.
My latest battery was purchased following the advice of an aircraft, electrical expert, Bob Nuckolls. For seventy dollars, I purchased a recombinant auto battery that fits the space. The improved cold weather performance over the old gel battery is extraordinary.
Bob sells a guide, The Aeroelectric Connection, for experimental aircraft electrical systems. (Bob Nuckolls, 6936 Bainbridge Road, Wichita, Kansas 67226-1008 - 316-685-8617, E-mail: email@example.com ). Bob makes many references to ezes.
If you are still using a gel battery, remember that you cannot jump a gel battery without damage. Disconnect the battery cables, jump the starter to start the engine, and then reconnect the battery cables. Back in 1989, I bought three batteries after leaving the master switch on and jumping the gel battery. A welding shop owner told me, “Everyone knows you never jump a gel battery!” I did not. But my last gel battery lasted for over five years.
Formation Flying: ( http://v2.ez.org/Formation1.htm - a PowerPoint Presentation)
See Appendix B, Formation Flying (courtesy of Dan Patch, San Diego, CA)
Learn to anticipate the airplane. Ezes are slick aircraft, so start your approach 25 minutes out with a gradual descent from cruise altitude. Neither you nor your passenger will feel ear pain when descending at 400 feet per minute. The airlines do this for passenger comfort and to avoid abrupt maneuvers. The commercial airliners are designed to reduce cabin pressure gradually from 7,500 feet to airport elevation. Slow down before entering the pattern, and follow your checklist. Reading a checklist in a high traffic environment is not my favorite pastime, so remember AGUMP (air brake extended, gas from fullest tank, undercarriage down, mixture rich, and fuel pump on in a Long-EZ). Any distraction is a sword hanging over an EZ pilot’s head, especially a distraction that interrupts performing your landing chores, such as lowering your nose wheel.
Some of us admit to making a two-wheel landing, and for a couple of eze pilots, more than one is part of our flying history! David Orr advises, “If this does happen, leave your headset on, get out and keep talking to the tower about your back-up landing system – lower the gear, check it quickly, and taxi away.” This may avoid an FAA Incident Report at a tower-controlled airport.
Other than three trips to the airport to repair the minor damage and the embarrassment of having to face the jeering crowd, this is a non-event. In fact, Rutan advises that if a quick stop is necessary, for example, to avoid hitting a fuel truck, retract the nose gear. The landing rollout is shortened considerably.
Cross the threshold faster than with a Cessna or Piper. I prefer a power off glide of 80 knots on the approach, 70 knots over the threshold, and let the EZ fly itself onto the runway at around 55-60 knots. Use a slight flair, less than with a Cessna or Piper, and the plane will land itself.
During a crosswind landing, maintain the upwind wheel slightly lower than the other wheel until it touches. The EZ is an excellent crosswind landing aircraft, and will stick when the wheels find the ground. If you bounce, you know that you really messed up.
Ed Esteb adds a warning to all new canard pilots flying aircraft with the Rutan original design rudder-brake combination. Applying slight pressure to the rudder pedal activates the rudder. Applying additional pressure to the same pedal activates the brake. Normal landings into the wind are simple. However, a gusty crosswind will require more than usual rudder pressure as you slip and/or crab your way down. DO NOT CONTINUE TO HOLD HEAVY RUDDER PRESSURE AS YOU TOUCH DOWN. Landing with brakes locked can cause the nose wheel to slam down on the runway and possibly damage or collapse the nose gear.
After touchdown, hold the nose wheel off the runway as long as possible. When it does touch, the speed of the aircraft will have slowed down so the elevators and the canard lift no longer provide aerodynamic support. At slow speed, there is little stress on the small nose wheel and nose gear, the weakest parts of the aircraft. You may require a lot of the runway, but the runway is paid for, so use it. Trying to make a quick turn-off to the taxiway may impress anyone watching, but it is a waste of brakes and creates heat that can melt your landing gear strut. The tower controllers like your quick turn-off, but they do not pay for your brakes. Obviously, if you fly in and out of an airport with short runways, plan to replace brakes more often, be aware of the heat problem, and check the brakes soon after touchdown so you can go around if either brake has failed.
If the tower advises a “Go Around” because your nose wheel is still retracted and your mains are on the ground, DO NOT APPLY FULL POWER, AND DO NOT APPLY POWER QUICKLY. If you decide to go around, apply about half throttle very slowly. Quick reaction to comply, normal for a pilot, is not good and will cause the two-wheel vehicle to rotate around the axles and push the nose down on the runway. Gradually open the throttle to half power, using the stick to maintain take-off attitude until airborne. Then, apply full throttle for take-off RPM to climb. This method has been carefully tested.
Leave the air brake extended until you turn off the ignition. While taxiing, the air brake may prevent rock damage to the wooden propeller.
If traffic permits, consider the 180º turn from downwind to final for your landing. It is safer with better control than the two ninety degree turns to base and final. At slow speed, my Long-EZ tends to get very mushy in a steep bank and can reach a point where aileron control becomes non-existent. That is not a good feeling, but diving like a bird quickly restores control.
Consider Flying The Safer, Navy 180º Landing Pattern
Instead of flying two right angle turns from downwind to final, make a gentle turn of 180º from downwind to final using 20º-30º of bank. This method:
* Maintains good visibility for high and low wing aircraft,
* Makes it easy to adjust for cross winds by varying bank from 20º to 30º, and
* Maintains stall speed increase to less than 7% of normal straight and level stall speed.
In 1996, three planes crashed at Sun 'N Fun while flying low and slow with steep banks in the landing pattern. Using the 180º turn from downwind to final would have prevented these deaths.
Higher pattern altitudes and pilots over-extending the downwind and base legs are increasing risks for pilots, passengers, and people on the ground. Two reasons are:
1) Instructors fail to train students to fly close patterns, and
2) New, higher pattern altitudes require earlier power reductions and longer glide paths.
(Note this “Navy” method has you cut power when even with the numbers on downwind
before initiating the 180º turn. The entire maneuver occurs during a power-off glide.)
Proper training will save lives, especially when flying "low and slow."
The method is simple and easy. Remain within ½ to ¾ mile from the runway on downwind. Do the checklist while on downwind. Cut power, lower landing gear and air brake when even with the numbers. At 45º past the numbers, enter a 20º to 30º bank (wind factor variable) and roll out on final. This eliminates the 90º turn to base followed by another 90º turn to final while flying "low and slow." Touch down 100-200 feet past the numbers.
The British navy developed this method to land Corsairs on carriers during World War II. The Corsair pilot sat far behind the nose, which blocked his view during landing. Eight months later, the American Navy adopted the system.
Bank Stall Speed (50) 180º Turn Pattern
Angle Increase (Knots)
0 0 50 Fly downwind 1/2 to 3/4 mile
20 3% 52 from runway. When 45º past
30 7% 54 the numbers, make a 20º-30º
45 20% 60 banking turn to final.
60 40% 70
If aircraft stall speed is 50 knots, a 45º bank is a high-risk maneuver in a slow flying aircraft.
According the Owner’s Manual, during an emergency, land with nose gear extended, whether on land or water. The high risk factor during an emergency landing is the landing surface. If the emergency is at night, if you have no knowledge of the terrain surface, if you are over water, swamps, or trees, or if you are unable to determine elevation and terrain surface condition, you may want to use the “falling leaf” emergency landing maneuver taught by the Army Air Corps during World War II. You may destroy the aircraft, but you probably will walk away.
The high-risk variable factor in an emergency landing off the airport is ground speed. Every plane is different, so this maneuver should be practiced when the engine is running and you have a lot of air below, at least 3,000 feet AGL. With a good headwind, your ground speed (and impact force) can be reduced considerably with the “falling leaf.” The only aircraft among singles and light twins that I could not do a “falling leaf” was the V-tail Bonanza.
Slow Flying Can Be A Lifesaver.
Kinetic Energy — The Killer in An Emergency Landing!
engine-out landing is unavoidable, check wind direction, choose your landing
area, and establish your glide at 70 to 75 knots ... Your landing gear should be
down, even for an off-airport landing in rough terrain or water."
("Long-EZ Owner's Manual", p 22)
Every homebuilt is a unique and individual flying machine, but an engine out emergency applies to any aircraft. You can determine minimum air speed and descent rate for your aircraft by sharpening your skills and testing your aircraft flight characteristics at a safe altitude. Impact speed and aircraft weight combine to create kinetic energy – the amount determines survival probability. Expect a rough field landing to rip off the landing gear at touchdown, not good news, but it does absorb energy.
It is possible to reduce this impact speed even lower than your aircraft stall speed. My Long-EZ can fly slowly. Practice above 3,000 feet AGL to learn to fly controlled, shallow turns while the plane mushes down with throttle closed, nose high, full aft trim, and full aft stick (both canard and wings are stalled). This “falling leaf” maneuver reduces the speed of the aircraft below stall speed, and you use the rudders to keep the wings level. Practice is necessary, because the plane tends to enter a Dutch Roll. It is very important that the weight and balance be within the CG envelope established by Rutan to avoid a deep stall in this unusual attitude. Rutan tested a canard aircraft and determined a deep stall results from one cause - aft CG.
If you ever get into a deep stall, you have two choices, one is to practice the airline position for a crash. Lean over as far forward as possible with your head between your legs and kiss you’re a** goodbye. The second is a possibility of getting out of the deep stall by kicking the plane into a Dutch Roll, easy to do in my Long-EZ. This method has not been tested, but Burt Rutan suggested the possibility to Neil Hunter at Oshkosh after Neil had experienced a “deep stall” (in a Velocity) and lived. Neil was later killed, but that was an FAA error when they vectored a “heavy” too close to Neil over Orlando Class B air space.
Know the difference between controllers and pilots.
If the pilot makes a mistake, the pilot dies.
If the controller makes a mistake, the pilot dies.
I can overpower the bobbing recovery action of the canard that maintains flying speed when flying straight and level at slow speed. [NOTE: Some canard owners report they cannot overpower this safety factor.] This maneuver requires practice, preferably before an engine-out, off-field landing occurs. N829CL descends at 600 feet per minute in this attitude. The air speed indicator will be inaccurate due to the high angle of attack. I tried to check the true air speed with this exaggerated nose-up attitude with a friend flying a Taylorcraft. Gradually, I pulled away from him as he maintained 50 mph. My forward speed was less than the normal touchdown speed of 65 knots, probably 50-55 knots. The air speed indication was 40 knots, totally inaccurate due to the high angle of attack.
The Long-EZ has a take-off weight limit of 1,425 pounds, and weight is one part of the kinetic energy factor in an off-field, emergency landing. However, weight does not increase the risk as dramatically as does higher impact speed. (See table below.) The lower impact force at 55 knots combined with the strength of the airframe should protect pilot and passenger. Increasing air speed by 13 knots could be a killer.
The 600 feet per minute descent rate is only 10 feet per second, which is a slower descent than that of an Army paratrooper jumping with an open parachute. The 1947, Army 28 feet parachute descended at 12-20 feet per second, with the speed determined by the weight of the paratrooper and equipment. A paratrooper absorbs this shock with his body. The EZ gear should absorb most of the combined forward/vertical impact, even if it is ripped off.
Weight and Speed Create Kinetic Energy
Airspeed at impact is the most dangerous variable!
Kinetic Energy Formula: Kinetic Energy = Weight/2 x Velocity Squared
40% increase in speed almost doubles the kinetic energy.
A 40% increase in weight increases the kinetic energy by 40%.
Weight Velocity Kinetic Multiple Multiple
(Lbs.) (Mph) (Kts) Energy (same weight) ( same speed)
1,000 50 43 1,250,000 Adding 20 mph.
1,000 55 47 1,512,500 almost doubles
1,000 60 52 1,800,000 kinetic energy
1,000 65 55 2,112,500 at any weight.
1,000 70 60 2,450,000 1.96 1.0
1,200 50 43 1,500,000
1,200 70 60 2,940,000 1.96 1.2
1,300 50 43 1,625,000
1,300 70 60 3,185,000 1.96 1.3
1,400 50 43 1,750,000
1,400 70 60 3,430,000 1.96 1.4
Maximum speed shown above is 60 knots. Many canard pilots land faster – more killing power!
Compare: 1,000 lbs at 43 knots and 1,400 lbs at 60 knots.
Kinetic Energy: 1,250,000 3,430,000 = 2.744
With weight and speed within limits, higher speed increases kinetic energy by almost three times!
Sid says “My personal belief is that the owner/flyer should become very involved in the annual inspection, even though the inspection is required to be accomplished by an A&P. Gene Scott taught me that knowing the workings cannot but assist in understanding how to fly the airplane, no matter the level of mechanical sophistication (of the pilot).”
After fifteen years flying the EZ, starting with a minimum of mechanical knowledge and no composite experience, I agree wholeheartedly.
The last four pages of Terry Yake’s Resource Guide for Non-Builder Owners of Canard Composite Aircraft are the annual Conditional Inspection Check List for maintaining, checking, and preparing a Long-EZ for sign off by an A&P. You can learn to do much of this work under supervision. An AI inspection is not required for Experimental aircraft.
The airplane talks to you. Listen.
This axiom has been proven. Rarely does a mechanical problem occur without warning.
All canard aircraft owners can benefit from Terry Yake’s Resource Guide for Non-Builder Owners of Canard Composite Aircraft. The 76-pages of information about maintenance and sources of products is Appendix A. Also, Appendix C, Resources…., includes Terry’s many Internet linked sources of information and products. We are grateful to Terry for making this collection of information available for all pilots.
Any aircraft will last a lifetime, if you are careless enough.
One of the beautiful things about single piloted aircraft is the quality of the social experience.
Richard Bach's Observations Of Pilots
Bach states, "I suspect the thing that makes us fly, whatever it is, is the same thing that draws the sailor out to sea. Some people will never understand why, and we can't explain it to them."
"It is a cautious, conservative figure, and true ‑ ninety percent of the people who own light airplanes today can't afford to own them."
"Rationally speaking, most pilots can't afford to own the airplanes that they do. They give up a second car, a new house, gold, bowling, and three years lunch to keep that Cessna 140 or a used Piper Comanche waiting for them in the hangar. They want these airplanes, and they want them desperately."
"Most pilots are absolutely uncaring about the kind of automobile they drive, the precise form of house they live in, or the shape and color of the world around them."
". . . that special high place where a few hundred thousand people around the world have found answers to emptiness."
"The facts are very simple. The man who flies is responsible for his own destiny . . . Flight remains the world of the individual, where he decides to accept responsibility for his action, or he stays on the ground."
"This act of flight is the path that each has chosen, that each needs to demonstrate his control of space and time in his own life."
"… are distressed when they must blindly trust uncaring others to take them where they want to go.
… feel a certain kinship with the earth unencrusted by humanity, they want to see it that way in one sweeping view, in reassurance that nature still exists on her own, without a chain‑link fence to hold her.
… value the fact that one cannot give excuses to the sky, that in the air it is not talking that matters, but knowing and acting.
… have a sense of adventures yet to come, instead of dimly recalling adventures of long ago as the only moments in which they truly lived."
Book review editor,
“The joy of flight. The magic of flight. The meaning of flight. The endless challenge and infinite rewards of flight. For all who wish to rise above their earth‑bound existence to feast on the freedom and adventure that Richard Bach knows and loves and recreates so magnificently, this book offers A Gift of Wings."
Editor's introduction to A Gift of Wings
Appendix B, Formation Flying, by Dan Patch, also available in a Power Point Presentation at http://v2.ez.org/Formation1.htm.
Appendix C, Resources…. by Terry Yake, containing many web links.
Resource Guide for Non-Builder Owners
of Canard Composite Aircraft
By Terry Yake
“Aviation in itself is not inherently dangerous. But to an even greater degree than the sea, it is terribly unforgiving of any carelessness, incapacity, or neglect.”
— Aviation Adage
“This statement applies to homebuilt aircraft to even a greater degree.”
— Central States Association.
2.0 Family Tree
Seats, Foam - Source
3.1 Resin – Working in Weather
3.1.1 Resin Types
3.1.2 Resin Characteristics
3.1.2.A Molds - Suggestions
22.214.171.124 Fillers and Finishing - Update 1976 Practices
126.96.36.199 Delaminating and Repair Including Strut Heat Damage
188.8.131.52 Release Agents - Including Peel Ply and resin layer to prevent leaks
3.1.3 Re-painting- CAUTION
Elevators - Buying - Source
3.2 Control surfaces
3.2.1 Trailing edge fences
3.2.2 Vortex Generators
3.2.3 CP 103 Aileron rod end AD for the Long-EZ
3.3 Fuel tanks
3.3.3 Fuel Gages
3.3.4 Debris screens
4.1 Wheel calipers
5.0 Engine Systems
5.0.2 Exhaust System - Springs
5.1 Spark Plugs
5.2 Oil Filters and Oil Cooling systems
Sources of Parts (Also, see 10.0 below)
6.1 Propeller Manufacturers
6.2 Prop Types – fixed pitch and constant speed
6.3 Material – metal, wood, or wood/foam composite
6.4 Wood Prop care - Bruce Tifft Legacy
7.0 Electrical Systems
7.3.1 Ground Plane
Gyroscope Instruments Repair
8.0 Wheels/Tires/Brakes/Landing Gear
8.1 Brake lines and Fluid
8.2 Long-EZ nose wheel axle bushing rotation
Electrical Nose Lift
8.3 Long-EZ main gear attachments/hard points
8.4 Inflation - Tire Pressure
8.41 Tires - Source (10 Ply - Recaps)
Wheel Pants/Small (Lamb) Tires - Speed
9.0 Refueling - Static Electricity and Fire Danger
10.0 Web Sites, Sources, and Flying Information
Soldering Large Wire Connectors
12.0 FAA Identifier Codes
Approaching Tower Controlled Airports
Slow Flying Can Be A Lifesaver - MAH
Excerpt from an Internet Article on Hypoxia
Check List for Conditional Inspection – Long-EZ
Just because it's an EXPERIMENTAL, doesn't mean the laws of physics don't apply.
The view from the green side of the dirt is best.
This guide is intended for the owners and fliers of composite canard aircraft that did not build the plane. If you already have made the purchase, one major step has been completed. In addition, you probably have encountered maintenance issues, parts source questions, and procedural problems that would be known if you had built the plane. Even a supportive A&P or AI has little if any familiarity with some aspects of the plane you want him to maintain. Unless you have a continuing relationship with the builder, some of the rules for safe handling, fabrication techniques for repairs, and parts identification and sources may be a problem for you.
With the increasing number of composite canards being built and later sold, the educational aspect of the prolonged construction process and completing a flyable aircraft are unknown to the next owner. Even if the buyer receives all the builder’s documentation, and hopefully he did, much of it is hard to put in comprehensible order.
During the building period, typically many years elapse. During that time, there was an opportunity to read, re-read, and re-read again the construction manuals and product brochures, POH (Pilot Operating Handbook), see and talk to others at Oshkosh, EAA chapter meetings, and “hangar talks” by those more advanced in the building and flying phases. As you attend fly-ins with your “new acquisition”, you are possibly able to quote the features of the plane to by-standers, but the intimate knowledge of how and why something was included or excluded in your plane just is not known.
So, with your continued enjoyment and safety of operation in mind, this guide is intended to highlight many general aspects of the unique aircraft you own, are responsible for, and fly. It is intended to serve as a supplement to the construction plans, owner’s operation manual, and other documentation that you should be intimately familiar with already. It can’t replace the knowledge you would have acquired by building it yourself, but it does offer an opportunity for transfer of knowledge, gleaned from some very knowledgeable builders and fliers who are, in addition, professional subject matter experts in their own right.
In this booklet, you will find a topic listing, presentations, and references to sources for parts. It is not intended to be a substitute for the designer’s composition, the manufacturer’s construction plans, instructional materials or any official documentation. You must also know these materials to fly properly and maintain your aircraft. And just because we didn’t think to include every imaginable technique or procedure, doesn’t mean it wasn’t important enough to mention.
If you are not already a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association, join now. Find the local EAA chapters in your area where members have planes similar to yours, and join this association.
Subscribe to the Central States Association Newsletter for Rutan and derivative canard designs ($25 yearly). March 25, 2004 - The following is the latest Index of the suppliers listed by Terry Yake in the CSA Newsletter:
Index - Terry Shubert
If your aircraft designer/manufacturer has a newsletter, subscribe to it.
Subscribe to Kit Planes magazine.
Attend fly-ins and seek out other canard fliers. Hangar flying can be rewarding and educational.
Find canard aviation chat boards on the Internet. All this leads to being a member of an elite group of similarly minded people. Enjoy the total experience of being an experimental aircraft owner.
EZ Squadron — A directory of hundreds of canard aircraft owners from around the world and helpful Articles describing hundreds of incidents are available at the Southern California EZ Squadron website, as well as a posting of the Canard Pusher (CP) Newsletters from Mojave:
Webmaster is Jerry Hansen in San Diego.
2.0 Family Tree
Ever try to find your ancestors and you get the lineage confused, because every generation had a George or Mabel in it. Well, here’s a short version of the canard genealogy to keep things straight.
The Wright Brothers designed and built the first homebuilt, canard aircraft. But that was a long time ago and glass and resin were not used.
One of the early Rutan designs was the Vari-Viggen, but it didn’t find fancy with many builders. You will see a few Vari-Viggens flying.
Urban Legend: Burt, after four years building the Vari-Viggen, realized it required wood, metal, composite, and electrical building skills and would be too hard to build for most home builders. He decided to design a new version, one very easy to build, and call it a “VariEze”. His first wife is reported to have given Burt an ultimatum, “Either that plane goes or I go!” Burt commented, “I did not realize it would be such a VariEze decision to make!”
Then, Burt Rutan designed a bunch of composite planes. Some of his “children” or their follow-on interpretations didn’t generate sustained interest or prosper like some may have hoped, e.g. the Quickie, Q200, and Dragon Fly.
Burt hit a magic chord with the VariEze (note the correct spelling). This is a plans-built, moldless construction type aircraft, folks, not a kit. [After builders started adding alternators, batteries, and starters, Burt realized there was a risk factor of extra weight and aft-CG and designed the Long-EZ.] (Note the correct spelling.) He used government provided wind-tunnel test data.
Nat Puffer crossed the Long-EZ wing with a 3-place fuselage design and called it a Cozy. Later he sold his hybrid to another outfit, and it was renamed the Cosy Classic. Then, Nat designed the Cozy-IV. (See, just like in real life, some kids leave home and change their names. Other’s are kicked out or are lost in a poker game.)
Burt also designed the push-pull twin engine Defiant, but it cost about twice as much as a Long-EZ and took twice as long to build. (That equates to not many of them being built.)
Dave Ronnenberg had built many Long-EZ’s, and wanted a higher performance version. Using the Long-EZ wing design, he customized a somewhat larger fuselage, updated the construction materials (read this as carbon fiber and an O-540) to bring the Berkut to life. It is a molded, composite structure, kit-built plane, not a plans built plane like the Long-EZ and VariEze.
Another group in Sebastian, Florida designed the Velocity with 4-place seating and a variety of engine and gear options as kit built planes.
about it. If you want to show your savvy, use the spellings above, and pronounce
the “E” and “Z” in Long-EZ. After all, it’s not a Long-ezz. Furthermore, the
VariEze is also pronounced Vari-E-Z. Is everyone clear on this? The other canard
names are pretty straightforward in their pronunciations.
Safety Issue: Styrofoam (light blue) will be eaten away when exposed to fuel or fuel vapors. If repairs are needed, research the manufacturer's specifications to find the proper foam type, fiberglass type, ply orientation and resin appropriate to use. Don't guess!
2.1 Seats, Foam - Source
Check with Oregon Aero. They build seats with this type of foam and you won't save much building them your self as the cost of material is about the same as they sell a complete, un-upholstered seat core ($299 - June 2004). These seats are very well designed.
On all plans-built, composite canards, the structures are solid core, typically using Styrofoam, urethane, or Poly-vinyl foam blocks as prescribed. Fiberglass, tri-directional, bi-directional, and uni-directional weaves, are called for in lay-up schedules by the designer to meet structural load and dent protection requirements.
Many of the planes for sale probably used resins and weave fillers that have been replaced because a more satisfactory alternative was found or because the original material was no longer produced. Compatible substitutes are probably available, but you typically won’t know how to proceed without expert consultation with the designer.
Remember: Two like opinions by two unknowledgeable people still yield a bad direction, if followed. Search for factual data and knowledgeable judgments.
This is an important aircraft integrity issue! So, here is a short tutorial on resins and fiberglass from Gary Hunter, the epoxy guru with over ten years experience in customer service with Shell Chemical.
3.1 Gary Hunter - Working with resins and the weather
“If you are working outside with no roof, I can understand your frustration.
avoid having a lay-up rained on. However, if you are under-roof, or better yet
inside a garage or a building with closed sides you needn't be so picky.
If you are working in a building with the doors open for ventilation, the relative humidity in the building will certainly come close to what it is outside. Although, high humidity conditions are not the best for working with epoxies, some resin systems will tolerate it fine. Some resin systems are susceptible to "blushing" and you will notice a milky appearance to the resin as you work with it. Most of the time, as the resin cures, this milky appearance goes away leaving an oily like film on the surface of the cured laminate. It looks and feels terrible, but not to worry, this film will wipe off with warm water and a washcloth.
The biggest concern I have is applicator related problems, and how he or she responds to high humidity conditions. If you are a sweat hog like me, dripping beads of sweat into your work can be a real big problem. A few drops of sweat on a laminate that has already been completed but not fully cured is not so bad - just don't rub or squeegee it into the laminate - simply blot it and let it dry. Sweating on the dry fiberglass, or a layer of the laminate that is in the process of being wetted out is a big NO-NO.
This is one reason I advocate you find a way to "temper" the air in your shop. Your project will go a lot faster, and you will enjoy it more – both in the winter and the summer.”
3.1.1 Resin types
Technically, in the context of our canard aviation community, there is absolutely no difference between what has been referred to as a non-structural epoxy and a structural one. They are all from the same molecules.
Numerous people had asked Rutan Aircraft Factory about using West Systems Epoxy. After all, it was readily available in most parts of country - and the world for that matter. Well, we all know that Burt Rutan is rather liability conscious, and if a resin system had not been tested and flown in an actual prototype or part of some sort, it was not approved for his aircraft designs - PERIOD.
So, if I recall correctly, one of Rutan's Canard Pusher newsletters, responded to the builder inquiries and West Systems was dubbed a "non-structural" epoxy. It was OK for making micro fill and wheel pants and such. But, no major structural components.
Furthermore, the makers of West System (Gougeon Brothers - pronounced goo-zhan) did not seem to promote the use of the West Systems product line for aircraft construction.
Gougeon Brothers is a customer of mine, so, about 3-5 years ago, I quizzed them on why this was so. They said that in years past their insurance underwriter did not want the liability associated with homebuilt aircraft. The product was intended for the boat building, repair and restoration market. However, they had recently secured another insurance underwriter without such reservations about homebuilt aircraft. In fact, their website had a photo gallery of the many different projects their customers had completed using the West Systems epoxy, and many aircraft were included - mostly wood / fiberglass aircraft, like the KR2s, and Ospreys and such. I don't recall seeing any VariEzes or Long-EZes. If you visit the Gougeon's West Systems home page
there are numerous examples of all composite structural articles being made from the West Systems product line.
At about the time I was quizzing Gougeon about the West Systems epoxy, they were introducing their new Pro-Set epoxy product line. Apparently, they had recognized a new market was emerging and decided to put their best foot forward. This product line was developed for more demanding end-uses including all composite aircraft. Rutan did approve one of their early formulations for construction of his plans designs - the Pros-Set 125 / 229. The website for Pro-Set shows a photo of the (Rutan design) Proteus that was made from Pro-Set resins formulations. http://www.prosetepoxy.com
Note the statements about post cures in their literature.
Frankly, I cannot understand why anyone would pay so much for the convenience of being able to buy an epoxy at the local marine or auto supply. West Systems is at least $3.00 per lb. more expensive than the most costly alternative "structural epoxy". But, some people drive Fords, and some people drive Mercurys. [High “Hazardous Materials” fees by UPS are reduced when you purchase West Systems locally for small jobs and repairs.]
One thing is for certain. Gougeon Brothers is perhaps the industry benchmark for technical support. Their on-line literature, books, manuals, and newsletters are top notch - excellent reading. They even sell ratio pumps for their Pro-Set resin systems.
3.1.2 Resins - Characteristics
Difference between EZ-Poxy and EZ-Poxy II Should I switch to EZ-Poxy II in
mid-project? Are they compatible in cured form?
Actually, what you are referring to was called SAFE-T-POXY and SAFET-T-POXY II. The SAFE-T-POXY II uses exactly the same resin, but the hardener was reformulated just a tad to give a lower viscosity to help wet out. Today they are called EZ-POXY 10 Resin and EZ-POXY 83 (the regular Safe-T-Poxy hardener) and EZ-POXY 84 (the Safe-T-Poxy II hardener). You can switch from EZ-Poxy 83 to EZ-Poxy 84 but do not blend them together. They are 100% compatible in the cured form.
The non-MDA version was never called a Safe-T-Poxy or EZ-Poxy. It was called EPOLITE 2427 A&B from Hexcel. It received mixed reviews and very little was ever sold. I doubt you will be able find it anymore.
2) Can these parts warp? Does post-cure stop this? If so, temps and times recommended please. Do they REALLY take a year to cure or am I being fed some false information?
Yes, parts can warp. Yes, a post-cure can HELP to stop this. You are receiving
Curing of epoxies is a chemical reaction. All chemical reactions are thermally dependant. With the epoxies we use to build our airplanes, ambient temperature cure conditions provide sufficient heat energy to allow the reaction to start. As the reaction progresses it requires more and more energy to perpetuate the reaction. At some point, the available energy from ambient temperature conditions is insufficient, and the reaction stops. For most resins systems, the reaction stops at a point that gives the cured resin a Tg (glass transition temperature ) of about 125-135F. Most of this occurs in the first 24 hours of cure and continues very slowly thereafter until it finally plateaus in about 2 weeks.
The chemical reaction can be re-activated by increasing the temperature conditions. This can happen today, tomorrow or a year from now. It can happen deliberately, by placing the object in an oven and baking it (called a post cure.), OR - it can happen on it's own, when the airplane is parked on the ramp during a hot summer day. It can happen in the garage during storage too. All that is required is more heat energy than what was available when the part was initially cured.
If a cured wing panel is quickly exposed to elevated temperatures in excess of it's current Tg, the cured resin can weaken and become rubbery. If the wing panel is not properly supported while it is in this weakened rubbery state, it can sag under it's own weight. As the wing panel absorbs the heat energy and the chemical reaction is
re-activated, the resin will cure and additional amount resulting in a higher Tg.
Any warping or sagging the wing may have encountered during this elevated
temperature state will become permanently set into the wing panel. By storing
the wing panels leading edge down, one can minimize if not completely eliminate
the possibility of inadvertent warpage during storage.
In many cases, wing warpage can be reversed by quickly exposing the wing panel to an even higher temperature and weighting or forcing the wing back into the proper shape. Similarly, one can induce a deliberate warpage or twist into a wing panel to correct a rigging or trim problem.
In actuality, an epoxy resin / curing agent reaction is never complete until it has been cured at or slightly above it's known maximum glass transition temperature for a minimum of 2 hours. Some of the approved resins are capable developing a Tg as high as 210F. Because of the foam cores and other considerations it is not possible to cure our airplanes at temperatures at or above the maximum Tg of the resin system.
I recommend a post cure schedule that SLOWLY increases the temperature up to 140 -150F over a span of 2 hours and a dwell or hold time of at least 4 hrs, and perhaps as long as 12 hrs, the longer the better. A very gradual cool down is important, too. This will drive the Tg of most of resin systems up to about 180-190F.
From: "Hunter, Gary A RES-RES"
Subject: Epoxy resins and temperature
3.1.2.A Molds – Suggestions
Glass Cloth for Molds
1) Use cheap glass that's easy to work. Try E-1581 or E-3743
7781 would work but it's a tight weave, hard to get the air out. Anything from
Discount Composites is going to be a LOT less than any marine cloth.
2) Use epoxy. Polyester and Vinylester shrink at different rates from epoxy, if you're going to make epoxy parts, use epoxy molds.
3) For the same reason, use epoxy gell coat.
4) You want the mold stiff so it won't change shape. For that, it needs to be thick. Most people take THAT to mean it needs a gazillion layers of glass. It doesn't. Gell coat, 2 or 3 plies of glass, 1/2" thick epoxy/microballoon "syntactic foam" dough, followed by 2 or 3 more plies of glass.
5) Mold release. Make sure your plug is perfect - lacquer, wet sand to 600 or more. Johnson's floor wax, a gazillion coats. Then PVA, spray on a gazillion layers.
6) Extend your mold well beyond the part line.
184.108.40.206 Fillers and Finishing
Fillers -- Just a bit of
materials correctness here. As a builder, it is important to know your materials
(and maybe this is more than you wanted to know).
Micro-balloons are not silica. They contain silica as a component. Silica is silicon dioxide with no other components. Silica glass (or fused silica) is extremely difficult to make requiring graphite or tungsten or molybdenum furnaces operating in an inert atmosphere at over 2000 degrees C. Fused silica is unique in that its expansion coefficient is almost zero (5x10^-7/deg C). Fused silica is commonly used as the containment envelope for the plasmas in mercury vapor and halogen lamps. Micro-balloons are a silicate based glass known as C-glass.
Glass composition - Type of glass
Al2O3 CaO MgO B2O3 Na2O+K2O ZnO
C-glass (%) 65~72 1~7 4~11 0~5 0~8 9~13 0~6
E-glass (%) 52~56 12~16 16~25 0~6 5~13 0~0.8
One of the Carnardians mentioned that fumed silica (which IS silicon dioxide) causes lung damage due to silicosis, which is similar to asbestosis and not curable. One should wear a mask whenever dealing with any airborne particulates (e.g. micro balloons, fumed silica, sanding dust, etc.) to keep the small particles out of your lungs, but fumed silica will not cause silicosis. Silicosis requires the presence of the crystalline form of silica such as quartz, crystobalite, etc. Colloidal silica (fumed silica) is considered as a nuisance dust by OSHA. For the MSDS go to: http://www.westsystem.com/webpages/userinfo/safety/MSDS406.pdf
For a guide to fillers and the effects of fumed silica additions, (just takes a pinch to reduce the sag tendency - about 1 part colloidal silica to 10 parts of micro balloons) go to this web site that I found: http://www.duroplastic.com/FILLOVERVIEW.htm An excerpt follows:
Typical addition levels of filler to Duroplastic resin systems, are given in the following table. In each case, the filler is given in a ratio to resin in mass Resin is taken as 100 parts.
Filler Mix Casting (for bonding) (for filling & fairing) (Thin resin)
Capolite 15 – 20 25 - 30 5 - 15
Glass Bubbles 15 – 20 25 - 30 3 - 8
NA NA 50 - 250
Colloidal Sillica* 3 2 - 5 DO NOT USE
* Generally used in combination with other fillers - Marc Borom, AZ
ANOTHER BUILDER’S EXPERIENCE - UPDATE 1976 PRACTICES
Finishing - Pre-Paint Process - Finishing Composite Surfaces
I will preface this with a quotation from the guy who made my life a whole lot easier!
"Technology is changing in the composite industry so fast it's next to impossible
to keep up with it. If it took me more than four days to repair a corvette or a few
months to do a show car from start to finish I would be out of business."
My composite guru, Rick Castalano, agreed to do a hands on lecture on show quality finishing composites. We agreed to work on the upper surface on one of my Vari's main wings and winglet for the demonstration. Up to this point I had been filling and sanding using dry micro for over 8 months with very little to show for the effort. As you are all extremely aware the contour of the wing is more than for good looks, it is critical for a smooth and balanced flying machine.
Rick has been in the business for 40 some years and has finished more competition show whatever's than you can imagine!
The first thing he asked me was what materials and tools I was using. I explained I was following Rutans instructions to the Nth degree. Dry micro, no more 80 grit sandpaper, etc., and absolutely NO BONDO! Long boards with sandpaper attached to get the lines "just so", etc.
He then explained to the group how times have changed since 1976! That's when Bert Rutan first turned us all on to this method of building airplanes. Now, there are finish products available that are strong, flexible, inexpensive, and could be called BONDO!
I explained that I was sort of cheating by using very small electric sanders on occasion, contrary to Rutan’s rules.
He shouted to crowd, “Hooray! Tim's learned something that not only saves time and money, but doesn't compromise safety during the finishing process.”
Now, save the following information because this stuff is not only going to give you a show quality finished airplane, but will literally take YEARS out of the finishing process.
He walked out to his car and came back in with the following:
2- Blue steel straight edges 8" long (get various sizes from 2" out to 36", the are
cheap but the 8" is the one you will use most)
1- Plastic palette about 24X24 (get two, they are used for mixing and one will
1 - Gal of EVERCOAT Z-Grip (a light weight filler that applies like butter, sets up
according to how fast you want it to, and sands like a dream. (It took 5 to 7 gal's
to finish mine. LongEze's will require more)
1 - Quart of Evercoat Glazing Puddy (Small area filling)
1 - 3 foot flexible (plastic) long board
Lots of high quality sandpaper starting with grade 32 and to 600 grit with
adhesive backs, or buy the spray stick stuff
1 - small square electric hand sander
2 - Semi soft sanding blocks
2 - Gallons of Acetone (for cleaning)
Lot's of Paper Towels (for cleaning)
Everycoat products are purchased at any good auto body supply store along with the rest of the stuff. Shop around and you will find better prices at the major chains, roughly about $15 per gal to $10 at chains. There are all kinds of other brands and all are probably just as good (like epoxies) but this is what I was instructed to use from our Guru and I am very happy with the results.
Rick explains the one basic key is to start with a CLEAN working surface. Acetone each area your working on just prior to filling that area.
Place a small batch of the Z-Grip in the center of the palette (about the size of palm of your hand. Then add a ribbon of the hardener (comes with the Z-Grip) from top to bottom. Read the directions, but I found you don't need as much hardener as they recommend. It sets too fast if you use too much and you are stuck with a blob of sculpture in a matter of minutes. Better to use less and enjoy the long working time and easier application.
Rich places a huge blob on the palette, adds the hardener, and mixes them together on the palette using the 8" blue steel straight edge. In a matter of seconds the stuff looked all one color, and he is filling a large section of the top wing (about two feet across) starting at the leading edge and smoothly working the stuff back to the trailing edge.
He proceeded up the winglet, again starting at the leading edge and working back. In about 5 minutes the stuff was starting to set so he explained to stop right there and clean off the palette and straight edge with the acetone and paper towels.
Note: It is very important that you clean the palette and the straight edge after each and every application! Keep the edge of the steel as clean and sharp as possible. You can rub the edge against 80 grit paper to sharpen it.
With the palette and straight edge now clean (3 minutes of work) he instructs us to feel the heat exotherming from the fill. He then pulls out the long board, applies a strip of 32 grip sand paper to the back and begins sanding and contouring at 45 degree swipes!
Tip: The 32 grit is used to cut through very quickly to get the basic contour very quickly, and before the filling has a chance to really get hard. Makes sense if you think about it.
He then gradually sanded the surface with lesser and lesser grit sand papers until he got to about 120 grit. All this took just under 30 minutes and when he was done the surface was smooth as a baby's butt and the shape of the wing was a work of art. He had completed more in that 30 minutes than I had in the previous month. He stood back and announced to the group that this surface was now ready for primer and paint (provided the rest of the plane was done).
I can't tell you how easy this stuff is to work with. You have to try it. The expense is nothing compared with how much fun you will have finishing your planes using this method and these products.
There will be those of you who say this stuff won't bond to the glass and that later it will peel off. All I can say to that kind of thinking is, “BS.” There are million dollar yachts plying the seas using this very same product and you don't see them coming apart. My plane has been flying now for three months with no sign of delamination, NONE!
The plane was completed 5 months later with a beautiful paint job, also done by me, and I've never painted anything more than a house before.
220.127.116.11 Delaminating and Repair
Your owner’s construction manual is the best reference for this topic. Especially for the moldless construction technique used on the VariEze, Long-EZ, and Cozy type aircraft, you should test the structure for any signs of delaminating periodically, at the condition inspection minimally. In some cases you may see a slight “bubble” or bulge in the skin when the light and viewing angle are just right. At other times, the “quarter test” should be used to detect a variance in the sound of the quarter tapping on the fiberglass skin. If it sounds hollow, then a delamination has occurred. Some delaminations may be repaired by drilling a tiny hole and injecting resin (of the same type used in construction) with a syringe. A weighted or clamped piece of wood over the affected area should restore the structural integrity if it is not too large. If the delamination is larger than the size of a dollar bill, then fiberglass removal and re-construction is advised.
In some of the early VariEze’s, Urethane foam was used extensively in the fuselage. It does not have the improved bonding qualities of Styrofoam or Poly-vinyl foam as prescribed later, and should therefore, be checked more often for fiberglass-foam delaminating.
Strut Rebuilding After Brake Heat Melt-down
You will need some expert composite assistance with the epoxy and glass.
On all the strut repairs I did, we ground the damaged strut end down to a taper and used Long-EZ spar UNI strips for the repair. The strings in the glass material should be removed if possible.
Starting at zero, 14 inches up, the outside of the strut was tapered gradually down to one-half thickness at the bottom using a saws-all and grinder. Approximate cut lines were marked on the front and back of the strut.
The Large UNI strips were applied using a little flox in the epoxy. They were custom cut graduated in length to attain the proper thickness.
Peel ply and masking tape were used to conform the strips to approximate the previous shape. You need above 70 degrees for cure.
After cure the peel ply was removed and the existing axle bolt holes were used as guides for drilling the axle bolt holes in the new glass. A little sanding with the grinder on the upper side matched and regained the nice strut shape.
Then the inner side of the strut was removed and tapered from zero at 14 inches up, down to half thickness at the bottom.
Again the UNI strips were applied vertically and smoothed to shape with Peel ply and masking tape.
After cure the bolt holes were drilled back through.
The per-plans layers of additional glass wraps were applied around the strut up to about 16 or 18 inches. We actually did this after applying the inner UNI strips but it is easier to do after the entire lower strut is cured and shaped. After cure the bolt holes were visible and were drilled.
The bottom four or five inches of the strut should all be new glass, with the old strut point ending at the point of damage.
On one of the struts I have done, the inner bottom portion of the strut below the damage stayed attached and was useable for mating purposes, ground or sawed to half thickness.
If it is not usable below the damage, extend the new glass UNI down matching the other strut, and trim to proper length.
The axle will then be reinstalled to the rebuilt lower strut per plans.
A heat shield is an easy addition here, not to preclude proper EZ brake usage.
Wear a mask and goggles, and seal around your neck and wrists well. A fan can be used to some advantage to direct the cloud of ground fiber away from you. Additional experience from others in the group would be appreciated.
--Bill James, Fort Worth
18.104.22.168 Release Agents
Saran Wrap, Duct Tape, Grease as release devices. Small parts fabricated in molds use “mold release” compounds to make life easier when removing the cured parts. Often, the idea can be applied when doing composite repairs or when fabricating a part by making the layout on a table or a piece of glass. For a smooth finish, ready for filling or painting, Saran Wrap is cheap, convenient, and ideal. However, one problem with Saran Wrap is the difficulty of seeing it during removal after curing the part. Using colored or tinted Sara Wrap makes this part of the job much easier. Clear Saran Wrap can be overlooked. That is, it can be overlooked until you apply the paint. Then you see it very quickly!
NOTE: One reason for using peel ply is to assure the part will have a finish coat of resin over any glass as when replacing fuel sumps to avoid any “channeling” or “tunneling” of fuel through the glass areas causing leaks.
Both of above taught by Chuck Busch, San Diego, CA
Also, all this talk about using duct tape as a release for small glass parts (wheel pants, prop spinner) hasn't brought up the fine qualities of axle grease. If you will apply a very thin coat of axle grease over the duct tape, the breakaway effort is much less. Just wash the part with soap and water thoroughly to remove the grease.
I have found that Partall wax works well. It is applied by wiping on a layer,
waiting a few minutes for the wax to harden, then buffing off the surface to a
shine. Then apply a layer of Safelease (a liquid wax), which works very well
even on very small and intricate molds. I think the duct tape and some of the
Safelease should take care of all of your "stuck part" woes. You can find the
They also have instructions on how to build your own molds.
3.1.3 Re-painting - CAUTION
When you bought your composite canard, maybe it wasn’t in very good cosmetic shape. So, you decide to re-paint it or have someone do it for you. Be very careful!
The fiberglass covering of your plane is part of its structural integrity. If you, or the paint shop, sand or sandblast into the fiberglass it can render the part unsafe and no longer airworthy.
The paint system needs to provide a UV barrier as well as just enough paint to provide a uniform coloring. A properly filled surface may not require another primer. Mike Melville used a UV protective paint over a well filled and finished surface without a paint primer.
White is the prescribed color by all the composite designers. That is to minimize the heat absorption and surface temperature of the aircraft surfaces and prevent the resin from heat damage.
SOLAR ENERGY HEAT ABSORPTION
EFFECT OF PAINT COLOR
High heat absorption can damage radios, instruments, and deform composite aircraft. "They" say that Burt Rutan refuses to fly in an EZ not painted white.
Gary Hunter: For most resins systems, the reaction stops at a point that gives the cured resin a Tg (glass transition temperature ) of about 125-135F.
This chart, provided by the DuPont Corporation, was adapted from “Soaring Magazine”.
TEMP COLOR AND PEAK SURFACE TEMPERATURE (F)
oF. WHITE YELLOW BLUE ORANGE RED GREEN BLACK
80 128 137 140 163 178 180 196
90 140 146 152 176 190 192 208
95 145 159 165 180 195 200 215
100 150 154 158 188 200 206 221
110 161 170 177 200 215 219 235
Temperature of a black surface can reach 165oF with ambient temperature of 55o F.
paint strippers are permitted! Keep the MEK at your mother-in-law’s house. These
chemical compounds will penetrate the micro-holes in the resin and eat
away the underlying foam, making the structure no longer airworthy.
Structural Integrity Warning!
When removing paint from the surface of a composite structure, never remove any part of the fiberglass skin.
Never use chemical solvents to remove the paint. (Some types of foam core portion of the structure can be destroyed!)
Also, see Paragraph 3.2 concerning the weight and balance of control surfaces.
Also, see Paragraph 3.1 concerning the general issues of foam, fiberglass, and resins.
22.214.171.124 Elevators - Buying - Source
The elevators are the hardest part to hotwire of all the EZ parts as they are so small and have a lot of curves. These need to be nearly perfect or they can easily be overweight due to filler or misshaped.
There are vendors out there that will hotwire these for you. I have used Featherlite and what I received is perfect. I think they want 50 bucks or so a set, but really when all is considered, it is well worth it. Give them a call and see what they can do for you.
Feather Lite 1327 South State Street Airport Ukiah, CA 95482 (707) 462-2939
The Plexiglas canopies are made in a chamber that heats and applies a vacuum to form the shapes required. They have come from various small company sources over the years. A very few are made by the aircraft builder. Yours may be clear or tinted, and vary in thickness from others’. In the1980’s a popular manufacturer was Dayton Airplane Factory in New Carlisle, OH. They are no longer in business. There were subsequent manufacturers in that area north of Dayton, OH, but they are no longer advertising. The only canopy company listed in recent advertisements is Airplane Plastics, in Tipp City, OH, near Dayton and New Carlisle.
See the classified ads in Kitplanes and Sport Aviation.
Canopies, Todd Silver www.kgarden.com/todd
126.96.36.199 Plexiglas Canopy Repair
additional word of caution. Polymethlymethacrylate (PMMA) or Plexiglas is
extremely sensitive to stress corrosion cracking. Whenever you drill into
Plexiglas (either for attaching or crack-stopping) you should observe two rules
taught to me by a research scientist whose specialty was Plexiglas:
1) Avoid corrodants - clean the drill with a good detergent and then rinse well with rubbing alcohol and allow to dry. The reason for doing this is that small amounts of oil can stress corrode the drill hole and radial cracks will form and propagate into the bulk plastic.
2) Minimize heating - drill very slowly with a sharp drill. The reason for this is that Plexiglas responds like glass to thermally induced stress. Drilling too fast will heat and soften the plastic at the drill hole wall. If the temperature of the inside diameter of the hole gets above the glass transition temperature of the plastic, the surface of the drilled hole will go into hoop tension on cooling. Couple that with some oil contamination (see rule #1) and you will get those radial cracks some days later which can really wreck you day at some time in the future. By softening, I do not mean that the plastic will get gummy. It just has to get warm enough to become stress free at the highest temperature reached.
Methylene dichloride (commercially shortened to methylene chloride), by the way, is not the cement, it is the solvent. You can use pure methylene dichloride to bond two pieces of Plexiglas together by allowing the surfaces of the pieces to be joined to dissolve (soak) in a shaped tray containing methylene dichloride. If injecting straight methylene dichloride works to join cracks, I would be interested to know. In another life, I made many Plexiglas underwater camera housings using the soak and join technique.
Acrylic cement, as I know it, is a solution of PMMA in methylene dichloride. Such a cement would carry additional PMMA into the crack for joining.
Also, methylene chloride can cause corrosion cracking of PMMA by dissolving some of the surface Plexiglas and causing cracks as the solvent evaporates.
There are no simple solutions. Marc Borom, 8/02
For cleaning the canopy, I have used Pledge and a soft cloth. The similar optic factors are supposed to render slight cracks invisible. In 13 years, I have had no negative effects from Pledge. MAH
3.2 Control Surfaces
These are the most important components of your plane!
They are subject to the most stringent fabrication requirements in the whole plane. The reason is the vital concern for aero-dynamic flutter. The designer’s specifications and requirements must be kept in mind and certain balance criteria met to prevent in-flight flutter and catastrophic failure of a flying surface and probable death to the occupants. Uncorrected flutter can cause a composite, metal, or wooden airplane to disintegrate in seconds!
During the initial flight testing of the plane, procedures are specified to verify the stability of the control surfaces. After those tests have been completed, any change in weight or weight distribution requires the balance and flight tests to be successfully repeated.
Safety of Flight Issue:
If you remove or add any (read this to be even an ounce) of weight to the ailerons or elevators, or sand any portion of the ailerons or elevators, or add or subtract any paint to any portion of the top or bottom surfaces, the designer’s balance criteria must be retested successfully. Flight testing is defined in 5 knot increments to Vne and must be re-done to re-establish the stability requirements.
This flight test data is to be recorded in the logbook. Pay attention here. And you thought you wouldn’t need to become a test pilot. Failure to pay close attention to this will yield catastrophic flying surface failures and death to the occupants! Is this clear?
There are two sides to owning an EXPERIMENTAL aircraft.
One is before you buy it.
The other is after you buy it.
Make sure you don’t buy the farm after you buy the airplane.
3.2.1 Wing Trailing Edge Fences
Testimonial by– Tim LoDolce (Flying Tiger) (October 26, 2001):
a set of TE fences on the VariEze about 20 hours ago after talking with Klaus
Savier about them. I think he was the first one to install them permanently on
his VariEze. He claimed I would see a 10 kts lower approach speed with much more
aileron authority and he was absolutely on the money!
Previous to the trailing-edge fences my approach speeds were around 90 kts that makes for some long roll-outs after landing.
I also found the airplane tended to start a very mild Dutch roll somewhere below my 90 kt. approach speed but not anymore. The fences are a real significant safety improvement to our canards.
approach at 80 knots, and by short final I'm getting down to 70 knots with full
The fences offer much improved aileron authority in all phases of flight including crosswinds. I also have not found any loss of top speed from the fences. I made mine out of 2 ply's of BID fiberglass cut in long triangles that extend 1 1/2 inches beyond the trailing edge of the wing and they are 3 1/2 inches from top to bottom on the back end. Mine extend about 2 1/2 inches above the horizontal of the wing and 1 inch below. I have seen them cut in triangles and teardrop patterns and both are affective.
PS. I did ask Klaus at Reno this year if they would work on a Long-EZ. He told me he had now tested them on the Longs and found the same improvements. The placement is a little different for the Longs.
For more information see: www.lightspeedengineering.com
Note: Canard stall, leading to high sink rate, is another limiting factor in approach-to-landing speeds. It’s one thing to maintain aileron authority at slower speeds, but yet another to have positive pitch control margin all the way to the tarmac.
3.2.2 Vortex Generators
TYPE 1 -- The early Long-EZ’s used the GU canard airfoil, and it was susceptible to “rain fade”. When the plane encounters moisture (virga, clouds, light, or heavy rain), canard lift reduces, with a resultant loss in altitude without adding pitch control input. The sensitivity to moisture varied from builder-to-builder, depending on imperceptible manufacturing differences. Some planes became “humidity sensors”, while others required only a slight pitch correction to maintain altitude in visible rain. This is the reason the Roncz canard was offered as a replacement design. Did you flight test your canard design in light rain?
Vortex generators have been installed by some builders to reduce the moisture-induced loss of lift. You will see this on some of the canards. The size, number, shape and location on the canard are critical elements. A thorough design, fabrication, and test flight program are the necessary steps to incorporating this modification.
TYPE 2 – Jim Price, working with the University of Michigan, developed vortex generators to increase slow speed performance of his Long-EZ in preparation for his successful world altitude setting effort (35,022 Feet, I believe.) In this case, Jim has vortex generators on the wings as well as the canard. However, the vortex generator placement on the canard is not the same as those used to reduce rain fade. Again, this requires detailed engineering knowledge and a carefully planned and executed flight test program.
3.2.3 Long-EZ Aileron Rod-end “Airworthiness Directive”
learned a lot about this mod since CP 103 first came out. If you are going to
comply with this CP, here are some hints.
First thing is, do not use HM-4's. Wick's has a rod end that has a 3/16" hole in the ball and is in every other way equivalent to the HM-4. This will save having to drill out all the bell cranks. Wick's part number is XM-3 (I know it doesn't make sense unless the dash number spec's the hole in the ball, but it is a 1/4-28 thread) They are $8.45 each, so the cost is a push if you consider the savings on the other hardware that can be re-used. Don't forget to buy new jam nuts, though. (Thanks to Ken Miller for this tip)
Second, check to see if you have the original CS-1 aluminum inserts or the later CS-50 steel inserts (usually attached with pop rivets). The CS 50 inserts are too short to rework, they just don't have the room to fit the larger, longer rod ends.
Last, Take your current push rods and measure the distance from the center of the hole in the ball to the insert side of the jam nut AS IT IS INSTALLED. The minimum it can be is .65". Shorter than that and the larger rod end won't be able to be adjusted down enough. Then measure from the insert side of the jam nut to the center of the head of the first rivet. Less than 1" must be added to the .65" i.e. center of ball to insert side of jam nut is .70", the minimum distance from the inside edge of the jam nut to the center of the rivet is .95".
Clear as mud right? My offer still holds, If you want to comply with the CP and you believe your current push rods can be retro fitted, I'll do the rethreading for free.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for shipping info. -- Rick Girard 09/02
3.3 Fuel Tanks and Fuel Leaks
Fuel tanks are integral to the airframe structure. Resin is applied liberally during the construction process to seal the inside of the tanks. However, once in a great while, someone will discover a leak. Strangely at first, the leak may appear well away from the tank walls before the fuel finds itself visible to the owner. Capillary action can make the leak travel or tunnel to far away places, and even appear in the nose of the plane. You’ll ask, “What is causing that? There’s no fuel up there.” The glass fibers serve as tunnels for the gas that penetrates the resin coating of the tank. This is one key reason for using peel-ply over the finished surfaces, to assure a resin layer seal over all glass.
One technique for diagnosis is to partially fill the leaking tank. Then tilt the fuselage at various angles and leave it alone for several hours to see if the leak appears at the exit point. This will take days to find the source of the leak, but it has shown to be effective.
And now the repair process. Of course, you will need access to the suspected area, whether it’s on the fuselage side surface or somewhere else on the tank surface. There went the paint job. And you will need to learn how to repair composite structures to finish the job.
Don't try to
adhere Vinyl Ester resins to Epoxy resins. Although both are fuel resistant,
resins bond best to themselves but not so well to each other.
Once the tank has been soaked in fuel, it is difficult to get most things to bond to the inner surfaces, even after sanding and abrading.
Recommend you buy some Pro-Seal - fuel tank sealant as used in aluminum tanks. This product has been specifically formulated for doing just what you want it to do, i.e., seal leaks.
It bonds extremely well and remain flexible yet fuel resistant. It comes in two grades, one grade is rather viscous and gooey to be daubed or troweled into place with an applicator stick. The other is brushable, and intended to be used to line the entire inside of the fuel tank. Take your pick based on what you want to do.
They are both about $40 - You will only need small portion, so don't plan on mixing up the whole container. You might look around for another builder that may have some left over from sealing his tanks, or you can sell him your leftovers.
First, remove all the garbage from previous attempts to seal the leak. Scrape it, sand it, grind it, whatever; get rid of it.
As mentioned, the tank inter-skin is fuel soaked. It is highly recommend you find some way to allow it to dry out for day or two. This is especially important for the area you found is leaking. Any fuel weeping from the leak area will definitely keep anything from sticking - especially if was mogas.
Apply a heat lamp, from a distance or even just a 40-watt light bulb to warm up the surfaces and drive out any residual fuel. Don’t let it get too hot, no more than about 140F. As a rule of thumb, (perhaps hand) if you can hold your hand flat on the hot surface to the count of ten, the temperature is below 140F.
Allow it to cool before applying the Pro-Seal. That should do it.
Gary Hunter - EAA Technical Counselor
Addendum (MAH) – The gas sumps (blisters under the wings) of a Long-EZ can leak. A fault in construction caused both of mine to leak after 17 years. The rear edge of the sumps were installed over the flexible edge of the fuselage/cowl connection area subjecting the sumps to movement when installing or removing the lower cowl. After four months trying to fix the problem, the old, very thin sumps were replaced with new Feather-Lite, prefabricated sumps for $25 each. The new sumps are heavier. Peel ply is a must during repair.
3.3.2 Fuel Caps
Fuel cap quality generally has improved over the years. Early ones were held in place by a Zusz fastener with an “O” ring that needs lubricant. Some models employ the thermos bottle expansion technique. Still others are adapted from production aircraft or possibly from motorcycle fuel tanks. In any case, all types should be tethered to the aircraft to prevent in-flight loss. This chain can serve as a ground during fueling. Check your plane for the tethers. This is a flight safety issue! When the cap departs the plane, there is a high probability that it will hit the prop, catastrophically damaging the propeller and causing a forced landing, right now!
Fuel caps lost in flight have caused off-field landings with lives lost. Make sure the fuel caps on your plane are tethered!
(MAH - Note: Leaking gas caps are the main source of water in gas tanks, not condensation. Old, dry “O” rings, poor fit, and failure to secure tops allow water to enter the tanks. A Long-EZ departing Sun ‘N Fun barely made it back for a landing on a closed runway after taking off without draining sufficient fuel during his pre-flight check. It had rained heavily during the night, and his tanks caps were not secured (to avoid venting gas from tank vents). That is another case of having too much fuel in the tanks. When Long-EZ gas tanks are full and parked nose down, expanding fuel flows out the vents and into the rear seat if fuel caps are tight. The ezes are the exception to the adage: “The only time you have too much fuel is when there is a fire.”)
3.3.3 Fuel Gauges
Almost all canards utilize “coffee urn” sight gauges for all of the fuel tanks, left, right, and possible header. They are simple and accurate, though hard to read. Because the original plans had you squinting to see through epoxy and several layers of fiberglass to read the fuel levels, many builders added white plastic backgrounds and a clear outer layer. The material for the visible portion of the gauge is made of plate glass or a non-crazing plastic. Inside the gauge, a piece of red material is supposed to float up and down with the fuel level. Sometimes, this indicator sticks to the side of the gauge and does not perform its intended function. A few builders use in-tank electric (capacitance) sensors and have the advantage of reading the fuel levels from gauges on the instrument panel.
a. Vance Atkinson still sells the clear gauges, and would have repair parts if needed. Email: email@example.com
b. Wicks Aircraft and Aircraft Spruce and Specialty catalogs have the capacitance type gauges.
c. Aerospace Logic – Toll free: 866-261-9506/$180 for a two tank, digital instrument without sensors
3.3.4 Fuel System Debris Screens
on plans-built aircraft, there is an opportunity to get tiny pieces of foam into
the fuel tanks during construction. If you are a second owner, hopefully all the
debris of the building process has been removed by now. But, it is still a good
practice to check the gascolator regularly for foreign material. There is a risk
of contamination from fuel suppliers.
The tanks should have screens located at the tank exits. These may be tealeaf strainers or copper/stainless steel screen door material that was floxed into place during construction. The important note is the size of material weave and what can be screened. The next opportunity to screen debris is in the gascolator. You will be checking that during each condition inspection and at other times considered necessary.
If your engine uses an Ellsion Throttle Body Injector (TBI), there should be another filter that probably was adapted from an automobile. This one is able to filter out very small particles (70 micron) that could block holes in the TBI fuel nozzle.
Then, finally, a very small screen – the last chance filter – is part of the carburetor or TBI. Repair parts are available from the manufacturers. Most will want to perform the maintenance to guarantee performance and keep warranties in place.
4.1 Brake Calipers --The heavy duty brake calipers on the Long- EZ (caliper assembly 30-133).
Here are the parts numbers for the seals: All three part numbers identify the same O-ring.
Cleveland part number 101-05200 (not listed in Spruce catalog)
MS number MS28775-224 (also not listed in Spruce catalog)
AN number AN6230B-2 (this one IS listed in the catalog)
5.0 Engines and Spark Plugs
Some cowlings are so close to the top of the engine, especially #1 cylinder, that you need to be careful that the spark plug and wire don’t rub. The popular Champion REM-37BY is a bit shorter and may help create some extra clearance. If your plane has an electronic ignition, the spark plugs have been specified by the developer.
5.0.2 Exhaust System - Springs
Stainless Steel Springs for the Sanders type exhaust systems use the Yamaha steel springs. The two-in-one out system uses a stub pipe on the cylinder with a slip joint
over the stub. I had no problem at the local Yamaha dealer. The springs are used mostly on the dirt bike exhausts.
5.0.5 Electronic Ignition
Check Rose (Electroair) and Klaus Savier - both have good references from canard group.
Jeff Rose Electronic Ignition
$800 (4 cylinders) Single Unit
$1,400 (4 cylinders) Double Unit
Light Speed Engineering (Klaus Savier)
[Manufacturer of electronic ignition modules - $1,000 and up for 4 cylinders]
P.O. Box 549
Santa Paula, CA 93060
5.1 Engine Repair – New Cylinder
When is oil consumption too high? Lycoming says:
“The maximum allowable oil consumption limits for all Textron Lycoming aircraft
engines can be determined by using the following formula:
.006 X BHP X 4 / 7.4 = Qt/Hr.
(Consuming one quart every three hours is too much oil consumption for the O-235-L2C!)
When a compression check of 30/80 or other inspection results in a need to overhaul or buy a new cylinder, use the Internet to shop for prices. A new, Superior Millennium cylinder may cost slightly more or even less than a re-built cylinder and give you a lot more security and peace of mind. Shop for price. Aircraft Spruce charges $300 more for a Millennium O-235-L2C cylinder than J&J Aircraft Parts (TX), Mattituck (NY), or Varga Enterprises, Inc. (AZ). All three are Superior Millennium distributors and deliver UPS to your door. And in 2004, Varga charges $48 more than J&J Air Parts in Texas.
J&J Air Parts (Pleasantville, TX) - $1,100 plus $30 for exchange for rocker arms. This was the only source that offers trade in on Rocker Arms. Check web site for 800 number.
Superior Air Parts and Labor inclusive Warranty (Manufacturer)
Varga Enterprises, Inc. (Chandler, AZ) Distributor
One overhaul shop in OK quoted $200 more for a re-built cylinder than the cost of a Superior Millennium new cylinder.
UPGRADE O-235-L2C vs. REBUILD
When considering a rebuild, check the following:
SUGGESTION - SEE TESTIMONIAL FOLLOWING E-MAIL SUGGESTION
Putting in high compression pistons, ceramic coatings the pistons/exhaust,
porting/balancing, Teflon coating parts, etc. When I was in the Venture Cup
race, I talked to a number of 0235 Long-EZes who were pushing 140+ hp from these
engines and were really "flying" out there (about 40-50 mph faster than I). The
cost to upgrade the engine was not that much above a rebuild, and considerably
cheaper than the cost of changing out to a O-320.
This is the site some of the racers told me about.
From: Paul Werner
VEZE N6112Q - Gnoss Field - Novato, CA
Subject: Re: Rebuilding O-235 Engine
Ly-con did a major overhaul on my O-200 for my VEZE with some of those mods and it tested out on the dyno to 126 HP. The engine runs much smoother then before too. After one year and 130 hours I had a slightly burnt exhaust valve. I flew down to Ly-con and took off the cowls. They bore scoped it and said yes this valve should not have burnt like this. They removed the cylinder and repaired it like new and put it all back together for free. I just inspected the work to see that all the baffles were on to my satisfaction and I reinstalled the cowls and off I went. I guess you could say I am a happy customer. I now have three hundred hours on the engine and it is perfect. It still runs smoothly and I only add one quart of oil between my 25 hour oil changes.
What you should know about installing new cylinders
Break In - As the owner or pilot, you need to do a couple of things to assist the ring seating.
First, you should use straight mineral oil during the initial break-in period, because it has less lubricity than normal ash less dispersant oil and therefore provides increased friction to aid in this seating.
Second, you should operate the engine at high manifold pressure during the initial break-in period, in order to push the rings out against the walls as hard as possible to aid in the seating.
Try to keep ground runs to an absolute minimum. This is most important with engines that have not been run in a test cell, and will be run for the first time on the aircraft. All factory new and factory-remanufactured engines will be run in the factory test cell for 30 minutes to 2 hours. Some large overhaul shops also give their newly overhauled engines a test-cell run before shipment, but most shops don't. So be sure to ask if your engine was run and for how long.
All ground running should be done with all cowlings and baffles in place. A decowled engine receives very little cooling air. Running without the cowling can damage the new cylinders.
Preparing for the first run
Fill the engine oil sump to rated capacity with straight mineral oil, preferably 40 weight. We find 40 weight is better than 50 weight as the lighter oil will flow a little faster and carry off heat a little better. Dissipating heat is a major concern during break-in. You should use 50 weight oil if the ambient temperature will be above 80F. However, hot weather isn't ideal for break-in.
Remove a spark plug from each cylinder, preferably a bottom plug. Hook the aircraft up to an APU and crank the engine with the starter motor for a period of one minute. This will allow the engine's oil pump to distribute some oil throughout the oil galleys of the engine. If the engine is equipped with a turbocharger, remove the oil discharge line from the turbo and make sure there is oil flowing out of the turbocharger.
If the aircraft is equipped with an electric boost pump use it to pressurize the fuel system to look for leaks. Run the pump on "high" or "emergency" speed with full throttle and mixture at idle cutoff.
First run (30 seconds to 1 minute)
Keep this run to minimum time necessary to complete task.
Start the engine and run at 1000 RPM or less for approximately 30 seconds to one minute. Immediately after startup, make sure that oil pressure starts rising and goes to the upper part of the green arc. If it stops in low green or lower, shutdown immediately and determine source of problem.
Check that idle RPM is approximately correct (usually about 600 RPM at minimum throttle), that both mags work, and that idle manifold pressure is in the vicinity of 12 inches (if the engine is equipped with a manifold pressure gauge). Check idle mixture at shut down: as you slowly pull the mixture control, you should get a slight RPM rise before the engine quits.
After shutdown, check for oil leaks and make adjustments to anything that is grossly in error. Let the engine cool down completely.
Second run (1 to 2 minutes)
Keep this run to minimum time necessary to complete task.
Start engine and allow warming until oil temperature needle comes off of peg. Do normal but brief run-up, checking mag drop. However, do not cycle the prop at all.
If the engine is equipped with an electric boost pump, make sure that it will boost pressure, even to the point of starting to flood the engine. If the aircraft has a two-speed boost pump controlled by a throttle switch, it may not be possible to get high boost at idle throttle position, but even low boost should bring up the pressure a bit.
With the throttle pulled back to idle check for correct idle speed -- 600 RPM for most engines but consult your manual in advance to be sure. Slowly pull the mixture out to shut down the engine, there should be about a 25 to 50 RPM rise if the mixture is set correctly. A greater rise indicates to rich an idle mixture, a lower rise or no rise at all indicates to lean an idle mixture.
Shut down and check for leaks. Make any indicated adjustments. Let the engine cool down completely.
First flight (30 minutes)
Pick a time when you will be able to taxi right to runway and take off. If necessary, make prior arrangements with tower. Start engine, taxi out, do a normal run up but do not cycle prop. If everything appears okay--oil pressure high in the green and oil temperature off of peg--initiate takeoff on longest runway available.
On carbureted aircraft without an engine-driven fuel pump, watch for any indications of mixture problems which may cause a rough-running engine. On aircraft with engine driven fuel pumps (including all fuel injected engines), monitor fuel pressure or fuel flow closely. If too high (way beyond red-line), reduce to red-line with mixture control. If too low (two gallons-per-hour short of red-line or less), abort the takeoff and determine the reason.
Closely monitor RPM. If it doesn't get within 100 RPM of red line and there is sufficient runway available, abort the takeoff. There could be a problem here if the tach calibration is off to the low side, which is where most mechanical tachs are. Some have suggested doing a tach check on the second ground run with a digital tach checker such as the Cardinal tach checker. However, I prefer to avoid getting RPM up in the 2000+ range during the ground runs.
If the aircraft is equipped with a multiple probe EGT and you are is able to monitor EGT in addition to the above-mentioned items, abort the takeoff if any single EGT exceeds 1500 degrees.
Also abort the takeoff if anything sounds, smells, or feels unusual, even if you can't quite "put your finger on it." You should be "spring-loaded" to abort this takeoff, continuing only if everything seems very close to "just right". This is a good rule for all takeoffs, but especially the first takeoff on a new engine!
After takeoff, make a shallow climb and maintain the highest climb airspeed with which you are comfortable. Once you get to a safe altitude, you should make your climb very flat--around 200 to 300 feet-per minute. The goal is to keep as much cooling air flowing over the engine as possible. Circle above airport for 30 minutes (to be on the safe side). For a normally aspirated, do not get much above pattern altitude so that power output remains high.
On fixed pitch propeller aircraft, keep the RPM at the top of the green. On controllable pitch aircraft keep MP at the top of the green or higher and high RPM as well. If you have cowl flaps, keep them wide open. Use maximum rated continuous power if that can be done without over-temping the engine; otherwise, reduce power only to the extent necessary to keep cylinder head temperature and oil temperature in the green. Use full rich mixture to help keep CHTs down.
After 30 minutes make normal landing, carrying as much power as possible during approach. Taxi as quickly as prudent to parking and shut down immediately.
Holding this first flight to 30 minutes over the airport just above pattern altitude is a concession to safety. The first flight would be better extending for a couple of hours, but I have been surprised too many times by problems to stay up very long or get very far away from the airport.
Un-cowl and closely inspect the engine for any signs of problems, leaks, cracks, etc. Pay close attention to those things that might have come loose such as clamps and fittings. I have been amazed at how many things can get loosened up after the engine starts providing some vibration. Make adjustments dictated by flight test results. Let cool down completely.
Second flight (1 1/2 to 2 hours)
This is a fun one! Take off normally. Stay low and carry as much power as possible, especially MP at very top of green or higher. Use rich mixture to keep CHTs in line. Staying at low altitude is important if the engine is normally aspirated because this allows for the greatest MP. We have seen problems with high altitude break-ins.
For me this flight is great fun because it means I get to whip up and down a gorgeous section of the California coast at 500 AWL (above water level) with the airplane balls-to-the-wall, an expression, by the way, that originally came from having the ball ends on the early throttles all the way forward towards the firewall.
After two hours, I return to the airport. If I find no problems and nothing that needs adjustment, I turn the aircraft over to its owner. I instruct the owner to fly the airplane "hard" for the next eight hours, keeping the MP as high as possible and (if normally-aspirated) avoiding any high-altitude flights, preferably staying below 5,000 feet.
Finishing the job
How can you tell when an engine is broken in? In the old days, it used to be when the oil consumption stabilized, which is still a good indicator. With today's sophisticated probe-per-cylinder engine analyzers I can often see individual cylinders seat. When the CHT on any cylinder drops about 50 degrees in the space of a few minutes with no change in engine operating conditions, that cylinder has seated. I almost always see Cerrnicrome seat within an hour. Standard nitrided steel cylinders take three to four hours, and channel chrome a couple hours more.
At five hours, change the oil and filter, or clean the screen. Refill the sump with fresh mineral oil. At ten hours, drain the oil again, change the filter or clean the screen, and refill with whatever ash less dispersant oil you are going to use. I recommend Aeroshell 100W unless operating circumstances dictate a multi-weight oil. Give the engine a thorough going-over. Put a torque wrench on every exposed nut and bolt and check torque. I am amazed at how many loose bolts we find. If anything is dramatically loose, do whatever is necessary to check the bolts around the one with loose torque.
Some recommend continuing break-in procedure and oil for up to 25 hours. My experience is that if the engine isn't broken in at 10 hours, it just isn't going to happen. The only exception is channel chrome jugs, which may take slightly longer.
If the engine hasn't broken in after 10 hours, you either have to put up with the high oil consumption, or pull the cylinders, break the glaze with a hone, check the rings for damage and correct material (personally I would install new rings), reinstall the cylinders, and start all over from scratch.
But if you do the right thing during those first critical 2 or 3 hours of break-in, you'll get good ring seating and low oil consumption every time.
John Frank is the Executive Director of the Cessna Pilots Association. He's a 14,000-hour ATP-rated pilot and an A&P mechanic with inspection authorization.
Filters and Oil Cooling systems
Oil coolers are typically specified by the designer for the specific engines. But, many builders use alternative engines that require them to find a suitable oil cooler. If your plane has a larger-than-specified engine, you can bet that oil cooling was an issue to resolve in the flight test period. Both the oil cooler capacity, the size of the connecting hoses, and its placement within the engine cowling are factors in how well it works. Stewart-Warner and Positech are typical cooler brands.
In an effort to mount the engines as far forward as possible for C.G. purposes, there wasn’t room for an oil filter in the standard position. Instead, an oil screen is used and requires additional maintenance as prescribed by the engine manufacturer. Alternative hook-ups have been developed to allow retrofitted installation of filters. Your plane may have one of these. The components for the oil filter may have come from stock airplane/engine combinations that normally use them, or from a small parts manufacturer that saw a business opportunity. You may even see automotive-style remote oil filter adapters installed, and they will also be of the remotely mounted variety.
B&C Specialty makes the adapter that fits on the engine, but turns the filter 90 degrees for firewall clearance. Wolf and the other developers remotely mount the filter with hoses attaching it to the engine. In any installation, use an aircraft approved filter.
5.2.1 Parts sources:
My favorite website for ordering hardware.
Hi grade bolts source - www.mcmastercarr.com
Cowling Attachment Screws (TORX)
Another recommended source for aircraft parts:
I found Aero Aviation (800) 362-3044 to be the lowest on prices, and very good to work with. MetaSearch: 30 sources of Aircraft Parts in links.
Aero-Classics at Pacific Oil Cooler’s web page: www.oilcoolers.com
Aircraft Spruce and Specialty
Positech International, Inc.
Other cost comparison information (as of October, 2001):
B&C Specialty, Newton, KS:
Vernatherm Valve Operational Inspection
The Vernatherm is stamped with the operating temperature on the back (usually specified as 85o C or 185o F). It will operate by expanding (lengthening) to close off the hole in the engine and redirect the oil flow to the oil cooler. How far does it lengthen? About 3/8". You can get it to expand using water, BUT use oil, which is more stable than water for stove top heating. Also, use a thermometer to check the oil temperature. You can use a simple basting thermometer (Cooking type with a pointy probe... Ask you Wife!) Inspect the dome for wear and ALSO inspect the engine where the dome fits in. Next inspect the crimp end nut to make sure it is secure. There is an AD against the OLD model for an inspection. The New model has a roll pin through the crimp nut on the end, ergo no AD.
This is a subject area where you will see a lot of variations from plane-to-plane. The propellers used on most of the canards are fixed-pitch and made of wood or a combination wood/fiberglass.
Notice there are no canard pusher planes with metal props, because of unknown metal fatigue issues. Some Velocities and Cozy’s have variable pitch propellers, and some highly customized performance machines will employ carbon fiber material. Most props are produced by very small companies – maybe one person – and require technical skills to design and artful work to fabricate.
Rutan aircraft, Burt dictated wood, as it was the lightest and most tolerant of
the unknown structural forces encountered at the rear of the experimental
Propeller damage is usually caused by something in front of the propeller finding its way through the prop arc while it’s turning. Runway stones are picked up and damage the painted surfaces.
drivers leave the air-brake down while taxiing to reduce the danger of the front
wheel throwing up rocks.] Errant cowling screws are a favorite to leave a gouge.
Fuel caps and broken exhaust pipes have been known to break a blade with
sometimes-catastrophic results. Even a few valve pieces have departed via the
exhaust pipe and caused severe damage. Longitudinal splitting may be caused by
some of the above items, but blade flutter and ground handling accidents can do
Your task is to know the materials of your propeller and to take care of it appropriately. Small dings and scratches through the finish need to be repaired immediately. Otherwise, oil, fungi, and other contaminants will infiltrate the structure to discolor and weaken it. Inspect the blades for longitudinal splits and gouges before every flight. Some splits can be repaired. Some can’t. If you find one, ask someone knowledgeable about an acceptable repair technique.
NOTE: Clear finish urethane paint is an acceptable repair material for scratches. A mixture of cotton flox and epoxy resin is suitable for filling repairable small gouges. Repairable splits possibly can be repaired with epoxy resin. Two part epoxy is an acceptable repair material for gouges, according to Bruce Tifft.
In your Operator’s manual and/or the prop manufacturer’s information, you will find a requirement to re-torque the prop bolts periodically. Seasonal humidity variations where the plane is based, altitude/humidity influences, and trips to varying climates, cause wood to shrink and swell.
Perform this maintenance item religiously.
At the time
of the annual condition inspection, remove the propeller. Check the finish
around the hub for discoloration, charred areas, crushed wood, and material
migration. This will indicate how well the prop bolts were torqued. Refinish if
necessary before re-installing.
Rain erosion is another issue with wood propellers. Many props have leading edge protection to protect the wood. Some may not have anything but the painted finish. So, if you fly in rain, reduce the engine RPM to reduce the damage to the prop leading edges.
[At approximately 1,000 RPM, rain and hail did not affect the wood, did erode and pit the plastic protector on the five or six inches nearest the tip. Low RPM is a must! - MAH]
Note: Measure across any set of opposed holes in the prop flange center to center. If it's 4 3/8", it's SAE 1. If it measures 4 3/4" it's SAE 2.
6.1 Propeller Manufacturers
Prop manufacturers can usually be identified by the shape and materials of their propellers. Only a few have the manufacturer’s name posted on them. Here are some of them:
Lightspeed Engineering, Klaus Savier, (typically large diameter carbon composite) These will be seen on the Berkut and a few Long-EZ’s and on Klaus’ VariEze.
Great American, company no longer in operation (typically, 16 to 32-ply wood laminate, clear finish) Mostly found on Long-EZ’s and VariEze’s.
Catto Propellers, (two and three-blade wood core with fiberglass outer layers, painted finish)
Performance Propellers, (two and three-blade wood laminate, clear finish)
a. Gary Hertzler, Mesa, AZ, mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
b. Craig Catto, Mokelumne, CA 209-754-3553, http://www.cattoprops.com
c. Performance Props, 602-394-2059
d. Ted's Props, Ted Hendrix, now out of business (business bought by Robear in
Chicago area, but different style and nothing like Ted's Props. Negative
business performance history.)
e. Warnke Props, 602-682-2550
f. B&T, Bruce Tiffts, business sold, now try Featherlite: email@example.com or phone them at (707) 895-2718 (may no longer be making props)
g. Sensenich Wood Propellers, 813-752-3711, http://www.sensenichprop.com
h. Prince Aircraft Co., P-Tip props, Waterhouse, OH, 419-877-5557, firstname.lastname@example.org
i. MT Propellers, electrically adjustable, 386-736-7762, mailto:email@example.com
j. Ed Sterba Aircraft Propellers: 941-778-3103
k. Amar Demouth propellers (410) 461-4329, metal leading edges
SAE1 versus SAE2:
The bolt circle (BC) diameter of SAE 1 is 4.375 (4 3/8).
SAE 2 is 4.75 (4 3/4).
Fixed/Variable Pitch Propellers
Almost all the canards utilize fixed pitch propellers for the reasons mentioned above. Other reasons involve engine modifications or electrical circuitry for pitch control. All this adds to aircraft weight. Follow the manufacture’s specifications! The performance of these planes is excellent as they are.
6.3 Material – Metal, Wood, and Wood-Composite Propellers
In our EXPERIMENTAL aircraft, you don’t want to experiment with the things that push the plane forward and keep it flying. The propeller dynamics at the rear of Rutan-type aircraft have never been analyzed sufficiently to understand the vibration forces that must be withstood by the propeller blades. Wood or the combination wood/fiberglass materials are more tolerant of these unknown forces, and therefore, are prescribed.
Metal propellers are unique to each airframe/engine combination and undergo testing that is not possible for a Homebuilt.
6.4 Wood Prop Care
(Compilation of Information Bruce Tifft provided with his propellers)
Apply a light coat of beeswax or paraffin wax to drive lugs and center spud extension. Care should be taken to keep propeller hub face parallel to the flange face while tightening the bolts. DRIVE LUGS ARE A MUST!
Torque to 250 inch pounds and check after the first flight is completed. Recheck every 10 hours until completion of 50 hours of flight time on your new prop. Then, check torque every 25 hours.
Carefully track your propeller. Get it perfect. Do not settle for 1/16" being close enough. Tighten all bolts to 250 inch pounds. Check track. Back off the three bolts on one blade and continue to tighten other three up to 350 inch pounds, each time tightening the other three to 250 inch pounds until it tracks perfectly. You will be happy with the smoothness you will gain.
Place a stick on wing held in place with a bean (shot) bag. Align stick one inch from end of prop. BE SURE MAGS ARE OFF AND PROP TORQUED TO 250 INCH POUNDS. Rotate prop to determine if prop to stick gap is equal and track is equal. If not tracking exactly, a slight variation can be corrected with differential torque on lugs until in line.
If track is
too uneven, a piece of folder stock may be used as a shim between prop flange
and prop face to even up track.
Check if crank flange is bent. Remove prop, rotate 180 degrees, then replace prop. If opposite end of prop is now farthest from stick, you have a bent crankshaft or bent flange. Both are expensive to correct.
When finished, be sure proper torque (250 inch pounds) is maintained on all lugs.
Always leave a wood prop in a horizontal position when you park your plane. It draws moisture to the bottom blade if vertical and will vibrate until weight is equalized. If you do not fly for a long period, rotate the prop 180 degrees occasionally.
Automotive paste waxes can be used to clean the finish. No other care is necessary.
IT IS ESSENTIAL TO COVER THE CENTER HOLE OF THE PROP. If you are not using a spinner, use an aluminum plate under your crush plate or moisture can soak in the center hole and damage the hub area. [This advice is recent.]
(MAH comment: Since 1992, I have used a wine bottle cork in the center hole with excellent results. It weighs less than a plate. For eight years, my Long-EZ was parked on a ramp in Miami, Florida. Sun and weather will take their toll. Cover the prop to protect from sun damage while leaving room for ventilation. Tony Brazier makes a cover for the Long-EZ that covers part of the nose, the canopy, and the prop and sells for just over $100.)
Ref: Tony Brazier, Custom Cabin Covers
P.O. Box 77031
Ocala, FL 34477
Phone/FAX: (352) 237-1811
Light impact damage can be repaired with two part epoxy filler available in tubes. Always carry JB Weld or a Duro epoxy kit. Fill small chip holes and small voids, clamp with a rubber band until cured, and sand the hardened epoxy to fit contour. Although the epoxy is very dense, the amount of imbalance resulting from small repairs is negligible.
PLASTIC LEADING EDGE:
This type of leading edge is effective in preventing small rock damage, and if damaged, is easy to repair with JB Weld. However, rain and hail can cause serious wood damage. When entering rain, decrease the RPM as much as possible because rain can damage the wood behind the plastic. At idle, little damage, if any, will occur to the wood because the prop is not creating thrust or drag. In rain, hail, sleet or snow, throttling back (1,000 RPM) can reduce damage to your prop.
PAINTING OUTER TIPS:
If you wish to paint the outer three or four inches of the tips, make sure an equal amount of paint is applied on each side to maintain the balance of your prop.
SAFETY OF FLIGHT ISSUE:
Propellers are held onto the prop extension by six #7 bolts. The properly torqued bolts apply a prescribed compression of the wood material within the yield strength of the bolts. It’s friction that keeps your prop on the airplane, not shear forces on the bolts. Wood propellers breathe, or swell and shrink with humidity changes. It is therefore imperative that you follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for periodic re-torquing the propeller bolts. Even flying from one climate to another may trigger the requirement to re-torque the bolts.
Prop bolts torque check
The clamping force gradually changes with time. This is because the prop wood is made of round grains filled with air. The grains gradually collapse from the pressure, which reduces the clamping force. The bolts are unchanged. They don't rotate. But they no longer apply the force required to prevent micro prop movement.
Prop bolts are merely clamps. Then never are used as shear pins, until just before catastrophic failure. Your best action is to periodically recheck the torque. Make sure you rotate the bolt when checking torque. I use torque wrench and torque all fasteners to 20 ft lbs. 1 month later the wood has collapsed a bit and the effective torque is down to 15 ft lbs. If I place a torque wrench on this loose fastener, it may read as high as 20, then drop to 15 after the bolt starts to rotate. That initial 20 is called "breakaway torque" and you must overcome it before taking a torque reading.
Periodically you will hear of someone with broken prop bolt. They tend to describe the bolt as the problem. The bolt is actually lightly loaded and sees no unusual forces. It's not until the prop is loose that the bolt sees very high shear and fatigue forces.
The most critical component of your prop is the large "pilot bore". Usually 2 1/4" diameter, it needs to be a snug fit (interference fit). If it is not snug fit, you are at much greater risk of prop related failure. When you first place your prop on engine, leave the bolts off. Wiggle the prop around to see if you truly have snug pilot fit. If you don't, place
some flox mix in bore, and reinstall. Torque bolts. Let cure, then remove prop, balance while locating on bore, then reinstall, retorque.
See my web pages below.
Al Wick http://www.maddyhome.com/canardpages/pages/alwick/index.html
7.0 Electrical System and Wiring
Burning (or smoking) insulation will typically release toxic fumes.
PVC: Incomplete combustion (smoking wires) gives, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon oxidation products including organic acids, aldehydes and alcohols. Flash Point: 806 F (this is for one type of PVC, others are similar) (Flash point is when it starts to actually burn. FLAME)
Please refer to NASA selection guide for insulation material http://www.nepp.nasa.gov/npsl/Wire/insulation_guide.htm
FEP and PTFE Advantages:(Dupont TM Teflon)
-Excellent high temperature properties.
-PTFE Teflon is preferred for solder applications.
-FEP is preferred for jacket material.
-Good out gassing characteristics
-Most flexible of all insulations
-Good weather ability, resists moisture absorption and atomic
Teflon does breaks down when at HIGH temperature and releases hazardous byproducts. (The temperature that would cause Teflon to break down would probably be the result of some other material burning)
I have seen an industrial panel with Teflon and PVC following a short circuit failure. The PVC panel had secondary wiring melt and additional cascading failure (The entire inside of the panel burned). The Teflon had a group of wires damaged with NO resulting fire.
It would be better to design you electrical system to prevent short circuits from causing fires. A well designed and protected electrical system has very little chance of causing a fire.
Teflon is a better choice in by opinion. -- Dennis Blomquist, 9/02
For trouble shooting help, this web site may be of assistance. http://avionicswest.com/snap.html#Alternator%20Noise
Free flight Systems stopped upgrading TRT 250 in 1998. No avionics shops have
been found that will do the upgrade. Free Flight Systems said the reason they
don't upgrade the TRT 250 is the problem thumb-wheel switches. They did agree
(thank you Free Flight) to send parts to do the upgrade. So, if you are able to
make the modifications yourself, this may be a solution.
Most new equipment does not accept gray code inputs, which the majority of
encoders provide. Instead, they require serial or icarus info.
The exception to this rule is Garmin; they take in either because although serial data is better, faster, and more reliable. The FAA says you have to have the ability to use gray code. The 430/530 takes both in and then allows you to configure it in the menu to use only serial. I imagine that the FAA is behind the times.
I always recommend the SAE-5-35, made by Sandia. It has proven itself time and time again, and it is what I use.
"Chris Riddell" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
7.3.1 Ground Plane
Cheap and EZE Ground Plane for Good Quality Radio Performance
…He built in a ground plane with multiple X patterns of wires
that he buried in the fill on the belly. I was saving the blade for a last
resort as I figured it would create some drag. Plus, I would have to come up
with a ground plane to make it work.
I came up with a killer EZE way to make a ground plane and it hit the bulls-eye for performance. I mounted the blade on the belly about half way between the bottom of the pilot seat back and the back seat back or 6 inches behind the rear edge of the landing brake.
I bought a piece of scrap carpet (42”x20”) for 5 bucks and a piece of screen door aluminum screen from ACE Hardware.
I glued the screen to the bottom of the carpet with a double dose of rubber type contact cement. Then I trimmed and fitted the carpet so that it covered the whole floor of the back seat including all the way up under the rear seat cushion.
This was now about 42" long by 20" wide and my blade was right in the middle underneath. The 2" of foam between the blade antenna and the ground plane do not hurt the performance.
I attached a ground wire with a couple large area washers and a #10 short bolt and nut with a spade connector so no copper comes in contact with the aluminum screen.
Also, the heads of the bolts that hold the blade on come through the floor and the screen makes contact and an extra ground connection at those points, too.
I am really surprised how well this works. I talked to Norcal from 40 miles out with a loud and clear check, and I tried it on all frequencies with perfect results.
The blade antenna is Aircraft Spruce part number AVT-4.
7.4 Gyro Instruments Repair
User reports of good service.
Attn: Mike McIntosh
Rt. 1 Box 424
4711 Old Bowman Road
Rudy, AR 72952 (Arkansas)
and Brake Fluid
Some aircraft use DOT 3 brake fluid (red in color and common in automobiles) and others utilize DOT 5 (clear Silicone). The apparent reason for the shift to silicone is to reduce the probably of fire when the fluid comes in contact with a hot brake disk.
it not a simple conversion from one type to the other. Read the following notes
on the process and precautions.
1. DOT 5 Silicone should not be mixed with other brake fluids that are Glycol-based.
2. If you change from a glycol-based fluid to DOT 5 Silicone, you have to flush the brake system thoroughly as already suggested, and also replace all the rubber products in the system that have absorbed the glycol-based fluid.
3. There is a DOT 5.1 brake fluid that is glycol-based, not silicone-based. Be careful.
4. DOT 5 Silicone was developed to reduce water absorption, and therefore increase the length of time between brake fluid flushing and replacement. Glycol-based brake fluid should be replaced every 2-3 years. Silicone-based is much longer.
5. The "red stuff" is MIL 5606 or a replacement such as Chevron Aviation Hydraulic Fluid A. It is petroleum-based. It is commonly used throughout an aircraft and its viscosity remains relatively constant over a wide temperature range, including down to less than -65 degrees F.
If you mix a large amount of DOT 5 Silicone with a small amount of Red Hydraulic Fluid, you get horribly sticky goo.
When changing from Red Hydraulic Fluid to DOT 5 Silicone, you have to flush the system well, and replace all rubber products in the system. There are no problems with putting DOT 5 Silicone in a new system. It would be wise to label the reservoirs "DOT 5 Silicone only".
DOT 5 Silicone was originally developed for the U.S. Military to reduce the need of changing the fluid to once every several years - I forget exactly how many. Red Hydraulic Fluid should be replaced about every two years because of water absorption.
--Garth Shearing, Victoria BC Canada
8.2 Long-EZ Nose Wheel
Axle Bushing Rotation
There are two aluminum spacers on the Long-EZ used to center the nose wheel between the forks. These spacers tend to spin and cause inappropriate wear. It’s easy to stop the spinning by pinning the spacers, but the bearings’ inner races may be spinning on the spacers too. To correct both problems do the following:
This method is exactly the way wheel bearing pre-load is done on a Harley Davidson motorcycle. It works great, and it’s recommended to use Harley's method for setting end play tolerances. Fabricate a center spacer to fit between the ones on the wheel assembly. Clean the bearings thoroughly, assemble the wheel, bearings and the three spacers with no grease in the bearings, and use a dial indicator to check end-play. Harley specs .004 - .016" (.1 mm - .4 mm). A Long-EZ builder recommends going for as close to 0.004" (.1mm) as you can get. When you're satisfied disassemble, grease the bearings and reassemble. Good to over 100 mph with no wheel wobble, says the builder.
To pin the spacers, drill a small hole in the fork that penetrates the spacer. Tap this hole for a tiny screw long enough to go through the fork and into the spacer. Or, another method is to cross-drill the spacer perpendicular and off-center from the axle hole. Use 0.040 safety wire through the hole and around the fork.
8.2.1 Electrical Nose Lifts
There are several manufacturers of electrical nose lifts for canard aircraft. Some pilots may want the latest gadget, some may have a bad back, and some may be getting old - with or without a bad back! It does get harder to climb up into a Long-EZ. After his 74th birthday, one pilot started using a big tin can with a string to haul it up after getting in.
Three sources of electrical lifts are:
1. Bill Oertel, 3216 Broco Lane, Norco CA 91760-1817 - 909-734-7569
2. Steve Wright, and
3. Jack Wilhelmson, http://www.eznoselift.com/ E-mail: email@example.com
8.3 Long-EZ main gear
The best installation is with a flanged bushing, with the flange faces mating against the landing gear "support tube" (for lack of having that part number at my fingertips). The flange faces "face" each other when the extrusions are installed in the fuselage.
The bushings needed for this are P/N NAS77-6-25, which are a steel bushing with cadmium plating. For the hole in the mount, you will need to precision ream the hole for the bushing to 0.5000 inch - if you don't have a good 0.5000 inch reamer, take your extrusions to a machine shop - they may charge you a six-pack for such an involved procedure...
The bushings are a press-fit (can be installed in a vise), with an outside diameter of 0.5013. If you have the opportunity to install these bushings with a wet coat of a good epoxy-based primer on the bushing OD, all the better. The primer helps a bit more on the corrosion side of things. Chromate-based aircraft sealant also is a good option. I used JB Weld the last time I made up a set of Long-EZ mounts. Mind-you, there is no reason to seek something for bushing installation with the thought of "bonding" the bushings in - the interference fit between the bushing and the extrusion is what is important. The 0.5” reamed hole is essential.
8.4 Tire Inflation
Go to your local truck terminal or a major truck stop with a truck
accessories store. Buy a six-inch long valve extender and a set of hex-head, steel valve caps. The truck valve extender should have a hex-head socket on the female screw on end. Use the extender like a socket wrench through the hole in the wheel pant to remove (and replace) the hex-head valve cap. The truck valve extenders are like long Schraeder valves and make filling of the tire a snap.
To speed up the process, place a visible mark on the outboard side of the tires to indicate the position where the tire valve lines up with the hole in the wheel pant. – Bob Eckes
8.4.1 Tires - Source
A great mechanic suggested 10 ply tires because the EZ steering is with brakes. The sidewalls of 10 ply will hold up better than 6 ply tires.
One warning about 10 ply! The stiff sidewall of the tire does not bend with the weight of the empty EZ (980 pounds). There is no indication of low tire pressure unless a person is in the aircraft. Then, it is obvious. When you apply throttle and the plane just sits there, you probably have 15 pounds of tire pressure instead of 45. Planes do talk to you, if you will listen!
A pair of 5.00 x 5/10 recaps cost about $70 ($35 each) in 1996, and they still have plenty of tread. The Long-EZ has over 1,000 hours flight time, including many landings. I try to fly every week, even though I may not fly cross-country.
Source of Recaps: The Wilkerson Tire Company home page:
Wilkerson provides interesting information about tires and tire pressure, probably more than you want to know:
8.5 - Wheel Pants - Small (Lamb) Tires
Gary Hertzler's Wheel Pants - It's www.jamesaircraft.com
aka Sam James. Mostly sells to the RV guys.
He makes all
kinds of fiberglass/composite pieces for various engines and aircraft. He even
has plenums. His website:
Going from 5.00 x 5's and no wheel pants to Lambs and Klaus’s wheel pants, with no other mods, I picked up 15 knots on an O-235 Long-EZ.
9.0 Refueling – Static
Marc Borom -- After moving from NY to AZ, I was very concerned about the increased danger of static electricity sparks during fueling my electrically non-conductive plane. I talked with the GE scientist in charge of protecting polymer mixing vats from static electricity induced explosions. Here is the skinny.
The worst case is when one pours a non-conductive liquid (like gasoline) from a non-conductive container (like the red plastic containers many of us use) into another non-conductive container
like epoxy coated fiberglass wing tanks. Low humidity (like in AZ) makes things worse.
A static electrical charge builds up on the surface of the flowing liquid as it rubs along the non-conductive nozzle, and it is always looking for a place to discharge (the gasoline/air mixture in the fuel tank is the KaBoom site). Even if you are fueling from a grounded fuel nozzle, the non-conductive gasoline will pick up a static charge just by falling through the air (turbo-static charge). So how do you protect yourself from the KaBoom syndrome?
This is what I was told. One must devise a technique to strip the charge off the falling liquid before it can jump a spark. On the advice of the Anti-KaBoom scientist, this is what I did, and, so far, no KaBoom.
I went to Home Depot and bought a 1 ½" x 12", flanged brass tail piece for a sink drain (Moen #803B for $4.47). I cut a slit along the axis of the tail piece from the flanged end for about 8 inches (long enough to clear the fuel cap locking wire and to allow the tail piece to be inserted in the fuel tank).
The flanged end rests on the bottom of the tank. I chose to have the flange rest on the bottom of the fuel tank to minimize scuffing of the tank surface. A grounding wire is bolted to the top of the tail piece (the tail piece can be cut to an appropriate length less than 12"). I used 12 gauge, stranded copper wire for the grounding lead with an alligator clip on the end for attaching to a good earth ground.
Fuel is allowed to flow along the tail piece’s internal surface and any charge is transferred to ground. Do not use an aluminum tube for the charge stripper since aluminum oxidizes readily and the oxide layer will insulate the fuel from the ground.
Attaching the fuel hose nozzle ground to the exhaust stack does nothing for you. Remember that it is the fuel rubbing against a non-conductor and just plain falling through the air that is the problem. The tank insert nips the problem in the bud. The whole tail piece device will fall to the earth if you throw it in the air, but it weighs less than 8 oz.
Note: Ed: I think this is the definitive re-fueling static protection technique. Not withstanding the relatively small amount of fuel we usually transfer to a single tank and the resultant reduced opportunity to build up a static charge, this technique is as fool-proof as it gets.
More on this subject:
through all these static and fuel related posts on the Canard board and Cozy
boards. Let me see if I can summarize things. There are multiple problems and
Static potential on:
- fuel surface within the tank,
- exterior aircraft skin,
- fuel falling into the tank,
- your clothes,
- that thunder-cell within 10 miles
What's the likelihood? Sparks and fires have happened multiple times with EZ airplanes.
1) Regarding "grounding the fuel within the tank"... I'm seeing "metal cap & filler ring with dangling chain" and Marc Borom's solution. These are to be grounded with an external grounding wire, FIRST CONNECT AIRCRAFT, then connect ground. Also, there's at least one EZ with an internal grounding wire running from the metal filler ring & cap, thru the tank wall to aircraft ground. He can ground on the tail-pipe.
2) Regarding "falling fuel"... I think Marc Borom's approach specifically addresses this, although I still can't fully visualize it, yet. Does this address refueling from a plastic jug?
3) Regarding "static potential on external aircraft skin"... This isn't always resolved with a "grounded cap & filler-ring with dangling retention chain". The solution for this is to wipe down the surrounding surface with a damp cloth or use a "anti-static pad" as shown on the recent "Lindberg crosses the Atlantic in Lancair"
4) Regarding "bad grounding sequence": If you externally ground your filler-ring & cap (as opposed to a built-in internal grounding wire), have a personal grounding wire. YOU connect first to aircraft then to ground. If you have an internally grounding wire from the filler-ring & cap to aircraft, the tail-pipe will do.
The refueling procedure is to:
1) Be aware of and take action regarding static buildup in your clothes. (dry with static-cling strips, strip or cover static-y things)
2) Be aware of lightening potential conditions. Lightening does hit and kill people 10 miles from the nearest cloud, almost annually in Colorado but less now with global warming.
3) YOU! connect your personal grounding wire, firstly to the metal filler ring, secondly to ground. (if you're using Marc Borom's solution, skip to next step)
4) Wipe the aircraft skin widely around the filler port with a damp rag or throw on an "anti-static pad"
5) Open the gas cap.
6) If you're using Marc Borom's solution, insert and ground.
7) Keep the fuel nozzle against the metal filler ring at all times.
Petroleum Equipment Institute Report
Three points may be of special interest to pilots. A lot of information has been published grounding our fiberglass tanks, the nozzle, and tank caps. No one has stressed clothing and static electricity created outside the gas tank.
Point One: Some clothing creates static electricity in low humidity conditions. Remember the spark in the winter up north?
Solution: Ground yourself before removing the gas cap and
before pumping gas.
Point Two: Women have a high percentage of auto fires from
Solution: Ladies and men, avoid wearing clothing made from
man made fibers with high static electricity potential when putting gas in your car or being around planes being gassed. Ski suits may stop that cold wind around our EZ feet, but there may be a spark risk involved.
Point Three: Ladies, do not gas the planes.
Bob Renkes of Petroleum Equipment Institute is working on a
campaign to make people aware of fires as a result of "static" at gas pumps.
His company has researched 150 cases of these fires. His results were very surprising:
1) Out of 150 cases, almost all of them involved women.
2) Almost all cases involved the person getting back in their vehicle while the nozzle was still pumping gas. When finished, they went back to pull the nozzle out, the fire started as a result of static electricity.
3) Most were wearing rubber-soled shoes.
4) Most men never get back in their vehicle until completely finished. This is why they are seldom involved in these types of fires.
5) Don't ever use cell phones when pumping gas.
6) The vapors given off the gas cause the fire when exposed to the spark from the static charges.
7) During 29 fires, the driver reentered and exited the vehicle, then they touched the nozzle during refueling.
There was a variety of makes and models. Some resulting in extensive damage to the vehicle, to the station, and to the customer.
8) Seventeen fires occurred before, during, or immediately after the gas cap was removed and before fueling began.
Mr. Renkes stresses to NEVER get back into your vehicle while filling it with gas. If you absolutely HAVE to get in your vehicle while the gas is pumping, make sure you get out, close the door TOUCHING UNPAINTED METAL, before you ever pull the nozzle out. This way the static from your body will be discharged before you ever remove the nozzle.
The Petroleum Equipment Institute and several other companies are trying to make the public aware of this danger. You can find more information by going to:
http://www.pei.org Then, click in the center of the screen where it says "Stop Static".
10.0 Web Sites and Flying Information
AOPA and EAA – Members can check their web sites.
San Diego EZ Squadron – v2.ez.org (Jerry Hansen, Webmaster) - Articles, CP Source, Contact directory for many canard owners worldwide, Hangar Flying section to request help and information.
Canard Aviators – forum on Yahoo – 20-30 messages daily – help source, advice (more good than bad), some very knowledgeable canard builders and flyers. Try following e-mail to join. Request messages in digest form to reduce e-mail quantity.
Landings – www.landings.com - wide assortment of software, information, flight planning, N-numbers assignments, cheap gas sources, and etc.
Overhead Aerial Views – www.terrafly.com
Enter street address. Then, click any edge to fly from that spot. Zoom in or out for more or less details.
Example: 410 Airport Drive, Manteo, NC gives view of MQI, Dare County Airport. Fly north across the water to Kitty Hawk (First Flight Airport). Zoom In to see original flight track location and Kill Devil Hills Monument.
Lycoming Support – Key Reprints for Operation and Maintenance
There are many documents for downloading - every thing you need for operating, leaning, and breaking in new cylinders. This information is directly from the horse’s mouth. Too often, our advice comes from the wrong end of the horse.
What are some other sources of information of interest to canard builders?
Canard.com (http://www.canard.com) is another online resource for canard builders, owners and pilots.
The Central States Association (CSA) is perhaps the most valuable source of support for builders and owners of canard aircraft. They publish a nice newsletter and maintain a directory of members. Dues are a reasonable $25 a year (US and Canada).
Central States Association
9283 Lindbergh Blvd.
Olmsted Falls, OH 44138-2407
Other Useful addresses
Vendor Guide ( http://exp-aircraft.com/vendors/vendors.html ) is your source for finding companies that make products and provide services for the experimental aircraft marketplace. This alphabetical listing contains over 230 vendors appears along with each vendors group code (accessories, avionics, builder assistance, engines, electrical, materials, tools, etc. etc. etc.).
You can browse the list alphabetically by company name.
You can use your browser's "find" function to locate a particular word like "engines".
You can click on any vendor to see a detailed listing. Each vendor's detailed listing is a unique page which includes company and product information, as well as a hot link to their website.
…Aero Aviation (800) 362-3044 - the lowest on prices, and very good to work with. MetaSearch: links to 30 sources of Aircraft Parts.
[Makes the Aerocanard kits]
2954 Curtis King Blvd.
Ft. Pierce, FL 34946
Aircraft Spruce (Shop other sources if price is important)
[Supplier of aircraft materials]
So. California Location
Administrative Offices and
225 Airport Circle
Corona, California 91720
Order Dept.: 877-4-SPRUCE
Customer Service: 800-861-3192
Eastern Regional Office and Warehouse
900 S. Pine Hill Road
Griffin, Georgia 30223
Tele: 770-228-3901 Fax: 770-229-2329
Order Dept: 877-4-SPRUCE
Customer Service: 800-443-1448
Co-Z Development Corp
[Developer of the various Cozy plansbuilt planes]
2046 N 63rd Place
Mesa AZ 85215
[Canard Finder service]
33812 Diana Dr.
Dana Point, CA 92629
Feather Lite - April 2004
[Manufacturer of prefab composite parts and propellers]
1327 South State Street
Ukiah, CA 95482Box 781
Featherlite COZY IV Parts and Price List as of May '01
Featherlite COZY Parts and Price List as of May '01
Ken Brock Mfg.
[Manufacturer of hardware]
11852 Western Ave.
Stanton, CA 90680
Light Speed Engineering (Klaus Savier)
[Manufacturer of electronic ignition modules]
P.O. Box 549
Santa Paula, CA 93060
Renaissance Composites [Makes the Berkut kit]
3025 Airport Avenue
Santa Monica, CA 90405
Rutan Aircraft Factory [The Source]
Mojave, CA 93501
Shirl Dickey Enterprises
[Developer of the E-Racer plans built aircraft]
P.O. Box 828
Aguila, AZ 85320
Catalog - Three pdf files
Spark plugs - $13 and instruments - good prices
Velocity Inc. (Factory Headquarters)
200 W Airport Dr.
Sebastian FL 32958, USA
(561)589-1860 - Fax: (561) 589-1893
[Supplier of aircraft materials]
410 Pine Street
Highland, IL 62249
Help Line: 618-654-7447
Cowling Attachment Screws (TORX)
11.0 Soldering Large Wire Connectors
6936 Bainbridge Road, Wichita, Kansas 67226-1008
Voice/Fax: 316-685-8617, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Big Connections . . . Terminal Installations on Big Wires
Originally appeared in Kit Aircraft Builder, Fall 1996
The last time I wrote for these pages, the topic was solderless terminals for small wires. I'll suggest "small" wires are those accommodated by ordinary hand crimping tools; 22 AWG through 10 AWG (AWG = "American Wire Gage" a measurement system that says big wires shall be known by their small numbers.)
Most light airplane wiring falls in the 22-10 AWG range. However, starter, hydraulic pump, alternator, ground power, and power distribution circuits are exceptions that require much larger wires in the 8 AWG to 2 AWG sizes.
Battery wiring carries starter current so both battery and starter circuitry are at least 4AWG and in most cases 2AWG wire. Alternator feeds are proportioned to the alternator's output rating. 40-amp or smaller can use 8 AWG, 50 to 75 amp machines are wired with 4AWG, 90 to 125-amp alternators are wired with 2AWG wire. Of course, the airplane's limits on consumption of energy are tightly tied to alternator capacity. So, main power distribution paths are wired with the same size wire used to attach the alternator b-lead to the rest of the system. A handful of high current, 30-50 amp loads like hydraulic pumps call for wire in the 8 AWG to 6AWG range.
Solderless, crimp terminals are available for all these sizes but you won't find them in the normal electronic and automotive parts outlets. Further, the tools to apply "fat" terminals are equally robust and expensive. If your heart is really set upon using top-of-the-line, solderless terminals throughout your project, by all means, check with local electrical contractors. Quite often they'll have both tools and terminals. They would probably install terminals on wire segments supplied by you and brought to their facility.
Ideally, terminals should be installed right on the airplane because in some situations, "clocking" of a terminal is important. "Clocking" refers to orientation of a terminal on the wire when installation is completed; wires larger than 6AWG are difficult to twist. Proper clocking insures terminal alignment with its mating stud.
For the less discerning or more frugal builders, there is an alternative to the high-dollar termination of fat wires in airplanes. You can solder them on, SOLDER? Yes, the dreaded "S" word. I don't know how many articles I've seen in recent years wherein readers are advised against using solder for wire joining and cite a variety of pitfalls including heat damaged wire or insulation, and rampant corrosion resulting from poor selection of materials. I believe most people's aversion come from lack of understanding of solder's limitations and capabilities.
Soldering is an ancient technology for joining metals and will be the topic of a future article. In the mean time, please consider the following and trust me - it works!
Terminals to be soldered must be all metal, un-insulated type as shown in Figure 1. If you have access to insulated terminals but not the tools to apply them, you can twist the insulators off with a pair of pliers. The terminal barrel should be a snug fit over the wire. The best joint will occur if the strands can be fairly "packed" into the barrel. My favorite way to tighten a wire in a loose barrel borrows from the technique of using wedges to secure a hammer head to a wood handle. In this case, the material needs to be compatible with the soldering process so how about copper wedges? The finished termination is going to get dressed up with a sleeve of heat shrink over the wire and terminal barrel.
Now's the time to slide the heat shrink over the wire. With the heat shrink in place, strip back the wire to be terminated so that when the strands are just flush with the wire barrel, a .10" to .15" gap exists between end of insulation and the terminal's wire barrel. If the terminal you're about to apply seems too loose, get a short piece of 14 or 12 AWG house wire and strip off the insulation to get a bare strand of solid copper wire. Cut a piece of wire about a half inch long and use a file or sanding disk to sharpen the end. My favorite tool is a cutoff wheel in a hand- held hobby motor.
Push the wedge into the end of stranding - toward the center clear of the terminal barrel as shown in figure 2. If it's still too loose, you can try a second wedge, make bigger wedges from 10AWG or 8 AWG solid wire, or find the right size terminal! The only caution I'll urge with wedging is that some terminals are not brazed shut at the joint where the barrel is formed from the flat stamping. Aggressive wedging can spread the barrel open.
Now, you're almost ready to solder. Check the clocking of the terminal. This means that the terminal should be oriented with respect to twist on the wire so that the terminal will drop onto it's mating stud without twisting the wire. Oh yeah, you do know that the parts to be soldered need to be clean? If the terminals have been laying around in a junk box for 10 years or if the wedge wire is less than shiny, use Scotchbrite pads or similar to brighten things up before assembly.
Now comes the fun part. You've got a range of choices for sources of heat to flow the solder. I've used an ordinary propane torch adjusted to a very small, inner blue flame of about 1/4". If your work area is VERY free of drafts (moving air cools your work rapidly) you can use one of those little butane torches.
You can also use a soldering iron with as few as 50 watts of heat capacity - IF it's a small 50 watt iron that gets all the heat out to the tip. My favorite is an Ungar handle with screw-in heating elements. We used to have similar tools for "wood burning" art when I was a kid. They may still sell these tools in craft shops. The solder you're going to use will be electronic grade 60/40 or 63/37 alloy with a rosin core. The ideal size is the .062" diameter.
Poor torch technique can make it look like you tried to clone the Mona Lisa with a paint roller so listen up. If you use a propane torch, heat for this task is always applied on the back side of the terminal about even with the tongue end of the wire barrel (Figure 4). Angle of the applied flame should blow hot gasses away from the wire's insulation (If you're using a soldering iron or tiny butane torch, you can move the heat source around the barrel so that it's opposite where the solder is going in). About 10-15 seconds after initial application of heat, feed solder into the space between wire strands and the terminal barrel. Start out immediately opposite the flame. Molten solder is the conductor of heat from barrel to strands; after the first inch or so of solder has been fed into the joint, start around the barrel always pushing it into the space between wire and barrel until about 6" of solder have been fed into the joint. Now, you're almost done. Turn your attention to the other end of the barrel where we left a "window" between insulation and barrel; keep feeding solder in and watch for the appearance of solder which will flow by capillary action to the wire end of the barrel. Don't be surprised if it takes 10" or more of .062 diameter solder to finished the joint! Resist the urge to feed solder into the other wire end.
When solder first appears at the wire end, reduce the heat and see how the exposed stranding looks at the cut end. If the stranding matrix isn't filled with solder, you can now begin to feed solder directly into the stranding wherever the solder has not already flowed. As soon as the ends appear "covered" you can take the heat off. A little "toasting" of the insulation may be unavoidable. Trim away the lumps with a knife and go to the next step.
Let it cool, wipe down with rag or paper towel wet with acetone or lacquer thinner. The insulation may pull back from the joint a little bit; put the heat shrink in place over the barrel and shrink down to finish the joint.
Sources for materials and tools:
Heat shrink tubing is commonly stocked by electronic and automotive parts houses. I prefer double-walled products with an inner-wall of melting sealant.
Terminals should be tin plated solid copper. Electrical supply houses will have big'uns both insulated and uninsulated.
Irrespective of what the supplier says the matching wire gage is for any terminal he offers, you're more interested in how well it fits before crimping. Take a piece of stripped wire with you when you shop for terminals.
Small quantities of electronic grade solder are available from Radio Shack, electronic supply houses will want to sell you a full pound. If you do invest in a pound spool, I recommend Kester Resin 44 in a 63/37 alloy and .032 diameter. This is a good all around size for OTHER soldering jobs. For soldering big terminals, take four, 12" strands of .032" solder and twist them together to make solder stock.
The AeroElectric Connection stocks fat wire termination kits, which include terminal, double wall heat shrink, wedges and solder.
A hardware variety propane torch can be used with care. An electric soldering iron is probably ideal and easier to control. Check with electronic tools supply stores and hobby/craft stores. You need the concentrated-heat 45-60 watt type tools shown in Figure 3. The little butane hand torch is also a good choice. It's slow but you're not in a hurry and It's very unlikely to over-heat the joint. This little guy does need a draft-free workspace to do the job.
Check hobby shops for heat guns used to shrink model airplane covering. They cost about $20.
Copyright 1998 Robert L. Nuckolls, III, Wichita, Kansas. All rights reserved. This document may be reproduced electronically or mechanically for distribution in a not-for profit, educational endeavor if it is published in its entirety and without modification.
Here are the "rules" by which Bob Nuckolls would wire his own airplane:
RULE 1: First choice for joining/terminating any wires up through 22 through 12AWG are PIDG style terminals as described in
using tools like
RULE 2: Where there is a choice, I would select fast-ons over threaded fasteners in the 22 to 12 AWG range using terminals like
with features as explained in
RULE 3: When I have to live with a treaded fastener, then these terminals are in
order . . .
RULE 4: For wires larger than 12AWG, then I would solder and heat shrink joints as described in . .
Using materials like . . .
which are supplied with double-wall heat shrink for finishing.
RULE 5A: Permanent splicing of single conductors to be accomplished with butt splices like . . .
RULE 5B: but if it was deemed desirable to break the splice open for future convenience, a knife splice and heat shrink would be used thusly:
RULE 6: When the accessory items are supplied with nylon connectors like AMP
Mate-n-Lock or Molex, pins are installed with a tool like:
used thusly . . .
These connectors would only be used as an accommodation for the use of an accessory that comes with them already installed. They are not my connector style of choice for any other applications.
RULE 7A: When working with accessories supplied with D-sub connectors, the first choice of mating connectors is the removable pin variety that will accept machined pins like:
installed with a tool like
and removed with a tool like . . .
RULE 7B: if for any reason the crimped-pin mating d-sub is not available, then soldering is my second choice using techniques described in . . .
and tools like
RULE 7C: If options 7A and 7B are not practical, then the lowest order choice for working with d-subs is open barrel crimped pins installed with tools and techniques like those described in RULE 6.
RULE 8: Installation of connectors on coaxial cables to antennas are installed per
using tool . .
and wire . . .
and connectors . . .
RULE 9: A single point ground system shall be established behind the instrument panel with sufficient attach points for all accessories in the cockpit area. In deference to RULE 2, a forest-of-fast-on-tabs ground block similar to:
The threaded stud on the ground block assembly would penetrate the firewall and be used to terminate battery (-) leads on either side of firewall and the crankcase ground strap on the engine side of the firewall.
In the case of canard pushers with the battery up front, the ground bus would be mounted forward of the instrument panel. If the airplane's firewall is metallic, then a brass bolt and appropriate washers and nuts would be used to provide an engine compartment ground stud and connection of the ground lead to the firewall. A ground strap will be used to connect the crankcase to the firewall ground stud.
Any ground straps provided around the rubber biscuits of an engine mount will be removed. Engine mounts are for holding engines on airplanes and not use for any part of the electrical system.
RULE 10: Tefzel wire used throughout with the exception of cranking circuit fat
wires where 4AWG or 2AWG welding cable would be used. An alternative FAT wire
could be one of the new copper-clad aluminum wires. These new materials can be
soldered and crimped.
To get the same electrical performance, you need to use about 2AWG steps larger
wire than for copper but the installed wire will still be lighter.
In parallel universes, there are differing rules which may well prove to be as useful or perhaps even better than those cited in Bob's universe. With what Bob has learned up to and including Sunday, October 27, 2002 the rules cited above are his personal choices for practical, solid techniques using moderately priced materials, and tools. Adherence to these rules is likely to produce an electrical system where (1) component wear-out and failure are the sole causes for maintenance, and (2) the wiring can be expected to perform as intended over the life of the airplane.
Crimping or Soldiering Electrical Terminals
It's worth noting that, at least with smaller wiring, the 'experts' are split. King terminals remain crimp-on, while Garmin and others utilize pins with solder cups. The latter simply can't be crimped. I've seen King terminals pull loose during Avionics upgrades. Properly soldered terminals won't do that. Nor do properly soldered wires become brittle.
Here's my technique:
1) Make sure wires to be soldered are perfectly clean. If you stripped them yesterday, cut and strip again today. Don't handle bare wire with dirty hands - wash first. No grease, no oil, nothing.
2) Use liquid flux on the bare wire and terminal and apply it with a small, clean brush wherever you want solder to stick. The brush-in-bottle kind is perfect. Use flux designed specifically for electronics that does not leave a residue after soldering. Details on the bottle.
3) Immediately tin the wire and terminal, or both wires if it's a wire-to-wire joint. Tinning means to apply just enough solder to coat the area to be soldered on a terminal, or to turn the stripped portion of the wire a bright silver prior to putting the two pieces together.
Wire will 'wick' the solder up; you don't have to move it around. Use a damp sponge to clean the iron, put a small dab of new solder on the tip, and transfer heat through that dab of solder. If the liquid flux had time to dry before you tin, start over.
4) Use an appropriate wattage, 40 for larger wires and terminals, 25 for everything smaller. If you need a torch for electrical work, you don't need solder. Be patient with your iron and give it time to properly heat. Never solder with a warm iron.
5) Don't use too much solder or take too long at it. It doesn't take much of either to tin using this technique. You should not have blobs of solder anywhere, nor should you singe any insulation.
6) You never have to put a curve in a solder joint. The wire is always tinned straight. To solder two pieces of wire together, just place the tinned ends side by side and heat briefly. No additional solder is needed.
7) I prefer 63/37, because it has a very narrow liquid to solid heat range. If you move a solder joint after removing the heat and before it's solid, you may have fractured the joint. This may not be visible externally.
8) Even though there is no requirement to clean the residue after soldering, I keep a small bottle of alcohol and some q-tips and cotton swabs handy to clean the area afterwards. Not necessary, but professional. The liquid flux becomes sticky and whatever it drips on will hold dirt.
9) Always use shrink tubing to protect your solder joints where possible. Use the good stuff that starts out very flexible. The stiff, shiny radio shack stuff becomes too brittle after heating. If you forget to slide it on before soldering a joint and can't get it on afterwards, take the joint apart and start over.
Don't use electrical tape for any reason on any solder joint; it will not age well.
[“Liquid tape” seems to work.]
Don't use a match or torch on heat shrink; use a heat gun, and use just enough
heat. You don't want the shrink tube to become brittle or to split. If a joint
has sharp edges, smooth these before applying the shrink tube so the edge
doesn't work through the tube over time.
10) As in all skills, practice makes perfect. Practice on loose bits of wire when you aren't trying to install a $7,000 radio in time to impress your friends at that really cool fly-in.
11) Finally, use heat sinks whenever you are working around delicate equipment. I usually use forceps.
Note that 63/37 solder has a melting point of 361 degrees Fahrenheit. CHTs routinely exceed 361F in air-cooled engines, and all exhaust systems do. That's why I wouldn't use a solder joint close to the engine exhaust.
Apart from the heat aspect, solder connections on really large wires are not necessary. When you're working with large hunks of metal and big wires crimping is effective, and for really large joints you'd have to use a torch. That's OK for plumbing, not for electronics. You never want to heat insulation or components that much.
Len Johnson <email@example.com>
There is a lot of neat stuff on wiring at http://www.terminaltown.com/, which is run by some people who know homebuilders and their needs.
12.0 FAA Identifier Codes -- For filing flight plans:
Cozy = COZY,
Defiant = DEFI,
Solitaire = SOLI,
VariEze = VEZE
Long-EZ = LGEZ,
Velocity = VELO,
Berkut = BKUT
VariViggen = VVIG.
There are other designations such as RV6 etc., but just those for the composite canards are included here.
If in doubt, these general codes apply:
HXA for cruise speeds less than 100 KIAS,
cruise speeds 100 – 199KIAS,
HXC for those with cruise speeds above 200KIAS.
These are from recent changes to the FAA controllers’ handbook. Many controllers do not know much about homebuilts, and they may ask what type you are. See next paragraph.
APPROACHING TOWER CONTROLLED AIRPORTS
In call-ups to tower controllers, give call-up as Long-EZ 12345, not Experimental 12345. This was explained to me at one of America’s busiest airport towers. They prefer that we announce on call-up the type of aircraft so they know your airspeed for spacing.
Experimental aircraft can have airspeeds from 40 knots to 500 knots. Saying “Experimental” gives them no useful information.
Slow Flying Can Be A Lifesaver
Kinetic Energy Is The Killer in An Emergency Landing!
"If an engine-out landing is unavoidable, check wind direction,
your landing area, and establish your glide at 70 to 75
knots... Your landing gear should be down, even for an
off-airport landing in rough terrain or water."
"Long-EZ Owner's Manual", p 22
Every homebuilt is an individual flying machine, but an engine out emergency risk applies to all. You can determine minimum air speed and descent rate for your aircraft by testing your skills and your aircraft flight response at a safe altitude. Impact speed and aircraft weight affect survival probability. Expect a rough field landing to rip off the landing gear at touchdown.
It is possible to reduce this impact speed even more. An EZ can fly slowly. Practicing above 3,000 feet AGL enables us to learn to fly controlled, shallow turns while the plane mushes down with throttle closed, nose high, full aft trim, and full aft stick. It is very important that the weight and balance be within the CG envelope established by Rutan to avoid a deep stall in this unusual attitude.
The canard and main wing will be stalled, but you can control the plane with rudders (WWII Army Air Corps "falling leaf" maneuver). You can overpower the built-in pitch and recover action of the canard that maintains flying speed when flying straight and level at slow speed. This maneuver requires practice, preferably before an
engine-out occurs. My Long-EZ descends at 600 feet per minute in this attitude.
The Long-EZ has a take-off weight limit of 1,425 pounds. The upper weight limit increases the kinetic energy factor in an off-field, emergency landing. However, weight does not increase the risk as dramatically as does high impact speed. (See table below.)
The air speed indicator will be inaccurate due to the high angle of attack. I tried to check the true air speed with this exaggerated nose-up attitude with a friend flying a Taylorcraft. Gradually, I pulled away from him as he maintained 50 mph. My forward speed was less than the normal landing speed of 70 knots, probably around 55 knots. My inaccurate air speed indicator indicated about 40 knots.
The lower impact force at 55 knots combined with the strength of the airframe should protect pilot and passenger at the lower speed. Increasing air speed by 13 knots could be a killer.
The 600 feet per minute descent rate is only 10 feet per second, which is less speed than Army paratroopers descend during their jumps. The 1947 Army 28 feet parachutes descended at 12-20 feet per second, depending on the weight of the paratrooper and equipment. The EZ gear should absorb most of the combined forward/vertical impact, even if it is ripped off.
Kinetic Energy Is The Killer in An Emergency Landing!
High Impact Speed is the most dangerous variable.
Kinetic Energy Formula: Energy = Weight/2 x Velocity Squared
A 40% increase in speed almost doubles the kinetic energy.
A 40% increase in weight increases the kinetic energy by 40%.
Weight Velocity Kinetic Multiple Multiple
(lbs.) (mph)(kts) Energy (same weight) (same speed)
1,000 50 43 1,250,000 Adding 20 mph.
1,000 55 47 1,512,500 almost doubles
1,000 60 52 1,800,000 kinetic energy
1,000 65 55 2,112,500 at any weight.
1,000 70 60 2,450,000 1.96 1.0
1,200 50 43 1,500,000
1,200 70 60 2,940,000 1.96 1.2
1,300 50 43 1,625,000
1,300 70 60 3,185,000 1.96 1.3
1,400 50 43 1,750,000
1,400 70 60 3,430,000 1.96 1.4
Compare 1,000 lbs at 50 mph and 1,400 lbs at 70 mph
Kinetic Energy: 1,250,000 3,430,000 = 2.744
Though weight and speed are within limits, higher speed increases kinetic energy by almost three times!
Excerpt from an Internet Article on Hypoxia
Oxygen Flow Requirement = 1 liter per minute for each 10,000 feet.
New surge or pulse systems lengthen endurance of bottled oxygen for low demand use.
There is a new breathing problem with the advent of the high rate of climb of 250+ horsepower, non-pressurized homebuilts.
Sustained rates of climb in excess of 2,000 feet per minute are possible with the Glasair and Lancair type of aircraft. Total time to climb to 20,000 feet can be less than 10 minutes. The problem here is that the average person's body cannot adapt to that change of altitude in that time period.
It takes at least 20 minutes for the body to adjust to that change. The problem is nitrogen gas bubbles in the body. This is called "the Bends", the same problem that can occur in deep sea diving. Extreme pain can occur and if nitrogen gas bubbles occur in the brain, death can result. Climbing to 25,000 feet increases the possibility of the bends even more. Some people may make it to 20,000 feet OK, but an even greater number of people may not make it to 25,000 feet in short time periods. To make things worse, there are no FAA requirements or recommendations about the effects of high rates of climb.
Hopefully the FAA and the manufacturers of these aircraft will advise pilots about the problem. There are two ways to solve the problem for most situations. One is to limit the climb rate to 20,000 feet to less than 1,000 feet per minute. The other suggestion is to start using oxygen as soon as you start the engine, and let your body start adapting sooner.
“They” say that medical oxygen has more moisture in it. That is partly true.
The oxygen going to a hospital bed is plain oxygen that comes from liquid oxygen. At the bed location, there is a unit on the wall that adds moisture. At this moment, it becomes medical oxygen.
If the oxygen is in a pressure vessel or in a manifold system (like inside a hospital) then it is regular oxygen. The cost of medical or welding oxygen is normally much less than the oxygen you get at an airport.
In the San Diego, CA area, to refill a small oxygen bottle costs:
Aviation FBO on Airport $26 (“Labor cost,” they say.)
Welding supply $15
Medical oxygen source $11.50
Medical sources require a prescription to dispense oxygen. The medical supplier in San Diego accepted the prescription, then said I could get only one fill for the one prescription. They interpreted the instructions for “using as needed” to mean amount of oxygen flow. The next prescription (good for one year) must state 99 refills, the maximum number of refills permitted during the next year. To refill in another city, I must have a separate prescription to present for each refill.
A welding source must fill the bottle through a non-medical valve.
Apparently, the bottom line about the different suppliers of oxygen is in the insurance liability of the oxygen supplier. The gas is the same but the insurance liability is different.
The suppliers of welding oxygen state that the purity level required for welding and cutting purposes is more critical than for breathing.
Aluminum oxygen cylinders should be hydrostatically tested every 5 years. The hydro test cost at a San Diego, CA welding supply center was $13.50 (October 2002).
Steel cylinders are usually tested every 10 years. Specially constructed oxygen cylinders could have a shorter period for hydrostatically testing. There could also be a limit on how long the cylinder may be used when it was supplied as original equipment with a factory installed, built in oxygen system. Most cylinders can be used indefinitely. However, some aircraft may be required to
replace the cylinders after 25 years. Factory supplied built in oxygen systems will have the necessary maintenance information in the aircraft manual.
Around the neck of the cylinder are letters and numbers stamped into the cylinder. Of importance to the pilot are three items.
1) At the beginning of the numbers are the letters, DOT. This indicates that the cylinder has been approved by the Department of Transportation, which means they can be commercially filled. European cylinders may not have the DOT stamped on the cylinder. This could prevent the cylinder from being refilled in the USA. Owners of imported aircraft from Europe should be aware of this problem.
2) After the DOT label, there will be 4 numbers. These indicate the rate cylinder pressure; 2015 and 2216 are common.
3) After the end of all the numbers will be two numbers followed by a letter that looks like an inverted capital A and then two more numbers. This is the date of manufacture of the cylinder. The first numbers are the month (03 for example would be March) and the last two being the year of manufacture (96 for would be for 1996).
The date testing required is based on this date, not when the cylinder was purchased.
An instructor warned against the excessive use of lipstick and Chapstick type material on lips when using oxygen. He also said the you should not eat peanuts during the use of oxygen. In both cases, the excess oil along with ignition by a static electricity spark could cause a potential reaction with oxygen. This reaction is called "fire".
CONDITIONAL INSPECTION – LONG-EZ
N ___________________ Date _________________ Expires: _________________
“Hell Hole” Cover over Main Gear
Wing Attachment Covers
Propeller Bolt Safety Wires
Lights – landing, position, and strobe _______________________________
Drag Brake ___________________________________________________
Pitot Tube _____________________________________________________
Fuel Vents, clear _______________________________________________
Fuel caps and seals, lubricate “O” rings _____________________________
Canopy Hinges ________________________________________________
Canopy seals __________________________________________________
Static ports and system __________________________________________
Nose bumper – secure __________________________________________
Dry Lubricate nose gear friction plate _______________________________
Check nose wheel shimmy dampener (2-4 pounds) ____________________
Check paint cracks and cause _____________________________________
Rudder and cable connections (Rudder throw – 2.1 inch maximum) _______
Elevator trim friction and cables ____________________________________
Aileron and rudder hinge pins _____________________________________
Thump test (use $0.25) - delamination of fuselage, wings, and canard _____
Brake line and cables ____________________________________________
CABIN AND COCKPIT AREA
Clean interior __________________________________________________
Seat belts – check security and wear _______________________________
Upholstery and headrest _________________________________________
Instruments operational __________________________________________
Liquid Compass – add mineral spirits or kerosene _____________________
Warning system – canopy latch and gear ____________________________
Canopy latch operation (Check safety catch) _________________________
Have second person check each canopy latch for correct movement and no binding.
Flight Controls, check for play and lubricate __________________________
Fuel valve – ease of operation and leaks ____________________________
Fuel sight tubes ________________________________________________
Rudder/brake cables and connections ______________________________
Battery connections/corrosion and fluid level _________________________
Check wing bolts _______________________________________________
Check spacing washer(s), if any ___________________________________
Oil leaks ______________________________________________________
Fuel leaks _____________________________________________________
Fuel filter ______________________________________________________
compression: 1 - ________ 2 - ________ 3 - ________ 4 -________
Change (oil and filter) ___________________________________________
Analyze oil sample _____________________________________________
Check screens for metal _________________________________________
Drain carburetor sediment bowl ____________________________________
Clean fuel strainer bowl __________________________________________
Carburetor screws – 40-50 in. pounds; Carburetor drain plug – 144 in. pounds
Brake fluid – fill reservoirs ________________________________________
Free of Cracks ________________________________________________
Engine Controls – cables and adjustments
Carburetor Heat _______________________________________________
Air Filter – replace ______________________________________________
Vacuum Filter __________________________________________________
Engine Baffles __________________________________________________
Spark Plugs (Clean and gap or replace - Spark plug gap - .017”) __________
plug torque – 420 inch pounds
Cowl Mounting – Replace worn nut plates and screws __________________
Springs, pipes, supports __________________________________________
Valve cover – Rocker box screws – torque 50 inch pounds _______________
Check and adjust valve tappets - .008” hot; .010” cold _________________
Valve gaskets (20 inch pounds torque)
Wheel pants secure _____________________________________________
Gear tabs and mounting bolts _____________________________________
Gear spread and track ___________________________________________
Tires: Wear and pressure (5.00x5/10 45 lbs. pressure; nose also 45 lbs.) ___
Wheel bearings, clean and grease (three wheels) ______________________
Check down lock _________________________________________
Clean and grease cam track ________________________________
Dry lubricate pivot axle _____________________________________
Check nose wheel well doors ________________________________
Check shimmy damper friction (2-4 lbs.) _______________________
Brakes: Clean and check pad wear within 0.1-inch _____________________
Clean and dry lubricate brake cylinder pins ______________________
Check line from master cylinders to wheel _______________________
Canard and Elevator
Check hinges for corrosion, wear, and lubricate _________________
Check canard attach bolts __________________________________
Check attach tabs for corrosion and cracks _____________________
Canard alignment pins _____________________________________
Canard opening seals for clearance and fit _____________________
(See Bruce Tifft information sheet, Paragraph 6.4 above for wood prop
Inspect for cracks and nicks ________________________________
Check balance and track __________________________________
Check blades and hub for cracks ____________________________
Check spinner for alignment and cracks ______________________
After reinstalling spinner, check run out _______________________
Check engine flange, extension, and bolts ____________________
Tifft prop – torque 180 inch pounds (15 ft. lbs.) _________________
(Up to 350 in. lbs. on one side for track alignment)
Follow your prop manufacturer’s instructions
Check operation ____________________________________________
Clean/check connections and plugs _____________________________
Check VOR/ILS accuracy _____________________________________
Transponder check __________________________________________
check operation and replace battery (24 months) _______________
Marker beacon (sensitivity, beacon lights, dim/bright) _______________
Intercom operation __________________________________________
Instrument and panel lights ____________________________________
Inspect wiring for loose connections, corrosion, and wear ____________
Weight and Balance _________________________________________
Aircraft Registration __________________________________________
Station Radio License ________________________________________
Pilot’s Operating Handbook ____________________________________
24 month check - static system, VOR, ELT, altimeter ________________
Time: Total Airframe ________ Total Engine ________ TE since OH ________
Date Inspection Completed: ______________________
Signature: _______________ Number: ____________ Name: _____________
For a PowerPoint version with text in different colors, click link on main page.
Some pilots like formation flying. Dan Patch is one and wrote the following guide to help us learn to fly formation safely. Dan is the Safety Officer for the San Diego EZ Squadron.
Information contained in this briefing has been drawn from a number of sources and from the author’s personal experience. It is appropriate, however, to specifically acknowledge the T-34 Association for its excellent formation video and companion flight manual, which I recommend.
The central objective of this presentation is to promote safety in formation flying. This briefing was originally created for the San Diego EZ Squadron, a group of composite aircraft builders and fliers who have met monthly since 1976.
Subsequently, extensive comments have been added to the notes pages in an effort to expand on and further clarify the summary points made in the briefing. This document, however, is not intended as a substitute for qualified instruction from an experienced formation pilot, including appropriate ground school instruction and a full briefing before each formation flight.
The use of the procedures described in this briefing is entirely at the option and the discretion of the formation’s pilots. Neither the San Diego EZ Squadron nor the author, Dan Patch, assume any liability for the use or failure to use any or all of this information. It is strictly your responsibility to ensure your own safety and that of your flight mates!
This briefing is placed in the public domain in the interest of furthering flight safety, however, this notice must not be removed nor the contents of the briefing altered without permission.
Formation Flight – Getting
This presentation has been organized to follow the time-line of a typical formation flight –
preflight, taxi, departure, join up, cruise, and landing. It is aimed at the knowledgeable private pilot who is competent in a typical single-engine, light plane, and who has always wanted to try formation, but has never had the opportunity. The objective of the briefing is to cover some of the basics of what makes a formation flight work smoothly.
By no means is this presentation comprehensive! It is not reasonable (nor possible) to learn formation flight on the ground! Rather, the intent is to focus on areas that may give the novice formation pilot the most trouble, and on the fundamental dynamics of formation flight. Important topics such as power management, formation configuration changes, basic hand signals, practice formation exercises, and much more generally are left to the more appropriate realm of ground and air instruction with a competent formation instructor.
I have tried to stick to the formation flight procedures that have been developed by the military over the course of millions of hours of flight time. Most of these time proven procedures are directly applicable to civilian formation flight. There are a few aspects of “traditional” military formation flight, however, that I believe require some modifications to better match the operational world of the civilian pilot. For example, radio procedures in the military typically call for extreme discipline. The flight leader talks (occasionally); while the rest of the flight watches for his hand signals, monitors the air-to-air frequency, and generally observes radio silence. But the civilian pilot often has neither the experience nor the station holding skills to rely on hand signals. Thus, for the safety of the flight, more radio communications usually are required in civilian flights. I will try to note those instances where I believe that military procedures might not be the “full story” for the civilian formation pilot.
This presentation is limited to a few basic pointers
Emphasizes flight characteristics/limitations of our canard planes
- Covers major problem areas for beginners, based on my experience
Don’t fly formation until you are proficient in type
Formation is not the place to learn to fly or to look for switches
- You need to know your aircraft performance limits
Best approach is video/text ground school followed by in-flight experience with a qualified instructor
ensures that all essentials are covered
- Safer and quicker than the free-lance approach
- Teaches standardized procedures
But the reality is most of us will be largely self-taught.
didn’t learn to fly or get an instrument rating this way
- But basic formation flight is not that difficult
- To my knowledge, very few mid-air collisions have occurred
presentation is limited to the basics of formation flight. It focuses on typical
flight characteristics for our homebuilt aircraft. That is, relatively
low-powered, low-drag, piston-engine, aircraft. Much of it is based on
professionally produced material – Thanks T-34 Association! I have, however,
incorporated a lot of actual formation experience accumulated over more than 400
hours in my VariEze. While I have made my best effort to emphasize safe
formation flight techniques, it is strictly your responsibility to ensure your
own safety and that of your flight mates! I cannot accept any liability for this
The middle of a formation flight is not the place or the time to be learning how to fly! Before participating in any formation flight, you must be comfortable with your plane’s handling, its control response, and its instrumentation. Because you aren’t going to be able to divert much attention from the task of maintaining safe separation in the air, flying your plane should be second nature.
The place to pick up basic formation concepts is on the ground prior to flight. The cockpit is not a conducive environment to resolving uncertainties about what you should be doing! Obviously, a firm grasp of basic formation concepts before launch will make for safer and more effective practice in the air. Another major advantage of learning from a professional source is the use of standardized procedures. This will make formation flight with similarly trained pilots much more predictable, and hence safer and more enjoyable. As a good place to start, I would recommend the T-34 Association’s 4-hour video “Formation Flight - The Art” and the associated manual.
It is true, however, that most civilian pilots are likely to be largely self-taught. That formation flight can and usually is successfully learned this way is a testament to the fact that formation flight is really not that difficult. The key is to always remain within your skill and comfort limits, while still continuing to hone your proficiency. Overall, civilian formation flight has an excellent safety record.
Required by FAA Regulations – that also require
Formation must be pre-arranged (no surprise join-ups!)
- Separation must be adequate to ensure safe flight
- Flight separation of <1 mile horizontal and <100 feet vertical
- ATC handles the flight as if it is a single plane
It is critical that all flight members know exactly what is expected throughout the flight
is the flight lead
- Their own position in the flight (lead, wing, #3, etc.)
- Route of flight, altitudes, restricted areas, etc.
- Frequencies – particularly air-to-air en route
- Arrival procedures with alternatives
- Any pilot and/or aircraft limitations
Don’t put the novice in charge!
FAA regulations governing formation flight are minimal. There are no requirements for special training, logbook endorsements, limitations to similar aircraft types, or operational restrictions (e.g., day-VFR, no Class Bravo, etc.). The regulations do require that the flight be pre-arranged by the participants and that flight separation be adequate at all times. What is “adequate” is left to the judgment (and skill) of the pilots. Be assured – if you have a collision, your spacing was not adequate and you are in violation of the FARs (and worse!).
Formation flight can be a high workload environment. Uncertainty in any aspect of the flight dramatically increases the potential for errors, and can result in a collision, runway incursion, penetration of restricted airspace, etc. It is critically important that every member of a flight know exactly what is expected at all times. If there is any doubt about what is happening (or about to happen), the situation absolutely must be clarified before it deteriorates into an unsafe condition. The need for radio discipline always is secondary to flight safety! A thorough preflight briefing is the first line of defense against mix-ups in the air. Do use a formal checklist in this preflight briefing to ensure that all points are covered. Also, be sure that you discuss the experience level and limitations of every pilot and every aircraft in your formation.
One all too common problem is for radio frequency screw-ups. When to switch and what frequency to use are critical items to brief because the safety of the flight is seriously compromised when communications are lost! Hand signals, while useful, generally do not provide a reliable form of backup communications for civilian formation pilots.
Putting an inexperienced (or poor) pilot in the lead is a common error. While flying lead may look easy, it requires in-depth knowledge and experience! A poor lead places the entire formation in jeopardy. Besides, if the guy really is so green that you can’t trust him to fly wing, then he clearly needs more experience before it is safe for him to fly in formation.
Taxi and Takeoff
Conduct a pre-taxi radio check on the air-to-air frequency
Verifies that everyone has the right frequency and is ready to taxi
- Lead relays essential ATIS information and frequency change
Flight leader should lead on the ramp – Look Sharp!
Leader in front helps prevent runway incursions
- I prefer a staggered taxi position to avoid prop wash and debris
Don’t rush your run-up!
- Everyone sets tower frequency in the run-up area
the lead squawks the transponder code
- Thumbs up to go and pass the signal along to the lead
Start with staggered departures until you have experience
alternate sides of the runway – lead on downwind side
- Wing delays 3 to 5 seconds before starting his take-off roll
The time to find out that someone's radio doesn't work, or that he has the wrong air-to-air frequency is on the ramp, not in the run-up area – or even worse, in the air! Only the lead needs to get the full ATIS information. It's more important for the flight to be waiting for him on one frequency.
After getting the ATIS, lead will call "EZ flight, radio check… one" The flight will respond "two …, three, … etc." to verify that they are up and ready. Based on the ATIS, lead then calls “EZ flight … expect runway #, wind xxx at xx, altimeter xx.xx,” and any other pertinent ATIS information. The lead may choose to exclude extraneous ATIS information (airship operations on a closed runway, etc.) if it isn't relevant to flight safety. Lead then calls “Eze Flight … monitor ground on xxx point x”, and he looks for “thumbs up” from #2 to begin his taxi. A "thumbs up" from #2 indicates that #2 is ready and that #2 has a verified “thumbs up” from #3, #3 has verified #4, etc.
When taxiing on the ramp, precision is just as important as in the air – perhaps more so since you are more visible, and a collision is arguably more likely (no step-down here!). The military guys like line-in-trail taxi; but you eat a lot of wind in an EZ, and a tight angle-off taxi looks sharper.
Rushing your run-up is a very bad idea! Take your time and be sure you are completely ready before committing with a “thumbs up”. You are going to have very little time on the roll to catch a problem, so do it right at run-up! Ideally, lead would instruct the flight to switch to tower prior to launch. The ground controller, however, will not like you using his frequency for your flight communications! This comment goes double for the tower and ATC, so don’t “borrow” controller frequencies for use by the flight. The best procedure is for everyone to switch to tower prior to “thumbs up”, just like solo flight. If you don’t hear tower clear the flight to depart, you messed up.
Remember – only the lead's transponder should be on. Multiple transponders will generate a mid-air warning on ATC radar that will drive the controllers crazy. Definitely expect to hear from them if you forget to turn your transponder off!
Even though it makes join-up a bit more difficult, start off by using staggered departures.
Wing should be positioned nearly abreast of element lead
Acute position reduces the potential for a collision on the ground
- Tire or brake failure may not be controllable – Don’t hit the lead!
The wingman must maintain an acute position on the roll
must stay within the wing’s available power envelope
- Leave close formation on departure to the Blue Angels
Call an abort immediately if something isn’t right
Remain on your side of the runway if at all possible
- Wing must be prepared to make a go/no-go decision
Multiple elements depart in flights of two
rush the preceding element
- Start your roll as soon as the previous element breaks ground
Once you have some formation time under your belt and have built up your confidence, you are ready for a two-ship (or element) departure. Leave three- and four-ship departures to the pros!
Generally, two-ship departures are quite easy to accomplish since the lateral clearance offered by most GA runways more than adequate. The key to safe departures is for the wingman to maintain the correct “acute, angle-off” geometry with respect to the lead aircraft throughout the roll. Obviously, he also has to stay on his side of the runway centerline.
A nearly universal mistake is for the wingman to fall behind the lead (become “sucked”) during take-off. If the lead has some type of tire, brake or wheel failure, a “sucked” wingman stands an excellent chance of participating in a ground collision! A second major source of take-off error is improper power management by the lead. The lead must leave the wingman some power margin so that he can maintain the correct angle-off position. Departing at less than full power is something that the average pilot finds highly unnatural. Thus, all else being equal, it is advantageous to have the lower performance plane take the lead on departure so that he can use full power, with the wingman pulling off power, as required, to maintain position.
The possibility of an abort on departure should be pre-briefed, and both pilots should be prepared to abort at any time. Either pilot can call an abort. However, unless a “flight abort” (as opposed to “abort, abort”) is called, the safest course of action may be for the “non-abort” plane to continue the take-off. This is a pilot decision that each flight member must be prepared to make.
If a multiple-element (i.e., more than two-plane) departure is planned, each element should delay its roll until the preceding element breaks ground. Reducing this delay by rolling early makes join-up easier, but it isn’t worth cutting into the safety margin of the flight.
Note that with a staggered departure, each plane can start to roll when the plane on his side of the runway is off the ground. Thus a multi-element flight can be launched nearly as quickly by using a staggered departure procedure as it can by departing as a series of two-ship elements.
Join-up on Departure
Poor power management, rapid climb, and/or tight turns by the lead will make things
difficult at best for his wingman
should maintain the initial runway heading longer than usual
- Keep the climb gentle – especially with a staggered departure
- Make wide crosswind and downwind turns
- Allows wing to turn inside lead to join-up
- Prevents whipping the wing into a "sucked" position
- Straight-out departures call for moderate climb and power levels
Poor join-up technique disrupts the flight and increases the danger of a midair collision
- Always use geometry (turns) not power whenever possible for join-up
inside the lead to catch-up
- Turn outside the lead to fall back or reduce closure rate
- Inexperienced wingmen tend to seriously underestimate
power required to catch up to the lead from an in-trail, sucked position
- The power reduction needed to arrest the high closure rate that develops
Departure puts a heavy demand on the skills of both the lead and the wingman. Things happen fast once an element breaks ground! This is definitely one of the most demanding phases of formation flight, and it is not the time to demonstrate what a “sierra hotel” formation pilot you are! Leave that to the Thunderbirds and Blue Angels. Give the lead enough room so that you both can get your gears up, climb rates stabilized, and generally get into the “groove” of flying.
In the case of the lead, his central objective is to fly a flight profile that is readily achievable by his wingman. In particular, he must moderate his power and flight path because too much power, too high a climb rate, and/or tight turns will blow the wingman away into an impossible, “sucked” flight geometry. Extending the departure before turning cross- and down-wind almost always is a good idea, particularly if there are more than two planes in the formation. This gives stragglers room to “cut the corner” in order to catch up.
The wingman’s job on departure is to maintain 100% eye contact with the lead, and to accomplish a smooth and safe join-up. Nothing is more discouraging than hearing on downwind that your wingman is already lost! It happens, sad but true, and it is a sure sign of a major screw-up. The wingman will soon learn that catching the lead by using power is difficult and dangerous. It seems to take forever, and then suddenly he is faced with an unexpected and horrendously high closure rate that can easily result in a severe overshoot. Be smart and use turn geometry, not power, to control your join-up! The time to catch the lead is on the crosswind and down-wind turns. Turn inside the lead to overtake, turn outside to fall back.
In the case of a straight-out departure, the lead needs to cut the wingman some slack in both the power and climb departments. Also, the wingman should avoid catching the lead from directly behind where an overshoot becomes both more probable, and more dangerous.
More on Join-ups and Turns
Overrunning the lead is the greatest safety concern
- If needed, fly under and behind the lead to the outside of the turn to prevent an
Never go belly up on the lead – You may hit what you can’t see!
Anticipate power requirements and don’t be timid
Immediate action to correct a drift out of position is essential to avoid large
corrections and a potential PIO situation
- You are never "in formation" just maneuvering to get closer to it
- All turns require significant power changes by the wingmen
Outside turns require power to accelerate, to speed up, and to climb
- Inside turns require a power reduction to avoid overshooting
- Beginners often fail to reverse the power drill at the completion of the turn
- Turns into the wing require extra skill by both lead and wing, particularly toward the strong side of a finger four formation
- Lead should never initiate a turn into an echelon formation
It is hard to overstress the importance of avoiding an overshoot condition! The only two things that are worse are: flying over the top of the lead, and hitting him! Common situations leading to overshoot are:
1) Misjudging the closure rate on join-up
2) Lead turning into the wing, and
Bunching up in the pattern and on final to land.
The natural inclination when joining up on the inside of a turn with an excessive closure rate is to increase your bank angle to avoid hitting the lead. This is very dangerous! Increasing your bank angle decreases the turn radius, further increasing the closure rate by cutting off the lead. Additionally, wing is likely to lose sight of the lead when he goes “belly up”. This is a tailor made prescription for a mid-air! The correct procedure is to pass below and behind the lead to the outside of the turn where the longer flight path can “soak up” the excess speed. Once wing has his speed under control, he can again cross-under and behind the lead to take his assigned position.
In station keeping (as in most other phases of formation flight), relative motion is everything! The sooner undesirable relative motion is detected and decisive corrective action taken, the smoother and easier it is to fly formation. A common mistake by the new formation pilot is a failure to make prompt and aggressive power changes. A wingman using this “walking on eggshells” approach to power management quickly finds himself drifting out of formation at an increasing rate. The belated response then is a really big power change to arrest a deteriorating situation – which culminates in a wild excursion in the other direction (i.e., PIO, pilot induced oscillation). A key characteristic of our planes is a very sluggish response to power changes. They respond more like an ocean liner than a car – and they don’t have brakes! Anticipating this delay is a skill that the formation pilot can only acquire with practice, but it is crucial to precision station keeping.
In contrast with relatively aggressive power changes, accurate station keeping calls for continuous, but very small changes in pitch, bank and yaw. Remember, formation flight is not aerobatics!
En route Formation
Wing should try to maintain a constant "angle-off" from lead
Adjust your spacing by moving up and down "the line"
- Flying far behind the lead ("sucked") looks terrible and is:
Extra work for you
- Can make you lose sight of the formation – not good!
- Bugs the lead big-time because he can’t see you
- Don’t show off by flying too close for safety
Always maintain nose-to-tail and wing-to-wing horizontal clearance
- Maintain "step-down" for vertical clearance
- Give yourself extra room when performing cockpit "chores"
Keep the radio chatter under control
need for lead to call heading changes except for beginners
- Don’t use the radio for a chat line – other flights need the frequency
- Wing must convey flight information and power requirements to lead
En route formation is what almost everyone thinks of when they think of formation – that is, flying in a precise position with respect to another (leader) plane. To state what is perhaps the obvious, it is the job of the wing to hold his position with respect to the lead. Lead should never attempt to control the position of his wingman by turning or altering power. Any decent wingman will immediately alter his course and/or power to match the leader’s change, because he is flying where he is for a reason – namely, because that’s where he thinks he should be and/or where he is comfortable. If the lead wants his wing in a different position he needs to tell the wing what he wants. If this is outside the comfort zone of the wing (e.g., too close to lead) it’s his call, and the lead must respect wing’s personal limits. Conversely, wing may want to fly in an uncomfortable or unsafe location in the opinion of the lead. In this case, wing must do his best to correct his position, under the guidance/request of the lead, or else the formation just isn’t going to work for these pilots.
The key to holding station is aligning two points on the lead plane to set the desired “angle-off” (e.g., leading edge of the winglet with the front edge of the headrest). Focusing on the alignment of these two points will immediately show the direction and magnitude of any relative motion between the two planes. This technique will produce very accurate positioning! When adjusting spacing between the lead and wing, this angle should be maintained as accurately as possible, with the wing sliding “up and down the line.” I suggest you start with about a 45-degree angle-off; but find an angle that works for your flight. Lead should be able to see wing comfortably. For safety, the wing should always maintain nose-to-tail, wing-to-wing, and step-down clearance from the lead – no overlap allowed!
A typical error for the beginning pilot is to take up position well behind the lead (sucked) and/or many hundreds of feet away. These locations are very difficult to fly accurately because the wing will have great difficulty judging relative motion, his geometry is terrible for turns, and flying sucked, sucks for the lead (he can’t see his wingman)! Make your job a lot easier by flying reasonably close to the lead. Once you get really, really good you can fly out in the boondocks!
Please resist the temptation to yak on the radio! Other people need the frequency. For flight safety and power setting information – absolutely; but please, cut out the chatter! The military guys are very hard over on this point; but since we aren’t out to bomb North Korea, just use common sense.
Landing in Trail
I recommend landing in trail until you are very proficient with a standard 45-degree downwind pattern entry procedures:
- Flight lead:
Shift your flight to the outside during or before the 45-degree leg
- Don’t forget your cockpit check and a gear-down call on downwind!
- Carry a little extra speed on final to avoid bunch-up
- Lead lands on the downwind side of the runway
- Never cross the runway centerline until it’s safe
turns base 3 to 5 seconds after the lead turns base
- Avoid wake turbulence from the lead on final!
- Maintain appropriate spacing on final
- Land on the "open" (non-lead) side of the runway
- As always, be prepared to make a safe and timely go-around
Lead needs to fly straight-in approaches with some extra speed to allow the wingman to drift back for spacing.
Landing in trail isn’t particularly difficult, but there are some significant differences from landing solo. One obvious difference is that you are going to be a whole lot closer to other traffic in the pattern than you have ever (intentionally) been before! A second difference is the ground roll phase where you can expect to be sharing the runway with the other members of your flight.
The essence of a safe formation arrival followed by an “in-trail” landing is to make a clean separation between the “formation” and the “solo” phases of flight. During the formation phase of landing, it is particularly critical to maintain a high level of flight discipline, especially because you are going to be very busy configuring the plane for landing (mixture, power, gear, etc.), and maintaining your awareness of other traffic in the pattern and all tower instructions. In this phase, lead’s primary job is to get his flight into the pattern safely and configured for a comfortable breakup for landing. Speed control and thinking ahead is critical! Things can deteriorate quickly if the lead does not carefully modulate his power changes and turns.
Typically, the first really big power reduction that the wing encounters on the flight is when the lead enters the pattern, and it can be a big surprise! Wing should be spring loaded to match lead’s power reduction, or an over-run situation is almost certain to develop. Thus, the lead has an obligation to make gradual power reductions, and he must maintain a comfortable flight speed. Over-running the lead with your throttle at idle and your airspeed as low as it can go is not fun!
Once you get really good, you can consider an overhead break. Until then, I would recommend that the break occur as the formation turns from downwind to base. Lead breaks first, followed by the rest of the flight at 3–5 seconds intervals each. Lead should avoid bunch-up by maintaining a little extra speed on final. This gives his flight some speed to “play with” to maintain proper spacing. The opposite condition, with the flight spread out all over the place on final is an even more common error. Remember, that as a flight, you are treated as a single plane. Tower is not expecting your flight to take 10 minutes to land! Lead can do the tower a favor by announcing, for example, “flight of three, landing in quarter mile trail.”
Wake turbulence is a significant hazard landing in-trail. Know where it is and then don’t go there!!
Formation Landing (2-Ship)
Be sure both flight members are
proficient formation pilots
Don’t try this on narrow, high
altitude, or gusty runways!
Smooth turns and power management by the lead are critical
- Initial power reduction tends to induce an overshoot by the wingman. Keep alert –
Especially in turns!
- Always position the wingman on the outside of turns
- Keep your turns gentle
- Fly an aligned and stabilized approach with a little extra speed
The wingman needs proficient station holding skills and confidence in his abilities under dynamic conditions
Landing checklist complete and ready to land (where’s the gear?)
- Assume and maintain an acute "angle-off" position on final
- Maintain precise position control during rollout
Well, you’re finally ready for
the big time – a 2-ship, formation landing. But are you really ready? Be sure
you are, because this is the “real deal!” Need I say that you need to be
completely in control of your plane at all times, and capable of holding tight
formation? Well, absolutely for sure, you do!
It might seem like the wingman has to do all the work in a 2-ship landing. All the lead does is fly the pattern and land. Meanwhile, the wing has to demonstrate very precise station holding skills under dynamic conditions. But don’t underestimate the importance of having an experienced and precise pilot flying lead in a 2-ship landing! The lead must have an in-depth understanding of formation dynamics to avoid making a tough job a lot tougher for the wing. Smooth pitch, bank, and power changes are a must! Remember, the wing generally doesn’t know that the lead has made any changes until he notices some unexpected relative motion. Smooth power changes and gentle turns by the lead give the wingman a much better chance to adjust his power and flight path without moving noticeably out of formation – or worse!
Remember the acute position needed for take-off? This is also the appropriate angle-off geometry for a 2-ship landing for the same reason – namely, collision avoidance on the runway. Also, wing needs to eliminate any step-down prior to arrival over the runway since he certainly doesn’t want to be touching down short while lead is still in the air. Properly flown, the wing only needs an occasional glance at the runway to verify that lead is properly aligned and to estimate the time remaining to touchdown.
Maintaining an acute angle-off throughout the landing roll calls for a lot of concentration and skill! Beginners often tend to fall well behind the lead during final and/or rollout, exposing the flight to the potential for a collision if something goes wrong with the lead’s landing. It is also easy to overrun the lead on the ground due to different drag and rolling characteristics of the planes. The best prevention for this problem is for the lead to rollout with a touch of residual power and no brakes until his speed has dropped well below flight speed. Don’t be afraid to use plenty of runway, that’s why they make them so long. Did I mention that you both need your gears down? Check your buddy’s gear on final!
Lead should never, ever cross the runway centerline until he is down to taxi speed and has verified that his wing is in position and in full control of his rollout. (A quick call – “#2 clear” helps.)
Get good ground and air
instruction from a competent pilot
Know the skill level and limitations of your pilots and planes
Brief all aspects of the flight - aim for no surprises
Strive for early join-up following departure
Always maintain visual contact with your lead
Anticipate power changes – avoid overshoot!
Never go belly-up on your lead!
Pick a separation distance that is comfortable and safe
Strive to maintain a fixed angle-off and step-down position
Don’t show-off, especially with a passenger aboard!
Lead is responsible for flying an achievable flight profile
Wing must maintain station or communicate why he can’t
Poorly flown formation flight — Can scare you, or worse!
Properly flown formation flight:
- Involves minimal risk of a midair collision
- Reduces odds of having a midair with other aircraft
have more eyes and ears working for you
- You are easier for other planes to see
far better than any other type of "flight following"
- Can be one of the most satisfying activities in flying
- Improved flight skills
- Personal accomplishment
Life just doesn’t get much better than a good formation flight!
Resources - Compiled by Terry Yake
Linked Resource List as of September, 2003
E-mail addresses change often. Companies do go out of business. This list is a great start.
This is not an exhaustive list, but contains sources of parts and information that will be helpful to the homebuilt aircraft owner, builder, and pilot. To browse, just click on the desired topic area below.
AIRSHOWS, ALUMINUM PARTS, AVIATION WEB SITES,
AVIONICS/NAV AVIATION PUBLICATIONS, CANARD WEB SITES,
ELECTRICAL/VAC ENGINE/ ENGINE COMPARTMENT, FUSELAGE,
FLIGHT CONTROLS, MAIN & NOSE GEAR, METHODS & PROCEDURES,
PARTS CATALOGS, PROPELLERS & EXTENSIONS BUILDER GROUPS,
WEATHER, CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS, BUILDER TOOLS,
1. antique aircraft - casa grande, az http://www.cactusflyin.org/
2. copper state eaa fly-in (october) http://www.copperstate.org
3. eaa airventure oshkosh (august) http://www.airventure.org
4. eaa east coast fly-in http://www.eastcoastflyin.org
5. eaa golden west regional fly-in http://wwwgwfly-in.org
6. eaa mid-eastern fly-in fax: 419-447-1773
7. eaa northwest fly-in (july) http://www.nweaa.org
8. eaa rocky mountain regional http://www.greeleynet.com/eaaregional
9. eaa southeast regional fly-in http://www.geocities.com/~serfi
10. eaa southwest regional fly-in http://www.swrfi.com
11. farnborough on line http://www.phillips.com/farnborough
12. international council of air shows http://www.icas.org
13. reno air races http://www.airrace.org
14. rough river fly-in (september) http://www.roughriver.org
15. sun-n-fun (april) http://tsolv.com/sunfun/nshome.html
16. virginia state eaa fly-in http://www.vaeaa.org
Ken Brock Manufacturing, 11852 Western Ave. Stanton, CA 90680 (714-898-4366) Maker of the pre-fabricated metal hardware for most plans-built canards; email at www.kenbrockmfg.com
1. american aviation art http://www.amavart.com
2. aviation museums http://macwww.db.erau/www_virtual_lib/aviation/museums
3. avweb http://www.avweb.com (Great articles by John Deakin)
4. aopa http://www.aopa.org
5. eaa homepage: http://www.eaa.org
6. faa http://www.faa.gov
7. aviation home page http://www.avhome.com
8. arplanes on lne http://www.airplane.com
9. faa far's http://www.faa.gov/avr/afs/fars/far_idx.html
10. national air and space http://www.nasm.edu/
11. smithsonian inst. http://www.si.edu/
12. air and space mag: http://airspacemag.earthlink.net/eaa/oshkosh _home.html
13. eaa cross-country race: http://www.airventure.org
14. CAFÉ fuel efficiency website: http://www.cafefoundation.org/
15. Try http://www.AirNav.com for gas prices around the U.S.
16. FAA N number registration information: http://188.8.131.52/acdatabase/ or http://www.landings.com/evird.acgi?pass*51141619!mtd*40!ref*www.landings.com/_landings/Pages/!pg*search.html#reg-us or http://www.avhome.com/faa/nnumber.php
17. Aircraft and Airmen Registration: http://registry.faa.gov/
anywhere contact site:
(call one number to listen to any AWOS)
Documents for Rutan Aircraft (POH) http://www.rutanaircraft.com/htmlpages/orderform.html
Subject: U.S. Government Aviation Publications (Some you should own)
So, you wanted to know the min/max torque on an AN327XR35-5 bolt, how to splice a broken longeron, repair a wood propeller, safety-wire a turn-buckle, splice a number 18-guage electrical wire, replace rusted fuselage tubing, decode the hieroglyphics on a bolt head, etc. This is the type of information you can find in government documents, and much more.
A few recommendations for every builder and most owners:
1. Acceptable Methods, Techniques, and Practices
Aviation circular: 43.13-1B, Aircraft Inspection and Repair, September 8, 1998
Stock number: 050-007-01227-6 ($67.00) 656 pages
Also try these sources. (They may have a better price.):
* Aircraft Spruce catalog
* ASA Publications: Aviation Supplies & Academics, 7005 132nd Place SE, Newcastle, WA 98059
* The FAA's advisory circular on , "Acceptable Methods, Techniques, and Practices...,etc.,
43.13-1B, can be downloaded from:
Aviation Circular: 43.13-2A, Aircraft Alterations, Consolidated Reprint, 1977
Stock number: 050-007000625-0 ($11.00) 110 pages
No longer in print, but copies may still exist
2. Amateur-Built Aircraft and Ultralight Flight Testing Handbook, 1995
Stock number: 050-007-01087-7 ($8.50) 96 pages
3. Amateur Built Aircraft Reference Material, 1999
Stock number: 050-007-01246-2 ($28.00)
Payment for orders must be in U.S. dollars (VISA, Mastercard, and Discover cards accepted). There is a 25% surcharge for international orders. Four weeks for delivery, ten weeks for international.
The U.S. Government Printing Office has bookstores in the following cities:
Atlanta Denver New York
Birmingham, AL Detroit Philadelphia
Boston Houston Pittsburgh
Chicago Jacksonville, FL Portland, OR
Cleveland Kansas City, MO Pueblo, CO
Columbus, OH Laurel, MD San Francisco
Dallas Los Angeles Seattle
Milwaukee Washington, D.C.
WWW.ACCESS.GPO.GOV/SU_DOCS (go to the “online bookstore”)
Publication order desk: 1-866-512-1800 (toll free)
Also, try ASA Publications for these same reference books.
1. Terra Radio “Factory” repair: free flight systems; 3700 Interstate 35; Waco, TX 76706.
254-662-0000. www.freeflightsystems.com Freeflight systems, who bought out the Terra line from
Trimble have the users and installation manuals on line on an FTP site for a lot of the Terra line. Go
to:http://www.freeflightsystems.com/serv.htm and look for the FTP sever link under "Download
Freeflight publications". It takes searching in the site, but there is a folder with the Terra info in it.
Terra radio installation guides: ftp://stcpub2:firstname.lastname@example.org/Publications/TerraByTrimble/
2. GPS satellite constellation info: http://tycho.usno.navy.mil/gps.html
3. Navaid Devices, Inc., Single axis auto-pilot/turn coordinator, (423-267-331)
5. jeppesen navigation charts http://www.jeppesen.com
6. antennas for composite planes, Bill Butters, Advanced A/C Electronics PO Box 4111, Florissant, MO 63032 800-758-8632
7. Chief Aircraft, Grants Pass, OR: http://www.chiefaircraft.com, 800-447-3408
8. Radio Systems Technology, 13281 Grass Valley Ave, Grass Valley, OR 95945 916-272-2203
9. Sigtronics, intercoms, 818-967-0977
10. UMA Instruments (United Medical and Aircraft Instruments), 260 Main St., Dayton, VA 22821
11. Century Instrument Corporation, 4440 Southeast Blvd., Wichita, KS 67210 (800-733-0116)
12. Becker Avionics: http://www.becker-avionics.com/product/rn33xx.htm
1. Scaled Composites, Inc: email@example.com http://www.portal.com/~scaled
2. Rutan Aircraft Factory: RAF@HUGHES.NET
3. Canard stuff: web-span.com/canard.com http://www.canard.com
4. Cozy Builders Group: mailto:COZY_BUILDERS@HPWARHW.AN.HP.COM
5. British Canard group: http://www.hiway.co.uk/aviation/aviation.html
6. east coast Canard Group: http://www.canard.com/
7. Long-EZ plans changes: www.noaa.inel.gov/capabilities/longez/LongEZPlansChanges.htm
8. NTSB listings of accidents http://www.canard.com/ntsb/long-ez.html
9. The index of past Central States Newsletter articles http://www.canard.com/csa/
10. Defiant Club, John Steichen (Illinois) 708-985-6671
11. Central States Association: Terry Schubert 9283 Lindbergh Blvd. Olmsted Falls, OH 44138,
12. Southern California EZ Squadron: http://v2.ez.org - Articles, For Sale Stuff, News, Safety and
a directory/pictorial presentation of canards of members.
14. EZ repair facility by Rob and Valerie Harris. VHarris509@aol.com
15. Canard operations and maintenance, extensive subject matter developed by Long-EZ/Velocity builder Tim Crawford: http://www.noaa.inel.gov/capabilities/LongEZ/Safety.asp
16. CSA Newsletter index to articles: http://acs-group.net/ez/
1. The AeroElectric Connection: A great reference tool by Bob Nuckolls who draws from his engineering experiences in the aviation industry. It contains the theory, operation, design, and fabrication techniques for almost every aircraft electrical issue you will ever encounter, especially eze problems. Battery analysis, testing, and advice included. (316-685-8617) www.aeroelectric.com
3. Key catalog, Thief River Falls, MN, http://www.digikey.com,
800-344-4539 (switches, relays, circuit components)
4. Vacuum alert pressure indicator switch: Whitman Controls (probable part number – P100V-1-K-1-2-TS-0.2)
5. A new dual-rotor vacuum pump that is a nearly direct replacement for the standard version is being developed by Aero Advantage of Granbury, TX. The purpose is to provide two independent vacuum sources for increased safety. It first appeared at Sun ‘N Fun 2002 and is to be in production for experimental aircraft in July, 2002. (817)-326-6147, http://www.aeroadvantage.com
6. Ice Detection System: Lamar Technologies Corp. Marysville, WA Phone: 360-651-6666 http://wwwlamartech.com/iceman
Contol stick switches: Coolie Hat
for the # 8632 Push-Buttons if you need them.
8. Cabin Heat in-line 3 inch diameter blowers: Try looking at this site: http://www.iboats.com/products/7/2486_attwood_turbo_blowers.html
Power Plant Handbook, 1976 stock number: 050-007-00373-1 ($29.00)
The U.S. Government Printing Office has bookstores in the following cities:
Atlanta Denver New York
Birmingham, AL Detroit Philadelphia
Boston Houston Pittsburgh
Chicago Jacksonville, FL Portland, OR
Cleveland Kansas City, MO Pueblo, CO
Columbus, OH Laurel, MD San Francisco
Dallas Los Angeles Seattle
Milwaukee Washington, D.C.
WWW.ACCESS.GPO.GOV/SU_DOCS (go to the “online bookstore”)
Publication order desk: 1-866-512-1800 (toll free)
Also try the EAA. They have a Power Plant Handbook ($29.00 in 2001).
2. america's aircraft engines http://www.overhaul.com
3. B&C specialty http://firstname.lastname@example.org
(Bill Bainbridge: alternators, starters, regulators, oil filter adapters, batteries, and wiring/connectors for these components)
4. engine info http://www.gtravis.ucs.indiana.edu/engines/index.html
5. lightspeed engineering, email@example.com
(klaus savier), electronic ignitions, wheel pants
6. electronic ignitions, electroair: http://firstname.lastname@example.org,
Jeff Rose 423 622-8825
7. penn yan aero http://www.airtourist.com/pennyan
8. mattituck aviation corp. http://www.mattituck.com
9. sae aerospace http://www.sae.org
10. superior air parts, inc http://www.superair.com (new cylinders, ± $1,000)
11. t.w. smith aircraft engines http://wvweb.com/www/twsmith
12. tbo advisor newsletter http://www.users.aol.com/tbohome
13. textron lyc selected service data http://www.gtravis.ucs.indiana.edu/aviation/manuf.html
14. lycoming engine bulletins http://www.prime-mover.org/Aviation/Manuf.html
15 hal hunt email@example.com 4-pipe exhausts, carb airboxes (818-989-5534)
16. coolers www.oilcoolers.com Positech Intl Inc,170 N 17th St.
Wheeling, WV. 26003-7073
Aero-Classics at Pacific Oil Cooler’s web page:
Aircraft Spruce and Specialty
(SEE PARTS CATALOG SECTION)
17. firewall protective coating Fire Research Labs. http://www.firelab.com/
Try Hy-grade coatings at 1-800-783-2449.
18. check lists, O-320 AD’s, etc compiled by a long-ez builder (2001):
check list, O-235 v2.ez.org for O-235 equipped Long-EZ (download
Terry Yake’s “Guide for Non-Builder….” version 2004)
19. USAF museum engine gallery http://www.am.wpafb.af.mil/museum/engines/engine.html
20. ellison throttle body injec. www.ellison-tbi.com Hector, Marty or Ben Ellison
206-271-3220, Weld Tech Aero, 1925 Terminal Dr. Richland,
WA 99352 (NO LONGER IN BUSINESS)
21. instrumentation For contact information look in the aviation magazines):
a. Electronics International
b. JP Instruments
c. Toronto Avionics
d. Vision Micro Systems
e. Et al
22. Cleaner Filters: K&N Filters http://www.knfilters.com
23. Replacement exhaust manifold springs: Yamaha motor cycle exhaust springs, part #90507-20002,
as used on the Sport Flight exhaust and possibly others.
24. Engine Starters: 800-476-7896 http://www.skytecair.com
25. Fuel Injection www.airflowperformance.com Airflow Performance, Inc.
http://www.eci2fly.com Engine Parts, Engine Components,
26. Oil pressure switches a. SPDT, 4 psi trigger, 1/8 pipe thread, used for Hobbs and
low pressure indicator, DATCON #100450.
See Chief Aircraft catalog.
b. Belknap #701-1591, NC-Common-NO terminals that work
at 4 psi., cost $45.00. Other switches with different pressure
settings, and terminal covering caps are available.
Check the catalog at your Napa Auto Parts dealer.
27. Vacuum Pump- Dual in-line pump to improve reliability. To be available in July, 2002.
28. Skyranch http://www.sacskyranch.com/index.htm engine related
maintenance articles (Good book available)
29. Engine Rebuilding www.bpaengines.com Barrett Performance Aircraft, Inc.
2870-B North Sheridan, Tulsa, OK 74115 (Monty Barrett)
30. Engine Mounts You can get the Engine Mount for the O-235 from Ken Brock Inc.
If you need the mount for an O-320, Hal Hunt can weld on the
extra support tubes to the Ken Brock O-235 mount.
Hal Hunt http://home.pacbell.net/hal9/
Van Nuys, CA 818-989-5534
31. Oil dip stick replacement O-ring seals: http://www.realgaskets.com/files/horizontal.htm RG-533355
OIL FILLER CAP GASKET $2.50. Check for your type engine.
32. Lycoming Engine Brochure http://www3.telus.net/public/tlc2/projectpage Weights/Specs
& pictures of various
1. Replacement of the Phenolic aileron control bearings with needle bearings: Torrington.
Berkut Engineering has the wing root swivel bearings, bearing holder and C-clips
for this purpose. Give Vicki a call/email and they may be able to fix you up:
2. Pitch trim springs: Follow the designer’s recommendations. Or, Ken Miller makes a fiberglass bow spring that is connected to the elevator torque tube.
3. Electric Trim Systems: “MAC Servos” and stick grips, 760-599-4720, http://www.rayallencompany.com
4. EZ-Pilot autopilot - Trio Avionics, www.trioavionics.com Download free manual for features and unique uses
5. Navaid “Autopilot”, 641 N. Market St., Chattanoga, TN 37405, 423-267-3311
6. Digitrak Autopilot: TruTrak Flight Systems, Inc., http://www.trutrakflightsystems.com
7. The aileron hinge pin replacement kit is available at http://www.uslan.com/hinge-kit.html
8. Teflon covered hinge pin material: Gary Hall at http://www.uslan.com/hinge-kit.html
9. Aileron pushrod inserts: These CS-51 inserts that work with the Long-EZ CP 103 changes are made of stainless so the rod end threads won't rust in place. They are longer to accommodate the longer shank of the HM-4's. –Contact Rick Girard at, firstname.lastname@example.org
1. fuselage trim: trim graphics, http://www.autotrimexpress.com
2. “How to” videos by Eric Cobb COLCOB@SYV.COM
3. Linear Actuators: www.uslinear.com or http://www.thomsonindustries.com/sections/overviews/Acquisition_FAQ.htm That is the Global Linear or the predecessor Warner Electric’s web page. They can point you to a distributor of actuators. Warner Electric, 1300 N. State St., Marengo, IL 60152 815-568-8001 Models: Electrak 1, Linear actuator S12-17A8-04, 12VDC (4" travel) or S12-17A8-06 12 VDC (6" travel), 75lb load rating, 9307-448-002 Also try: http://www.globallinear.com/sections/products/Products_main.asp?PC=8900103&L
3.a. Electric Landing Brake System: Wayne Lanza, 9425 Honeysuckle Dr., Sebastian, FL 32967 (407-664-8953 office). He has a website at http://www.compositedesigninc.com
4. Featherlite composite structures: email@example.com or phone them at (707) 462-2939
5. Canopies: Todd's Canopies, Todd Silver (http://www.kgarden.com/todd), or Airplane Plastics Co. 8300 Dayton Rd., Fairborn, OH 45324, 513-864-5607, or Airplane Plastics 9785 Julie Court, Tipp City, OH 45371 (937) 669-2677
6. AEROGRAPHICS: N-numbers for A/C, 80336-9633
7. NACA AIR INLET DOORS, Gene Zabler 414-886-5315
8. UPHOLSTERY, Alexander Aeroplane Co., 909 Griffin, GA 30224, 800-831-2949
a. Canopy Covers: Bruce/Debbie Elkind, 13414 S. Praire, Hawthorne, CA 90250 310-644-9090
b. Tony Brazier - covers part of the nose, the canopy, and the prop of Long-EZ and sells for just
over $100.) Custom Cabin Covers, P.O. Box 77031, Ocala, FL 34477, 352-237-1811
9. c. Canopy covers/Aircraft covers: http://www.covergirlaircraftcovers.com/
10. Nuts and Bolts, hardware: see the listed catalog companies
11. Transparent Fuel Sight Gauges: Vance Atkinson, mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
12. Wheel Pants: a. Lightspeed engineering, email@example.com (Klaus Savier)
13. b. Also ask Central States Assoc. members for loan of molds to make your own
14. Vortex Generators: See Parts Catalog section, Aircraft Spruce or http://www.mywebco.com
15. Epoxies: Aeropoxy, 800-421-1518,
16. Space-Saver Circuit Breaker Panel, Try Hal Hunt, (818-989-5534), firstname.lastname@example.org.
17. Hexcell Honeycomb material: Try Wrightwood Racing in Ventura, CA. They will charge a bit more, but will do half sheets. Anything you do with honeycomb must be vacuum bagged for proper adhesion.
For dry carbon cloth:
http://www.kemstar.com/index.html. Also try
and Graphite Master 3815 Medford St. Los Angeles, CA 90063-1940 Phone: (323)268-6701.
19. Nose lift suppliers: Jack Wilhelmson’s web site: "www.EZnoselift.com". Steve Wright’s email: SWrightFLY@aol.com. Bill Oertel - See “Guide for Non-Builder….”
20. Gas Springs: Look here and then try buying it from the local NAPA, RV, or auto parts stores. http://www.spdhardware.com/gs2.htm
Deborah Iwatate is still around (as of October, 2003) and
still has the EZ alteration/parts booklets available. For anyone interested in
purchasing a copy for $20 (including US S&H), here's Deb's info:
1699 April Loop
22. Fuel Sight Gauges by Vance Atkinson: http://home.comcast.net/~nostrom56/index.html
23. Fuselage structural repair and related composite airframe support: Valerie and Robert Harris (both A&P’s with a lot of type experience) 901-476-5376, or VHARRIS509@AOL.COM
1. For brake pads, brake calipers, tires, brake line tubing, fittings, wheels and brake disks, see the Parts Catalog section. Wicks Aircraft Supply www.wicksaircraft.com and Aircraft Spruce http://www.aircraftspruce.com both carry these parts.
2. Nose Lift (Electro-mechanical) Manufacturers:
a. Bill & Donna Oertel, 3216 Bronco Lane, Norco, CA 92860-1817, 909-738-8300 email@example.com
b. Jack Wilhelmson, 686 Pelzer Dr. Mt Pleasant, SC 29464-3556, 803-884-5061 firstname.lastname@example.org
c. Steve Wright: http://www.canard.com/noselift, http://bluemountainavionics.com/
3. Ken Brock Manufacturing, 11852 Western Ave. Stanton, CA 90680 (714-898-4366) – manual nose gear retract mechanism
4. Tires: The small tires formerly known as Lamb, are now called Cheng Shin. Wicks and Aircraft Spruce carry them. Try also Stan Susman at email@example.com. He has the 11.400x5 main tire for $14.50 and the nose tire for $9.00 Prices include tubes (current as of October, 2000).
For 5.00x5 retreads (retreads wear better than new) $35 per tire, Williamson Tire Company
Home page: http://members.aol.com/jamesl1013/tires/wilkerson.html (Virginia)
5. Brakes/wheels -- A new brake said to work better than Cleveland or Matco is Grove Aircraft. Buy direct from - www.groveaircraft.com
6. Bill Theeringer’s Nose Gear Ratchet, http://184.108.40.206/homepages/composite_aircraft_accessories/nosegear.htm
1. Workshops sponsored by EAA: SportAir, 800-967-5746, www.sportair.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
2. The AeroElectric Connection: A great reference by Bob Nuckolls who draws from his engineering experiences in the aviation industry. It contains the theory, operation, design, and fabrication techniques for almost every aircraft electrical issue you will ever encounter. (316-685-8617)
1. Aircraft Parts network (Australia) http://bilby.wn.com.au/gol/aviation/apn/timsjump.html
2. Vortex Generators – molded polycarbonite, http://www.mywebco.com/cci/, or from Aircraft Spruce.
Part No. 05-00001 VORTEX GENERATOR KIT LONG-EZ, http://www.aircraftspruce.com
3. Small Parts, Inc.: another good company for small (prototype) quantities of needed metals (brass rod, aluminum tubing, Delron, nylon rod, etc). www.smallparts.com
4. McMaster-Carr: a huge catalog company with an on-line connection for silicon rubber sheets, bakelite, Teflon rods, tools and many more kinds of unique products, http://www.mcmaster.com
5. Metric parts: Go to http://rswww.com It's a European version of McMaster Carr.
6. For other needs, reference a copy of Sport Aviation or Kitplanes, and look in the advertisers’ section.
7. Long-EZ Suppliers & Services: This is a reference source of about 100 listings applies to all the composite canards with names and phone numbers: www.machines.com/homebuilt/ezsupplier.html
8. Wicks Aircraft Supply, 410 Pine Street, Highland, IL 62249 - 800-221-9425 www.wicksaircraft.com
8. Aircraft Spruce and Specialty Company
900 S. Pine Hill Rd., Griffin, GA 30223, 877-477-7823 (or) email: http://www.aircraftspruce.com
9. Chief Aircraft: www.chiefaircraft.com
10. Cleveland Brake, 800-272-5464, source for larger brakes from Cleveland
11. San-Val, many engine parts, 818-786-8274
12. Wag-Aero, Inc., Box 181 1216 Norta Rd, Lyons, WI 53148
13. Aircraft Tool Supply Company: 800-248-0638, http://www.aircraft-tool.com They sell desiccant among other things. It comes in many formats.
14. http://www.thomasregister.com/olc/sphinx/ Sphinx sells all kinds of desiccant drying material.
15. Aircraft bolts, nuts, pulleys, SS cable, pins, and other assorted surplus piece parts. Try calling B&B Aircraft Supplies (Danny Brown) at 913-884-5930 in Gardner, KS
16. Edmunds Scientific: http:/www.scientificonline.com, 800-728-6999 http://www.edmundoptics.com/Find/Find.cfm?query=fiber&
17. Debbie Iwatate’s EZ mods: 1699 April Loop, Richland, WA 99352, DEBIKO@3-CITIES.COM
18. Landing Brake Actuators: The Motion Industries electric linear actuator (Electrac model S12-17A8-04CE) through Brian Perin at Motion Industries, 858 E. 5th St. Oxnard, CA 93030. 805-487-4877. E-mail address is email@example.com. They are rated at 75 lbs. The single lot price is $161.00 plus shipping.
1. Gary Hertzler, Mesa, AZ, mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Craig Catto, Mokelumne, CA 209-754-3553, http://www.cattoprops.com
3. Performance Props, 602-394-2059
4. Ted’s Props, Ted Hendrix, now out of business (business bought by Robear in Chicago area, but different style and nothing like Ted’s Props. Negative business performance history.)
5. Warnke Props, 602-682-2550
6. B&T, Bruce Tiffts, business sold, now try Featherlite: email@example.com or (707) 895-2718 (may no longer be making props)
Sensenich Wood Propellers, 813-752-3711, http://www.sensenichprop.com
8. Great American, out of business
Prince Aircraft Co., P-Tip props, Waterhouse, OH, 419-877-5557, firstname.lastname@example.org
10. MT Propellers, electrically adjustable, 386-736-7762, mailto:email@example.com
11. Ed Sterba Aircraft Propellers: 941-778-3103
12. Amar Demouth propellers (410) 461-4329, metal leading edges
13. SAE1 versus SAE2: The bolt circle (BC) diameter of SAE 1 is 4.375 (4 3/8). SAE 2 is 4.75(4 3/4).
14. Prop Extensions:
http://www.geocities.com/sabermfg/ Sam Tillman, the new owner of Sabre,
claims they have never had a single structural failure in the 6 years of making
SABRE MANUFACTURING, 3601 NASSAU COURT, GRANBURY, TX 76049
1. Check the parts catalogs
1. ELECTRIC HEATERS for the shop area: www.northerntool.com (Ceiling –mounted auto heater, model FUH5-4, 270 CFM, thermostatic control, 240 V, 5,000 watts, 17,065 BTU/hr at 21 amps.
2. RESIN MEASURING TOOLS: Use a volume ratio pump from one of the parts suppliers, or use an electronic postal scale (accuracy of 0.1 ounces) from an office supply store if you know weight ratio.
DC VARIABLE POWER
SUPPLY – Use it to power your electric socks or other winter weather flying
apparel. If you're not adverse to assembling and soldering a small electronic
PCB, check out the 12 VDC motor speed controller at:
1. weather, 300+ sites http://cirrus.sprl.umich.edu/wxnet/servers.html
2. west star aviation,inc http://www.iti2.net/weststar
3. Weather iformation: http://www.avweb.com
(links to many wx web sites)
(WXP weather proc.)
(univ of Ill weather world page)
(noaa weather info superhwy)
(USA Today weather pages)
(graphic plotting of pireps, turbulence, icing conditions, etc)
(neural net icing forecasts)
4. European weather info: http://www-imk.physik.uni-karlsruhe.de/metbest.html
5. Weather Data -- http://adds.aviationweather.noaa.gov/projects/adds/
6. Check out this new ice prediction tool. Move your mouse up and down the table to the left to see results. http://cdm.aviationweather.noaa.gov/cip/
7. Temporary Flight Restrictions resulting from 9-11-01: Check this site for locations: http://www.aerochart.com/mapping/tfr.cfm
8. Check it out...it's free...good for when you are traveling.
877 269-2967 www.anyawos.com
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