Posts

  • Tri-Motor

    My good old friend Jay Stiles came to visit with his family. So happy to have them. On Saturday we went to the Ford Tri-Motor event at Goodyear airport. Rob Mooi and his boys also joined us. What a blast! This plane was build in 1928, 90 years ago! I...
  • Rear Bulkhead

    Despite fear of future parts not fitting, I riveted the rear bulk head together. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that everything will fit fine. Denny Smith and Jim Armstrong, both Sonex builder, came by to check out my work. These guys are full of experience and fun stories. Suprisingly, they...
  • Rear Fuselage

    Tristan’s 6ths Birthday was last week end. It was a blast. Preparations began last Friday. On Monday I began indoctrination to be a pilot for Elite Flight Jets. Exciting! In the mist of all that I was able to knock out a couple more parts for the fuselage (two middle...
  • Tail Trophies

    Lots got done today. The vertical and horizontal tail are done. (fist pump) Yeah! The horizontal tail is 7 feet long without a flat surface to rest on the floor safely. So, in what appears to be tradition amonst home builders, I mounted it to the wall, along with the...
  • Tail Almost Done

    Riveting was the name of the game in the morning. I pulled one or two rivets and the horizontal tail was all attached. Next I revisted the horn ribs that I drilled to short. I cut these out of fresh sheet aluminum and bent them to shape. It was all...
  • Eclipse Jet

    I flew a jet! And it was awesome! Flying the Eclipse Jet 550 was quite a bit easier than I’d imagined and not all that unsimilar from flying my Cirrus. This flight when straight into my logbook as my first turbine time and my first multi-engine time. How cool?! How,...
  • Back From Mexico

    It’s been a while. Back at the beginning of March, Rod, the founder of FlyOtto and OpenAirplane was in town for some news interviews. He and I hung out and went flying for a couple days. Then I was off on spring break last week. I had a great time...
  • Fiberglass Tips, Take 2

    Drilled out the rivets for the elevator horn. Some rivets are a cinch. Other’s really didn’t want to come out. In the end, no major damage. I think I’ll be able to rivet the new ribs back in and no one will be able to tell that it was redone....
  • Oops!

    My first significant mistake occurred today. I attached the left and right elevators 1/8” too close together on the horn. See the first pic. As I was drilling the holes for the horn attachment, a voice inside my head said “Wait! Don’t attach the horn yet!” I debated with myself...
  • Parts Arrived

    At last! Two and a half months after ordering this kit, all the parts arrived. Just in time too. To complete this horizontal stabilizer, I need the horn (black piece in second picture) which was one of the backordered items that just arrived. You can see that I riveted it...
  • Horizontal Tail

    On Friday I did a flight for FlyOtto to Montrose Colorodo. The couple wanted to go to Telluride, which is a convenient airport nestled into the mountains minutes away from the ski resort, but it was closed due to bad weather. Montrose is the closest airport, an hour drive north...
  • Oh It's a Plane

    “Oh. It’s starting to look like an airplane.” That what people said when they walked into my shop today. And by the end of the day I finished the the vertical tail. (whew) See the first pic. Welding the spars and the ribs was uneventful. That vertical tail tip though…...
  • Pinpointed Peers

    Finally I connected with fellow Sonex builders in the Phoenix area, John and Dennis. John built the full size Sonex and seems to have a reputation in the valley. He invited me to see his bird on Saturday, and put me in contact with Dennis. Dennis is building a OneX...
  • Got Hardware?

    It’s been over a week! I had a nice visit with my aunt and uncle last week, and then my wife and I got started on taxes. But I’m back on the plane. The hardware arrived yesterday. It came in these nice trays and a rack that you can see...
  • Fuselage Fun

    Build a bunch of parts today on the fuselage. Much of the work is the same as before. Oh, Rob did help me builds a couple small spring mounts on Sunday. Thanks Rob! The big stuff today was the skins and longerons. The skins were big, like 7’ long, left...
  • Murdering Metal

    Any passer-by who looked at the floor and/or workbench of the shop today would think we were in the business of torturing and butchering extruded aluminum, if there was such a business. Shavings, dust, and twizzles of aluminum all over the place. We toyed with the idea if burning it...
  • Ode to a CNC

    CNC: Computer Numerical Control - These are the machines that cut detailed metal pieces perfectly whether by cutting bits, water, or lasers. We started on the fuselage, because it has many parts to work on without need of missing hardware. The one we started with was a doozy. It was...
  • Pickled Engine

    Installed the secondary ignition stator. This involved a lot of removing, sanding, reinstalling, repeat. The stator (metal pickups that “stay” in place) is baked in a potting material to hold it all in place I presume. Unfortunately I should have taken a picture, but it’s on the inside of the...
  • Return to the Engine

    With my dad’s help we installed the accessory plate along with the primary ignition magnetrons. On the back side of the engine is a flywheel that spins with the crank upto 2,500 RPM. Attached to it is a powerful magnet. On the circumference are two magnetron, that generate a spark...
  • Got Dad's Help

    My parents came to visit, and my dad is helping me this week. You’ll see him drilling pilot holes in a critical piece. He did a fine job. We finished part of a part, needing missing hardware to complete it. Sonex said I should get the hardware by Feb 18-20....
  • Getting the Hang of It

    Tristan comes into my shop with a Lego he just built. Tristan: “Isn’t this a cool Lego Dad?” Me: “Yeah, it is! It looks like a plane with a big gatling gun on the front.” Tristan: “Yeah. I want you to have it to help you build your plane. If...
  • Tailwheel Achievement Unlocked

    That’s right. I got my tailwheel endorsement. That means when I finish building this plane, which may be several months from now, I can fly it. Rock on! This afternoon, without help to put the engine back on the bench, I started on a different tail parts. It bothersome to...
  • Waiting Game

    Working on the rear tail spar, I came to the point where I need some bolts, aviation grade bolts, but I couldn’t find them anywhere in the kit supplies. Called Sonex. Finally figured out the the aviation hardware comes in a seperate kit from a third party. We found the...
  • Horizontal Tail

    First aluminum part complete! First, following EAA’s helpful hint, I set up to be a part for the the tail front spar. Once everything was all set up (see first picture) the actual bending was almost too easy. This desired angle is 22.3° with 1/2” radius. The first bend I...
  • Filing/Deburring

    Now that I have the plans, and the engine is waiting on parts, I have nothing to stop be from building the rest of the plane…. except my lack of know-how. So I read a book this weekend. Kit Airplane Construction” by Ronald J. Wanttaja. It was great. I learned...
  • Workbench & Tools

    Last night I was reading through the plans I realized two things: 1) I have a shortage of workbench space. The moment I take the plans (3x2’) out into the garage, I loose at least six square feet of tabletop space. 2) I’m gonna have to bend these metal parts...
  • Oil's the Word

    Oil Sump This was my first task of the day. Turns out the plate holes didn’t line up with the bolts (see picture). I pulled out my drill press and widened the holes. Then it fit. However, this was the first use of the inch-pound torque wrench and I didn’t...
  • Not All Roses

    It occurred to me that I might be over-simplifying the work involved in assembling the engine. It’s not quite like Legos, or Ikea furniture. It’s not all roses. There’s quite a bit of finagling, undoing, redoing, rigging, etc… Before I get into details, I took another flight lesson today for...
  • Engine Work Continues

    Flywheel arrived! I got it Monday like Sonex promised but I wasn’t able to work on it until today. And boy what a productive day! Yesterday, double tailwheel lesson. Practiced all kinds of landings, even one-wheel landings…. freaky… and awesome! Today I: Married the two halves of the casing together....
  • Shipping Shenanigans

    Wondering why my missing parts were taking so long to arrive, I checked the tracking numbers on UPS and saw that two packages had been delivered to my porch in the last couple days. But there was nothing on my porch. Looking closer I saw that they had been delivered...
  • In the Mean Time

    Started the day with another tailwheel lesson in a Piper Super Cub (see picture below). We practiced “3-point ladings”, where all three wheels touch the ground at the same time. Accoring to my instructor, Larry, this is the default or preferred landing technique in tail draggers. It feels a bit...
  • Progress on Engine

    Finally! I did some real assembly of the engine today. 1) First thing in the morning, as I was preparing breakfast for my family, I put the timing gear and prop hub to bake in the oven. The crankshaft assembly went seamlessly. The icy cold crankshaft came out of the...
  • Paint & Crankshaft Prep

    Had another flight lesson this morning to work on my tail dragger endorsement. I greased the first landing (that’s good), but the second and third indicate I need more practice. The paint for the engine casing had’nt arrived yet so I started on the crankshaft assembly. Turns out the crankshaft...
  • Engine Casing Prep

    Still no planes for construction. So I’ve begun the engine assembly. First step, wash the engine casing. Debris is left in the casing due to final machining. Washed it out with soapy water and compressed air. Second, prepare to paint the casing. Cool. I get to make the engine look...
  • Composites Last Day

    Second and last day of the composites workshop. The instructor, Scott Vanderveen is an inspriting guy. Every other tool he pulls out is a tool he built himself. Like a hot wire CNC machine, 3D printed molds and rigs, temperature sensor/switch… It makes me excited to build my own tools...
  • Composite Plane Construction

    Woke up at 4am and flew to Las Vegas. Beautiful night skyline as I came in for landing into McCarran. The composite construction workshop is great; really educational. We’re learning about the fibers, core, filler, and resin material used to build modern aircraft. So many possibilities. Composites allow for more...
  • Break Down and Ramp Up

    Sonex straightened out most of the missing and extra parts I cataloged yesterday. With all the parts accounted for, I broke down the boxes, chopped up the crate for firewood, and packed all the recyclebles in a box. Not as small a task as you might think. Since I didn’t...
  • Taking Inventory

    The OneX is a “tail dragger”. Most GA airplanes these days have a tricycle gear configuration where there’s a wheel under the nosea along with gears on each wing. Tail dragers have the third wheel on the tail instead of the nose. It’s old-school. And the FAA says pilots need...
  • Kit Arrives!

    Roughly 800 lbs divided into 8 boxes arrives in a big truck. No forklift or liftgate so I got to move it all off the truck and into the garage. grunt So many pieces and parts; hundreds, thousands if you count individual rivets. I unboxed pretty much everything and tried...

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