Power to the Panel!

subsonex-panel-test

When you're elbow deep in wiring, it is motivating once in awhile to clear all of the debris, check all the connections, and apply some voltage to the input side of the airplane, just to watch things light up! (Note all of those caveats - applying power with dangling power and ground wires can lead to grief when electrons flow where they aren't supposed to - test smart!) Continue reading "Power to the Panel!"

All of Us are Smarter than Any of Us

One of the best things about this job is the number of contacts I get from members of the homebuilding community - It's like being at Oshkosh every day of the year! I get information on new projects, old projects, what people are working on... and questions, like the one below. The thing is - while I pride myself on knowing a lot of aviation trivia, I also find that the more I learn, the more I learn that I still don't know. Yup - there are obscure, limited edition (or even one-off) airplanes that have escaped my notice. Many of them in fact. Continue reading "All of Us are Smarter than Any of Us"

Me and the Val

Valkyrie--RV-8

It is so easy to take things for granted when you have had them for a long time. I've been flying my RV-8, which I named "Valkyrie" since 2005 - just about 1900 hours ago on the old airframe clock. We've been from coast to coast and border to border together, flown in good weather, flown in bad. We've carried camping gear to Oshkosh and Christmas presents to Minnesota. Her panel has changed and evolved, with new equipment coming through for testing - some of it staying, some being replaced by other things. There are signs of wear here and there - a dirty spot on the paint behind the throttle where my arm rests, a small dent in the wing where I dropped a screwdriver once... but overall, she's a good and capable ship that keeps on giving enjoyment, even though she doesn't fly as many hours each year because her siblings need time as well. Continue reading "Me and the Val"

It Starts With One Pair of Pliers

collection ot pliers

The job was to remove and replace a cotter pin (in order to remove and replace a clevis pin) in the nose-wheel well of the Subsonex. A simple task--all I needed was a pair of needle nosed pliers. Except that I'd done such a neat job of putting that pin in (on the workbench, before the assembly was installed), I needed a dental pick to pry the edge up. Then, of course, the needle nose wouldn't grip, so I needed a pair of dikes. That finally got it out - but of course, getting each new tool required climbing up from the floor and going to the tool box. Continue reading "It Starts With One Pair of Pliers"

Getting Fuelish

Fuel flows in from the right, through the filter, the shut-off valve, and the red cube - then on to the engine.

One of the interesting things about the Subsonex kit is that it is easy to skip around from one task to another as you're building. If I get tired of attaching piano hinges for control surfaces for instance, I can jump over to installing the oxygen system. Exhausted by working down in a footwell to install a ruder pedal? Time to go work on the fuel system! Continue reading "Getting Fuelish"

Engine Day!

SubSonex turbojet engine

I know that "Kneeboard Notes" is supposed to be about flying as well as building--but winter weather seems to have settled into our little valley on the eastern side of the Sierra, and this week has presented low clouds, snow, freezing mist--all of those things that tell you not to open the hangar door. But that's OK - there's lots of building on on in the shop. Today, however, in addition to building we spent all day keeping an eye out for the FedEx truck because it was Engine Day! Engine Day - the special holiday celebrated by all homebuilders when a package worth at least a third of the completed aircraft arrives. In our case - more like 50%... Continue reading "Engine Day!"