Old Dog... New Trick?


So I opened a fresh box of Tempest oil filters today, and on top of the filters was the notice that you see in the picture. Imagine my surprise - someone has come up with a new trick when it comes to installing oil filters! If you don't want to go get your reading glasses for the fine print, it says that you're no longer supposed to dip you finger in the old oil to lightly coat the gasket with lubricant before installing., We all do that... don't we? I mean - that's what my grandfather taught me when I was just a lad - the same way he taught my father. "No good came come of installing an oil filter dry" would be a paraphrase of what he told me, and the one time that my dad left a trail of oil behind his old Chevy after an oil change, I am sure his father blamed it on his forgetting this most basic mechanic's procedure. Continue reading "Old Dog... New Trick?"

Necessary Tedium

There comes a time when you realize that your assortment of aircraft hardware has reached a point where you have to hunt and peck your way through every drawer to find what you want - when the shear variety of nuts, bolts, rivets, and what-nots have exceeded your personal memory capacity, and it takes longer to hunt something down that it does to figure out what you're looking for. When you reach that point, its time to make some labels! Continue reading "Necessary Tedium"

Six in Six

One of the problems with living in a beautiful western mountain setting is that it is hard to maintain instrument currency. Back on the Gulf Coast, there was a runway on the flat coastal plain about eight flying minutes from our airpark that had about six approaches to its single piece of concrete - an ILS, a VOR (from somewhere), and a sack full of GPS approaches. You could shoot the ILS in one direction, loop around and catch a GPS from the other, then do another ILS, grab the Back Course the other way, shoot the GOS from the ILS side - then pick one more, and you were done in less than an hour with you six month's worth of currency. And, of course, it paid to keep current, because there were always opportunities to fly real IFR, what with clouds and fronts and other weather phenomena associated with that part of the world. Out at the western edge of the Great Basin, we rarely have clouds worth the name - and when we do, they have ice in them. The mountains stick up far enough that the approach minimums are above those for VFR flight - so as we say, you can always fly out over the desert, let down, and just come up a valley. Continue reading "Six in Six"

Are you Ready for AirVenture!?

Ok, so maybe you want to wait until your spot in Homebuilt Camping dries out just a little bit... but Oshkosh is a great place to visit, even when the snow is a foot deep where you'd like to be parking your homebuilt. Granted, this isn't how the Chamber of Commerce would like you to envision April in the Midwest - but it happens!

Continue reading "Are you Ready for AirVenture!?"

Sunshine Clipper

Sunshine Clipper

We at Kitplanes are always looking for new and different airplanes to review, and we found this one right under our noses at the annual Sun 'n Fun Fly-in in Lakeland. It has been greeting visitors as they walk into the show from the camping area for years, and we just assumed that someone had covered it before - but sifting through our dusty archives, it is apparent this fine effort at homebuilding has been all but ignored. An unfortunate situation, and one we'll rectify here! Continue reading "Sunshine Clipper"

Belite Altimeter App - with Humidity!


Sharp-eyed readers will figure out quickly that I am no longer at Sun 'n Fun in Florida - while I might have taken the picture in an airplane at 4406' msl, its unlikely that I'd find a relative Humidity of 16.9" anywhere in Florida - at any time of the year! But the little red dongle device was something I picked up at the show from Belite Aircraft - an atmospheric sensor that connects via Bluetooth to an i-thingy (phone or tablet) and gives you access to a lot of accurate data related to pressure, temperature, and humidity. Continue reading "Belite Altimeter App - with Humidity!"