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"

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!"

What Do You Suppose...

mystery delivery by UPS from Zenith Aircraft

Now what do you suppose is in such an odd-shaped box? I figure that UPS and FeedEx drivers (not to mention the long-suffering local mail carriers) have given up trying to guess what shows up with such frequency at homebuilder's houses across the globe. Especially when you reach than final few percent before final inspection, you'll be placing orders for fittings, nuts, screws, and what-knots several times a week - and they all show up at the door or mailbox these days. Continue reading "What Do You Suppose..."

Dropping in on Glasair

Glasair's Assembly hangar, with two airplanes going through the Two-Week-to-Taxi program.
Glasair's Assembly hangar, with two airplanes going through the Two-Week-to-Taxi program.

I had the opportunity to pop up to Arlington, Washington the other day to visit Glasair, maker of the Sportsman and home of their Two Week to Taxi program. I hitched a ride with engineers from Click-Bond, a company famous for aerospace fasteners, based near my home in Carson City. Click-Bond employees - along with the winners of GAMA's "Build-A-Plane" competition will be building a Sportsman in June, and we'll be following along as they learn about homebuilding while showing just how many places they can use Click-bond nutplates, stand-offs, and other goodies. Anyone who has ever built using standard riveted on nutplates will appreciate not having to drill, deburr, and countersink for AN3 rivets, as these little gems glue on using a special adhesive that is used throughout commercial and military aviation. (My first exposure to their products was during training for the International Space Station program, where we used their products as hole patches in case of hull breeches by micrometeoroids.) Continue reading "Dropping in on Glasair"