The Call

Hmmm... unknown caller from Georgia on the cell phone. With the amount of robocalls for cruise lines that seems to be generated these days, I generally let unknowns go to voice mail, but OK - I'll bite. Might be a homebuilder that needs some help! "Hello, Mr Dye? This is [name withheld]. I'm an aviation safety inspector with the FAA in Georgia." Deep breath Paul... let's see what comes next...  "I'm with the ADS-B Focus Team, and I'd like to email you the latest report for your RV-3 - there are some ADS-B exceptions that need to be addressed, and we'd like to help you out." Whew... so they didn't find out about that time when... oh, never mind... Continue reading "The Call"

Building a Jet

SubSonex jet

"If you don't do it this year, you'll be one year older when you do."
--Warren Miller

I have always enjoyed Warren Miller's ski films, not only for the beautiful imagery of snow, sky, rocks (and skiers bouncing off those rocks), but for the wonderful little pearls of wisdom Mr. Miller threw into his wry narration. I thought of my favorite of all his quotes about just "doing it" recently as we made a decision on a new airplane kit to work on in my recently completed shop. There are a lot of wonderful airplane kits and designs out there that can do amazing things, and in each of the performance categories. But ever since I got a chance to fly the little SubSonex jet a few years ago, I had this feeling that sooner or later, I was going to need another fix. And after that, another one. And then another after that... and so on. Continue reading "Building a Jet"

A Whole 'lotta Ribs!

Xenos-Motorglider-wing-ribs

Yup - that's a lot of ribs for one wing, isn't it? Finally, after a long delay building a new shop, we got back to work on our Xenos Motorglider project. Sitting behind me as I took this picture was our RV-3, noteworthy because it has just about the same wingspan tip-to-tip as this single wing for the Xenos. Like I said - a lot of ribs! Continue reading "A Whole 'lotta Ribs!"

Well THERE'S Your Problem!

Worn aluminum brake line

Our little single seater recently developed a ned to have its right brake bled--like after every few flights. We didn't let that go on more than twice before investigating. I was suspecting a leak in the bleeder valve--perhaps a piece of grit or gunk (we live in the desert after all), and a with a good disassembly and cleaning, I expected all to be well. After removing the wheel pant and noting the mass of glop surrounding the assembly, it was obvious that a good cleaning was in order, so scrubbing began. It was only after removing the gear leg fairing to expose more of the assembly that I noted a drop of red fluid on the low point of the soft aluminum tube (Versatube 3003). There was no way that was coming from the bleeder! Continue reading "Well THERE'S Your Problem!"

Nope, no, no way... flying 30+ years!

kinked fuel line

I am often amazed at just how big our margins can be in aviation. Engineering margins, that is - operational margins are as big (or as small) as pilots want to make them. Here is a good case in point. This is the right tank-to-selector fuel line off of a very early two-seat RV. It's been flying for probably well over 30 years. See that crimp? Look more closely - inside the crimp are three very sharp depressions that look like they were made with teeth from a tool of some sort. If you look inside the end of the tube with a bright light, you can actually see each individual tooth mark! Continue reading "Nope, no, no way... flying 30+ years!"

Flight Test Morning

paul-dye-test-flight

Early morning is the time for flight testing, especially in summer, and especially in the high desert! Today's mission was to do the first flight of a friend's RV-4 after he decided to upgrade from a fixed-pitch prop on a stock O-320 to a constant speed equipped O-360 with high compression pistons. I helped him build the engine from a box of parts (a Superior kit) and then he re-did the entire firewall forward, including modified cowl and just about everything else. It was a process that started the first of the year, and it took six months because, well... it took six months. That's sometimes just the way it is in the airplane world, waiting on custom parts, and then waiting again if you find a cable an inch short - and other things like that. Continue reading "Flight Test Morning"