Ahhh...Weather

Putting it away--unused. Watched the weather all day, even taxied the airplane over to the fuel pumps, but never flew. See that blue sky above the hangar? It lasted only a few minutes, and of course, just after we called the flying off. But that's the way it works.

There are a few fundamentals when it comes to aviation weather that many pilots never really get taught. These have nothing to do whatsoever with dew points, adiabatic lapse rates, winds aloft, or convective activity. No, these fundamentals relate to what we do with the information we obtain--the decision-making process that determines how we manage risk. Decision-making when it comes to weather is one at in which we stay alive. Continue reading "Ahhh...Weather"

Sorta' Old School

It turns out that next week I am going to do some flying with an old friend in his old Twin Comanche. No, it's not an experimental, but is is still a bit challenging in its own way. We're going to do some IFR currency stuff (everyone can use an IPC now and again), and when I asked him what he had for avionics, he said "A 430W and a six pack."

"HSI?" I asked... hopefully...

"Nope - old school, we'll do it the way you used to!" Continue reading "Sorta' Old School"

Awww Nuts!

The picture sort of speaks for itself, doesn't it? A long-ago completed stabilizer for our Xenos motor glider project, carefully stored in the hangar was recently abused by some workers we had bumbling around unsupervised. The good news is that this dent isn't a concern structurally. The bad news is that I don't think it is going be covered by fiberglass fairing like it would be on an RV. Such are the problems of long-term airplane building - completed assemblies can sit for a long time before being used in the final airplane, and the chances of damage due to storage accidents, corrosion, or the simple effects of entropy can take their toll. Continue reading "Awww Nuts!"

Now THAT's a compressor!

OK shop-hounds, we all like to talk about the size and quality of our air compressors, but I am humbled by what I found on a recent trip to Minnesota and the Soudan Underground Mine. This 100 psi, two-cylinder compressor supplied air for the underground mine continuously for half a century, in volumes enough to probably power every homebuilder in several states simultaneously. Continue reading "Now THAT's a compressor!"

Front Seal Tool

How many of you have replaced the front crankshaft seal on a Lycoming engine? Yeah....I see a lot of hands up, which is what I figured. These seals can last the life of an engine, or be problematic children that seal and leak and get replaced a bunch of times in a short number of hours. My hypothesis is that it all has to do with how clean you get the bore. Or what adhesive you use. Or how you hold your tongue when you apply the sealant. Or... well, you get the point - probably a lot of things. Continue reading "Front Seal Tool"

BRS Thoughts

I occasionally receive notes requesting information on ballistic recovery systems for E-AB aircraft, and questions on why you don't see more articles in Kitplanes Magazine regarding installing such systems. The truth of the matter is that while BRS chutes are pretty common in ultralight aircraft, they just haven't worked their way into that many E-AB craft... yet. Whole aircraft parachutes have so far saved quite a few lives in mishaps that have occurred in equipped aircraft, making the question of why they aren't more common an interesting one. Continue reading "BRS Thoughts"