It's been an odd winter for our area - lots of low cloud days and precipitation here in the Lake Tahoe region - and that has limited the fun flying ever since November. But today was a Saturday that dawned calm and clear... and there were missions to be flown! Instead of setting up to fly the jet, I took off at the crack of dawn in our RV-3, headed south to rendezvous with my wife in Bishop, California for breakfast. She has ben spending the week there doing some cycling training with an old teammate of hers form their glory days with USA Cycling, and I thought I'd drop in to see how they were doing - and have breakfast at the marvelous Schat's Bakery, familiar to any Californian who has traveled the eastern Sierra. Continue reading "An Aviating Day"
The little jet actually does just what it is supposed to do - and it looks good doing it!
We've now made three flights in the airplane I am calling "Loki" (The trickster from the Nordic sagas), and each one has been interesting. It had ben over three years since I last flew a Subsonex, and since there really is no way to get current other than to fly one, it was interesting to get re-acquainted with the flying qualities. On our first flight, we discovered that we need to re-rig the ruddervators to provide more "down" elevator, so we kept that flight short. The second and third flights proved that we got that right, and that the airplane is going to be fun, fun, fun! Continue reading "Yup... It Flies!"
There's a new jet in town - N958PD, the Subsonex kit formerly known as "the project" received its airworthiness certificate today after a thorough inspection by Inspector Gerry Rose of the Reno FSDO, thereby officially becoming an airplane. It was a pleasure working with Gerry, who exemplifies an attitude of civil service that I wish would be copied by everyone that works for the public. He did not only a great inspection of the airframe for me (finding a couple of hardware nits that we all had missed), but his preparation of the paperwork was top notch. He worked hard to make sure that we had all of the possible permissions we could get in our Operating Limitations, and a test area large enough to give us numerous landing areas for the jet in our desolate part of the world. And although that test area includes the restricted areas servicing NAS Fallon, we think we'll stay well clear of the Top Gun students based there - we might be a jet, but we don't have the armament... Continue reading "It's a Plane!"
With the first engine start and initial taxi testing out of the way (see and hear it below), the little jet is cocooned in the shop, awaiting the arrival of the paint master - John Stahr of Stahr Design, noted for airbrush work on aircraft large and small. And they don't come much smaller than the SubSonex! After months of back and forth design work, we've settled on a concept that we like and John is enthusiastic about. Paint jobs are always a matter of taste, and trying to please every eye is impossible - but if you look back at the airplane as you leave the hangar saying "I still like that" years later, you know you've hit the mark. Continue reading "Ready for Paint!"
OK, so you've driven the last rivet, and hung the last hinge. The airplane is ready for inspection, and all you have to do is pour fuel in and fly... it's finished! Continue reading "Graduation Day"
It's nice to have a milling machine, and even nicer to have a specific task for which it is well suited!
The flaps in the original Subsonex were manual, with a lever on the left side of the cockpit. A recent change added an electric option, and I went with that in my jet - which meant I needed a place for a flap switch. I managed to shoehorn a DPDT toggle switch into the only available space on the left side of the cockpit, but the old human factors and cockpit design engineer in me just wasn't happy with a simple toggle bat for an important switch. Continue reading "Making Chips for a Purpose!"