JPI Rolls Out Four New Instruments

J.P. Instruments announced three new displays for twin-engine aircraft, as well as a fuel quantity instrument—all will be available in January 2009.

JPI's Ottis Cameron gave us the rundown of each display, starting with the 6.5 x 5-inch single display Twin EDM-960. Expected to sell for about $15,000 for a six-cylinder display, including all probes and leads, the all-in-one instrument displays the manifold pressure and rpm for both engines in a conventional arced display with a dual needle. In addition to the graphical display, both MP and rpm readings are displayed in a large blue box with the digital readout.

Vertical bars with dual needles display your oil temp, oil pressure, fuel pressure, volts, fuel flow and fuel quantity on the right-hand side of the display. The screen is laid out in a logical, uncluttered fashion—the arcs are clustered together, as are the bars.

The display is bright, crisp and has good contrast; in a busy cockpit, it doesn’t seem as if it would take extra brain power to integrate the information. EGT and CHT information for every cylinder is depicted graphically and numerically in the lower left quadrant of the screen, accompanied by the OAT digital readout. A USB port is installed in the instrument, allowing you to download the data in the plane without hauling your laptop out.

The flat panel EDM-760 for twin-engine planes features a bright new color 3.25 x 4-inch LCD, a real improvement over the traditional displays. Priced at about $5000 when it becomes available, the EDM-760 displays the CHT and EGT for each cylinder full-time in large, bright white digits; the appropriate cylinder number being read is highlighted in white as well. Other features include lean find, shock cooling, and long-term memory with USB downloading incorporated.

JPI’s new twin fuel flow instrument, the 3.125-inch Fuel Scan 450M, will retail for $1695 when available. It features a larger LED format readout for the flow rate, as well as total fuel numbers. It has the same format as original 450, displaying the calculation in the lower window, including total fuel used for the left or right engine, fuel remaining and time remaining.

The FQ-400 is a 2.25-inch dual fuel level capacitance instrument, showing left and right tank fuel quantity. The price point hasn’t been finalized yet, and it’s intended to be a modern replacement for the older aircraft capacitive sensors.

Aveo's RockRack Streamlines Panels

Settled quietly next to the dazzling display of AveoFlash LED aircraft lights, AveoEngineering’s selection of aircraft cockpit rocker switches demonstrated their own brand of brilliance. Called RockRack, this innovative modular system allows you to set up your dash as you wish. The sleek curved modules lock together with a dovetail design, and are backlit with LEDs to enhance readability in both bright and overcast conditions.

Available since July 27, RockRack offers 21 different backlit icons, including master switches, each lighting circuit, fuel pump, alternator and weather. Each switch takes 20 amps, is available in 12 or 24 volts, and includes integrated resistors. They have a mechanical life of 150,000 cycles, so rock away.

A pack of eight switches goes for about $286 from Aircraft Spruce, and can also be installed in certified aircraft.

WomenVenture Success

Ten-thirty a.m. August 1, in AeroShell Square at EAA's AirVenture 2008—anyone there found their way blocked by a sea of pink-shirted women that covered the concrete from the KC 135 Tanker to the Ford TriMotor to the DC-3s. An estimated 1,000 women pilots turned up to be seen and photographed in an effort to set a record as being the largest gathering of women pilots in one place at one time, ever.

"This idea, spawned by EAA consultant Patricia Luebke, has taken off," said Elissa Lines, V.P. of Development for EAA. "We hope that the sheer number of us gathered here today on AeroShell Square will inspire other women and girls to take a chance on aviation, or even just to try out flying for fun, or more."

[sc:ad180 ] So, who was there? Patty Wagstaff, Julie Clark, Debbie Rihn-Harvey, Jill Long, Jackie Warda - all air show greats, stood shoulder to shoulder with Women Airforce Service Pilots who ferried WWII aircraft and trained cadets in the 1940s, as well as engineers such as Anna Mracek Dietrich (Terrafugia) and educators, including Dr. Peggy Chabrian, President of Women in Aviation, International. Mary Grady, from AvWeb, and this reporter, despite her feelings about pink, made the trek to the square, too.

Where did they come from? All over the U.S., and abroad, too. Michelle Bassenesi, a flight instructor, flew in from Rome, Italy, where she teaches, just to be counted. Another flew her 1996 Pulsar (which she built and has flown for 1,000 hours) from Oregon, to be at this show. Two more teamed up and arrived for the first time on their own in a Cessna 172. Denise Waters, an A&P; mechanic and constant presence in the EAA KidVenture tent during the show, came to honor the spirit that drove her to build a Wheeler Express with her father.

And what did they prove? That women who fly (and several who build) do come to EAA AirVenture, and in numbers that can influence the next generation of general aviation pilots, who might just be women, too.

A Dream Comes True at Oshkosh

I’ve been coming to the EAA convention in for almost 30 years, and it has long been my dream to wing walk. Finally, after years of wondering if the ram air being forced up my nose would cause me to suffocate, I can report that it is not a problem—at least not at the speeds I was flying.

But let’s start at the beginning. In 1979, my then boyfriend and now husband, Barnaby Wainfan, convinced a wonderful gentleman to give me a ride in a Breezy, which looks like a cross between a Mitchell Wing and a jungle gym. Despite my concern that my long blond braid would get caught in the propeller 2 feet behind me, I enjoyed the flight tremendously. There’s nothing like Wisconsin flies splatting on your goggles to give you a feel for true EAA flying.

That flight convinced me that standing on top of an airplane rather than sitting on it, with the flies coming at me even faster would be exceptionally fun. In 1993, we were building Barnaby’s design, the Facetmobile, in California at the Chino Airport (motto: more cows than Wisconsin and more BS than Oshkosh). In the hangars behind us were not one but six Stearman biplanes, many of them with wing-walking rigs. I inquired as to the possibility of finding standing room over the wing and was informed that due to liability issues, it would be very difficult for me to walk on a wing in California. Bummer.
I followed several other leads: the first was a picture in a ladies’ room of an ultralight with a wing walking rig; this was followed by several conversations with the country’s leading aerobatic pilots, some of whom said they'd seen a Stearman with a wing-walker in place make an inverted about 6 inches too low. I also had a long correspondence with a curator of the Smithsonian who sent me a wonderful article about wing-walking. None of these contacts discouraged my desire or provided a clear cut path to the top of a wing.

So here I am at Oshkosh, with about a million people, and I see my chance. I’ve developed a new approach, kind of a pick-up line if you will: “Hi. I’m a rocket scientist and I’m doing research on the aerodynamics of nasal inlets. How about giving me a lift?”

Well, it worked. I passed a very expensive camera to my 10-year-old daughter Julie and literally told her to take her best shot. The pilot, Steve Hay, showed me where to put my feet so as to not damage anything on me or the aircraft. I buckled in to an ancient leather belt attached to a rusting post—Steve reassured me that “although the belt appeared old and weathered, it had securely held many a wing-walker in its day,” and it would hold me also. Then with the engine running and smoke spewing forth we were off. I now realize that I am the center of attention and an important item in an ongoing show.

I consciously tried to release my grip on the rear support and attempt a friendly smile. Having succeeded at that attempt, I relax somewhat and remember the queenly wave I’d learned from being in three Rose Bowl parades: to avoid wrist fatigue, rotate your hand as if you’re screwing in a light bulb. This was beginning to be a fun fulfillment of a childhood dream.

So we’re off, but not yet airborne. We are taxiing and I am gripping, and screwing a light bulb, and Julie takes what I think is a particularly unflattering picture. At this point I’m having a ball, but I remember my concern about the ram air pressure up my nose. I yell down to Steve, but he can’t hear me over the noise of the engine. As we accelerate across the ramp, I figure it’s best not to worry too much; if I’m going to die, I might as well not die all clenched up.

Fortunately, we don’t get going that fast and I am reminded of my wedding day. I’d been looking forward to it for years, it was very enjoyable, and before I know it, it was over. Steve was helpful, actually grabbing my feet and guiding them down every step of the way. The flight service was better than any FBO I’ve ever visited.

Oh, I guess I should mention the type of aircraft I walked on. It’s not so much an aircraft as an ornithopter (from the Latin word meaning “acme flapping bird”). Its performance characteristics are less than stellar: top speed 5 knots, max altitude 0 feet above ground level, and I haven’t had more fun in a flying machine since I flew the DC-3. But that’s another story.

DeltaHawk Awarded LoPresti Innovation Prize

LoPresti Aviation has announced the winner of the first annual Roy Lopresti memorial "Innovation in Aviation Award" to DeltaHawk Engines for their development and refinement of heavy-fuel piston engines over the last 12 years. The late Roy LoPresti made significant aerodynamic improvements to light aircraft during his career, including the Grumman American line of singles and twins, the Mooney 200 and 300 series, the LoPresti (Swift) Fury, and even contributed to the Lunar Lander. His life's work of developing refinements for GA aircraft continues to this day by LoPresti Aviation.

The much anticipated DeltaHawk engine line is a liquid-cooled, inverted V4 design that burns Jet A and develops between 160 and 200 horsepower. Dry weight is claimed to be 330 pounds. According to Doers, DeltaHawk engines will be undergoing the FAA certification process shortly, and will only be offered for sale to the public once the engine installation infrastructure is fully in place to insure that finished installations are properly performed.

Doers accepted the award during a press conference held at AirVenture. LoPresti Aviation COO R.J. Seigel said of DeltaHawk "This small company has worked tirelessly for 12 years to bring a great design to market. The persistance and creativity of this company is something of which Roy would have approved."

ClickBond Fasteners Streamline Construction

Having just spent a couple days replacing traditional cowling nutplates before coming to the show, I was intimately familiar with laying out the rivet holes for each one, drilling two different hole sizes, deburring, dimpling, and flush-riveting.

Then I heard there was a better way. With the ClickBond system, there's only one hole to drill, some two-part glue to mix up, and the "installation fixture" to hold everything tight until the adhesive fully cures. Time savings? About 80 percent.

Frankly, the "installation fixture" just cracked me up. It looks for all the world like a rubber worm that you might find in the bottom of your tackle box, only with some precise tapers to it. It's simplicity itself to run it through the hole to hold the fastener tight, and then pulls right out with good tug after the glue sets up. The adhesive comes in two flavors, the $12 variety that sets up in under an hour, and the $20 high-strength stuff that takes 24 hours to cure. Each one is enough for about 50 fasteners.

If you screw one up and want to remove it after the glue has cured, it can be done with the application of some heat from a heat gun to about 350F degrees and the fastener will peel off. If you have a composite structure, however, some care is required to avoid overheating what's underneath.
Currently in use by the military and commercial aircraft builders, the ClickBond system is gaining significant ground among homebuilders. Of course, it won't replace traditional fasteners in structural applications, but they're perfect for, say, installing cowling or fairing fasteners. "Sure, they're more expensive," says ClickBond's Tim Anderson. "They run from a buck and a half to two bucks each. But they really save time. What's worth more, your time or your money?"