How many times have you been working in the depths of your aircraft's fuselage, a flashlight in your mouth, and a work light burning a hole in your trousers (and not providing any light while it was doing it) and wished for better lighting? I have been a cave explorer on and off throughout my life, and I'll tel you what - it was just a good preparation for working in a light airplane's fuselage! Continue reading "Light it Up!"
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!"
The Idaho back country is a piloting Mecca, with outstanding scenery and challenges to any level of aviator. From large, relatively flat strips with low difficulty ratings to those that require you to be at the top of anyone's game, you'll find places to go that can only be reached by air. Ground-bound mortals need not apply... or they need to get a horse and be ready for a few days travel. Continue reading "The Morning is for Flying"
I have always found that the success in a highly technical endeavor that encompasses a vast sea of knowledge is not about memorizing everything that you can (although some are successful at doing it that way) - but in knowing how to get ahold of the information you need when you need it. In the old days, that meant remembering which reference book you needed to got to in order to find the specifications for a particular integrated circuit, or the allowable number of defects in a Sitka Spruce spar blank... or in knowing who to go to that had that information memorized! Continue reading "Applied Research - the Search Process"
Everyone has heard it before, expressed in various ways - you build an airplane the way you eat an elephant, one bite at a time. Or "you can't build an airplane - but you can build airplane parts." Or "go to the shop every day, build parts, and sooner or later, you’ll have an airplane!" Continue reading "Eating the Elephant"
A few years back, before I took over the helm of Kitplanes, I wrote a series of articles that stemmed from a talk I was giving around the country entitled "Lessons from Mission Control." The gist of the material is that we learned many things about flying humans in space in experimental machines in my years (and my predecessors years) in NASA's human spaceflight program, and many of those lessons are directly applicable to what we do in Experimental aviation. Building a bridge and cross-pollinating those lessons can save time, money—and most importantly, lives. Continue reading "Build it Better"