Engine Day!

SubSonex turbojet engine

I know that "Kneeboard Notes" is supposed to be about flying as well as building--but winter weather seems to have settled into our little valley on the eastern side of the Sierra, and this week has presented low clouds, snow, freezing mist--all of those things that tell you not to open the hangar door. But that's OK - there's lots of building on on in the shop. Today, however, in addition to building we spent all day keeping an eye out for the FedEx truck because it was Engine Day! Engine Day - the special holiday celebrated by all homebuilders when a package worth at least a third of the completed aircraft arrives. In our case - more like 50%... Continue reading "Engine Day!"

And we're off!

Subsonex Jet ruddervator clecoed

Yes--the new kit is here! Our Subsonex project got underway just this weekend, starting with a complete inventory (of a very complete kit). With all of the bits and pieces stored away in ways that they can be found, I opened the plans to a reasonable place to start, and pulled out the parts for the stabilizers. My first impression was "wow - this is amazing". My second impression was "Wow - this is going to go together fast!" All parts are match-hole construction - that means that you can grab a handful of silver clecos and fasten ribs to spars, and skins to ribs, all without pulling out a drill. Continue reading "And we're off!"

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 New Racing Class at Reno?

Reno PRS 2018 SubSonex Photo: Curtis Noble

Anyone that has an interest in air racing knows that the National Championship Air Races held in Reno, Nevada each September bring racing in a number of different aircraft classes. The biplanes, Formula 1, and Sport classes all feature homebuilts. The T-6, Unlimiteds, and Jet classes bring the noise and speed of the warbirds. But these classes aren't static, and over the years, new groups have appeared. It might take awhile for them to take hold, but where there are airplane drivers arguing over the speed of their particular machine, there is the possibility of a race! Continue reading "A New Racing Class at Reno?"

More Soaring

Chad Sanders and his jet-powered glider
Chad Sanders

Meet Chad Sanders - Chad took an inexpensive (and ubiquitous) Schweitzer 1-26 sailplane and built a beautiful mount for a pair turbojets - and now he has a jet-powered, self-launching sailplane that can get him from the flatlands of the California Central Valley up to the hills where he can find lift to go soaring - and then back to his home base when he's had enough fun! Continue reading "More Soaring"