Cruisin'

We normally take our fast RVs on longish cross-country tips, but this weekend's mission was to take some stuff down to Big Bear Lake in Southern California, and that meant we need a bit more room - so the big Tundra got the nod, trading speed for shear load-carrying capability. I'm used to fairly tight cockpits, so it was a pleasure to spread out a little - heck - we even have room and the stability to set an iPad on the glare-shield, as if a three-screen Dynon SkyView EFIS wasn't enough. Continue reading "Cruisin'"

Before and After: Tundra Tires

Tundra on Goodyear Blimp tires

Ever wondered what Tundra Tires can do for a bush plane? Here's a quick summary, based on the first couple of hours of flying our Dream Tundra after stepping up to 25.5" Goodyear "Blimp" tires. The stock tires for the Tundra are the old standard 8.50x6, and they have done a good job for the first 120 hours on the plane. They work great on pavement and improved gravel or turf strips--but they get a little nervous when the landing surface gets rougher and less improved. Or maybe its just the pilot that gets nervous--it can be hard to tell.

Continue reading "Before and After: Tundra Tires"

Basking in the Sun

You know that summer is here when you see shy fuel tanks, basking in the sun!

In this case, we were able to capture the image of our Dream Tundra fuel tanks, stripped out of the airplane and catching some rays to set up Pro-Seal patches on some leaking welds. It's all part of experimental aircraft ownership especially ownership of a kit or plans-built that doesn't have a lot of examples flying. The Tundra is a good workhorse, but we are discovering a few bugs - and the fuel tanks appear to have a couple. We've seen leaks at the welded edge seams, as well as leaks from some spot welds that hold the internal stiffeners/ribs in place. Unfortunately, consulting with other owners of flying Tundras has shown that we are not alone - similar tank leaks have cropped up on a number of other operational planes, and have been dealt with in a number of ways. Continue reading "Basking in the Sun"

Field Fixin'

We had everything but a jack- all the tools we needed to change a tail wheel on our Tundra were a set of pliers, a 3/4" wrench to pull the axle, and a pair of 7/16" sockets (and drive handles) to split the rims. Oh yeah - a source of compressed air to inflate the tube as well. Fortunately, the mountain ranch resort where we had landed for the evening was self-sufficient - they had to be, since the only way in or out is by air, or horse. So they had a bottle jack and small piece of plywood to keep it from sinking into the soil. Continue reading "Field Fixin'"

Back Country!

Ahhhh... this is what utility planes are for! They're not about getting halfway across the country in a day, not about aerobatics, and not about amenities and cup holders. They're about getting out and around places where most planes (or other forms of transportation for that matter) can't go. And the Idaho back country certainly qualifies in that regard. We spent the past couple of days exploring the valleys and mountains of this large wilderness area, a mecca for pilots that want to get far away - without having to go all the way to Alaska. Continue reading "Back Country!"

Ballast Box

One of the things we all have to do when fight testing an airplane is to fly it across the entire CG range – from full forward to full aft. In the case of a side-by-side two-seater, this generally isn’t too hard, because the CG range is actually fairly short. With a large four-seater (plus baggage), it can take a little more creativity to safely hold enough weight to get to the aft limit. By safely, I mean that we need to have the weight distributed in a structurally sound area, and SECURED so that, in the event of a mishap, it doesn’t break loose and become a missile aimed at the pilot’s head! Continue reading "Ballast Box"