Alternative Engines Volume 4 Compiled and Edited by Patrick Panzera
Published by Aeronautics Education Enterprises, Inc. Post Office Box 1382 Hanford CA 93232-1382 Patrick Panzera
www.ContactMagazine.com Copyright ÂŠ 2013 Aeronautics Education Enterprises, Inc. DBA CONTACT! Magazine All rights reserved. This book, or any part of, may not be reproduced without the permission of the publisher Printed in U.S.A. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 96-085423 ISBN 0-9643613-6-1
September 14, 1930 - November 12, 2012 Dedicated to the memory of Mick Myal, the founding editor and publisher of CONTACT! Magazine, whose vision and love of experimental aviation made all this possible.
Article Title and Description
Introduction The State of Automobile Conversions. By Patrick Panzera
Engine Specification Lie Detector. By Patrick Panzera
Mick Myal, by William Wynne
Remembering Mick Myal
We Say Goodbye to John Moyle, by William Wynne
Our Founder Checks in. Commemorating our 100th issue, by Mick Myal.
A tribute to CONTACT! Magazine artist, Jim Ewen. By Thom Sherwood.
An update from John Harlow on his Lancair ES - Chevrolet Corvette LT -1 V-8 Engine
Flying Behind an LS-1 Chevy in the "JUNK YARD DAWG" by Roger P. Flower
David Roe Checks in. Hummel Bird "Diva" builder follows up on his flutter repot.
Steve Lantz's LS6 powered Republic Seabee. Two life-long friends work together to build a show winning experimental Republic Seabee from scrap. Powered by a 405 HP LS-6 Corvette engine conversion by Brian Robinson. By Pat Panzera
Epilogue: A short note from Brian Robinson
Revised 51 Percent Rule Good News for Builders, Kit Makers. Patrick Panzera reports on the new 51 percent rule.
Ken Miller’s 4.3L Chevrolet V-6 Powered RV-6A. Stan Pitts updates us with this success story, detailing the complete disassembly and rebuild of the engine and PSRU, finding very little that needs replacing.
Chevy Powered Wheeler Express. Bud Warren of Geared Drives introduces us to his geared redrive. Mick Myal with Bud’s daughter Phyllis Ridings-Murawski, they bring us this article.
From VW to Subaru to O-200. An update by Justin Mace on his Dragonfly’s newest engine.
The Bandit: ”Mo” Bang for less Bucks. By Rob Ray How one builder set out to find an alternative to his certified O-320 installation in his RV-4, and found his answer in an airboat shop.
End of an Era: Exemption 7162 Expires. Owners of experimental aircraft could once be compensated for renting their aircraft to others who sought experimental aircraft-specific flight training can no longer be compensated.
EASA Supplemental Type Certificate for Light Speed Engineering’s PLASMA CDI on a Lycoming O-360
Aluminum Cylinders for Corvair and VW Engines. Pramod Kotwal of Nitron Inc. announces his new product line.
The Corvair Conversion. An engine intro by William Wynne.
The Corvair Phenomena by Oscar Zuniga.
The 3100cc “Big Boy” by Mark Langford .
A case for the Rinker Redrive by David Poirier, with David Stroud and Erik Meisterman.
Direct Drive Huggins Front Bearing Conversion by Wayne Burtney.
A pictorial view of Pat Panzera’s Corvair engine
The Outlaw Sonex. Del Magsam's outlaw Corvair powered Sonex by John Moyle.
UltraVair, 1/3 Corvair for ultralights, by Fletcher Burns
Chevrolet, General Motors
Continental and Lycoming
Corvair Specialty Suppliers by John Moyle. Where to find those specialty parts.
Mike Sharkey’s VW based PSRU.
Misc. Corvair information by Pat Panzera.
2700cc Corvair Engine “Condition Inspection”. Mark Langford chronicles his trails, tribulations and success with his use of the Corvair engine in his remarkable KR2S.
What the heck is nitriding? Pat Panzera gives a description of this surface hardening process.
Mark Jones' Corvair Powered KR-2S and the fifth bearing he chose to go with. Mark Jones solves his crank issues with a fifth bearing created by Dan Weseman
What's a "Front Cover"?— When converting a Corvair engine for aviation, it’s necessary to convert the bellhousing to become what’s commonly referred to as the front cover. Patrick Panzera gives a step-by-step on how to go about creating the part.
Corvair Powered CH601XL-N1777W. Corvair guru William Wynne gives an update with on his efforts with the Corvair engine conversion, as it relates to his 601 and the Personal Cruiser.
Why Wait for LSA? Written before the rule was final, this article offers an alternate solution.
Dan Weseman's Fifth Bearing. Dan Weseman reports on his development and the manufacturing of his cure for the Corvair crankshaft issues.
Roy Szarafinski’s Evolution of a Corvair 5th Bearing.— Anthony J. Liberatore visited Roy’s Garage and reports on Roy’s answer to the Corvair crank issue.
Jim Moye's Ford V-6 STOL, By Dom Brindisi and Jim Kale
3.8 liter Ford V6 powered all metal RV6. By Ted Nickel.
The Miller-Cycle engine; Mazda's best kept secret? By Pat Panzera
Switch On! Letters to the Editor
Mazda's "next generation" Remises engine for the new RX8.
274 Horsepower All Aluminum 2.3 Liters? Direct-Injection Turbocharged MAZDASPEED6 Engine. Mazda is offering 274 horsepower from a turbocharged, direct injection, gasoline engine. This 4-cylinder engine seems like a good candidate for conversion to aviation. By Pat Panzera
An update from George Graham on his 13b powered canard pusher from issue #62
Rotary Progress and Update. Ed Anderson gives us an update on his 13B installation powering his RV-6A that we reported on in earlier copies of CONTACT! Magazine, issues #49, #50, #51, and #61.
A new offering from a new supplier, Propelled Engineering. Art and Cheryl Reudko along with Ted Alexander are embarking on a new endeavor of bringing the convenience of a FWF package to the RV community first, and others as demand dictates. By Earnest Kerr
X is for Experimental; A Rotary Odyssey. A long anticipated article from rotary engine guru Tracy Crook that brings us up to date with his trials and tribulations of taming his recordbreaking RV-4.
What is Inconel? In the previous article, Tracy Crook mentions the metallic material, “Inconel.” This sidebar explains just what that is.
One-off, single rotor conversion for an Avid. A work in progress is described, detailing building a single rotor engine from a mix of available OEM parts and a few custom parts, gets the weight down and power up while hopefully not sacrificing reliability. By Richard Sohn
Bill and Linda Eslick’s rotary powered RV-6. By Bill Eslick
Article Title and Description Corvair (continued)
Decisions, Decisions, Decisions. Considering a rotary engine for your experimental aircraft? This article does its best to bring you up to speed by detailing what has worked and what may not work while the author describes his Cozy Mark IV. By John Slade
Duckt is now ductless! Perry Mick picks up where he left off in this follow-up article from Issue 60 (Volume 3), on his adventure into his ducted fan experiment, carried out with the use of his sleek Long-EZ. By Perry Mick
John Thompson's EA-81 powered Kitfox IV-1200. John Thompson’s story of converting a Subaru EA-81and fitting it to the nose of his beautiful Kitfox. By John P Moyle
Rayne Owens’ EG33 Subaru powered Velocity 173 FG. By Wayne Owens
Gary Walsh's Prop Problems. One man’s woes with his NSI cockpit controllable propeller and the resulting airworthiness directive. By Gary Wolf, President, RAA Canada
Tim Sullivan’s Subaru Powered Super Zodiac CH 601 HDS. With superb help from Stratus Subaru, Tim Sullivan completes his plane even before obtaining his PPL. By Patrick Panzera
Tim Sullivan Stratus Subaru Engine. Tim details his rebuild and installation of his engine, including cooling issues. By Patrick Panzera
Ken Millard’s EG33 Powered Comp MONSTER. Mick Myal spotted this beauty at AirVenture 2006 and reports on the installation of this 4-place, all composite kitplane with a hefty Subaru engine. By Mick Myal
Turbo Diesel Boxer: A World's First. Subaru has developed a “first” with their turbo diesel engine based on their opposed four plat form and should be delivered in vehicles in 2008.
Switch On! Patrick Panzera discusses advances with the Revmaster R-3000
AeroVee 2002. VW conversion. An in-depth look at John Monnett's VW engine kit. By John Moyle
Aero Carb. An introduction to this simple throttle body carburetor, by John Moyle
Revmaster R-2300 Conversion. The fine people at Revmaster Aviation have done it again, increasing the bore and stroke of their renown R-2100 to up the horsepower safely. By Patrick Panzera
Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin alerts the operators of airplanes powered by Volkswagen air-cooled engines of an airworthiness concern where the engine loses power due to the loss of cylinder head fastener torque.
Doug Reid's Hummel Bird and the super compact and lightweight, VW based Aeromorph engine. By Pat Panzera.
David Roe's highly modified Hummel Bird AKA "Diva", by Pat Panzera.
What did I do to deserve flutter? By David Roe.
A tribute to Morry Hummel, by Tammy Sperling.
Revmaster R-3000 Engine. 10 years in the making, this new engine is about to hit the market and take the 100hp engine genre by storm. By John P Moyle
Meet Joe Horvath. A brief sidebar on Joe Horvath and his background with the VW engine. By John P Moyle
Revflow: Innovations and improvements. Descriptions and details of the inner-workings of the Revflow variable-jet, injector carburetor. By Joe Horvath
A tribute to R.S. Hoover (the other Bob Hoover) By Bruce King
Article Title and Description Mazda (continued)
Light Plane Power with Racing Car Heritage. HKS Engine. By Michael Friend
Eric Scheppers 6 cylinder Jabiru powered Sonex. By John P Moyle
Jack Lockamy's VW Type IV Sonex. By John P Moyle
BMW 1100RS Motorcycle Engine. Kuba Konstancin of Poland, reports on his direct experience with converting and flying behind this elegant motorcycle engine.
The Hexadyne P60. Associate Editor John Moyle outdoes himself once again, with a thorough look into the little, yet powerful four-stroke engine, deter- mined to replace the two-strokes in its class By John P. Moyle
An introductory forum on the Hexadyne P60, as presented by Cy Williams, at the 2005 COPPERSTATE Fly-In. We transcribed the engine forum at the recent COPPERSTATE Fly- In, and offer it as a precursor to the following in-depth article. By Cy Williams
Under-Promising, Over-Delivering: The AeroTwin AT972T. As promised in issue #83 and in typical CONTACT! Magazine fashion, we spare no detail with presenting a new engine. By Tim Kern
The PC-60 Military Surplus Engine. Converting an APU surplus engine for aviation, for a fraction of the price of its certified counterpart. By Dirk D. Kretschman
April Surprise by Sonex Ltd. is no joke! The Sonex on floats. By John P Moyle.
Mike Lecka’s 2004 Harley Davidson. An engine conversion for pusher applications, including info on the University of Utah's Harley powered Wright Flyer. By Patrick Panzera
How fast are you really going? A whimsical look at the effect of stagnation temperature rise as speed increases and how that may be misleading you into believing you are going faster than you really are. By Paul Lipps
The ELIPPSE TM Propeller, by Paul Lipps
Paul Lipps' Lancair 235, by Paul Lipps
How fast are you really going? Revisited. By Paul Lipps
Paul Lipps Checks In and gives us some stats on the performance with a recently installed Elippse prop on an RV-6
Elippse Propeller Test. Paul Lipps answers the question, “Just how much difference can you expect realistically expect from a spinner?” By Paul Lipps
Paul’s Updates. “My Plane Since Issue #77; Belleville Washers For Prop Retention: Reno Successes: Vari-Prop.” By Paul Lipps
Some Short Thoughts About Supercharging. Paul Lipps asks and answers some simple questions about forced induction.
Air Slowdown And The Propeller.— Written shortly before his passing, Paul Lipps dispels the concern for air slowing down before reaching the propeller, in both tractor and pusher aircraft.
The Vari-Prop by Pitch Control Systems, L.L.C. We couldn’t be more pleased to announce the union between the fine people at Vari-Prop and Paul Lipps, the creator of the Elippse Propeller. We now have a commercially available version of the Elippse prop, and best of all, it’s constant -speed. By John P. Moyle and Patrick Panzera
Propeller Blades: Number, Pitch and Planform. Paul Lipps expounds in great detail in an effort to describe his propeller design theories in a simple manner.
Air And Its Majestic Roll In Producing Lift! From the fertile mind of Paul Lipps, we are given a different prospective to help visualize how wings keep aircraft aloft.
Article Title and Description Jabiru, HKS, BMW, Hexadyne, AeroTwin. APU, Rotamax, BMW, Harley Davidson
Patrick Panzera Editor@ContactMagazine.com As the editor of CONTACT! Magazine and EAA’s Experimenter eNewsletter, I’m often asked which is the most popular auto engine conversion. The answer is quick and simple; the Volkswagen. Of course the follow-up questions will usually lead me to count down the list of the most popular conversions in descending order, with commentary on each, so I thought it might be fitting to recount this in print for this volume of Alternative Engines.
VOLKSWAGEN The VW engine has been a marginally successful auto conversion for nearly half a century, and why not? Horizontally-opposed, air-cooled, direct-drive… the description sounds exactly like an aircraft engine. But notice I said marginally. That’s because it’s so simple and accessible that it gives the false impression that anyone can build one and go flying, and for the most part, it’s true. However the real problem is that in stock trim, as the engine was supplied in the automobile, the power-to-weight ratio is lacking. But with so many aftermarket automobile parts suppliers out there and with the “big bore” kits being readily available to push the engine well beyond the design limits, it’s just too easy to change that ratio, and far too many back-yard engine builders found out the hard way in with aviation, being conservative is perhaps the best approach. The exploits of these “innovators” have left the VW with a bit of a black eye.
Ford V-8 shoehorned into Gary and Char Spencer’s Long-EZ.
Couple this with the water cooling system and the Subaru, like so many other auto conversions, is virtually out of reach for the do-it-yourself engine builder. At a minimum, most builders have to work with a PSRU manufacturer (or pioneer their own), and like the VW, there have been a lot of manufacturers come and go since the Subaru gained popularity. The little 1781cc EA-81 isn’t used as much as it once was, but the larger Subaru engines (both four and six cylinders, turbocharged and normally aspirated) are seeing much success in aircraft kits ranging from the RV series to the four-place Velocity.
Throughout the decades, VW firewall-forward manufacturers have come and gone, but a few have persevered, learning from their mistakes and the mistakes of others. At this point in time, I would say that through the efforts of these industry leaders, the VW has matured into a highly refined alternative to expensive certified engines, when done right. Revmaster leads the pack having the most experience and the most technologically advanced engine of all. Great Plains follows, also experimenting with a flywheel-end prop hub attachment, After a lengthy hiatus, AeroConversions (AeroVee) was resurrected with the introduction of the Sonex and is offers a longer prop hub interface than previous versions. The relative newcomer is Hummel Engines, and with so many well-established suppliers offering an array of custom details and features, anyone looking to purchase a reliable, turn-key 60-85 horsepower air-cooled engine need look no further.
Perhaps no one has brought more focus on the Subaru as has Jan Eggenfellner of Eggenfellner Aircraft Inc. Jan’s firewall forward is a marvel of engineering, bringing O-360 performance at 2/3 the price of a zero-timed used aircraft engine, but with the advantage of electronic ignition and electronic fuel injection. But along with his successes, Eggenfellner has had his share of failures, causing one group of disgruntled engine owners to form their own support system. Stratus 2000 and RAM Performance
SUBARU Promising to pick up where the VW leaves off, the Subaru is the second most popular auto engine conversion, with the EA-81 ushering in the Subaru revolution. Like the VW, it too is horizontally opposed, but that’s about where the similarities end. The Sube is water-cooled, providing close control of the internal component temperatures, allowing for tighter tolerances and higher horsepower from the same displacement. The down side of this extra available horsepower is that it’s tapped at higher RPMs, necessitating the installation of a propeller speed reduction unit (PSRU), which adds cost, weight and complexity.
Not all Subaru conversions use a PSRU and although not normally a commercial firewall forward offering, several homebuilders have succeeded in building their own.
As with most auto conversions, any negative reputation that Subaru may have earned throughout the past two decades is a result of the conversion, be it from a turnkey provider or a backyard mechanic. The engine itself is well engineered and robust to say the least, and for the most part, the PSRU is the hurdle. Anyone looking to get into the engine conversion game with a reliable core engine need look no further than the Subaru.
offer the same price advantage as Eggenfellner engines with the smaller 2.2 and 2.3 liter engines, and almost every firewall forward manufacturer will sell their PRSU separately. Jan Eggenfellner has since turned his back on his Subaru engine line and is now doing business as “Viking Aircraft Engines,” paying his attention to an conversion designed more for Light Sport Aircraft (LSA), based on the Honda Fit inline four-cylinder engine. A newcomer to the Subaru arena is Stuart Davis of Auto PSRU’s, which took over the assets of Geared Drives after we lost its founder Bud Warren. Known more for flying Corvette engines in four-place aircraft, Bud was challenged to adapt his PSRU methodology to a directreplacement for failed Eggenfellner PSRUs. Bud did not offer a Subaru firewall forward, and neither is Stuart at this time.
Three-rotor Mazda "Cosmo" 20B Wankel rotary engine installed in a Velocity built by Al Geitzen.
MAZDA ROTARY Like the VW and the Sube, the current success of the Mazda Wankel rotary engine followed a difficult path, and while I’m hesitant to say it’s as refined as the top two contenders, its successes can’t be ignored. Not many have tried to offer a turn-key Mazda conversion, although there have been several one-off Wankel engines that have tried, or are trying. The ill-fated Maxwell Performance Subaru Conversion.
When one sees a successful Mazda rotary auto conversion at a fly-in, odds are good that it’s using a PSRU from Tracy Crook of Real World Solutions (RWS). Although Tracy's systems aren’t universally installed, he designed, manufactures and supports an engine control system offering redundant electronic ignition and electronic fuel injection for not only the Mazda rotary but virtually any four- or six cylinder auto conversion. This eases the installation of the ignition and fuel delivery systems, although many have been successful adapting the system that came from the automobile as well as other aftermarket offerings, or even converting to a set of carburetors.
Maxwell Performance, a recent newcomer to the game, had to throw in the towel mid-2010 due to legal issues stemming from their takeover of the then-defunct NSI. Owners John and Gwen Maxwell made a great impression on the market, going so far as to warrant NSI products. They were full of hope and promise but never saw their legal issues coming. The auto engine conversion industry needs more people like the Maxwells. As with the Volkswagon and to some degree the Corvair, turn-key engine conversions (and PSRU manufacturers) have come and gone. Ross was perhaps one of the first to develop a geared PSRU for the Subaru, however owner/developer Lou Ross passed away with no one to properly carry the torch. NSI failed miserably, both in design and marketing, giving birth to the now defunct Maxwell Performance.
Although Mazda rotary engine guru Dave Atkins of AtkinsRotary.com doesn’t sell a PSRU, he does work closely with the experimental aviation community to provide engines and accessories. Dave has flown his personal rotary-powered RV6 from his home in Puyallup Washington to AirVenture Oshkosh and back every year for over 20 years. With more and more rotary engine enthusiasts following his and Tracy’s lead and amassing logged rotary hours, I’m confident the engine will reach a state of refinement that will rival any certified engine while offering a better power-to-weight ratio, a longer TBO, and a much lower overall installation and operating cost.
Moteur Avance Mega, Inc. Quebec, Canada advertises 75-250 horsepower Subaru engines using the Marcotte PSRU that they adapt to other engines as well. If you've ever been to the Sun 'n Fun auto engine workshops you've probably seen the Marcotte, offered by the late Ray Fiset.
parts one would ever need for the conversion. Actual engine parts such as pistons, rings, rods, bearings, etc. are readily available from several vendors serving the unusually large automobile market.
No one can deny the fact that the Corvair conversion has come into its own and is gaining in popularity. A 100 (or optional 120) horsepower, horizontally opposed, silky smooth air-cooled six cylinder engine sucLike the VW, the Corvair cessfully bridges the has a long history of gap between the VW powering homebuilt airand the rotary and does craft, and it wasn’t long it without the weight and before those who complexity of a PSRU or pushed the limits began water cooling. Although breaking cranks from technologically adpropeller loads. The fix vanced from the WWII is to install an additional era certified engines it replaces, it’s still crude 2700cc, 164 cubic inch Corvair conversion mounted on a partially crankshaft main bearing complete GN-1. Engine had been run in this configuration. (dubbed the “fifth bearwhen compared to moding”) housed in an oilern automobile offerfed adapter plate. Wilings— but that’s part of liam Wynne developed its allure. Simple in dethe prototype that insign, the hydraulically cludes relocating the actuated pushrod enthrust bearing from the gine is not overwhelmrear of the engine to the ingly complex for the front, nearest the prop. novice engine builder to Although it was defeel anything but confisigned for R&D and podent with his work. But tential mass production, the simplicity has also it has successfully flown given some people the for nearly 500 hours. unfounded confidence Patrick Panzera running his Corvair engine on his test stand. Two others have folto go into the firewall lowed William’s lead forward business only to and are presently offering a fail from the lack of experisimilar fifth bearing with his ence, leaving those who paid blessings. deposits out in the cold. Buyer beware! Research the GEO/SUZUKI company before you plunk down a hefty deposit. Three- and four-cylinder, water-cooled, inline engines I would venture to say that the have been successfully, albeit Corvair engine conversion quietly, running for several would not be in the “sweet years now. These little gems spot” it currently occupies are seemingly bulletproof, without the tireless efforts of inexpensive to obtain and William Wynne of FlyCormaintain and are very light vair.com. With nearly two especially when compared to decades of Corvair converthe power they can make. sion research and developWhile more popular with trikes ment, including building and and powered parachutes (in flying his own Corvair powthe pusher configuration) we ered aircraft, William’s experiare seeing more and more at ence and dedication is unparairshows and fly-ins in smallalleled. Although William does Raven’s Honda 1500XVT 140HP /210 lb. Turbo Engine er, lighter LSA types such as offer a firewall forward enthe Avid or Kitfox. At bigger gine, the Corvair is primarily a do-it-yourself project, with shows such as Sun ‘n Fun and AirVenture you’ll find William offering a comprehensive illustrated manual these engines in the ultralight areas as they are an excel(including phone and email support) and all the specialty lent replacement for the more expensive Rotax.
Although several companies offer an adaptation of their PRSU for the Geo/Suzuki, not many have put in the R&D time for the total package like Jeron Smith of Raven Rotorcraft and Redrives. With several versions of their PRSU designed to work in chorus with the engine model they are coupled with, it’s hard to find a greater selection of engines ranging from 38 to 115 horsepower. Raven also offers a few of their engines capable of being installed on their sides for space considerations. The newest offering is their three-cylinder, direct-drive, hand-prop version aimed directly at the Part 103 legal ultralight market, intended to power their 103 legal gyrocopter.
power to spare. If space is a consideration, a Chevy Ecotec LSJ, four cylinder supercharged all-aluminum engine is available and is good for 150-245 ponies. The key to the success is the centrifugal clutch (resolving potential torsional harmonics) and a PRSU that allows for a standard propeller governor and certified constant-speed props. The company was in a suspended state for over a year after Bud’s passing, but it’s now up and running with Stuart Davis at the helm.
AND MANY MORE… While the five previously mentioned engines have gained substantial popularity over all others, there are still several that deserve honorable mention, beginning with Belted Airpower. For nearly two decades, Jess Meyers has offered his rugged belted PSRU for Chevrolet engines as well as complete firewall forward kits for the RV-6, -7 and -9 Series. The PSRU is compatible with the Chevrolet 4.3 liter V-6 and the 350 cubic inch V-8.
Valley Engineering’s “Big Twin.”
In addition to spearheading the use of the industrial Vtwin in light aircraft, dubbed the “Big Twin,” Valley Engineering (aka Culver Props) has been offering a VWbased belted PRSU for many years and recommending the Great Plains engine to their customers. They are now offering an complete engine coupled with their PRSU. A version of Belted Airpower’s PSRU adapted for V8 is being offered by Ben Haas.
Up until his accident, Bud Warren was slowly getting the foothold over the competition with his Geared Drives offering, an all-aluminum Corvette firewall-forward conversion for the RV-10 and any other application requiring the power of the O-540 for a fraction of the price and with
The “Mini Merlin” marketed by Titan aircraft to give their Titan T-51 (P-51 replica) an engine with the sound it deserves, is a modified 2.5 liter V6 Suzuki, producing 165 hp @ 6500 RPM, 162 lb ft of torque @ 4000 RPM. An upgrade is available from a 2.7 version, netting 183 hp @ 6000 RPM, 180 lb ft of torque @ 4,000 RPM. All in all, the state of affairs for the automobile conversion arena is better than it’s ever been. A proven engine of just about any size and horsepower rating can be easily obtained. Support for your engine of choice, either turnkey or home-brewed, is certainly available— especially with the various internet email groups that are available. However none of it is for the truly faint of heart. It takes a hard-core experimenter to nurse the successful installation and operation of an automobile engine conversion, and unless you are in it for the fun of experimental aviation, and the pleasure it brings to overcome obstacles perhaps sticking to the plans and installing the certified engine specified is the answer for you. Patrick Panzera Editor@ContactMagazine.com
Geared Drives Chevy LS1 conversion.
By Patrick Panzera Editor@ContactMagazine.com Are you considering installing an alternative engine in your homebuilt airplane? Will you be going to the various shows around the nation to see what’s available? Are you concerned that the glossy sales brochures might be loaded with hype? Put it through this little "lie detector" system to help separate the wheat from the chaff.
NOT READY FOR PRIMETIME? The first alarm bell should ring if the company in question isn’t actually offering a product. Maybe the company is just fishing for investors— Will you be one? The next alarm bell should ring if the product being offered is not currently available for you to take home, nor can it be delivered within a week or two of your seeing it at a show. Proceeding down the credibility ladder is a company that shows and demonstrates a flying prototype, followed by a company that shows a functional, running, but non-flying display. At the bottom is a static display that amounts to an assembly of cool parts and the infamous color “glossy brochure.”
KNOWING THE NUMBERS
It was a vendor of engine similar to this one that first showed me us bogus dyno printout. They’re no longer in business.
Brake specific fuel consumption (BSFC) = .5 pounds of fuel per hour, per horsepower. And this too can go another 10% in favor of a modern engine, to as low as .45 pounds per hp-hr. Since we all know that a gallon of gasoline weighs roughly 6 pounds, we can simply divide the power (100hp) by 12 (6 ÷.5), and we get 8.6 gallons per hour for a 100 hp engine with a BSFC of .5. If we lower the BSFC to .45 for a "modern engine" we get as low as 7.5 gph fuel burn, and if we get crazy and call it .4, we get as low as 6.6 gph. So if we have a 100 hp engine that claims it "sips" fuel at 3.5 gph, and they don't specify that as an economy setting, we can only assume that they are claiming that fuel consumption is with the throttle wide open at sea level, and we simply walk away. They're either lying or mistaken, and if either is the case, what else might they be wrong or lying about?
The next tests are with the specifications. Check the brochure; Is the horsepower claim on par with the displacement? Is the fuel burn consistent with the horsepower claim? Are torque and horsepower the same at 5252 RPM? I won't bore you with the math from which the following rules of thumb are derived, but they can be used to decipher the numbers. Note that these rules apply only to naturally aspirated, four-stroke, gasoline engines. Horsepower will always be torque x RPM ÷ 5252. Expressed another way— on a graph, the lines representing torque and horsepower will cross or meet at 5252 RPM. You have to read these graphs carefully, as some are laid out with two different scales representing torque and horsepower, many of which will usually graph RPM along the bottom. If they don’t meet at 5252 RPM, consider that the graph is a figment of someone’s imagination.
STATIC THRUST IS FOR PULLING STUMPS
Horsepower = cubic inches x RPM ÷ 5250. This works for direct drive or an engine with a redrive, but you must use engine RPM, not prop RPM. Remember, this is a rule of thumb and you have to consider that a modern engine with liquid cooling, fuel injection, and with an electronically controlled ignition can easily return 10% more power at the same RPM than an old, air-cooled, carbureted engine running on points or a magneto. For example, an O-200 at 200 cubic inches x 2750 RPM ÷ 5250 = 105 horsepower, but it’s a low compression engine, so you can deduct a little. The 100 hp Corvair engine, at 164 cubes x 3200 RPM ÷ 5250 = 100 horsepower. The 110 horsepower Honda engine with 91.4 cubes x 5800 RPM ÷ 5250 = 100 hp. Add in the extra 10% for all the modern goodies and its higher compression ratio and it comes out at 110 ponies for the Honda.
And the last alarm bell check are with static thrust claims. Unless you are planning to pull tree stumps, static thrust claims are irrelevant as they are as much of a factor of propeller efficiency as they are an indicator of power. The only time that static thrust claims might be of interest is if a comparison between two competing engines was made with the same exact propeller, on the same day, in the same location, and even then prop RPM is the true indicator of power since the engine that makes more power can overcome the drag of the propeller and spin it faster than the other. In reality, one could use a span of 4x4 lumber as a prop, making zero thrust, and the outcome would be of more value than any thrust numbers could be— when comparing two engines. Patrick Panzera
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A tribute to Mick By William Wynne Word came from CONTACT! Magazine editor Patrick Panzera that our friend (and his mentor) Mick Myal, the founder of this publica- Mick served in the US Army tion, noted experi- from 1954 to 1957 and was stamental aviator, author tioned in Europe where he deand editor, had passed veloped a lifelong love of travel. away. Mick was known to thousands of traditional homebuilders from his attendance at countless airshows, the books he published and the magazine articles he wrote, but he will always be best remembered for founding CONTACT! Magazine in 1990 and for editing and publishing its first 70 issues.
Mick’s adventurous spirit had him packing up and driving across the country to attend Sun ’n Fun and AirVenture.
It’s with great sadness that we announce that Michael “Mick” Myal, founder of CONTACT! Magazine, died on Monday, November 12, 2012. Mick was born in Omer, Michigan on September 14, 1930, and was 82 years old. Mick is survived by his loving wife, Suzanne; his sister, Clara; three children, Julie, John, and Jane, and six grandchildren.
When I was first getting started in experimental aviation Mick and his wife Sue went out of their way to make sure we had an impartial venue in which to be heard. He arranged the engine forums at Sun ‘n’ Fun for many years, and always included us on the roster, even when we were very small potatoes. They also published the first good story on our work and had our [Corvair] engines on display in their booth at airshows. I need to say that this wasn’t special treatment; 20 other small aviation companies could offer a carbon copy of this same gratitude to Mick. He liked, documented, and offered a forum to all kinds of people in the world of experimental aircraft. He had planes and engines that he was personally fond of, but he covered anything that builders were interested in.
From his wife Suzanne: True to Mick's style, he went out on his own terms, at home. Our daughter Julie and I were holding his hands and Abbie, his faithful dog, was by his side. When faced with his diagnosis of ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease), Mick took a moment and then said, "I've had a very good life." He accepted his illness with grace and dignity, choosing to live in the present.
If you’ve entered the homebuilder’s community in the last ten years, it is very hard to appreciate how powerful aviation magazine editors were before the rise of the internet. Most of them assumed that their personal view of what was “good” should be the only thing to make it into their magazine’s feature space. In the 1990s the then-editor of KITPLANES didn’t like anything low tech or simple. Even when we flew Corvair powered planes to airshows he refused to photograph them, and instead covered many engines that arrived on trucks as long as they had water pumps, a propeller speed reduction unit (PSRU), and electronic fuel injection (EFI). Other editors would not cover a story unless they were essentially bribed with motels, rental cars, and in some cases plane tickets. This was an unpleasant reality of our industry.
In September we celebrated his 82nd birthday with our son John, his wife Hilda, Julie and I. We swapped stories and had many laughs. Two weeks later we had a wonderful visit with our daughter Jane and family (Jon, Grace and Duncan) from Michigan. Mick especially enjoyed talking about his time in the army with his grandson Duncan who loves all things military. He smiled and said he had a lot of love in his life. But what happened in Paris, stays in Paris. Mick did not want any memorial service. He preferred to stay alive in our hearts and memories. We are honoring his wishes. We look forward to carrying on his spirit with you, his beloved friends and family.
In complete contrast, Mick Myal impartially covered every story that made sense and he never let his personal preferences filter what got out to his readers. He pioneered the inclusion of incredibly detailed user reports, loaded with real performance numbers, in articles that he
Sincerely, Suzie Myal.
From Issue 106– Spring—Summer 2013
If you missed that era, I am here to tell you that those of us who lived and worked our way through it have very special reasons to hold the memory of Mick in such high regard. If you have a Corvair engine on your plane or in your shop, know that this man played a positive role in making that possible, in an era when it was perhaps needed the most. Mick was always sharply dressed and professional. To meet him, you may have thought that he had a big machine and 40 or 50,000 subscribers. In reality the circulation was a small fraction of this, but Mick was always after quality, not quantity. He probably never saw much of a financial return from his years of publishAbove, Mick in the yellow shirt captured in a humorous photo greeting the president ing, but you would do much betof EAA Chapter #1,000 in 1998. This is how I think of Mick: out in the sun, meeting ter in measuring his wealth by the people, wearing a smile and a camera. Of all the people I have met in aviation journal- number and quality of his friends. ism, Mick was one of the very few to be respected by all kinds of builders. His efforts At airshows during the 1990s that to document good ideas and the craftsmanship of individuals are timeless. People were becoming more and more will be using the information in his publications decades from today. consumer-spectator showcases, Mick’s CONTACT! Magazine booth was always an oasis published. He broke the rules by telling people what for technically-minded people. At any given moment, the planes actually cost to build. He had no advertising in his CONTACT! Magazine booth attracted a cast of real publications, and he was beholden only to his subscribthinking characters like the late Vance Jaqua and Steve ers. He was immune to flattery; he never spoke about his Parkman, spilling over with builders who were all dispersonal experience when there was a chance to listen cussing things they tried and making sketches on paper to someone else’s. In his later years, CONTACT! Magaand looking at each other’s photos. In the middle of it all, zine’s new editor, Patrick Panzera, often escorted Mick Mick would stand there with a slight smile on his face, to airshows. Whenever Mick stopped by a forum I was undoubtedly pleased by what he had accomplished. giving, I took the time to introduce him as “The most respected journalist in experimental aviation.” The ensuing Blue skies and tailwinds to you Mick. applause may have made him a little uncomfortable, but Thanks for many good things.-William Wynne I said it anyway, just because it was true. www.FlyCorvair.net While CONTACT! Magazine always covered airframe developments in addition to powerplant news, it’s largely thought of as an engine publication. When Mick got started, the handful of books Mick Myal in his EZ, test running and stories promoting auto engines at the time the engine before its maiden flight were completely useless and frequently offered dangerous advice. I spell that out in full so that people today understand that the ‘standard’ of the time was that it was OK to write stories that said auto engines which had never flown, weighed less and were more reliable than certified ones. The people who made money promoting this never flew the stuff, but readers who thought they did often spent years building things that would never work, or might work just long enough to kill themselves behind something that was dangerous. Before the internet, one man- Mick Myal- made a mission out of educating builders about the good, the bad, and the ugly of experimental aviation.
From Issue 106– Spring—Summer 2013
Mick Myal, continued from page 3
Michael C. Myal grew up on a farm in Omer, Michigan during the Great Depression and WWII. After graduating from Standish High School at the age of 16, Mick attended Michigan Technological University and General Motors Institute, earning his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. Near graduation he entered an automotive design contest, winning a small automobile and a full scholarship to study automotive design at the Art Center in Pasadena California. The US Army decided that one college degree was enough and he was drafted into the Army in 1954, after only one semester of design school. Completing officer training school, he took it upon himself to travel to the Pentagon to search out an overseas assignment. He served six months in France and six months in Austria, developing his love for travel. In 1957, Mick (as he preferred to be called) was hired by General Motors and joined their design staff. His GM assignments included Styling, Body Development, Vehicle Safety, and International Regulations which meant traveling and meeting with foreign governments. While on the design staff he was awarded a US patent which is still used in automotive design today. In 1967 he became a registered professional engineer.
lifetime. He especially loved his visit to Poland in 1969, long before the iron curtain had lifted, trading dollars for złoty in back rooms with shady black market characters. In 1988, prior to his retirement from GM and his move to Tucson Arizona, he surveyed over 300 active members of EAA, asking what they would most like to see in a specialized magazine. Overwhelmingly the answer was more technical information in general, and how to use automobile engines in homebuilt aircraft, and how to keep more people flying at a reasonable cost. And so began CONTACT! Magazine.
In 1958 Mick learned to fly aircraft using his GI Bill benefits. Over the years he upgraded his various ratings to include Flight Instructor and Commercial Pilot. His family has many fond memories accompanying him on various cross country flights around the Midwest.
The introduction of the (then) bi-monthly publication took place at the 1990 Sun ‘n Fun fly-in where a total of seven subscriptions were sold. Mick set up CONTACT! Magazine as a non-profit organization for two reasons. One, no advertising, only "solid reporting" as Mick like to put it and two, a means to save on mailing expenses so that a subscription was affordable to everyone. The rest, of course, is history.
Mick met his wife Suzanne (Suzie) Hoag while dancing the cha-cha with his fellow GM design staffers. He and Suzie were married for 53 years and had three children. Julie, John and Jane were often seen as the kids dressed in matching flight suits both at home and at EAA events. The family went almost yearly to the annual EAA convention located originally in Rockford, Illinois before the move to Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Mick served many years as the president of EAA Chapter 13 in the Detroit area.
Over the next 13 years Mick became a familiar face at big and small fly-ins across the US. He organized hundreds of auto engine forums and offered solid, useful information to all who asked. He also compiled the auto engine conversion articles from CONTACT! into three editions of his book series, Alternative Engines. In 2011 Mick was concerned with the price of fuel and sport flying so he researched and wrote another book using his design for wing tip fuel tanks, Tip Tanks. His biggest customers for this book were the outback flyers in Australia!
In the early 1960s, Mick built a 2/3rd scale P-51 mock-up from clay in his basement. Suzie remembers the day he left some clay stored in the oven and she accidently baked it at 350 degrees while preheating the oven for dinner. Following that uncompleted project he started building an allwood Minicab GY-201. This too was incomplete as he began to think more and more about composite construction and started building a VariEze. The project became a passion and he combined his love for aviation and precise engineering and in 1982 he completed and flew it with help form his loving family. It was later sold to The Sharper Image as a static display for their Osaka, Japan store.
When diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) in September 2012, Mick smiled his sly grin and said "I've had such a good life". “We've all had such a good life because of you, Mick Myal. We love you and miss you!” Suzie, Julie, John and Jane
Mick traveled throughout the United States and to more than 25 different countries on five continents during his
From Issue 106– Spring—Summer 2013
August 5, 1954 - January 1, 2013
By William Wynne I was recently brought the sad news that John Moyle, an aviator known to many people in the experimental aviation community, had passed from this world. He was a relentlessly positive person in a world where that attitude is an ever more scarce quality. He was a devoted family man and the best of friends to many people who knew him. His attitude on any challenge was always, “Why not?” The world is full of people who are quick to think of all the reasons why something won’t work and can’t or shouldn’t be done. John had enough positive energy to counter legions of such people and he also had the charm to make many of them crack a smile at the same time.
could be sure it had a strong element of some greater good. If I am painting a picture of a very large version of Gandhi or Mother Teresa, let me correct this by saying that John was also a lot of fun to be around and also had a wicked sense of humor.
In a few short paragraphs it would be very hard to describe the positive work of John Moyle in experimental aviation. In addition to being certificated as an FAA powerplant mechanic, John was a tremendous volunteer for any needed task, large or small. Need help setting up Corvair College #5? Just ask. Got a plane in Europe that needs to be in California? He was on it. Patrick Panzera always credited John as being CONTACT! Magazine’s number-one supporter.
John knew many of the best parts of aviation; the moments he made by working to put himself where the fun was, where things were going on, and where people were doing things. He also knew the somber side of aviation. His eldest brother Ben Moyle was killed in a fiery Glasair crash while approaching AirVenture, Oshkosh 2001. Other than marking the first anniversary of the accident, John didn’t speak much of it, but it was certainly an emotional burden that he quietly carried. I suspect that it stole a lot of the personal joy from flying for himself, but if it did, he never said so. He was the kind of person who wouldn’t let his personal loss dampen the positive day of others.
In addition to being on the board of directors at CONTACT! and carrying on the duties of associate editor, John was a prolific writer and is nearly 100% responsible for the all the articles in issue #72. And if asked, Pat will tell you that if it were not for John’s ready support, he probably wouldn’t have accepted the responsibility of taking over CONTACT! from the late Mick Myal. Many experimental aviators have had the pleasure of meeting John at various airshows around the country because he frequently staffed the CONTACT! Magazine booth along with Pat. His overwhelmingly positive energy and super gregarious nature made him a complete natural at the position. He wrote a great number of magazine articles and contributed a lot to unseen tasks like editing stories and digging for feature articles, yet he still found the time to own a lot of different experimental aircraft and various projects, including one of his own design.
Most people find it hard to be positive, even when things are going well for them. John Moyle was positive at all times, good or bad. He was the genuine article, the real thing, a person who understood what Roosevelt was saying when he spoke of “[The man] who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause..." John’s life was far richer for embracing this creed. He was one of a kind, and we won’t have another quite like him again. Blue skies and tailwinds John, and thanks for everything. You left aviation a better, richer, friendlier place than the way you found it.
John was just the opposite of people who always ask, “what’s in it for me?” If John was doing something, you
From Issue 106– Spring—Summer 2013
Remembering the beginning By Mick Myal CONTACT! Magazine was created to respond to a change in EAA’s editorial policy. In its early years the Association publication relied on member contributions that made up its technical content. Among the many excellent papers I, too, had submitted several articles that were published, most notably “Ultimate Glue”. This formulation of epoxy wood glue (Hughes Glue) quickly replaced the FAA approved resorcinol in wood construction. For me, Sport Aviation was a must-read piece of mail each month, forgoing supper and any other news of the day. My habits have not changed with each monthly coming of CONTACT!
would flow without interruption I eliminated the usual table of contents page or section. I needed a distinctive feature to solidify issue composition and intent. My solution was the graphic bottom bar incorporating issue and page number.
Because of the changes to Sport Aviation’s technical content, in the late 1980’s I initiated a survey of EAA Chapters to determine what people in experimental aviation wanted in a publication. From it, I learned that EAA’s editorial practice had drastically changed in the 1980s, veering away from reliance on articles written by enthusiasts, designers and craftsmen. I learned that submissions from respected individuals, namely Molt Taylor, Ladislao Pazmany, Professor Ed Lesher, Bob Pauley and many others were being turned away. The survey suggested that a forum for experimenters was needed and welcomed.
Next on my list was the matter of postage. The United States Postal Service (USPS) has various rates for magazines. The best rate is available to non profit organizations (501(c)(3)), like churches, clubs, charitable organizations, etc. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) gave me a hard time to justify my eligibility. Many of their questions were based on the premise that CONTACT! was an established business. Long story short; I requested that they fill in the blanks but they couldn’t and finally decided to grant me a provisional IRS ID number for Aeronautics Education Enterprises (AEE). I needed 200 pieces to qualify for USPS bulk-mailing so two hundred undergraduate universities teaching aero and aerospace engineering were given complimentary subscriptions during the early years of publication.
Nearing my retirement from General Motors, I made an effort to learn more about publishing techniques. At this early stage of computer development, newsletters were a lively topic of discussion. It seemed that a few organizations were converting from “key lining” (paste up of text and pictures) to on-screen composition. Digital photography was at that time not available to amateurs like me; however the advent of low cost ($49) publishing software (Windows Publisher) was the tipping point; I could do it! So my early issues of CONTACT! were a paste-up combination of digital text and 300 dpi positive images, converted to negative film for burning plates.
Next, the call for papers! The original premise was to provide a venue for experimenter articles dealing with a variety of aviation topics. The expected flood of articles did not happen! The first issue was relatively easy as I was living in Tucson AZ, the home town of Ross Aero. The feature article was penned by Chris Ross. I spent $500 to have an illustrator at Raytheon draw the centerfold of the Ross planetary redrive. However, Larry Brown kindly submitted his Pulsar story for Issue #2. George Pereira and his GP-4 were featured in #3. In order to get his story I traveled to Sacramento CA. While there, I also visited with George Morse of Prowler fame. His article would have been next but was not completed due to family illness.
I decided that the magazine layout would follow the SAE (Society of Automobile Engineers) report format and style. Each section would be announced by a headline word or phrase. This would give the reader a clue to the section content and act as an anchor point for a reader’s eyes. Illustrations would be accompanied by captions in a different font, again for visual separation. My keen interest in a specific airplane design was addressed by including its basic 3 view drawing (as per Jane's All the World's Aircraft) and a unique specification side bar on the edge of page 5, whenever possible. Readers could then collect and compare significant data. Continuity of text flow was a prime consideration for reader convenience; I would avoid the normal practice of “continued on page _”; that, to me, was irritating. Since the stories
CONTACT! Magazine made its public debut in April, 1991 at Sun ‘n Fun. To look established we had the three issues spread all over the hangar booth, on rungs of two ladder-like parts connected like an A-frame. My aggressive method-of-operation was to snag passersby.
From Issue 100- January—February 2010
sues. Jim and I go back to 1957 when we were both hired by GM Styling, he as designer and me as technical stylist. We worked in different studios and our career paths never crossed. Jim was Chief Designer of GM South Africa at one point in his career. I left Styling to work in the international area for GM regulatory activities. We reconnected as recent retirees in Tucson in 1988. Jim was always available to help me add the special touches to articles and would travel with me to locations when his special talent was needed.
It was not very polite of me so please accept my apology. Regarding the Oshkosh summer outings, some CONTACT! subscribers will recall our initial tailgate operation and later our 10 by 10 tent situated on the grass by the Fly Market or next to Jimmy Buffett’s amphibian. We ran a quarter-page ad in Sport Aviation and slowly picked up subscribers. Most of the aircraft design and powerplant articles we published over the years were the result of personal interviews and interaction. There were some tense moments when a submitter balked when asked for more information. Several articles never got published because of such reaction. Forums are essential to the dissemination of information and CONTACT! took the opportunity over the years to advance the alternative engine movement by enlisting experimenters to speak at forums about their experiences and developments.
I would be remiss not to mention the pleasures we experienced during our endeavors at SNF, OSH and COPPERSTATE over the years. To see a loyal subscriber again and again was always heartwarming. A few nonsubscribers could be counted on to come back and buy missing back issues. I always had at my side a willing partner and wife, Sue, to help me with driving, setup, sales/greetings, and record keeping. I couldn’t have done it without her!
Over time, CONTACT! magazine became known as a primary source of alternative powerplant information. The publication fostered the development of various redrive and propeller combinations by experimenters, several of which became successful, home-grown businesses. To add focus we’ve published three volumes of “Alternative Engines” which contain exclusive reprints of past powerplant-related articles.
Mick’s Picks: Significant Articles
Fellow GM retiree Jim Ewen gave his best to produce hand-drawn CONTACT! centerfolds for several key is-
Cessna Subaru- Reiner Hoffman— Davis DA-9- Leeon Davis— Pushy Galore- Bruce Bohannon— Detonation-Pre-ignition- Al Cline— Dieselis- Paul Lucas— Facetmobile-Barnaby Wainfan—
Issue #20 Issue #32 Issue #50 Issue #54 Issue #55 Issue #71
Jim's talents were then refocused in the up-and-coming Pontiac styling studios, working under Jack Humbert to refine the infamous "Wide Track" musclecars of the 1960s. Other duties included working alongside GM's Canadian engineers to design the unique Pontiac trim and emblems found on their distinctive north-of-theborder cousins.
By Thom Sherwood Since its inception, CONTACT! Magazine has had the distinct honor of publishing some original aeromotive art from Jim Ewen. We thought it was high-time to honor this man and his talents, best known to our subscribers for his creative cutaway and technical illustrations, plus the occasional centerfold rendering.
In 1969, Jim accepted a promotion to head-up a state-of -the-art GM styling studio in South Africa where various right-hand-drive cars were transformed into Chevroletbadged models for the local market. This three-year gig, upon ending in 1971, saw Jim return to the United States, where a whole new division was being formed back in Detroit.
Jim Ewen is one of those rare, gifted individuals who found his calling early on. Always surrounded by cars in his father's repair shop (and later a Packard automobile dealership) in the tiny community of Chadron, Nebraska, Jim recognized a desire to sketch those beautiful road machines and sought out a career path to become a professional designer. After a stint in the military during the Korean War in 1953, Jim took advantage of the G.I. Bill to enlist in the Art Center School in Los Angeles and pushed himself to become part of the program's first graduating class in 1956. There, he met his wife-to-be, Rose, who worked in the school's front office.
Jim then spearheaded the Transportation Division, where GM actively sought to research, design, and implement a variety of future-product commodities such as Mag-Levs, people movers, tractor trailers, and mass transit systems. Jim's tenure with GM lasted exactly 30 years and one day, where-after he and his wife Rose retired to Tucson, Arizona where he continues his freelance illustration work and stays active by regularly hiking in the desert. He will be a featured presenter this July at the (Pontiac) GTO Association of America's national convention in Wichita, Kansas. Jim’s artwork can be seen on page 12.
Immediately after graduation, Jim's first interview and job offer was with General Motors Design Staff. His career in Detroit began in the Advanced Research Studios, designing all those wonderful road machines he had dreamed about as a kid. The Firebird III and Cyclone were two cars from General Motors' Motorama years that Jim had a direct hand in developing.
From Issue 100- January—February 2010
son AZ area. So far the cooling system is working great. I have not seen over 210ºF Update: Lancair ES with Chevrolet Corvette LT -1 V-8 Engine on the water temperature and I’m still able to climb at full power to any John Harlow altitude without any oil or water temperature problems. email@example.com (520)297-2367 The rebuilt airplane also flies straighter at cruise with very little rudder input. I originally had a bad right wing My story was first published in CONTACT! Magazine drop at stall (power on or off ) that I attributed to a differissue number 40, with updates in issues 53 and 66. ent original right and left wing build. The new wings seem to have cured that problem. In issue No. 66 I wrote about my off-field experience, which was a result of bearing failure in my "Northwest I stayed with Northwest Aero for my new belt drive beAero" belt drive. At the time, I had 361 hours on my cause of changes they made in the new design. plane. I have since rebuilt the plane and now have 58 1. The top and bottom bearings now run in an oil bath hours on the rebuilt airplane. (vs. top bearings sealed and bottom greased) 2. The lower front bearing is in front of the lower sprocket instead of inside like the original design. 3. The belt adjustment is simpler with both bearings of the upper unit attached to the front plate instead of one bearing on the front and one on the back in the old design. 4. I also have a temperature sensor on the upper housing and the maximum temperature I have seen is 150ºF on shut down heat soak (which is just engine temperature soaking into the system). The only problem I have with the belt drive so far is a slight weeping of oil out of the lower seal at shut down. I had a problem with the original wings because I used Hysol epoxy to close the wings. I found that auto fuel degraded the Hysol, leading to fuel leaks. On my new wings I was able to close them with the Jeffco epoxy that I built the plane with. The epoxy has a longer curing rate which gave me enough time to close the wings (with a lot of help). I have not had a fuel leak problem with this new system.
In rebuilding N350N I had to replace both wings (Lancair fast build), upper and lower Cowling, belt drive, engine mounts, propeller, nosecone, one main landing gear leg, all three wheel covers, and the front gear fork. Two minor changes were incorporated in the rebuild. The new" Northwest Aero" belt drive lowered the prop centerline and extended the prop a few inches forward from the previous location, which caused me to have to lower the front of the cowl. Also I used the rear engine mounts from Northwest Aero instead of the Chevrolet mounts I had on the original completion.
I am flying again and the plane seems to be stabilized as far as problems. It is still a great project!!!!
The other change was to the cooling system. I originally had a Camaro radiator behind the engine in front of the firewall that I always had a hard time getting air through. That radiator was destroyed in the accident and when I rebuilt, I put in a small Volkswagen radiator in the left hand cowl area beside the engine. I ducted one-half the left hand front opening into this radiator. This radiator is still in series with the lower radiator under the belly of the plane. I’ve flown approximately 58 hours since the rebuild, all of which was in the Tuc-
From Issue 78- May—Jun 2004
fiberglass and epoxy, working with 4130 and fabric was a welcome change. With the tail section completed and hanging in the rafters with the wings I prepared the garage for welding up the sport racer fuselage. Before I ordered the tubing a friend offered me a Sidewinder fuselage and gear legs from a project he had bought for other parts. Switching from the midwing tandem cockpit design of the Sport Racer to a low-wing side-by-side was a big change but the price was right (free) so I did it. Integrating the wings, tail, fuselage and landing gear took another two years.
Photos and text by Roger P. Flower firstname.lastname@example.org Captain Roger P. Flower, USN, RET. Flew-507 combat missions in Vietnam, has 1,247 carrier landings and 7,000-hours-of flight time, mostly in jet-fighters and homebuilts. After 31 years as a Naval Aviator he worked in the aircraft maintenance departments of American Airlines and FEDEX before retiring in 2002. He is currently president of EAA Chapter 182 in Memphis, TN. In my opinion, a homebuilt aircraft project is not complete until you successfully fly it to Oshkosh. I flew my 0-320 powered Seahawk to Oshkosh in 1992, then again in 1998 after refitting it with a Ford V-6. The story about converting my Seahawk is contained in Volume II of "ALTERNATIVE ENGINES" by Mick Myal (reprinted from CONTACT! Magazine issue #44). Among the many interesting articles in Volume II, 2 stand out in my mind. One about the all aluminum small block Chevy V-8, the LS-1 and another about using a direct drive small block Chevy in a conceptual aircraft called a "JUNK YARD DAWG". My Seahawk had provided me with 14 years of "education, entertainment and sport flying" but I was ready for a new project and the Junkyard Dog was it!
THE ENGINE Now it was time for the firewall forward, which along with the redesigned wing was the heart of the project. A new LS-1 crate engine was $5,000 from GM and used LS-l's were selling on e-Bay for about $3,500. I found a wrecked 1998 Camero and after selling everything I did not need ended up with a complete engine package for $2,900. My wife was going to get unhappy if I tried to take over her parking space in the garage so I moved all the completed components to the EAA Chapter 182 hanger and set up my half of the garage to build an engine mount and engine wire harness.
Not being a design engineer, I looked around for a set of plans to convert into the JD-1. I bought a set of "Blanton Sport Racer" plans as it was designed around the Ford V -6 which I was already familiar with and switching to the LS-1 would be easier.
Starting with a mock-up jig of the firewall I modified the Ford V-6 engine mount plans to fit the LS-1 and Sidewinder attach points. The cast-iron block V-6 and aluminum block V-8 weighted about the same so I increased the wall thickness of the engine mount tubing one size and started welding. The forward engine mounts were fabricated from the Blanton Sport Racer plans and I used the stock LS-1 mounts for the aft engine mounts.
The first plans change I made was using a composite wing instead of the wooden design. I chose the Harry C. Riblett GA37U-A315 airfoil and built the wing up using laminated Mahogany &fiberglass spars with polyurethane foam and E-Glass ribs and skins. The wing phase took two years of nights and week-ends. I built the Sport Racer empennage next, and after two years of foam, 22
From Issue 78- Mayâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;Jun 2004
I have not mastered full stall landings in the Dog; the spring rod landing gear and heavy nose make bouncing very easy. She likes wheel landings at 70 KIAS so I treat her like my wife and let her have her way. Without flaps, airspeed control on final is critical to a successful landing.
COOLING SYSTEM Using the great tutorial in Vol. II on cooling liquid cooled aircraft engines, I integrated the radiator and ducts under and behind the engine. I kept it up close to the engine to simplify the design and plumbing but plan to move it back to the more aerodynamically efficient "Mustang" position in the future. Under all ground and flight conditions the engine coolant temperature has remained at thermostat setting. I use both an engine coolant temperature gauge and the readout from the ECM which I monitor in the cockpit with a hand-held computer via the OBD -II data port.
With the minimal use of new parts the total cost of the JD is a little less than $10,000 plus six years of development and labor. In building the prototype Junkyard Dog I stuck to the old developer's maxim "better is the enemy of good enough"; good enough got me to AirVenture 2004 and back home!
ELECTRONIC CONTROL MODULE
Roger P. Flower
Since 1998 all auto engines in the US. must meet OBD-II emission standards and have become a marvel of modern technology. Aircraft engines may never have to meet the rigorous standards of modern auto engines but the technology is there if they do. The stock wire harness and computer (ECM) had to be modified for aircraft instillation; Street and Performance (a shop in Mena, AR) reprogrammed the ECM to remove the anti-theft circuit and I modified the wire harness myself. At first modifying the wire harness looked a little intimidating but after buying the complete factory maintenance manuals on e-Bay and studying the wire diagrams I was able to figure out what wires to splice so that the ECM remained on the firewall in about the same location as in the auto with the engine in the aircraft backwards (flywheel forward).
I want to share with you a little follow up on the flutter I experienced with my Hummel Bird “Diva”, reported in issue 76. It turns out that after filling the ailerons with the foam per the article, the demon raised it's ugly head again while I was out in Ohio with the plane. All was not well in paradise. I think that I have it tamed once and for all this time. The idiot (yours truly) that built the counter weight arms for the static balance of the ailerons, didn't get them symmetrical. What I mean here is that the left arm (the one in question) was hanging down about an inch lower than the right aileron arm which was aimed more directly into the relative wind during straight and level flight. With the left arm hanging down in the relative wind, it would begin to vibrate with the increased resistance of the thicker air during flight at lower altitudes, and the aileron would begin to sympathize into a flutter condition. At higher altitudes (7-8,000 feet), I never really had any problems, not to say I wasn't on the verge of having one.
The engine electrical power buss is standard aircraft wiring and I used circuit breaker switches for all circuits. The engine electrical system looks intimidating but once you understand all the circuits it is easy to build a standard aircraft engine electrical system. The only additions I made to the stock LS-1 auto installation were to add a back-up electric fuel pump (aux. pump) and a SAFECRAFT Halon fire suppression system. The computer controlled electronic fuel injection of the LS-1 senses mass airflow and throttle position; automatically leaning for best power (12:1) at full throttle or best economy (14.7:1) at partial throttle settings.
Now that I have adjusted and raised the left arm even with the right arm, I have had no indications of it wanting to flutter. It now points into the wind with better penetration of the air and less resistance and susceptibility to begin vibrating. At least, that's how I see it.
DIRECT DRIVE, NO PSRU To harness the horse power I installed a standard transmission flywheel and a 6" prop extension mated to a four blade, 64" diameter ground adjustable Warp Drive prop.
I thought I should make the rest of the saga available to the readers of CONTACT!, in hopes that it might keep someone from making the same foolish mistake.
PERFORMANCE AND HANDLING At 3400 RPM the prop tips are at Mach .98 giving me 230 HP. I cruised up to Oshkosh from Memphis at 3,000 RPM, 120 KIAS, 4,500' MSL, with a fuel burn of 9.8 GPH. The Dog has an empty weight of 1,100 lb., a gross weight of 1,800 lbs. and carries 70 gallons of fuel. With the Dog loaded for a week of camping at AirVenture I was 100 lbs. short of max gross weight at take-off. I took off at sunrise into some patchy ground fog along the Mississippi River and climbed out at 1,700 FPM at 100 KIAS.
David Roe N3033L
From Issue 78- May—Jun 2004
Story and photos By Patrick Panzera
Photo by Ian Norman
Stephen and Patricia Lantz Incline Village, Nevada SteveLantz@aol.com
Steve’s wife Patricia is very supportive, and always has been. Steve and Patricia have been married 30 years, and Patricia loves aviation; she was a flight attendant. Patricia is currently a realtor in Incline Village, NV, with Lake Tahoe Distinctive Properties. She loves the Seabee, as she has all the airplanes that they’ve owned, but she doesn’t hold any ratings. Their only son is currently flying for Jet Blue.
Steve began his flying career as a US Navy pilot, but did some civilian flying in the early 60’s, as a student attending Chico State University in Chico, California. While attending the University, Steve was selected for Navy flight training where he received his “wings” in 1965. He went on to fly the Lockheed P3A Orion (P-3) in the western Pacific during the Vietnam era. As an aircraft commander with Patrol Squadron 48, he flew out of the naval air facility at Cam Ranh Bay, where he flew the Market Time Barrier, a 15 hour patrol around the entire Cambodian/ Vietnam peninsula. With very short revisit times at each point around the entire peninsula, from the Gulf of Siam up to the Gulf of Tonkin, and as far north as Haiphong Harbor, Patrol Squadron 48 spent their time looking for infiltrating Chinese boats or camouflaged North Korean fishing boats which were known for running arms to shore. In addition, they searched for Chinese and Soviet submarines.
THE BEGINNING In 1999 Steve built 38 large hangars at the Carson City, Nevada, airport. Steve then persuaded his life-long friend, Paul Shepherd, to join him in NV. Paul was retired and rather bored with living in Redding, California, so at Steve’s suggestion he and his wife Diane packed up and moved to Carson City. Steve and Paul started a series of projects on a few of Steve’s planes; at one time they had five or six airplanes hangared there, including a Mk5 Jet Provost, the Romanian IAR-823 trainer, a couple of Luscombes and a Taylorcraft. Neither of the men were or currently are rated as an A&P or AI mechanic, but all the fun they had with these certified planes was under the direct supervision of an AI.
After his military tour, Steve went to work for a Trans International Airline (TIA) out of Oakland California, an all jet charter carrier, and ended up flying right back to his old stomping grounds, Clark Air Base and Sangley Point, (both in the Philippines), and Cam Ranh Bay. TIA was contracted by the military, to move troops, and quickly grew to be the largest charter carrier in the world. Shortly thereafter, TIA became Transamerica Airline (the pyramid in San Francisco). In late 1986 they closed the doors on the company and Steve went to work for the former owner of TIA, who started MGM Grand out of Los Angeles, a super first class carrier running just LA to New York. After two years of that, Steve took a job in management (Chief pilot) with Emery Worldwide Airlines where he remained until the year 2000, when he retired at age 60.
In 2003, Steve received his floatplane rating and began looking to buy the ideal platform from which he could exercise his new privilege. He shortly realized that the ultimate seaplane was built in 1946 and there were not many of them left; this being the RC 3 Seabee, built by the Republic Aviation Corporation located in Farmingdale, Long Island, New York. The Seabee was produced commercially from 1946 to 1947, with the highest serial number reaching 1060. The amphibious plane is a four place (and sometimes even a five place) and is constructed in typical Republic Aviation fashion, making it robust enough to actually handle rough water. It has a single engine, mounted up high in a pusher configuration. The weakest point of the plane is the stock 215 HP, 6 cylinder Franklin engine, which has not been in production for many decades. 24
From Issue 81- Oct—Dec 2005
burn down about a half While researching seathe main tank and just planes, Steve read dump all the wing tank about CONTACT! Magload [into the main tank] azine contributor Brian by pulling that vernier all Robinson’s successful the way out.” Steve told mating of a Chevrolet us. LS1 to a Seabee. (see issue #59, Nov-Dec Additional modifications 2000). Steve contacted include two-foot wing tip Brian and found that he extensions, increasing was very interested in the overall span from building conversions for 37’-8” to 41’-8”; leading other Seabee owners. edge landing lights, Steve commissioned the cockpit air conditioning conversion of an LS6 Photo courtesy of Brian Robinson and a Corvette passenCorvette engine from ger compartment heater, Brian. In stock trim, the The LS6 just as it comes crated from Brian Robinson’s shop, which uses heated water engine is rated at 405 ready to bolt into the Seabee engine compartment. from the engine cooling hp @ 6,000 RPM. Brian system. Right next to the fuel management vernier cable, basically presented Steve with a “turn-key” engine comunder the pilot’s seat, is another push-pull cable used to plete with PSRU, prop governor, radiator, exhaust sysshut off the coolant to the heater core mounted in the tem, custom ECU and engine mount, pretty much ready nose section of the aircraft. “The coolant from the engine to drop in the airplane. has to come all the way to the nose. Should one of the lines [supply or return] break and we smell it, I can shut Meanwhile, Steve was searching for a Seabee and finalthe coolant [supply] off at the engine.” ly found a very nice hull (fuselage), at an airport near British Columbia. (The Seabee was and still is immensely popular in Canada). He purchased the airframe and started searching for parts. What he couldn’t find, he and his partner Paul built. One thing they learned very early on: the Seabee was hand-built; they weren’t jigged or pre -punched so the holes drilled in a wing skin from one plane will not align with the holes drilled in another. Almost all the major castings were built the same way, so trying to intermix castings or panels from one plane to another is difficult, if not downright impossible. This fact led to the need for the two friends to fabricate many of the parts of this plane, and that’s a major key to their success in obtaining an experimental, amateur-built certificate for this otherwise certified airplane. Using the FAA checklist, they easily proved that they built 63% of this plane.
FUEL SYSTEM AND MODIFICATIONS The list of modifications is too long to describe but some of the more noteworthy subprojects and accomplishments include a new set of wing tanks; 20 gallons per side, which bring the total fuel load up to 120 gallons (or approximately 720 pounds). The original (main) Seabee fuel tank of 80 US gallon capacity remains in the keel compartment below the rear cabin floor. With a cruise setting netting 9 GPH, that’s over 13 hours of duration. The fuel management system was converted to handle the addition of wing tanks, allowing both to drain into the main tank. There is a vernier cable in the cockpit, located under the pilot’s seat, which is used to alter the flow of fuel from the wing tanks to the main tank. “I fill the entire aircraft up. As fuel burns down, I can adjust the vernier to the burn rate and just let fuel trickle out of the wings into the main tank until I have the wings drained, or I can
On the floor, under the pilot’s seat, are two cables. The vernier cable shown in the middle of the above photo is used to control the flow of fuel from the custom wing tanks to the stock main tank. 25
From Issue 81- Oct—Dec 2005
er trim panels (including those around the custom made windows) are made from fiberglass or carbon fiber, all fabricated by hand by the two builders. While looking at the meticulously crafted headliner, I noticed a fully machined elevator trim wheel which, you guessed it, was crafted and installed by Steve and Paul. Although there are many custom features to be found throughout this highly modified airplane, many of the systems are still as they came from the factory, but cleaned up and made to operate like (or better than) new. One such system is the hydraulics. It’s all hand operated; you pump the Photo courtesy of Steve Lantz repositionable main gear up or down by hand, as well as the flaps. The attention to detail, as well The plane was dissembled down to almost every nut, bolt and as the fit and finish, is rivaled by few. rivet then reconditioned to new or better than new condition. Steve and Paul rebuilt every single piece of the airplane. This included all the control systems as well as drilling the control surfaces apart, zinc-chromating the inside, replacing or repairing as necessary, any damaged ribs, removing all dents and dings from the skin, and putting everything back together. The inside of the boat hull, as well as the tail section, was beefed up (with the addition of cross-members and other structural elements) to support the loads imposed by the additional horsepower, almost double what it was intended to support.
THE ENGINE Everything on the engine is stock except for the removal of the power steering pump and the relocation of the alternator. The stock oil cooler and exhaust system were replaced with custom units, designed and built by Brian Robinson. The oil cooler is a liquid-to-liquid heat exchanger, where engine coolant is used to lower and regulate the oil temperature. The oil and water maintain standard Corvette temperatures, no matter how long the plane is on the taxiway or how long the full-power climb works out to be. Shock-cooling is also a non-issue. Full power or no power, the temperatures stay in the green.
Getting things built, installed and rigged just so was no easy feat, given that this plane has been out of production for well over half a century. Steve told us that Republic never got around to publishing a maintenance manual for the aircraft, but he found information and support through a network of other Seabee enthusiasts such as Brian Robinson. “We found most of these guys on the Internet and contacted them with our questions.” Steve said. If one person didn't have the answer he might say, "Why don't you contact so-and-so and maybe he’ll know." There is also a great association out there, the IRSOC. (International Republic Seabee Owners Club) All the old newsletters and FAA directories may be found on their comprehensive website: www.republicseabee.com
The stock Corvette aluminum radiator (right out of the crate) is ventilated while not in flight, by way of two computer controlled, electrically-operated, fully shrouded carbon fiber fans. This is a necessity as the pusher prop delivers very little in the way of moving mass quantities of air over the radiator, unless it’s propelling the plane forward. A manual override switch was added for the operation of the fans so the pilot can turn them on any-
Metal forming consisted of very few compound curves, but the two friends did build the two main doors themselves. They were able to find the upper door, outer skin panels, but the inner skins, which are more complicated and intricate, were hand formed. Custom metal work (other than replacing original pieces) was essentially limited to hand-forming the cowl extension in front of the prop. Of particular note (and still on the topic of modifications): The headliner was hand-made by Steve and Paul. It is a single piece, formed from room-temperature cure carbon fiber, which simply snaps in place and is held there by two screws. For an annual inspection, simply removing the two screws allows the whole thing to just fall out, giving access to all the cables, pulleys, pushrods, bellcranks, lines and wires otherwise concealed. All the oth-
No effort was spared for cosmetics. This plane is as beautiful as it is functional. The headliner is simple and elegant, just like the custom made billet aluminum elevator trim wheel that passes through it. 26
From Issue 81- Oct—Dec 2005
ALUMINUM BLOCK The aluminum block casting, the cornerstone of the LS6 engine, features cast-in "windows" which allow better bay-to-bay breathing. On the down stroke, the underside of the pistons pushes air back toward the crankcase, creating backpressure or resistance, which translates into parasitic horsepower loss. With the “overtravel” windows, air is allowed to move more freely between crankcase bays, thus reducing the unwanted resistance. Most typically, the high pressure air will migrate to an adjacent bay where an upward-moving piston creates a low pressure area. The “windows” make this very easy to come about.
VALVES Gases flowing into and out of the combustion chamber pass by hollow stem valves. The stems of the exhaust valves are filled with a liquid sodium alloy. Since the exhaust valves operate at a much higher temperature than the intake valves, the liquid alloy enables better transference of heat from the exhaust valves to the valve guides and then to the engine coolant. As a side benefit of the valve stems being essentially hollow, the valvetrain mass is reduced by approximately 368 grams. This lighter weight allows the valves to maintain contact with the cam (through the pushrods and hydraulic roller lifters) at higher speeds, reducing the opportunity for valve float without having to rely on heavier than necessary springs which, by way of resistance, rob horsepower. However the engine is designed to spin faster than previous versions so the LS6's valve springs are stiffer. They are made from the same steel wire as those in previous models, but are wound tighter for a higher spring rate.
Torque and horsepower graph for the LS6 time he pleases. The stock air conditioning condenser is mounted in front of the radiator as it is in the Corvette. As for full throttle power, there’s no time limit. By restricting the engine (via prop governor) to just below 5,000 RPM, (prop turning 2,750 RPM) at maximum ambient manifold pressure, the engine is operating under its rated full-power output. According to the torque/horsepower curve (shown above), 5,000 RPM is approximately 375 HP @ 393 ft-lbs of torque. 6,500 RPM is redline and is actually on the downward side of the power curve, with HP dropping off from peak to a little less than 400. The LS6 produces 405 hp at 6,000 rpm. Peak torque is at a slower 4,800 RPM and is rated at 400 ft-lb.
MASS AIR FLOW SENSOR The mass air flow sensor for the LS6 engine no longer has pre-sensor grid work known as air channels. Induction air flows less restricted through the new MAF sensor and into the intake manifold.
PISTONS LS6 pistons are cast from highstrength M142 aluminum alloy and reshaped with a slightly different profile than those in the LS1. In side view, the LS6 pistons have a slight barrel shape, almost imperceptible to the naked eye. The new alloy increases engine durability at racetrack operating levels, while the shape reduces internal mechanical noise; not so important to aviation, but we need to remember, this was a car engine first. 27
From Issue 81- Oct—Dec 2005
COMPRESSION RATIO The LS6's aluminum cylinder heads are cast with *pentroof combustion chambers. Compression ratio is 10.5:1, which improves thermal efficiency and increases horsepower as compared to lower compression ratios. Intake and exhaust ports in the LS6 head are more precisely cast than past versions of the 350, contributing to the engine's overall increase in volumetric efficiency. *A “pent-roof” combustion chamber is one which has a cross sectional shape similar to a low sloped gable roof on a house. Although the LS6 has only 2 valves per cylinder, the pent-roof design is more commonly found where four valves per cylinder are used.
HIGH-LIFT PROFILE CAMSHAFT The LS6-specific, steel-billet camshaft contributes more than any other single piece of hardware to the LS6's horsepower gain over previous versions of the 350 cubic inch small block engine. In simple terms, the cam opens the valves quicker and allows more air to flow into the combustion chambers. Cam lift is 13.3mm, which is .7 mm further open than with previous versions. Each camshaft is induction hardened* and straightened to an accuracy of ten microns to ensure it spins true in the engine. All 16 lobes are inspected using opto-electrical technology with submicron level precision.
With the engine bolted in place, the stock Corvette aluminum radiator sits in front of the engine, almost as it would in the car. Above the radiator is the induction system, which consists of a stock MAF sensor, a mechanical throttle body (the crate engine comes with a “fly-by-wire” electronic throttle body) and a not-so-stock K&N air filter. Other deviations from stock include the ceramic-coated, stainless steel exhaust system, designed and built by Brian, and the alternator is relocated to fit the Seabee cowl.
*A widely used process for the surface hardening of steel. The components are heated by means of an alternating magnetic field to a temperature within or above
From Issue 81- Oct—Dec 2005
the transformation range followed by immediate quenching. The core of the component remains unaffected by the treatment and its physical properties are those of the bar from which it was machined, while the hardness of the case can be within the range 37/58 Rc. Carbon and alloy steels with a carbon content in the range 0.40/0.45% are most suitable for this process.
INTERNAL PCV SYSTEM The LS6's application in the Corvette Z06 creates additional demands on the PCV system. The Z06 is capable of cornering at more than 1 lateral g, requiring a special high-performance ventilation system. To prepare the Z06 for all-out driving, the LS6's PCV system is moved into the engine's valley, under the intake manifold. The unique aluminum valley cover incorporates composite oil -separating baffles and PCV plumbing. All of this reduces oil consumption during high-performance driving and, as an added benefit, reduces the amount of external plumbing, eliminating potential oil-leak sources. This potential oil leak elimination translates well to aviation, but I would hope that Steve or anyone else for that matter won’t be seeing 1G side-loads any time soon.
FUEL INJECTORS High air-flow into the LS6 combustion chambers would serve no purpose without the appropriate volume of fuel to take advantage of it. The injectors are capable of delivering fuel at a rate of up to 3.6 grams per second, or 28.57 pounds per hour per injector. With 8 injectors pumping fuel into the engine, 230 pounds per hour is available. That’s over 38 gallons per hour, wide open, which is more than enough to feed a hungry 405 hp engine when called upon.
COMPUTER A stock Z06 Corvette ECU was extensively modified, mostly to eliminate the sensors and programming related to emission control and the “fly-by-wire” throttle. To date, the operation of the ECU has been flawless. Altitude compensation is reported to be “wonderful”. The system
EXHAUST MANIFOLD The bowtie crate engine is delivered stock from the factory with thin-wall, cast-iron, exhaust manifolds. Earlier versions of the engine came with stainless steel manifolds (or headers), but given the LS6 engine's potential for being involved in sustained high-speed driving in the Corvette, cast iron is the factory’s material of choice. Since in aircraft trim this engine will also most likely see continuous, high power, operation, the cast iron manifold, although heavier that its stainless counterpart, is weight well spent. Although the stock cast iron exhaust system could be adequate for many applications, Brian has developed a superior exhaust system for use with the Seabee. He has replaced the original manifolds with a custom designed, ceramic coated stainless steel header/muffler combination. The new unit is considerably lighter and requires much less space under the cowling. The ceramic coating reduces heat buildup under the cowling while keeping the exhaust gases hot, which can lead to better flow.
Looking through the bow door, with the right-hand seats folded forward, and the baggage compartment door open, we can see the wall-mounted ECU. is even able to accept the use of 100LL, which is a lifesaver, as many times it’s difficult to get mogas from the local FBO. Additionally, transporting up to 120 gallons from town to the plane could get to be troublesome. Swapping back and forth between mogas and 100LL has proven not to be a problem with this installation. 29
From Issue 81- Oct—Dec 2005
The unit is custom programmed with the “export” (nonUSA) code for leaded fuel, and uses no oxygen sensor. This was to enable the use of 100LL fuel, as well as premium unleaded pump gas. The emission and VAT codes are suppressed. The wiring harness was purchased from an aftermarket supplier. Electricity to the computer is supplied from one of two full-size batteries, which can be manually isolated in case of an alternator or battery failure. The power source can be selected manually. As of August, 2005, Brian Robinson, who build his conversion in 2000, has accumulated 1176 hours on his Corvette LS1 installation and is known to burn 100LL on a regular basis. Steve burned it all the way to Oshkosh and back; never missed a beat. He insists that the engine even seemed to run just a hair cooler on his trip to OSH and back, running 100LL, than it does when 91 octane mogas is used.
REDUCTION UNIT The reduction drive was custom designed (using AutoCAD) to fit the Seabee installation. It is based on standard Morse Hi VO chain and sprockets, and was sized and installed as per their technical publication. The chain is lubricated with engine oil via a spray bar. The aluminum housing was cast, aged and tempered in a local foundry. The design was loosely patterned off of the existing Franklin engine extension, with changes as required to maintain the existing thrust line and propeller position. All thrust loads, forward and reverse, are carried by the rear reduction unit bearing. The propeller pitch control system is identical to the Franklin setup, which has proven to be trouble-free over the decades, so why change it? Oil return is by gravity to the engine sump, and all oil is filtered through a custom remote oil filtering system. The drive mates to the engine via a splined adapter bolted directly to the flywheel. Brian used the manual transmission version of the flywheel (as well as the stock harmonic balancer) as a safeguard against any potential torsional vibration concerns.
We caught up with Steve and Patricia at the Salinas Air Show, Salinas CA. Steve was kind enough to open the cowl so I could get a good look inside. This photo clearly shows the beauty of the custom MT constant speed, reversible propeller. ~Pat
THE PROPELLER The propeller is custom made for this application by MT Propellers out of Germany. The 4 blade scimitar prop is hydraulically operated and, in reverse, electrically controlled. On the instrument panel, in addition to the traditional blue vernier knob for adjusting the prop, is a hooded arming switch that is used only while the plane is on water. Once armed, a momentarily-on, double-throw toggle switch is used to choose between forward and reverse. “I can toggle it back and forth, forward to reverse, with my right hand on the throttle and my right thumb on the toggle switch.” Steve told us. Steve went on to explain, “This propeller operates opposite of most propellers. Most propellers fail to the climb [fine pitch] position. This prop fails to the coarse position, and is operated by tension on the springs and the fly-weights from the cockpit with a vernier control. Because it’s a reversible prop it has to operate that 30
From Issue 81- Oct—Dec 2005
Probably the most amazing thing is that the aluminum block, 350 cubic inch Corvette powerplant, rated at 405 horsepower (with chain drive PSRU) is lighter than the stock 215 HP Franklin engine. Since Steve installed airconditioning and cabin heat, the plane gained another 30 pounds, most of which ended up in the engine compartment, which now has the installed engine weight of the LS6 slightly above that of the Franklin.
way, and it does operate almost in reverse to most [controllable] propellers. But it’s a great prop; it’s pretty much flawless in its operation and very, very quiet. It turns at 2750 [RPM] for take-off, which is between 4,000 and 5,000 RPM for my engine.”
ENGINE MONITORING AND BASIC INSTRUMENTATION
PERFORMANCE The plane is named “The Lake Tahoe Special” for a reason. Lake Tahoe is located 6,200 The switchology for controlfeet MSL, and even with ling the prop in reverse, is high density altitude, the guarded to protect against Special is off the water accidental arming. in 18 seconds from the time the throttle is pushed forward. In ground-run tests at the South Lake Tahoe’s asphalt runway, with a density altitude of 9,200 feet, they were consistently off the runway in under 400 feet. To quote Steve, “It performs like a STOL aircraft”.
As a testament to the simplicity and efficiency of the engine installation, Steve’s panel has minimal day, VFR instrumentation. This is accented by a smattering of engine monitoring gauges, directly from the local auto parts store. There are no expensive multi-function displays used to check on the health of the engine; no fuel flow indicator, no EGT or CHT, just a set of hot rod style, VDO gauges to indicate engine RPM, oil pressure and temperature, water temp and an ammeter, with “idiot” lights (a remnant from the automotive background of the
With two people and a medium load of fuel, climb rate is about 850 FPM from Carson City at 4,600’ field elevation. Cruising speed is reported to be 115 mph, burning 9 -9.5 GPH. Using a rule of thumb (estimated) BSFC of .49 pounds per HP/Hr, that works out to 116 HP. If we drop that to .41 for the modern, sophisticated engine, the ponies jump to almost 140. The highest that Steve has ever climbed the oxygen equipped aircraft is 10,500’, and it had no problem getting there. Although Steve really doesn’t know where the service ceiling is, we’re sure he’ll have to use his oxygen to find out.
LIMITS As far as performance is concerned, Steve respects the Republic limits, as published: Vne, Vc, Vfe, etc. But for weight and balance, since he’s now the manufacturer of this experimental aircraft, he’s written his own. The airplane is rated at 3,850 pounds gross at take off, up 700 pounds from the published “normal class” Seabee. It weighs 2,600 pounds empty (2,190 is the published empty weight for a stock Seabee), leaving him with a respectable 1,250 pounds useful load. With 720 pounds of that taken up with a full fuel load, a decent 530 pounds are available for passengers and baggage. Put another way, with 180 pounds in each of the 4 seats and 100 pounds of baggage, Steve can fill the tanks with 71 gallons of fuel, which is good for an easy 7 hours of cruise flight. Steve reports that he has had it loaded to 3,850 a number of times. “The extra fuel and the weight of the extra fuel tank installation pretty much mandated a higher take-off weight, so we tested it as we went along. At 3,850, we’re still well within CG range. There’s no ballast in the airplane, the center of gravity is perfect just the way it sits.”
ECU) to back them up. The only extravagance might be the coolant and oil volume lights, but they too are part of the ECU. At approximately 25 hour intervals, Steve plugs in a typical GM scan tool into the ODB-II port (just like Mr. Goodwrench) and checks for trouble codes as well as verifying the correct function of his engine monitoring instruments, i.e. RPM, oil and water temp, etc. On the aviation end of the spectrum, Steve opted to install the Dynon EFIS system, which in this day and age, should in no way be considered an extravagance as the price is very competitive with what one would pay for steam gauges in the traditional 6-pack arrangement. Sitting not too far away from the Dynon is a Garmin 300 GPS NAV/COM system and matching Garmin encoding transponder. Above that is a Narco Escort II Nav/Com digital VOR. All in all, a tidy package of high quality avionics that are also a good “bang for the buck”. The plane has no form of autopilot or wing leveling system. The four-place intercom is outfitted such that an iPod or other 31
From Issue 81- Oct—Dec 2005
such MP3 player (or even an XM radio or portable CD player) can be plugged in for entertainment during those long cross country flights.
THE TAIL MARKINGS The boomerang graphic painted on the vertical stabilizer is Steve’s old Navy squadron insignia; Patrol Squadron VP -48. The significance of the boomerang? They WILL return. It was on the tail of all the VP-48 aircraft. The words “Cam Ranh Bay” (Vietnam) signifies one major area of VP-48 patrol during the Vietnam conflict.
Steve doesn’t fly instruments any longer, although he’s certainly qualified; but after flying 22,000 hours in the clouds, he considers that “enough”.
CERTIFICATION Dealing with the Feds was not problematic, although several inspectors told Steve and Paul that they probably should look into things further before they began. They were told, in fact, that what they were attempting to do was essentially turning a certified aircraft into an experimental aircraft. That was just not the case. What Steve and Paul actually did was take a derelict hull (fuselage), (there are specific provisions in the FAR’s for doing just this, see the side-piece below), and with the use of other certified aircraft parts as well as hand-made custom parts, fabricate a special airplane; an amateur-built, experimental airplane. With over 2,000 photographs and a n exhaustive log accounting for 4,000 man-hours, in the end Steve and Paul were able to show that they actually built this airplane. FAA form 8000-38 was an essential and crucial part of proving the percentage of completion by these two amateurs. In addition, their FAA inspector required photographs with them in each shot, and a detailed written log that corresponded to each photo. They complied; they catalogued everything as they disassembled and rebuilt the airplane, and in the end, the Feds officially concluded that they actually built 63% of the airplane, which is more than a lot of builders end up doing with some of the quick-built kits available from kit manufacturers.
TWO PROUD BUILDERS When we asked Steve what part of the project he’s most proud of, he replied, “I think what is amazing to Paul Shepherd and me is that we built this airplane in the hangar; just the two of us. We even painted it. Paul actually stitched the upholstery himself and did a beautiful job. Every single piece of this plane was done by just the two of us, other than the engine conversion; we spent eight hours a day, every day, for almost two years- or twenty months. We started pretty much on schedule, every morning right to martini hour, and that was the end of productivity- Two guys, simply a scorecard. You, the owner, must complete 51% of the items on the FAA approved checklist. There have been several Cessna 185 and 206 "replicas" built and licensed as amateur-built aircraft. These aircraft are eligible for export to Canada & are permitted to cross the border. You may also import a Canadian amateur built aircraft into the U.S.
United States of America Aircraft Licensing Options By Brian Robinson In the U.S. the only viable licensing option we have been able to identify is compliance with the amateur built rules. In theory the aircraft could be licensed by using a one time STC or via the 337 process. We have been unable to find an inspector willing to do this. The amateur built process is as follows.
It is important to note that you cannot call the aircraft a Seabee. It must be called something else, e.g. A Robinson V-8 powered Bee. The name Seabee refers to a certified aircraft. If you call the FAA & tell them you are going to build an amateur built Seabee, you will probably be turned down. If you call the FAA and tell them you are going to build a Robinson V-8 powered Bee (or any other name of your choice) - an all aluminum, V-8 powered amphibian using modified Seabee components they will inform you that you must comply with the 51% rule and instruct you to complete FAA form 8000-38. If your project meets the 51% criteria, it will be eligible for registration as an amateur built aircraft. FAA form 800038 is found on the FAA web site.
You currently cannot take a certified aircraft & re-license it as an amateur-built aircraft. You can, however, build an amateur-built aircraft using mostly certified aircraft components. This is only practical if the airframe is going to be refurbished. The process begins by removing the manufacturers nameplate and ensuring the aircraft has been removed from the registry. You must then simply comply with FAA 8000-38, the FABRICATION/ASSEMBLY OPERATION CHECKLIST, otherwise known at the "51%" rule checklist. The only confusing part is that the 51% checklist has nothing to do with 51% of the work being done. It is
Please email any inquires or questions to Brian Robinson at email@example.com 32
From Issue 81- Oct—Dec 2005
best buds since we were kids, with not much experience, from a private hangar in Carson City, and we were able to go to AirVenture and win National Grand Champion.”
THE FUTURE This Seabee has sparked a lot of attention. When Steve first bought it, most of the people at the Carson City airport had never seen a real Seabee; some had never even heard of it. There are now five people at Carson City airport with Seabee’s (or parts thereof) in their hangars, hoping to also go experimental, amateur-built. Most of them are just parts with a lot of pieces missing, so they are starting roughly where Steve and Paul started. We’re sure that with a lot of help from these life-long friends, the projects will take flight some day.
Virtually every skill was new to Steve, from welding to riveting to sheet metal work, including painting. They started from scratch; luckily Paul had a little experience in sheet metal and had painted in the past, but not with modern paints such as the two-part PPG product they opted to use; but they learned as they went along. Steve’s experience of this nature was limited to the hot rods he built while in his youth. Back in 1958, he had a ‘34 Ford Roadster with an early Chevy 283 V-8.
What Steve and Paul have accomplished, with the help of Brian Robinson, is something extraordinary. They’ve essentially taken an orphaned airplane, with an orphaned engine, that was fundamentally not the safest combination, and transformed it into an exotic yet safe, high performing amphibious experimental aircraft that fills a niche in recreational aviation. The entire concept and execution just makes a lot of sense. Steve credits Paul for the success of this project. “Without Paul, the aircraft definitely would not be what it is today, and would not have been the 2005 Airventure Grand Champion; Paul is the artist between us”.
Photo by Ian Norman 33
From Issue 81- Oct—Dec 2005
Steve and Patricia Lantz, proud owners of one very fine example of experimental, amateur-built aviation.
Attention to detail can be found anywhere you look.
During the process of fact checking and otherwise putting the final touches on the previous article, I sent a draft to Brian Robinson to make sure we got everything right. The following is from a note I received from him.
Hi Pat. Great write-up. I have made some minor technical corrections. In terms of an update, here are the facts:
There are currently seven V8 powered Seabees licensed and flying throughout Canada and the USA. (Two - LS1 engines and five LS6 engines) There are at least eight more Seabees currently undergoing our conversion at present. Total fleet flying time for all our V8 converted Seabees is over 2100 hours and increasing daily. All use stock G.M. LS series crate engines mated to our re-
duction unit. We just shipped our first LS2 conversion. We have four LS7 engines under conversion. The V8 engine conversion has improved the performance of the Seabee remarkably, and (to date) has been totally trouble-free. We currently burn less than 1L of oil in 50 Hours. The automotive-style heating and air conditioning systems have made the aircraft much more enjoyable to operate. We use the air conditioning far more than I thought we would when we first installed it. The operating cost is at least 50% less than the Franklin operating cost. The reduced cost per gal of mogas over 100LL, plus the reduced fuel burn in GPH total up to significant savings. For more information visit www.V8seabee.com and vwww.v8aircraft.com or call us at 705-340-2408
You can read all about Brian’s plane in issue #59 of CONTACT! Magazine 34
From Issue 81- Oct—Dec 2005
By Patrick Panzera Originally published in EAA’s Experimenter eNewsletter. “For the past four years, EAA and the amateur-built aircraft community have been facing perhaps the most significant threat ever faced by the homebuilt movement. But today, we’re confident in declaring that the threat is over; the FAA this week released the long-awaited final order that revises the amateur-built aircraft certification policy known as the 51 percent rule as well as Advisory Circular 20-27G, the guide for amateur builders on how to properly certify every step of the building process.”
that regulation that has worked for many people), if you started with Cub wings and had to replace one rib, you would get credit for building all of the ribs. Now you apparently can’t get ANY credit for restoring the wing, even if you built a dozen ribs, and shortened or lengthened the span, and you may not get credit for covering the wings either. You might get credit if you built new ailerons and new controls, but that’s my generous interpretation. Here’s the actual wording of the rule:
This paragraph and much more hit my e-mail inbox on October 7, 2009, and it’s all good news, as compared to what it could have contained.
d. Use of Salvaged Assemblies From TypeCertificated Aircraft. The use of used or salvaged assemblies (for example, landing gear, horizontal stabilizer, and engine mount) from type-certificated aircraft is permitted, as long as they are in a condition for safe operation. However—
The proposed changes that the EAA fought with due diligence were potentially crippling to the homebuilding community, and this news was welcomed relief. But reading the message had me asking more questions than what it answered, so I decided to read the 100 pages or so of FAA language, and I came away with a few answers to my questions that I’d like to share with you. Also be sure to read EAA’s 51% Rule Question and Answer page for answers on specific scenarios that could apply to your project.
(1) You should contact your local FAA MIDO or FSDO prior to using a major assembly or subassembly, such as wings, fuselage, or tail assembly from a type -certificated aircraft. As an amateur builder, you should be aware that when building your aircraft, the excessive use of major assemblies or subassemblies from type-certificated aircraft would most likely render it ineligible for certification under § 21.191(g). (2) You will not receive credit for work done on, or the use of, salvaged major assemblies or subassemblies when determining whether your amateur-built aircraft has met the major portion requirement. This would include any “rebuilding” or “alteration” activities to return these components to an airworthy condition. (3) All fabrication, installation, and assembly tasks on the Amateur-Built Aircraft Fabrication and Assembly Checklist (2009) that you’ve completed by the use of used or salvaged assemblies can only be annotated in the “Mfr Kit/Part/Component” column.
What’s changed? Not a lot as compared to the spirit of the old rule. If you are in the process of or are interested in building an aircraft in the future, the “major portion of which has been [or will be] fabricated and assembled by persons who undertook the construction project solely for their own education or recreation,” (FAR § 21.191(g)) you are in fine shape. But for those who would blur the line or disregard it all together, potentially a lot has changed. I would say that “builders” (and I use that term loosely) who would rather hire someone to build their plane for them, and kit manufacturers in general, are the most impacted.
Can one rebuild a certified aircraft into an experimental (amateur-built), like the Blanton STOL? By referencing the above chapter and verse, it really doesn’t look that way. In fact, I’ll go out on a limb here and say that my interpretation is a resounding NO! The reason I come to this conclusion is that when we look at the checklist, on the very first page, right next to where the builder would fill in his personal information, is a shaded box, designed to stand out, that contains the following:
Of course as with many rule or policy changes, there is a grandfather clause to protect those who acted in good faith who may have bought a kit prior to September 30, 2009. Whether the kit was evaluated by the FAA or not, if it was built without the use of “commercial assistance,” your project will be evaluated under the previous rules. Can one still use wings off a Cub to build an amateur -built experimental? Potentially yes, but it will be up to the builder to prove that the majority of the overall project was completed by amateurs. The new checklist, which will be binding in this case (there is no grandfathering here as far as I can tell), is potentially more generous than the previous list (more items for the builder to get credit for) and may make the difference here. But it could turn out to be a doubleedged sword. In the past (with a loose interpretation of
NOTE: This checklist is invalid for and will not be used to evaluate an altered or modified typecertificated aircraft with the intent to issue an Experimental Amateur-Built Airworthiness Certificate. Such action violates FAA policy and DOES NOT meet the intent of 14 CFR § 21.191(g). 35
From Issue 99- Oct—Dec 2009
But like I said, this is just my interpretation. Truthfully, I hope I’m wrong as I believe that the modification and reconstruction of a certified aircraft, especially mixing and matching them, or their components, falls under the spirit of the 51 percent rule.
By contrast, on the old checklist, with its two column system, you either did or did not fabricate the fuel tank, which in this case, since you only drilled holes in it, you didn’t get credit for it. Now you at least get credit for that step—which I estimate to be 15 percent of a point. There were four total items concerning fuel in the old list. The new list has five, with the only addition or change being that of calibrating the system. Otherwise, look in different areas for the new line items. Before they all could be found under “propulsion.” Now they are split up, part to the wings and part to the fuselage.
The new checklist: Amateur-Built Aircraft Fabrication and Assembly Checklist (2009) (Fixed-wing*) What was FAA Form 8000-38 (12-91), a two-columnwide list composed of 10 sections containing 154 items total, all counted on five pages (with the last page having only six items on it), has become AC 20-27G Appendix 8, a FOUR column wide list of six sections (some previous sections have been combined) containing 182 items total, on 11 pages, of which the last two are instructions on how to use the previous nine. Note that 32 of the items in the old list that pertain to rotorcraft have been expressly eliminated from the new list, leaving just 122 items in all that become comparable to the 182 items in the new list.
One interesting note, whereas 8000-38 began each section with, “Fabricate Special Tools or Fixtures,” I see that line item appearing only twice in the new checklist. Specifically how will the homebuilder be affected, and not just a kit builder? If you are a plans builder and will not be using much in the way of pre-manufactured parts save cowling, canopy, instrument panel and electrical, upholstery, paint and engine work, and some pre-welded bits and pieces, you probably won’t be affected. If you start seeking “commercial assistance,” maybe having your spars prebuilt and buying a set of commercially available ribs, you might be walking a fine line.
*Separate checklists will be developed for rotorcraft, as well as powered parachutes, weight-shift control aircraft, lighter than air, etc. With Form 8000-38 the builder simply put a checkmark in the column under “Kit Manufacturer” or “Amateur” for each line item, totaled up the number of checks in each column, and if the “Amateur” column had more than the “Kit Manufacturer” column, the builder won. Now percentages of each line item can be distributed between each of four columns. Each column is labeled as follows: A – Mfr Kit/Part/Component, B – Commercial Assistance, C – Am-Builder Assembly; D – Am-Builder Fabrication.
If you are a kit builder and you bought your kit prior to September 30, 2009, and you plan to build it all yourself, you are in great shape, especially if your kit is one that was evaluated by the FAA. If it has not been evaluated, you still get to use the old list and procedures for proving that the majority was “amateur built,” but the burden of proof is completely on you.
Although each line item only has a value of one, a portion of one can be given to each column, in 1/10th increments. This may be a bad example, but let’s say that the kit manufacturer supplied pre-cut slabs of aluminum and machined bungs to complete a fuel tank. The builder took the parts to a professional welder (commercial assistance) and had him weld all the parts together, including installation brackets. The builder brought it home, trimmed and drilled the mounting brackets to fit the wing bay, and then bolted it into place.
If you bought a kit prior to September 30, 2009, evaluated or not, and used “commercial assistance,” you will be subject to the new rule and may have problems. How will kit manufacturers be evaluated? By the FAA’s formation of a National Kit Evaluation Team (NKET), managed by the Aircraft Certification Service, Production and Airworthiness Division (AIR-200), at FAA headquarters; it’s made up of “…members with experience in the evaluation and airworthiness certification of amateur-built aircraft.”
The numbers below are an estimate for this example only. I don’t know how the actual percentages should be divided—maybe when this fictitious kit is evaluated the FAA and the designer will give it a value?
By way of a request from the kit manufacturers (evaluations* are not mandatory or otherwise required— kit manufacturers are permitted to sell their wares with-
The line items for the fuel tanks may look something like this:
FABRICATION AND ASSEMBLY TASKS Task Wings – 51 Listed Tasks # W49 Fabricate Fuel Tank
A Mfr Kit/Part/ Component
B Commercial Assistance
C Am-Builder Assembly
D Am-Builder Fabrication .15
W50 Assemble Fuel Tank to Wing
W51 Calibrate Fuel System Components
Hooking the fuel tank to the balance of the fuel system will be found in the section covering the fuselage, specifically line items F13 and F14. 36
From Issue 99- Oct—Dec 2009
out an evaluation), NKET will perform a “preliminary evaluation” to determine the proper filing of paperwork and the kit’s complexity. From there it will decide the number of NKET members required to conduct the onsite evaluation, such as with my fuel tank example.
carried in this aircraft during flight unless that person is essential to the purpose of the flight.” Some people have taken it upon themselves to determine if they need another onboard with them who would be “essential to the purpose of the flight.”
The on-site evaluation is a comprehensive look at the complete aircraft kit components and construction procedures, conducted at the manufacturer’s or distributor’s location. The new checklist will be used to scrutinize the kit, and percentage values will be assigned to line items where the part or component is partially completed by the kit manufacturer with the balance left for the builder.
Now it’s made clear that the FAA gets to make that determination, and you have to request it in writing. It will become part of your operating limitations and will probably otherwise replace the quote above. Without it prescribed in your operating limits, it’s solo baby! 9/30/2009 AC 20-27G e. Restrictions. (1) Carrying Passengers. You may not carry passengers while you are restricted to the flight test area or during any portion of your phase I flight test program. We suggest you use a tape or video recorder for recording readings and other similar tasks. If you need an additional crewmember for a particular flight test, specify that in your application program letter for the airworthiness certificate. We will list this need in your operating limitations. (2) Flight Instruction. You may not receive flight instruction during your flight test.
The checklist will be used to determine what percentage of the project is completed by the manufacturer. If NKET decided that the kit completes 49 percent of the project, the builder must complete all remaining tasks unaided by professional assistance. Should the kit be any less complete, say only 35 percent complete, the builder is free to hire professionals to complete 14 percent of the remaining work, still leaving 51 percent for the “builder.” Once the evaluation is completed and after determination that the kit meets all appropriate requirements and AIR-200 approval, NKET will ensure that the evaluated kit and the completed checklist are posted to the List of Amateur-Built Aircraft Kits on the FAA website.
Summation All in all, I suggest that every homebuilder and potential homebuilder read Advisory Circular 20-27G, the guide for amateur builders on how to properly certify every step of the building process. It’s not overly complex and should get us all on the same page.
*A request for re-evaluation is not required for new owners of companies that produce a kit(s) previously evaluated and currently posted to the List of Amateur-Built Aircraft Kits located on the FAA website. www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Order/8130.35.pdf
If you have any further questions, I suggest you direct them to EAA’s homebuilders’ community manager.
The definition of fabrication is to perform work on any material, part, or component, such as layout, bending, countersinking, straightening, cutting, sewing, gluing/ bonding, layup, forming, shaping, trimming, drilling, deburring, machining, applying protective coatings, surface preparation and priming, riveting, welding, or heat treating, and transforming the material, part, or component toward or into its finished state. Flight Testing Another issue has been marginally clarified, and I only bring this up since I’ve seen this disregarded more times than I care to mention. Phase one flight testing must be done solo: “During the flight-testing phase, no person may be 37
From Issue 99- Oct—Dec 2009