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PO BOX 1382 Hanford CA 93232-1382 United States of America 559-584-3306 Editor@CONTACTMagazine.com Mick Myal, Founder Patrick Panzera, Editor Oscar Zuniga, Associate Editor Veronica Panzera, Subscriptions

Volume 19 Number 4 Fall/Winter 2014 - Spring 2015

Issue #109 MISSION CONTACT! Magazine is published quarterly by Aeronautics Education Enterprises (AEE), established in 1990 as a nonprofit corporation, to promote aeronautical education. CONTACT! promotes the experimental development, expansion and exchange of aeronautical concepts, information, and experience. In this corporate age of task specialization many individuals have chosen to seek fresh, unencumbered avenues in the pursuit of improvements in aircraft and powerplants. In so doing, they have revitalized the progress of aeronautical design, particularly in the general aviation area. Flight efficiency improvements, in terms of operating costs as well as airframe drag, have come from these efforts. We fully expect that such individual efforts will continue and that they will provide additional incentives for the advancement of aeronautics. EDITORIAL POLICY CONTACT! pages are open to the publication of these individual efforts. Views expressed are exclusively those of the individual authors. Experimenters are encouraged to submit articles and photos of their work. Materials submitted to CONTACT! are welcomed and will become the property of AEE/CONTACT! unless other arrangements are made. Every effort will be made to balance articles reporting on commercial developments. Commercial advertising is not accepted. All rights with respect to reproduction, are reserved. Nothing whole or in part may be reproduced without prior permission of the publisher. SUBSCRIPTIONS Four issue subscription in U.S. funds is $20.00 for USA, $24.00 for Canada and Mexico, $32.00 for overseas air orders. CONTACT! is mailed to U.S. addresses at nonprofit organization rates on a irregular schedule, trying to mail in January, April, July and October. Please allow time for processing and delivery of first issue. ADDRESS CHANGES / RENEWALS The last line of your address label contains the number of your last issue. Please check your label for correctness. This magazine does not forward. Please notify us of your date of address change consistent with our quarterly mailing dates to avoid missing any issues. COPYRIGHT 2015 BY AEE, Inc.

2015 CALENDER OF EVENTS As of this writing, I’m not exactly sure which events we’ll be attending this year except for EAA AirVenture Oshkosh and our own Alternative Engine Round-up, which you can read all about on the back cover. I’m also slated to present an alternative engine educational forum at EAA Chapter 723’s regular meeting (Camarillo California) before the end of the year, but the date’s not set in stone yet. We presented there a few years ago and it was well received. This year the Golden West Fly-in has been moved to October 17th (it’s usually in May) which is the weekend before COPPERSTATE, where we’re usually a fixture except for last year when we had a conflict and just couldn’t make it.

We attended Sun ‘n Fun earlier this year, and as in the previous three years, we simply hung out in the forums classroom we’ve been assigned, and that seems to work okay. It seems that people still haven't gotten used to finding the forums in the beautiful air conditioned building yet, as this year’s numbers were way down in the forums building. In one case, we only had three people attending a forum that should have been standing room only. Continued on page 23

3 Pete Plumb’s Pegasus DP-1 O-100 Prototype.— CONTACT! Magazine’s editor, Patrick Panzera had the pleasure of meeting Pete Plumb at EAA AirVenture 2012 and has followed his progress creating his O-100, a half O-200 that uses O-200 parts. 10 Flying the Thatcher CX4 and CX5 Prototypes.— CONTACT! Magazine’s editor Patrick Panzera spent a winter weekend in Pensacola Florida test flying both the well proven Thatcher CX4 and the newest addition, the two-place Thatcher CX5. 14 Ford Coyote 5.0L (302 cubic inches) 412 HP Crate Engine.— Another fire-breathing V8 crate engine that should make a great auto conversion for experimental aircraft. 16 RENO 2014. — Richard Lewis became the proverbial “ fly on the wall” during a dispute between officials and a pilot who was disqualified. His report on this is certainly newsworthy. 28 12th Alternative Engine Round-up, French Valley California— Last year we changed the location of our annual gathering once again, and we’re planning to do it again this year on Saturday, September 26, 2015. Please join us at the French Valley Airport near Temecula California! The fine people from EAA Chapter 1279 have again offered to cohost our annual fly-in and we appreciate them greatly! On the cover: Pete Plumb’s prototype DP-1, 100 cubic inch O-100, two cylinder engine based on the Continental O-200. Photo credit: ©Eric James Swearingen, http://aviation.ArtofEricJames.com ArtofEricJames



Pete Plumb with his two-cylinder O-100 engine at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2014

Photos and Story By Patrick Panzera Pete Plumb Pegasus Power Systems Inc. 330 Aviation Street Shafter CA 93260 661-391-9464 http://flypegasuspower.com/ Pete’s aviation journey began at a young age, with his private pilot father introducing him to the joy of flight. In 1967 while Pete was in the 5th grade, his family moved from Durango CO to Whittier CA, where roughly once a month he and his father would depart Fullerton Airport in a rented Cessna 150. Pete loved every second of it and needless to say, has suffered a life-long addiction. By the time Pete turned 13 he was flying from Hemet airport in sailplanes, then on to Tehachapi where he soloed at the age of 14 and eventually earned his glider and power licenses while living in Bakersfield CA. About this same time, hang gliding was making a big advance and Pete built an early bamboo delta wing kite (covered with 4 mil clear low-density polyethylene sheeting, aka visqueen) that he still has— it now being considered an antique. www.ContactMagazine.com

Like many of us, Pete’s adolescence was filled with building and flying balsa aircraft, taking it to the next level by designing and building his own, beginning with control -line and moving up to radio control. It should go without saying that between flying sailplanes and hang gliders, building and flying model aircraft, and as working as a lineboy at Tehachapi to earn his power license and pay for all his other aviation-related pleasures, very little time was left to get into any of the usual traps teenagers see today, or even back then. After high school and at his father’s urging, Pete went on to spend a year at Colorado State University, but he still didn’t know what the rest of his life would bring. In hindsight, Pete realizes that he should have gone on to San Luis Obispo for an aeronautical engineering degree but instead of that, he came back to Bakersfield in 1975 where he was hired at Vern’s Wing Shop to build wooden aircraft wings. After roughly 18 months of that Pete was persuaded to open his own wing shop, Wood Wing Specialty, at the nearby Shafter airport, under another person’s IA (inspection authorization) who would sign off his work. A few years later, the FAA recommended that he get a repair station certificate— which he did. Since then, he’s built a LOT of Stearman wings, among others.


Not long after Pete got started at Shafter, Paul MacCready also set up shop at Shafter, building the Kremer Prize winning Gossamer Condor, of which Pete became a part. That put Pete in good company with some great aerodynamic mentors who assisted in the process of freeing his mind to come up with his first full-scale flying aircraft, the single seat Cracker Jack. With his business maturing, and with drooling over the notion of owning a Cub but not really feeling he could afford one, he decided that he could build an all wood Pete at the controls of his original design, wood and fabric Cracker Jack sport plane. Cub-like homebuilt. What pushed business and young family to Tehachapi, and after being him over the edge was seeing his first one-half done fiddling with the engine he had chosen to for his Volkswagen engine. With some actual butcher paper little plane, Pete ended up putting the whole Cracker from Albertson’s grocery store, Pete designed his CrackJack program on the back burner until such time that he er Jack, taking cues from the Piper Cub, the Aeronca could devote the proper amount of time to nurture the Champ and the Cessna 150— since those are the design and come up with a better engine to power it with. planes that he was most familiar with. And in Pete’s own words, “that time is now.”

THE DAF ENGINE The whole time Pete flew the Cracker Jack he knew it was underpowered with the little horizontally opposed, air-cooled twin engine he chose— that being an automobile engine pulled from the DAF Daffodil, a very compact little car built from 1961-1967 by a Dutch truck manufacturing company in Eindhoven, Netherlands. According to Wikipedia.com, the 746 cc four stroke air cooled two-cylinder engine has a 65 mm stroke with a bore of 85.5 mm. Power output was advertised as 30 bhp (22 kW), and a maximum speed of 105 km/h (65 mph) was claimed. 0-50 MPH time was a 29 seconds, as tested by the Consumers Union in the United States.

The proverbial napkin scrawl that became the Cracker Jack

Beginning with the tail feathers, Pete moved on to build the fuselage and then the wings. Not being a welder, Pete sought out help from his friend David Massey for all the chromoly bits including the landing gear, control stick, cabanes and struts for his little parasol taildragger. Interesting side note, before covering his prototype Pete hadn’t ever covered a wing he built— now he does all the time, so one could say that building his little plane was a great business decision. The first flight of the Cracker Jack took place in October 1982, just after bringing it home from debuting it at Oshkosh. Pete was very pleased with its flying characteristics, having spent over 200 hours at the controls, and he even sold plans to the aviation community. After a poor decision to move his www.ContactMagazine.com

The little DAF Daffodil engine was used to power the prototype, but even after increasing the 746 cc engine to 950 cc, it still didn’t make the power Pete was hoping for. Note how similar the engine is to the 1/2 VW.


But Pete’s engine was only based on the DAF 844 case, crank and heads and used VW (Cima/Mahle) 90.5 mm cylinders and pistons, bringing the displacement up to 950 cc. In order to make them fit the case, he had to turn roughly 0.025 inches off the cylinder skirt to fit into the case and add a 0.060 inch thick sleeve around the top of the cylinder to fit the head. The stock head studs fit the cylinder perfectly. He also had Carrillo make a set of Hbeam rods with the DAF big end and VW small end and specified a longer center-to-center length to achieve the compression ratio of 8:1 that he needed. After all that effort to recreate the DAF, Pete just wasn’t satisfied with the performance of his Cracker Jack. He wanted it to carry more weight, operate out of higher altitudes, and wanted it to have a higher service ceiling. He was already running the engine at 4,000 rpm so there just wasn’t any more power available from this little engine; it was maxed out. Forced induction would have been an option, but there were too many unknowns, plus the little DAF engines weren't readily available in the US.

AN IDEA IS BORN One day while walking past an open hangar, Pete got a good look at the Continental A-65, which started his wheels turning. He pulled out his trusty tape measure and started going over the engine with a fine-toothed comb, trying to figure out just how to go about cutting the thing in half to make a two-cylinder engine from it. The quandary was that if he cut the back off the engine, he would lose the accessory case, but if he cut the front off, he would lose the huge front bearing. “How about the middle,” he thought? Cut it out, weld the case back together, bingo! A two cylinder case could be made from a four. Realizing that O-200 parts are easier to buy new than those for the A-65, and that it certainly couldn’t hurt to have the extra cubic inches, the idea for the O-100 was born.

Pete with his crew and the Pegasus O-100 at OSH 2012

This epiphany came to him in the mid 1990s— so he’s been kicking it around for quite awhile. And it was during that multi-decade gestation period that Pete realized it would be easier in the long run to go into the production of building this engine in quantity using brand new, purpose-built engine cases than it would be to cut and weld old ones. So Pete began learning about what it would take to cast custom parts. On January 3, 2012 Pete started building the patterns for his O-100 crankcase and by July of that year he had a full mockup of the completed engine, including a prototype casting of one half of the case. About two weeks later he debuted his engine concept at Oshkosh in order to gain feedback from potential customers and hopefully connect with people who could assist in the manufacturing process. That’s where I had the pleasure of meeting Pete, and I’ve been following his progress ever since. IT’S A KIT ENGINE From the first thought of going into production, Pete knew it would be best to simply offer the custom parts, leaving the customer responsible for rounding up the balance of the pieces to make an engine. The idea was for the builder to find a core O-200 and rather than cut the case and crank, he’d simply purchase Pete’s proprietary parts kit and bolt together his new 1/2 O-200.

Early on, Pete found this line drawing of a little Continental that he literally cut and taped back together to verify the geometry of his idea.


The prototype engine Pete ended up building and running on his test stand has a 0.3inch longer connecting rod than specified (for all the right reasons), using a shorter, lighter piston. Pete has since backpedaled on that concept in order to give the builder the choice of using a Continental piston if they so choose. This is mostly to hedge against those who might accuse Pete of taking advantage of his customers by forcing them to buy a piston from him, so the kit will be offered both ways.


Should the customer elect to use the Continental piston, they’ll only have a 7:1 compression ratio as opposed to the 9:1 that the engine is designed to take advantage of. Unfortunately for Pete, the project has now gone from one basic kit for the masses to two or three optional kits. When they’re dynamically balanced during the production process, they will be balanced with Pete’s custom piston. Using the slightly heavier Continental piston will not cause the engine to have a noticeable shake, but it just won’t be as smooth as it could be with the lighter piston.

The original prototype crankshaft as pulled from the test stand engine

THE CRANKSHAFT The entire year following Pete’s 2102 Oshkosh adventure was spent working out the crankshaft issues. Not wanting to cut and weld on a $4,000 O-200 crankshaft, he hit the library and taught himself how to design a crank from scratch using the book, The Internal Combustion Engine in Theory and Practice: Vol. 2 by CF Terry. He used it as his “Bible” as it has formulas, empirical data, and everything else needed to feel confident with a clean-slate crankshaft design. What’s not covered in the book is ADI (Austempered ductile iron), which is the material chosen to use for the crank after much research— and after taking a lot of flak from his peers. When one thinks aircraft crankshafts, they usually think forged steel, not cast iron. A lot of the people who gave him the most grief don’t realize that in heavy manufacturing, ADI is being used to replace the forging process, even in automobile applications. A thorough, joint Motor Industry Research Association / Cast Metals Development Laboratories study on ADI cranks concluded that properly fillet rolled ADI crankshafts exhibited fatigue properties comparable to, or better than, the best forged and heat treated steel cranks. In another documented crankshaft study conducted at the Manchester (England) Materials Science Center, the authors demonstrated the performance capability of ADI crankshafts in one cylinder commercial and four cylinder automotive engines. They noted a 10% rotating weight reduction and an estimated 30% cost savings. www.ContactMagazine.com

As of this writing ADI crankshafts are employed in high volume commercial applications and low volume automotive applications. As the specific power requirements for automotive engines are increased, ADI may become a more viable alternative to the heavier, more expensive forged steel crankshaft. So Pete went forward and designed his crank to be cast with ADI using a set of patterns and molds he handEngines being developed by the automotive industry require weight reduction in parts that will be required to handle increased power. Automotive design engineers have evaluated ADI as a candidate for both the replacement of forged steel crankshafts and the upgrading of existing ductile iron crankshafts. The Ford Motor Company made an exhaustive three year study of ADI crankshafts and concluded that they met all design criteria. During this study, the importance of fatigue testing was identified, and the following results were obtained:

Fatigue Test Method

Fatigue Strength ksi


Constant Strain Amplitude



Rotating Bending



Reversed Bending



Reversed Bending (fillet rolled)




made in his shop and had two castings produced. Admittedly they were rough, as it was a learning process. Not knowing exactly where and how much it might shrink in the casting process or grow in the austempering process, to be on the safe side Pete elected to err on the side of being oversized and machining it back to tolerance. Another decision to try and use the Continental prop flange on his new crank proved to be more trouble than it was worth so the second generation crank has the flange cast into the final product, including the counterweight that’s bolted to the prototype prop flange.

Factory 7:1 compression ratio O-200 piston on the left, Pete’s custom 9:1 short-skirt piston on the right.

Needless to say, in each case bad things would happen if an owner decided to replace one or both of the rods with a stock Continental rod, but even with this narrowed tolerance and in keeping with the desire to use stock O200 parts, the stock rod bearing still works with the custom connecting rod. Here’s Pete’s original crankshaft pattern. The extra bits you see are core prints used for locating the cores that make the part hollow. Note the lack of a flange. His new pattern has the flange cast integrally. Below is a photo of a paper printout of the x-ray of his first crank. I note that it’s paper to account for the distortion you can see here.

Another deviation from the factory specifications of the Continental crankshaft is the flywheel in the center of Pete’s crank. The center cheek of the crank is totally round, six inches in diameter and is 3/4-inch thick solid ADI. The original idea was simply to give it some rotating mass, and to offset this added weight, the crank pins are hollow, unlike the on O-200 crank. Part of Pete’s teaching himself how to design an engine disclosed that a round center cheek makes for a strong crank and that

Using the factory O-200 crankshaft specifications, Pete made an exact duplicate, especially with respect to the generous radii and fillets at each 90-degree intersection. Other than losing two journals and adding some counterbalance to make up for the weight of two missing pistons and connecting rods, the crank is nearly identical. Besides the desire to stay compatible with all other factory parts, the reason for this is because it works. The only intentional deviation from the O-200 blueprints is the width between the webs of the crank’s rod pin. While the rod journals remain “stock” for an O-200, the rod pin width is 0.003-inch narrower, as measured between the webs, so that a stock Continental rod can’t ever be installed. This for two reasons; the first being that the crankshaft is balanced with the rods and pistons in place that will be shipped with the engine, and the second is that the new H-beam rods (seen in the photo at right) are far lighter than the Continental’s. www.ContactMagazine.com


same book also gave him the formulae to determine the ratios for the diameter of the crank pin lightening hole. While it might seem obvious that this center cheek would be useful for removing material for balancing, that’s not what it was used for. The machinist balanced the crank on the internal and external counterweights.

The prototype’s welded-aluminum oil tank can be seen just behind the Zenith carb that was used for testing only.


Pete Plumb at his shop in Shafter CA, showing the pattern for casting the inside of the crankcase.

When Pete made his original patterns he basically freehanded it. Now that he’s got it all modeled in Solid Works (a professional CAD program), the next generation pattern will literally be digitally printed to very close tolerances, eliminating a lot of the need for balancing. The way it’ll work is the printed pattern will be used to make a mold from which a pattern made from a more durable material will be created. The close tolerance pattern will also reduce the amount of material that will need to be removed from the machined surfaces.

Nothing in the O-100 oil system is modified from the O200 configuration, including the O-200 accessory case; the difference is with the oil tank. Originally Pete was going to use a stock A-65 oil tank as it only holds four quarts, but he just wasn’t happy with how far down it hung. He designed and built a low-profile tank that he’s not completely set on using— but it worked well on the prototype and ultimately it’s up to the engine owner anyway. If need be, the stock 0-200 tank and pickup tube can be used, but it would just be a bit excessive. In fact, any oil tank from the A-65 through the O-200 will fit. Pete simply used a 12-inch length of 4-inch diameter thinwalled aluminum irrigation tubing capped off at both ends with a flange in the middle that mounts to the bottom of the engine in the stock oil tank location, and with an 11/4 inch tube welded next to it for filling. Since the engine case is smaller than an O-200 it only holds about half a quart, so Pete made his prototype oil tank hold three quarts total when the engine isn’t running. ACCESSORY CASE Needless to say, utilizing the stock O-200 accessory case gives the engine flexibility to all the accessories that the engine needs, such as a way to hang the magnetos or any other ignition system designed to replace the

INTAKE The carburetor of choice for the DP-1 O-100 is the updraft, Marvel Schebler MA-2 so the intake manifold that comes with the kit will be cast with a matching flange and a 1-3/8-inch diameter inlet. And as you might imagine, instead of the “spider” having four legs, this one will only have two. It is also designed to hook right up to the standard intake tubes and connecting rubber couplers— another reason for starting with a donor engine. The spider will also be bolted to two of the case half bolts, similar to the way the welded spider is attached on the prototype engine in the photo at right. www.ContactMagazine.com


mag, (such as the E-Mag we covered in issue 106), an electric starter and an alternator— in addition to the oil pump, oil tank, and mechanical tachometer drive. The new engine case is machined to accept the donor engine’s accessory case— it just bolts on. THREE DIFFERENT KITS The first kit offering will include the case halves (and studs), the custom H-beam connecting rods, the ADI crankshaft complete with the cam gear which also runs the starter, alternator and the magnetos, and the cast two-cylinder intake manifold. Another kit will have everything listed above but will also include the custom pistons. The final kit will include every single part necessary to build the engine— excluding oil, fuel and electricity for the optional starter. The plan is also to bring online a website that has every single piece one might want, that you can just click and add to your shopping cart— including a turn-key engine. While the shopping cart section of the website isn’t open yet, the web address is: www.flypegasuspower.com

PEGASUS DP-1 O-100 SPECIFICATIONS Type: Four-cylinder, air-cooled, horizontally opposed Bore:

4.06 in (103.1 mm)


3.88 in (98.6 mm)


100.5 in³ (1.65 L)


Not Available


31.56 in (801.6 mm)


23.18 in (588.8 mm)

Dry weight:

Not Available

COMPONENTS Valvetrain:

Hydraulic lifters, two pushrodactuated valves—one intake, one exhaust—per cylinder

FUTURE OF THE CRACKER JACK For the past 20 years the drawings of the Cracker Jack have been going through a revision process that brings to the table the literal decades of learning that Pete’s gone through. So the plans are that once the engine is ready, Pete will build Cracker Jack II which will look like and measure about the same as the original, but will have a new airfoil, a higher gross weight, and just be more refined in general. Pete commented that it was “a little bit drafty with that open cockpit!” and went on to say that Cracker Jack II will have a fully closable cockpit complete with cabin heat. Once it’s proven with the new engine, Pete will once again go back to offering plans as he did before. The prototype was hauled back from Tehachapi when Pete moved back to Shafter and was stored in pieces for many years. Not long ago, he knocked the dust off, put it back together, and took it for a very short hop. There’s a video of this flight on YouTube: www.tinyurl.com/cracker-jack-flight The little Cracker Jack sport plane is now retired and resting safely in the rafters of Pete’s hangar, over his Aeronca.

Fuel system:

Updraft carburetor with manual mixture control

Fuel type:

Not available

Oil system:

3 US quart (2.85 L), wet sump

Cooling system:


PERFORMANCE Power output:

57 hp ESTIMATED (74.57 kW)

Compression ratio:

9.0:1 optional 7.0:1


 Heat Treated A356 Cast Aluminum Case w/studs  State-of-the-Art, Super Strong, Fully Engineered, ADI, Flanged Crankshaft

 Fully Assembled, Dynamically Balanced Crankshaft/    

Gear Assembly Custom, Light Weight “H” Beam Rods Custom, Light Weight, Forged 9:1 Pistons w/Rings Custom Two-Cylinder, Flange Mount Manifold Assembly Instructions and Video

The designation “DP-1” is a tribute to Pete’s nephew, David Everett Plumb, who was lost in a mid-air collision with a Hawker Sea Fury TMK 20 that was overtaking his Cessna 210E on April 27, 2014. The Sea Fury, named "Dreadnought," regularly competes at Reno. David was 33.



Air-to-Air Photos: Sheldon Heatherington Photo Plane Pilot: Roy Kinsey

“The Best Kept Secret in Sport Aviation” By Patrick Panzera On the weekend of November 17, 2014, I had the very distinct pleasure of flying not one, but two different prototype aircraft— the single seat Thatcher CX4 and the new two-place Thatcher CX5 (featured on the cover of CONTACT! Magazine issue #107), and flew each of them in formation with a Cessna 210 photo ship. I’ve been a long-time fan of the Thatcher CX4, a lowwing, all-aluminum, VW-powered, plans-built sport plane that meets the requirements of the light sport aircraft (LSA) category— to be flown by sport pilots and private pilots alike. The lines of the plane are very appealing, the huge cockpit is very comfortable, the view out the windscreen and sliding canopy are nearly unmatched, and the simplicity to build is just genius. And all of these attributes come from the fertile mind of one Mr. David Thatcher of Pensacola, Florida.

measure. While weather kept a few aircraft from attending, were still treated to two very different flying examples of the plans-built Thatcher CX4 in addition to having both the CX4 and CX5 prototypes on display. As an added treat, an example of an under-construction customized open-cockpit version of the CX4 was on display (see image below), along with CX5 builder Bob Hasson (former President of the COPPERSTATE fly-in) and his award-winning RV-6A which was flown in from Fredericksburg TX, a quick 750 miles away.

THE ANNUAL GATHERING A quick commercial flight from Fresno CA to Pensacola FL and I was at the first of what’s planned to be annual gatherings of Thatcher aircraft. Hosted by Glen Bradley, the owner and co-builder of the Thatcher CX5 prototype, and David Thatcher, the designer and builder of both prototypes, the event was a huge success by anyone’s www.ContactMagazine.com


Also in attendance was Greg Westberry of Westberry Manufacturing, who is offering parts and pieces to speed along the build of the CX4, and soon the CX5. Why Pensacola you might ask? It’s where David Thatcher and Glen Bradley live, and it’s where both prototypes are currently hangared.

Of course the newly hatched CX5 (above) was the star of the show. The plan was to give familiarization rides to those who wanted them, but in the days leading up to the event, a change to the nose strut was made and prior to the shake-down flight following the work it was discovered that the engine wasn’t running right, so the plane was grounded. Earnest Martin’s UL260i powered CX4

Of special interest at the event was a beautifully crafted CX4 built and flown in by Earnest Martin of Arden, NC. In addition to meticulous fit and finish, Ernie's engine choice is the Belgium made, fuel-injected UL260i offered by ULPower Aero Engines. The little four-stroke, aircooled, horizontally opposed aircraft engine has a 2592 cc displacement and is advertised to produce 97 hp @ 3300 rpm for takeoff and 82 hp @ 2800 rpm after that.

FLYING THE THATCHER CX4 Confession time. For the past several years, I’ve not been flying as frequently as I used to. Due to my local FBO closing, a minor medical condition that has me paranoid of failing my next medical (for the lack of paperwork), and the lack of any LSA available to rent, my usual 50-100 hours a year has dwindled to 3-5 hours a year— most of that being in gliders. So to get prepared to fly the CX4, I not only needed to get my biennial flight review logged but I needed to get a tailwheel refresher as I was told that I’d be flying a tailwheel version when I arrived in Pensacola for the flight review of these two planes. One of the instructors at the glider flying club I’m affiliated with offered to get me current in his Citabria, so that’s how we did my biennial. I was good to go! At around noon I was briefed for my flight. As I understand it, the tailwheel plane I was slated to fly was one that didn’t make it to the gathering, so I was offered to fly the CX4 prototype that had been converted to tricycle gear years earlier, during the development of the

The installed engine weight is less than the VW the Thatcher was designed around, so the UL had to be moved forward and the cowling had to be adjusted accordingly, changing the lines of the CX4 a bit. Since I think the aesthetics of the CX4 are flawless, I’m not a fan of the mods to the cowl and the overall appearance, but the craftsmanship involved with the engine installation and construction of the cowl are absolutely top notch. Another beautiful example of what Thatcher builders are building is Greg Pixley’s tailwheel CX4. (right) The plane is powered with a 70 hp 2180 cc Great Plains VW and is fitted with an Ed Sterba 54X46 wooden propeller. www.ContactMagazine.com


nosewheel option that followed as a result of builder requests. Having logged several hundred hours in castering nose wheel aircraft, I was perfectly comfortable with this last-minute change. The briefing I received was reminiscent of the one I received from my flight instructor when I was a teen, transitioning from the two-place Schweizer 2-33 sailplane to the single seat Schweizer 1-26. I’ve logged time in well over 55 different models of powered aircraft, and only once did I fly one solo without first getting a thorough check ride from a CFI or the owner, except for the Cherokee 180— and I already had over 200 hours in a Warrior at that time so it was no big deal. But this was different. This was a homebuilt aircraft with VW engine, at an international airport I’ve never seen before, in a city I’ve never been to. In fact, prior to prepping for flight, I honestly didn’t even know which way was north! So to say I wasn’t nervous would be a lie.

Long before I had full power applied, the little CX4 was ready to fly, so I let it— but stayed in ground effect as I added the rest of the power. Once I committed to the climb I had to add back some of that left rudder since the VW rotates opposite of a certified engine and has RIGHT turning tendencies. What a rush! Everything was new to me! New plane, new airport, new visual cues— new sensations, but I was staying in the pattern so I wasn’t too concerned with being able to keep my situational awareness at 100%— just had to keep an eye on the tower. I was at pattern altitude before the end of the runway so I throttled back and relaxed as I continued around the circuit. Since this is an international airport I had to be sequenced with the heavies, so the downwind leg was long enough to get comfortable with the plane. One thing for sure, the person who warned me about the control “issues” was dead wrong. The roll and pitch were very intuitive. No over-controlling in pitch, roll was very comfortable, and the two seemed to be in harmony. Now I’m not an aerobatic pilot, and my experiences with such are limited to the Citabria, Super Decathlon, Beech T-34 Mentor, RV-4 (and the Harmon Rocket), Lancairs 235 and 320, the V6 powered titan T-51, V8 powered Glasair II, and the six-cylinder Jabiru powered Sonex. So in my opinion, the CX4 was no better nor any worse than any of those when it comes to the use of the stick and rudder. The little Thatcher just felt right.

Prior to making the trip all the way across the country to fly the Thatcher fleet, I was warned that the roll response was sluggish and that it was a bit pitch sensitive, so that was in the back of my mind as I gently rolled in the power at the departure end of runway 35. The taxi to the departure end had me a little concerned as it took nearly full left rudder and a little left brake to keep it on centerline. I didn’t know what to expect from adding power, so I added it gently so I could easily bail if need be. Maybe it was a wheel/tire/ brake issue or something else like a bit of a cross wind I didn’t notice, but as I added power and built speed, I could relax on that rudder and she rolled The CX4 Cockpit is roomy and has minimal instruments. straight down the runway. www.ContactMagazine.com

The CX4 is however NOT an aerobatic airplane; it’s a light sport aircraft and a real cross country machine. It can be trimmed hands-off, but I didn’t want to be a passenger, I wanted to fly the plane! It’s NOT an Extra 300 or a Pitts biplane so yeah, the roll rate isn’t up to


those standards. However, during my three touch-and-goes but before my one full stop landing, I was sequenced out of the pattern by ATC and asked to hold in a general area north-west of the tower. So I asked if I could “play” and they agreed. So in addition to a few steep turns that ended with hitting the propwash, I did few Chandelles that morphed into wingovers. Slow flight was very controllable, but I didn’t have enough altitude (for my comfort level) to intentionally stall, but I did slow it enough to feel the buffet right where I was told it would be, and there was ample rudder to keep the wings level during slow flight. The landings may as well have been on autopilot. Once the approach angle was dialed in and the speed was stable, there wasn’t anything to do but slow it down as I neared the runway and hold it off. It landed itself with nothing unexpected. A quick “GUMPS” and I greased the power back in and I was off for another circuit; It was that easy. But all good things have to come to an end, so when I made my last call, I requested a full stop. After about an hour of being on my post-flight high, it was decided to bring out the Cessna 182 and do some air-to-air camera work with the Thatchers in attendance. When asked if I wanted to take the CX4 up again, I answered YES before they got done with the question and I joined the others for the briefing. We were to take off as a flight of two with the Thatchers communicating only

with the photo ship. We were to monitor the tower and approach till outside the controlled airspace, and to use only hand signals until we switched to 123.45. But when we it came time to switch, I lost the ability to call. I could hear them okay, but I couldn’t transmit. Since I was in tight formation, the decision was made to proceed with the mission using hand signals or wing rocking to affirm I heard the call. All was well until it was time to land. Even switching back to ATC didn’t change my communications capability, so the Cessna let ATC know what was up and I just did as I was told. All was well. Continued on page 24



THE 5.0 L (4951 cc, 302 cid) "COYOTE" V8 is the latest evolution of the Modular engine. Ford engineers needed to design a V8, specifically for the Mustang GT, that would compete with the General Motors 6.2L LS3 used in the new Chevrolet Camaro and the new Chrysler 6.4L Hemi ESF in the Charger and Challenger. This engine had to remain close to the same physical size as the outgoing 4.6 and share other specifications with it such as bore spacing, deck height and bell housing bolt pattern in order for the engine to utilize existing Modular production line tooling. The result was the 5.0 Coyote, which produces roughly the same amount of power as its competitors but with a much smaller displacement. To strengthen the block enough to handle increased output, webbing was extensively used as reinforcement in the aluminum casting rather than increasing the thickness of the walls. The intake plenum was also situated low between the two cylinder banks to meet the height constraint, thus the alternator traditionally placed low and center was moved to the side of the engine. It shares the 4.6 L's 100 mm (3.937 in) bore spacing and 227 mm (8.937 in) deck height while bore diameter and stroke have increased to 92.2mm (3.629 in) and 92.7mm (3.649 in), respectively. The engine also retains the 4.6 L's 150.7 mm (5.933 in) connecting rod length, which produces a 1.62:1 rod to stroke ratio. The firing order has been changed from that shared by all previous Modular V8s (1-3-7-2-6-5-4-8) to that of the Ford Flathead V8 (1-5-4-8-6-37-2). Compression ratio is 11.0:1, and despite having indirect fuel injection (as opposed to direct injection) the engine can still be run on 87 octane gasoline— but 92 octane premium fuel is preferred. The Coyote features all new 4-valve per cylinder DOHC heads that have shifted the camshafts outboard, which allows for a compact roller finger follower setup with remote hydraulic valve lash adjusters and improved (raised) intake port geometry. The result is an intake port that outflows the Ford GT intake port by 4 percent and the Yates D3 (NASCAR) intake port up to 0.472" (12 mm) lift, which is the maximum lift of the Coyote's intake cams. Engine redline is 7000 rpm.

BOSS 302 (ROAD RUNNER) VARIANT A higher performance variant of the Coyote, dubbed Road Runner internally by Ford, is produced under the Boss 302 moniker used for the resurrected Boss 302 Mustang for the 2012 model year. The Boss 302 receives CNC ported heads cast in 356 aluminum providing additional airflow and strength, and a higher lift exhaust camshaft profile is used. Valvetrain components were lightened as much as possible, including the use of sodium filled exhaust valves, while strengthened powdered metal rods and forged aluminum pistons were added. Piston-cooling jets, standard in the 5.0 model, were also deleted. Exterior changes include a high-mount intake plenum— as opposed to the standard engine's low-mounted one, with shorter runners to improve high-rpm power. Power is increased from 412 hp (307 kW) to 444 hp (331 kW), and torque drops from 390 lb·ft (530 N·m) to 380 lb·ft (520 N·m) due to the upgrades. The Boss's redline is increased to 7500 rpm, but has been veriwww.ContactMagazine.com ISSUE 109 PAGE 14 fied stable up to 8400.


F-150 VARIANT A torque-biased variant of the Coyote is produced as an alternative to the EcoBoost V6 in the new F-150 pickup truck. The F150 5.0L receives a lower compression ratio (10.5:1), intake camshafts with less duration, cast iron exhaust manifolds, and revised cylinder heads and intake manifold (color change only, no difference in size or shape) intended to promote low-end and mid-range power and torque. The engine retains the Coyote's forged steel crank and piston-cooling jets but benefits from the addition of an external engine oil cooler similar to the Boss 302's. The changes result in the engine's peak horsepower dropping to 360 hp (268 kW; 365 PS) while torque remains the same as the Boss 302 at 380 lb·ft (520 N·m).


 420+ horsepower @ 6500 rpm  390 ft.-lb.+ of torque @ 4250 rpm  Displacement 302 cu. in. 5.0-liters       

   

APPLICATIONS For the Australian Ford Falconbased FPV GT range, the engine has been equipped with a Harrop/ Eaton supercharger. The Coyote made Ward's 10 Best Engines list for 2011, and is available as a crate engine from Ford Racing Performance Parts (FRPP) complete with alternator, manifold, and wiring harness in standard 412 bhp (307 kW; 418 PS) configuration. The Boss 302 is also available from FRPP for a premium over the standard 5.0L. The engine is gradually replacing the 4.6L and 5.4L Modular V8 units in all Ford vehicles. This is the first time that Ford has used the "5.0" designation since the Windsor 5.0 was discontinued and replaced by the 4.6L Modular unit in 1996 (Mustang). www.ContactMagazine.com

       

(4,951 cc) 3.63 bore x 3.65-in stroke Aluminum block Forged steel crankshaft Forged steel connecting rods Forged aluminum pistons Piston-Cooling Jets Aluminum cylinder heads DOHC Four valves per cylinder Variable intake Variable camshaft timing Valve Diameter/Lift Intake: 37.3mm/13mm Exhaust: 31.8mm/13mm Stainless steel Exhaust Manifold (tubular headers) Large sump oil pan with 8qt capacity 11.0:1 Compression ratio Premium unleaded fuel recommended (91 octane) but regular 87 octane can be used. Tuned composite intake manifold provides efficient air delivery and weight savings Sequential Multiport Electronic fuel delivery 80 mm single bore "drive by wire" throttlebody PCM not included Does not include alternator Common engine mount bosses Engine weight: 444 pounds MSRP $7,399.00


Photo: Len Bechtold

By Richard A. Lewis Tonopah, NV RL888.NV@Gmail.com I met Richard Lewis in 1975, at the El Mirage gliderport in El Mirage California. I was 14 or 15 years old at the time. Rich was the new flight instructor at the gliderport where we both worked, and I was the minimum-wage lineboy. Rich became my instructor and taught me how to soar. In 1977 we parted company— I went into the US Navy and he went on to become a composites engineer with a major aerospace contractor in Los Angeles. He now enjoys retirement interspersed with composite consulting gigs. The short time we worked together somehow created a lasting bond. Rich won’t admit it, but he had a very positive influence over this “ramp rat.” About 20 years ago we met back up via the internet and have continued to stay close. Last year I asked him to cover the Reno Air Races for CONTACT! Magazine and he came back with this amazing story. ~Pat As I write this for you, a sizable squall line is approaching. The nearest town, 26 miles to the south, is hidden deep inside a massive dark gray wall. This is a big storm for sure. However, compared to the gray cloud hanging www.ContactMagazine.com

over the Reno Air Racing Association (RARA) right now, and the storm brewing over a controversial Unlimited Class contest— I think I’m safer than the RARA officials at this juncture. What happened at the 2014 Reno National Championship Air Race last fall, you ask? I’m about to tell you exactly what this raging controversy is all about. You have likely heard the old sayings “I wish I were a fly on the wall” and “be careful what you wish for.” I just so happened to be uniquely positioned to bring you this first-hand report on the 2014 Breitling Unlimited Class Gold Race. Friday (September 12th, 2014) and Saturday’s racing provided a very exciting build-up to Sunday’s big purse: the Breitling Unlimited Gold race. This Gold race is the big crowd draw for RARA. It is just incredible to see and hear these mega-horsepower hybrid race planes flying a closed course at altitudes of <100 feet off the deck at speeds approaching 500 mph. These planes literally send a chill up your spine and you feel it in your gut as they roar by. Triple this excitement if you happen to be out on the pylons and up close to this searing action. The Doppler affect is also just incredible to hear.


The race course has been reduced in size due to crowd safety concerns. The FAA and RARA have now instituted both altitude and course width restrictions on the racers; more on this later. During Saturday’s Unlimited Class Gold heat #3, Tiger Destefani’s Race #7 Strega (P -51D), which is a Reno fan favorite and a past six-time Reno Champion, was disqualified for an apparent “altitude violation.” I was getting radio chatter out on the pylons during this Gold heat; hearing that the FAA had demanded that Tiger “get down” during the race, which Tiger did. The new restriction is an altitude limitation of 250’ above the ground, down the straightaway in front of the grandstands.

The Reno Stead Airfield was buzzing with hearsay and speculation about Sunday afternoon’s National Championship Gold race. All that evening, rumors were flying about Tiger, Steve Hinton Jr., Stu Dawson in Rare Bear and Thom Richard’s Precious Metal. Depending on which camp you visited that evening, you heard “Tiger blew the mill, he is out!” or “No, his crew was getting it repaired— it’s just a bad valve.” Someone said they were in the Strega pit Saturday evening and heard Tiger tell the judges that he was not going to run Sunday. Other sassy rumors circulated the field camps and BBQs about the other big iron Unlimited ships: “Stu Dawson was holding back his ride, the F8F-2 Bearcat Rare Bear and that Stu was liking the engine; he had beaucoup power left for the big race.” Another juicy sound bite was that Thom Richard’s Precious Metal (P-51 XR) had “a lot left, just wait and see.” It was the most excited I had seen the media, ground crews and pilots since attending these races in the 1980s.

Fan favorite, Tiger Destefani’s #7 Strega (P-51D)

Tiger was noticeably higher than the other racers on the 8.08-mile course on a few laps, and #7 was probably trading altitude for speed as a race strategy. He finished the race in what was called the closest finish in Unlimited racing history. Steve Hinton Jr. in Race #5 Voodoo (P51D) hung on to nose out Tiger by a propeller. A half second after passing the finish line, Tiger was clearly ahead of Hinton. He was really moving out at the finish when suddenly he was forced to declared a Mayday. In his effort to catch and hopefully overtake Hinton, he destroyed Strega’s Rolls Royce engine! Tiger was able to het her down safely and taxied in. As it turned out, Strega wasn’t just warned for flying too high, Tiger was disqualified (DQ’d) for that heat! It meant that he lost premium pole position for the Breitling race, that is, if his crew could get Strega repaired overnight and get #7 back into Sunday’s Gold contest.

BREITLING GOLD CHAMPIONSHIP RACE The fantastic racing weather we had enjoyed all week held for Sunday. It was clear, dry, and temps were in the high 80s or low 90s (deg. F). Winds were light by Reno standards and a few cumulus clouds dotted the western sky. The buzz about the epic Unlimited contest had spread throughout the crowds as well. The final Breitling Gold line-up was announced and it became clear as the mighty Unlimited racers lined up on the ramp that Race #7 Strega would not be competing after all. This was, of course, a huge disappointment to everyone. Apparently Strega’s crew had been up Saturday late night, had run up the mill a few times and had determined that Strega was toast. www.ContactMagazine.com


The view from the box seats. “Gentlemen, we have a race!”

Meanwhile the remaining six Unlimited racers spooled up and screamed around the course flat-out. Race On! Steve Hinton was turning his fine-tuned purple, yellow, green and white P51-D Voodoo loose on this race course. Race #5 Voodoo was clearly out in front of the remaining 6-pack. Sherman Smoot, flying #86 Czech Mate, was in hot pursuit.

With Tiger Destefani now out of the Gold finals, all that was left was a line-up of eight Unlimited birds including: Voodoo, Rare Bear, Czech Mate, Argonaut, Sawbones, Dreadnaught, TMK 20 Sea Fury and Precious Metal. This final pairing gave us a field of two Mustangs, one Yak, one Bear Cat, and four Sea Furies. We were all set for a great Unlimited final. The excitement grew exponentially as the 8 pack headed down the starting chute. It was a clean start as evidenced by Steve Hinton Sr.’s T-33 chase plane pulling up and away. The announcer’s voice echoed through the PA system: “Gentlemen, we have a race!” and the grandstands roared. Here they come! The sound of those mighty engines filled the air as the racers rounded Pylon #8 onto the home stretch in front of the crowds. Suddenly chaos reared its ugly head as Rare Bear Declared “Mayday” after passing Home Pylon on lap #1.


Thom Richard has a huge race-fan club and his highly modified P-51 is an awesome sight to behold. This yellow and polished aluminum Experimental racer is a Griffon powered P51-XR with a set of counter-rotating props, clipped wings and every aerodynamic refinement needed to compete effectively in Reno’s big show. Thom had initially failed to qualify for the Gold race outright. Earlier in the week during time trials, Race #38 DNC’d with carburation issues. Once his crew had that issue sorted out, Thom had to slug it out in the Bronze and Silver heats in order to get back into Sunday’s big showdown. Thom thusly placed First in the Bronze heat #1, then second in Silver heat #2 and finally finished First in Silver heat #3. His solid placing in these heats secured his outside pole position for Breitling’s Rare Bear safe after declaring an emergency. Photo by WPPilot via Wikimedia Gold Race. Precious Metal was now a viable Gold contender at Reno 2014. How do you watch Stu Dawson recover Rare Bear, keep your eye on Voodoo leading the pack and then witness Argonaut declare yet another Mayday heading into lap THE BREITLING GOLD RACE #2? It was heart stopping action, I’m telling you! Both The rest of the Gold race was mechanically uneventful Rare Bear and Argonaut landed back on-field without and all six racers finished in glorious style. Steve Hinton further incident. Whew! Jr. had flown Voodoo to victory and Gold! It was a www.ContactMagazine.com


ice chest and offered fantastic speed exhime a brew. I grabition and the fans ciously accepted and got what they came we compared notes for. The “young on the racing we had blood” racer, Thom witnessed that day. Richard from KisWe agreed that it simmee, Florida, in was a good race this Precious Metal, was year. I left Yoichi and racing hard too and his party with half a put on a fantastic beer in hand. Guess show! He worked his I was sticking around way through the pack for a while after all from eighth place on and I really needed the pole to finish third to get off my feet too. behind Czech Mate. I sought refuge outThom “brought it” to side the hangar’s these veteran Reno back door and I racers after all. The found a shade canotop three finishers py with a picnic table were Race #5 VooThom Richard on the wing of Precious Metal after a grueling heat. beneath it; a perfect doo, Race #86 spot to relax. I parked my carcass, sat the beer on the Czech Mate and Race #38 Precious Metal; followed by table, and lit the cigar that I had been packing around all Race #8 Dreadnought piloted by Dennis Sanders in day. Out came my rugged cell phone from its holster. fourth place. The race announcer declared a “clean” race What more could I ask for? I had enjoyed a wonder exas the radio reports from the pylon judges had indicated perience at this year’s Reno Air Races. It was a wrap. “no cuts.” The Unlimited fleet landed without incident and taxied to the ramp in front of the grandstands for a victory celebration. This is what Reno is all about, folks. FLY ON THE WALL – ROUND 1 All of a sudden I heard strong, energized voices apSOMETHING’S ROTTEN IN RENO proaching. I raised my head from my phone to see two men engaged in a serious discussion and they ducked As the celebration wound down, Sunday’s crowd began into my sanctuary to discuss some sort of racing issue. I to funnel out of the aerodrome. I packed my camera gear went back to my texting as they seemed to ignore me. into my 300 HP Ford Mustang that I lovingly call White Good. I didn’t want to move my sorry tired butt anyway. Lightning. I figured what the heck? Why rush? I was beat However, I couldn't help but overhear their deepening anyways from ground pounding 12 hours a day for three discussion and apparently a pilot was lodging an appeal days straight, so I decided to hang around and relax to RARA regarding a judge’s call. Very interesting! Not while traffic thinned out before heading to town. I bid fare wanting to appear nosey, I kept my head down and fidwell to the great operations crew and fellow shutterbugs dled with the phone. Their conversation grew in intensity at the media center and then wandered around the ramp and it quickly became obvious that this pilot was for the last time. “concerned” about a judge’s call. This pilot was accompanied by his team manager and the pilot and his teamA Mojave Desert-style orange sun was sinking into an mate sat down at my table and plopped open a laptop. obscured sky. The downslope winds were quickly filling the airport with thick brown smoke from the massive King Since the Gold race had been declared a clean race, and Fire in the western Sierra near Lake Tahoe. not recognizing this pilot, I assumed that he was the pilot of one of the other five racing classes. It was rather InterHeading toward my car to depart, I walked by the big esting to hear him challenging RARA on the call. I was hangar at the north end of the field. I’d earned a wrong though, because it soon became apparent that the paycheck in that hangar for several years in the early pilot had been disqualified from the Breitling Gold Race. 1980s working for Moya Lear fabricating the all compoOMG! I had become the proverbial “fly-on-the-wall” for site Lear Fan 2100 biz plane. However, that’s a story for an epic air racing incident! another time. I noticed a flurry of activity as a dozen frantic workers unloaded tables and chairs for the evening’s So who was this pilot and which Unlimited racer was RARA Pilot’s Award banquet. I didn’t have a ticket; when DQ’d? I looked over at the team manager’s shirt and I inquired, I was informed that the tickets were all sold caught a glimpse of his name. It was Ben and he was out— oh well. representing Race #38 Precious Metal. Thom Richard, then, was obviously now seated directly across the small Yet I was drawn inside by the sight of my new friend and table from me. He was queuing up video on his laptop fellow photographer Yoichi. His group was seating themfrom his onboard, gyro-stabilized, high-definition (HD) selves at their banquet table whereupon he opened his www.ContactMagazine.com


Furthermore, Thom cockpit cam. The said that a pylon RARA official was judge has no jurisdicexplaining to Team tion over show line Precious Metal (PM) cut decisions, but he that a single judge thanked me anyway. had DQ’d Thom for What a sportsman cutting the east show and a gentleman this Line. Thom contendyoung pilot is! Ultied that a mistake mately Thom’s fate had been made and was up to a single he asked this official judge’s call! Hopefulto review his only there was someboard footage. He thing that could be hoped it would prove done. After all, he that PM had flown a clean race all the Clipped from the gyro-stabilized HD camera onboard #38 Precious Met- had flown to third way. I have never al, showing Thom Richard’s overtaking of Hawker Sea Fury T Mk.20 place in the big race found myself in a Dreadnought for the third place position. To view the full-length 18- and his winnings were at stake. more awkward posi- minute video go to www.tinyurl.com/reno38pm tion, yet I hung in there. The official viewed the footage and looked surROUND 3 prised by what he had seen. He asked Thom to hold tight It wasn’t long before three top RARA officials had while he found a higher level RARA official. Thom and stepped into “my” tent to speak with Thom and Ben Ben were paying me no never mind, so I stayed in my about this “appeal”. Wow— what had I gotten myself into seat– but I sure wanted to see that footage for myself! here? I was now the proverbial “fly on the wall” indeed. Five minutes passed before two RARA officials returned Yet “be careful what you ask for” was even more aproto the discussion. pos at this juncture because I was now smack dab in the middle of the controversy.


The second official started in on Thom, informing him that the east show line judge had called him 150 feet out of bounds. Thom then countered by asking the official why a different official had told him the infraction was a full 500 feet over the show line? The official explained that he had just pulled “150 feet” out of his butt (indeed). Furthermore, he related that this particular line judge was a veteran air race official, had 10,000 hours in F-100’s and had, in fact, flown F-100’s with this judge in Korea. Bottom line, there was no disputing his call. Period. Precious Metal was disqualified. Thom again politely asked the second official to review the cockpit footage. This official stated that he was going to bring back yet another RARA official. During this brief “intermission” I spoke up, asking Thom if there was anything that I could do for him such as get him a drink or go fetch something for him. Anything? I could see Thom, head in hand, having a really, really bad day at the Races. He said “No, but thank you anyway.” I had now invited myself into their conversation and the ensuing fiasco. I introduced myself to Ben and gave him my business card. I informed team Precious Metal that it just so happened that an old friend of mine was the head judge on Pylon #2, which is where RARA contended that Precious Metal had cut the show line— just outside of that pylon on lap two. I offered up my friend’s contact information just in case this pylon judge could aid PM’s appeal. Thom then said that video evidence is specifically not allowed per RARA rules. www.ContactMagazine.com

Thom politely explained again to the trilateral RARA panel that he had flown a clean race and that he fully knew what he was doing. He contended that a mistake had been made by the line judge and offered to show the footage to the other two officials. The RARA gents reluctantly viewed the footage and by now I was not shy. I hopped from my seat and stood directly behind Thom to see this footage for myself, a bold move, I know— but the situation called for it. Plus, I was adorned with CONTACT! Magazine “media” stickers and badges. I was, after all, a reporter on assignment. I watched as the head official reviewed the cockpit video. He became somewhat disoriented and told Thom that he was having trouble relating the video to the race course. Thom calmly re-started the footage and politely pointed out the start of the race, the chute, and each pylon number-by-number as Precious Metal rounded the course on lap #1. This footage was amazing. Just as the video advanced to the frames showing Pylon #2 on the second lap (the claimed infraction site) the honchos stopped viewing the movie! Uh oh. These fellows made their final proclamations. Please keep in mind that I did not record these conversations nor did I snap any photos during the protest. I thought about it and decided to keep a lower profile than that. I’m sharing what I heard and may not have every single quote 100% verbatim, but here is my take nonetheless.


I was SHOCKED at what I heard coming from RARA. In an effort to be concise, here are, to the best of my recollection, RARA’s damning quotes:

 “Thom, we’re not saying that you aren’t a good pilot.”  “The awards banquet starts in five minutes and we already have the trophies cut!”  “I just pulled 150-feet out of my butt”  “Our Line judge has 10,000 hours in F-100s, so we are standing behind his call”  “Sorry Thom— Hey guys, let’s get this banquet started.”

Regarding the pylons, there are multiple judges on each one. If a pylon cut is appealed, then a majority of the judges have to rule a cut, which seems fair to me. However out on the show line, there is but a single person to make an un-contestable line-cut foul. This call cost Thom not only his well-deserved racing glory but also a handsome chunk of the $650,000 purse as well. Precious Metal was awarded 8th place for his 8-lap effort, while others completing merely one lap shared the spoils and placed higher than Precious Metal. This result just doesn’t sit well with me. Apparently there is nothing that can be done to justify this questionable ruling, that is the sad fact in this instance.

Thom closed his laptop and he and Ben jumped in their side-by-side and departed the hangar area— not to return.

We need to discuss the obstacles which RARA faces going forward. The official press release on the RARA web site says, in part, “A I was stunned. Now contest committee it was just this rejudge responsible porter and the offifor judging the east cials in the tent. show line ruled that They were rather Richard had croshappy with their sed the line. This is “Sorry Thom— Hey guys, let’s get this banquet started.” handling of the situa violation of Federation, it seemed. al Aviation AdminThey had escaped any real trouble with Team Precious istration (FAA) rules and regulations and, according to Metal. Thom had not raised his voice nor made any official race rules, results in disqualification. This led to threats towards these committee members— in spite of Dennis Sanders and Dreadnought finishing in third their seemingly callous statements and actions and I cerplace.” See www.tinyurl.com/rara-statement tainly commend Team PM for that. RARA had smacked Thom down pretty hard from, my viewpoint. These offiThe response from race fans and pilots to this rather cials must have assumed that I was with Team Precious weak CYA (cover your a…) press release has garnered Metal— up until this point. When the sullen race team well over 90 comments on the RARA web site (linked left, leaving me alone there at the table, it become obviabove) at this writing- just a few days after the contest. ous that I was not on the team. One of the RARA guys Outside of one comment which read, “Sorry-Rules are must then have noticed my press credentials and then Rules”, the public is very upset with RARA regarding this pointed me out. He made a quip and then quickly moved call. Hundreds of outcries from fans can be seen on air the group out of my hearing range. What had just hapracing bulletin boards, YouTube, and RARA’s own site. pened? Who then took third place in the Gold race? RARA has since posted a second press release on this DQ. The unprecedented number of fan complaints postWHAT’S WRONG IN RENO? ed has made a dent after all, although the ruling has not This was obviously a clash between old school RARA changed. Even fellow Unlimited Gold race pilots and and a new wave racer. Period. To be fair to RARA— if crews chimed in this time. Give these comments a read that is possible in this instance— Reno-Stead airport has yourself. www.tinyurl.com/rara-second-statement outgrown the Unlimited class race. When you have a major contender like Thom Richard bringing his team and his $1M+ custom racing aircraft across the country to race and RARA falls-back on antiquated rules to disqualify an otherwise cleanly-flown match, then it marks a turning point in RARA history. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then PM’s cockpit video says even more about this controversial race decision. Thom posted his cockpit video on YouTube the following day. Go look at this amazing race footage for yourself. And I ask you: how can such an important decision be made, in this day and age, by a lone judge without any other photonic or electronic evidence? www.ContactMagazine.com


It is thus clear to me that we have come to a turning point at Reno-Stead Airport. The Reno Air Race arena has been steadily encroached upon by expansion; new homes, plus both commercial and government buildings (Nevada National Air Guard) along the unlimited course. The troublesome east show line corridor has shrunk to a paltry 720 feet in width. That measurement is taken from the #2 Pylon to a show line which is not physically marked on the ground. Rather, the line judge is positioned near the airport boundary on a small platform or pick-up truck from which he is to make the calls. Detailed race course maps are available on RARA’s site for your review.

TURNING POINT— HOME PYLON The message is clear. It’s time for a change in RARA rules, allowing an appeal in cases like this— and to allow the use of modern scoring techniques. Let’s start-off by allowing the use of cameras, GPS ground tracking equipment and additional show line judges to minimize the possibility of a bad call. One of my favorite comments posted on RARA’s site regarding the call on Precious Metal is: “This is 2014, you geniuses!”

Regarding the show line; the issue here is that the FAA is scrutinizing these races with fan and property owner safety in mind. In light of recent air racing accidents, we all understand the need to maintain safe events. That said, it is a daunting task for any Unlimited racer to fly a safe race under these ever-increasing constraints. Imagine threading the show line corridor-needle at 450+ MPH while pulling the turns at 5.5 Gs and a few hundred feet off the deck. Then throw-in the task of passing another unlimited racer (rules state passes must be outside passes) within these confines-at high speed- and it becomes clear that pilots are not being given what they deserve a wide-open race course. I have already heard rumblings from a group beginning to study a new Unlimited race course on a huge airport in a wide open, un-populated area in the desert West. I hope someone does just that— give these brave Unlimited class racers and their adoring fans a new, safer, faster home. I have been told that there is a full field of 21 Unlimited racers that are willing to race if the purse is large enough.

East Show Line

BRINGING IT HOME I sure hope that Thom Richard and Precious Metal will return to Reno to race once again. Now it is a matter of funding for Team PM; throw them a bone if you care. Miss America, another P-51 Unlimited racer, did not bother to show up to race this year. According to “ramp talk”, she was not fully paid winnings from last year’s race. Is RARA in deep trouble? Event budgets are shrinking as show costs escalate. Insurance costs have risen sharply for RARA, and many fans are no longer able to pay the steeper ticket prices and passes for pit access. Several attendees told me as much this year. Do the math; inflation of the US Dollar is hurting all of us.


While this is an old map, it should give you an idea of where Pylon #2 is in relation to the east show line. North is up.


Lastly you might ask, “How did the awards banquet turn out?” Thanks for asking. As it turns out, Precious Metal forfeited over 30 banquet tickets. When RARA presented the 8th place award for the Unlimited class, a gentleman that I did not recognize quietly accepted the trophy for


SWITCH ON! Continued from page 2

Thom and Team Precious Metal without fanfare. Third place was awarded to Dennis Sanders, flying Race #8 Dreadnaught. Luckily PM’s banquet boycott and publically-displayed cockpit cam footage has not affected Thom’s chances of being invited back to Reno. Seems like RARA is listening to the fans after all. Tom does face a daunting financial challenge nonetheless. What I have since heard directly from Team PM regarding the fallout from this RARA judging controversy is: “It is what it is,” and “We’ve agreed to work together to improve things for next year.” Team Precious Metal is a class-act indeed. RARA did award Tiger Destefani “astronaut wings” for flying higher than any other racer! Remember that Strega was disqualified in Gold heat #3 for an altitude violation! Tiger was in good spirits and the banquet crowd went nuts and chanted “Tiger, Tiger” for a good long while. He climbed to the stage and stood behind the podium to address his adoring fans, then rapped the FAA on the noggin regarding the restrictive new rules. Good for him. I’m sure his exact statements were recorded for all to read in some other Reno race report.

An example of the limited-edition of the hardbound version of our new book, Alternative Engines Volume 4.


The skies have cleared here at my home and that angry squall line has now moved through. RARA’s storm cloud, on the other hand, darkens and hangs on the horizon above Reno. So the next time you’re wishing that you were that “fly on the wall,” and now having “been there, done that,” consider that I found the perch to be quite uncomfortable.

We’ve been distributing our new book for nearly a year now. If you preordered one and didn’t get it yet, please let us know. You should have received it by now, but if you didn’t we want to make it right! . If you don’t have Alternative Engines Volume 4 but you’d like to own one, check out the CONTACT! Magazine renewal form on the inside flap of the back cover wrap. At the bottom of the page you’ll find the pricing. Note that you can phone in your order or go to our website and click on the image of the book to be taken to a page from where you can order it online. There’s also a button to click to get a sneak peek of the book online. www.ContactMagazine.com

Peace-Out! RL, CFI-G



We recently had a “crowd funding” campaign to help with the cost to publish our book. Through this campaign we offered various “perks” for the different levels of support offered. In my opinion, the absolute best “perk” we offered is a limited edition hardbound version of the book. Limited to a maximum of only 100 copies, we are going to continue offering this signed and numbered version of Alternative Engines Volume 4, printed in full color, and bound with a glossy hardback cover. While it’s still a valuable educational resource packed with hundreds of pages of information on all sorts of alternative engines used in experimental aircraft, this version adds the quality and collectability of being a hardback book. The cost to produce it in limited quantities is very high, but in my opinion, well worth it. For a contribution of only $200, we will happily provide this book to the first 100 people to help us out. And don’t forget, we have a nearly unending supply of Volumes 1, 2, and 3 in stock, so make sure your library is complete! And if your library is already complete enough, please consider purchasing any of our books to give as a gift.

And what Reno article would be complete without recognizing Tom Aberle and congratulating him on yet another record-breaking flight, still using Paul Lipps’s magnificent propeller. 274.091 MPH tops the previous 260.811 (2010)


CONSIDER GIVING A GIFT SUBSCRIPTION Subscriptions to CONTACT! Magazine are what keeps the wheels turning. And while our numbers are still pretty SWITCH ON! Continued on page 27


Continued from page 13

FLYING THE THATCHER CX5 Before departing on the photo mission, I expressed my disappointment with not getting to fly the CX5 as planned. I came all the way across the country to make that flight and it was a real bummer it wasn’t going to happen. So while I was up, Dave and Glen began wrenching on the CX5 and discovered that the mixture screw on the little float-bowl carburetor Dave installed on the Revmaster R-2300 engine must have been bumped and once Dave started the engine and began adjusting the screws, the engine came alive and began to hum perfectly as before. Glen took it around the patch and declared it as “good to go!” By this time it was getting close to the end of the day, scattered clouds were turning to broken, the sun was going down, it was getting cold, but worst of all, it was getting near the time that the banquet dinner and Dave’s birthday celebration were to get underway. We committed to regroup in the morning and I would get my flight.

airwork including some touch-and-gos, I noted that on climb we were banging on 800 fpm at 90 mph and we could get 1000 fpm if we slowed to 70! That’s at full gross minus about 3-4 gallons that was burned earlier in the flight, and it took two huge guys to load the plane that heavy. With a 600 lb useful load and 120 lbs of that reserved for a full 20 gallon tank, that leaves 480 lbs for us “typical Americans.” On that morning, we weighed in at 220 for me and 260 for Glen, so as previously stated, we were at gross. The CX5 handles like a dream. In fact I’d equate it very much to the Piper Warrior or the Cessna 172. Very solid and predictable, almost to the point of being boring— and I mean that in a good way. Or put another way, if the CX4 is an inexpensive sports car (say a Karman Ghia, Porsche 914 or even a Mazda Miata), then CX5 is a Ford Taurus SHO. Maybe that’s too obscure of a reference, but my point is, I feel that in each case David Thatcher

Zero-dark-thirty on Sunday morning we arrived and began the preflight and briefing. Glen is a CFI so I felt comfortable flying by his judgement even though we were at the limits of the plane in both gross weight and aft CG loading. Since Glen weighed more than me, it wasn’t possible for him to check me out from the back seat; I had to sit in the rear, which it was probably better that way since I could watch what he was doing. Since we were loaded so far aft, Glen and I agreed that during initial takeoff roll, if it felt too tail heavy for his comfort level, we’d abort and call it a day, but as we rolled, Glen told me that it felt fine. We were again a flight of two with the photo ship, but unlike with the CX4, they didn’t have to slow down for us to catch up; we had to slow down to keep from overtaking them! While flying formation, neither Glen nor I took the time to check the performance instruments. I was tasked with keeping an eye on the engine instruments but after we were done and we broke away to do some www.ContactMagazine.com

Dave wheeling the CX5 out to start it up for troubleshooting


hit the mark spot-on. The CX4 is not intended to be flown in aerobatic competition; it is intended to be fun to fly while also being safe and predictable. With the bigger, heavier CX5, compromise had to be made. It certainly meets the requirement of being fun to fly while being safe and predictable, but to also be able to share that with someone else will have an impact on the sportiness feel. Roll is underwhelming but still responsive enough to be enjoyable. Pitch, however, is spot on— not sluggish at all, and not overly sensitive. So while I didn’t find the warning I received about the ailerons While the CX5 roll rate might be described as “underwhelming” it’s still very responsive. being heavy in the CX4, I All forward visibility is lost from the back seat while rotatsuppose it’s fairly accurate to say that about the CX5— ing for landing, but the wings are located perfectly to albut so what? It’s still fun to fly and there’s only so much low the rear seat occupant see all that’s needed to hold designers can do within the constraints of the light sport the wheels inches off the runway. This is one reason that category. I suppose if Mr. Thatcher wasn’t worried about the CX5 would be a great training platform, and anyone the 1320 pound weight limit and the 51 mph stall speed willing to give transition training to a fellow builder should required to qualify in the light sport category, then he feel just as at home in the back seat as he does in the would have just built an RV-8, but that’s not what this is. front. From the front seat the view is even better as the wings are set back far enough that they aren’t even in The CX5 is even more intuitive than the CX4. Even your peripheral view. Of course the front seat is where though the view from the back seat is somewhat obthe plane is flown from when solo and it has a maximum scured by the front seat occupant, I was still more comweight, with minimum fuel (2 US gallons) of 250 pounds fortable and at ease flying the CX5 than the CX4. All I and a minimum weight of 180 pounds when full of fuel. had to do was look in the direction I wanted to go and the The rear seat has a maximum weight of 240 pounds plane graciously obliged. Even pitching for a particular when the baggage compartment has 20 lbs in it (its maxairspeed and setting the rate of descent with throttle was imum) and the plane’s fuel tanks are full with 10 gallons seat-of-the-pants so my touch-and-goes were greasers. in each wing. In that same configuration, a solo pilot must be over 180 pounds.

While in hindsight I should have shot a panoramic photograph from the back seat, these two separate images should do the job.




Specification Length

18' 3"

5.56 m


6.25 m


7.32 m


8.5 m


4' 8"

1.42 m

7' 2"

2.2 m

Cabin Width


58 cm


71 cm

84.4 sq ft

7.841 m²

126 sq ft

11.7 m²

10 lbs / sq ft

4.54 kg / 0.09 m²

10 lbs / sq ft

4.54 kg / 0.09 m²

Empty Weight

560 lbs

254 kg

721 lbs

327 kg

Gross Weight

850 lbs

385 kg

1320 lbs

599 kg

Useful Load

290 lbs

131.5 kg

599 lbs

272 kg

Wing Span

Wing Area Wing Loading

THE REVMASTER R-2300 As previously stated, I’ve flown my share of different aircraft over the years, most of which are experimental and light sport aircraft. That’s just one of the perks of the job. I’ve flown with a lot of different engines, but had I not known in advance that it was a 2331 cc Revmaster Volkswagen conversion under the cowl of the CX5, I would have sworn it was a Continental O-200 or a Lycoming O-235. The sound, the vibration, and most of all, the power that comes from the little VW engine just says “airplane engine.” The fine folks at Revmaster have done a remarkable job of perfecting this engine over the past few decades. David Thatcher made the right decision when he elected to design the CX5 around the Revmaster R-2300. To date, Glen has over 200 trouble-free hours on this engine and he’s perhaps the biggest champion of it— and for good reason. If you want to know more about the engine, we published an exhaustive article on it in CONTACT! Magazine issue #101.


Design Load Fuel (92 Octane Auto) Engine Propeller

3.8 G's

3.8 G's 10.5 Gal

39.7 L


56/48 Combo 54/50 Cruise Starter, Alternator



Hydraulic Disc/Toe Brakes 6061-T6 Aluminum - Airframe Fiberglass - Cowl, wing tips & wheel pants • Aircraft may be flown with • Side-opening canopy canopy off, but not open. • Fuel tanks - 2 (10 gal. in • The wings are removable each wing) for transport in ~20 Weight & balance data: minutes. • Solo (front) with min fuel (2 gal) - Max 250 lbs • Dual with full fuel and 20 lbs baggage: • Min pilot (front) - 180lb • Max passenger - 240lb

CHOICES, CHOICES In a perfect world, I’d have to recommend that we own both the CX4 and CX5 in order to have the best of both worlds, but if I had to choose, I’d have to say the CX5 is my favorite simply because I love to share the joy of flight with others. But for selfish reasons, it would be the CX4, hands down.


CX4 at 750 lb / 340 kg with 1700cc Engine

125 mph Cruise (75% Power) WRAPPING IT UP At this writing, plans for the CX5 cost $475 and for Stall (Vso) 40 mph the CX4 they are $360. Each can be bought di850 fpm at 75 rectly from the designer, David Thatcher. Visit Rate of Climb (Vy) mph www.thatchercx4.com for more info or feel free to Never Exceed Speed 155 mph call if you don’t have web access, (850) 712-4539. The plans have been meticulously hand drawn by Best Decent Speed 63 mph David, the planes are designed to be built at 63 mph home in your garage with only a custom work Best Angle of Climb bench to build to get started. Normal hand tools Take-Off Roll 700 ft and a few specialty items are all it takes to build 10,000 ft either plane. There is plenty of online support Max. Ceiling available, including the obligatory email group www.groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/CX4, in addition to the official website.


77.6 L

Revmaster R2300 85 Hp

Electrical System

Airframe Construction

20.0 Gal

1700cc VW 55 Hp (Optional: 1835cc through 85 hp Revmaster R2300)

201 km/h 64 km/h 259 m/s at 120 km/h

CX5 120 mph

193 km/h

42 mph

67.6 km/h

1000 fpm at 75 305m/s mph at 120 km/h

249.4 km/h

155 mph

249.4 km/h

101 km/h

65 mph

105 km/h

101 km/h

65 mph

105 km/h

213 m

700 ft

213 m

3048 m

10,000 ft

3048 m



SWITCH ON! Continued from Page 23

good, we can always do better. Please make sure your subscription is up to date. On your mailing label is your last issue number. If it reads anything above 110, you are still in good shape, but if it reads 109, it’s time to renew! Also please consider giving a gift subscription to someone you love, someone you know who is building or considering building, a public or private school, or even your local VA Hospital. In fact, if you’ll buy a subscription for your local VA hospital, I’ll match it and send them two issues each printing.

CONSIDER DONATING YOUR PLANE ...or project, car, boat, motorhome or anything of value that you no longer have any need of– and in the process, help to reduce your tax liability (check with your accountant to make sure). CONTACT! Magazine’s parent company is a recognized 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation. Currently we have several donated projects that we’re marketing (see the classified section on the inside front coverwrap) but we can also find a good home for more such donated planes or projects and will continue to put the proceeds to good use fulfilling our educational mission. You can move that plane or project that's gathering dust and in the process you'll help your favorite charity.


late Mick Myal, I asked for help working in our booth at the then-upcoming AirVenture, and George was eager to step up and has assisted at virtually every AirVenture and many of the Sun ’n Funs we’ve attended ever since. George did a great job scanning and my grandson Alex is hard at work compiling the pages into two different formats. One will be 32 individual files of one issue each, and the other one will be all 32 issues compiled into one file, with each file being key-word searchable. This way, if you want to simply read one particular issue, you just open that particular fine just like you would a printed version of the magazine. If you want to use the pages for research, the big file of all 32 issues will be key-word searchable. So if you are interested in, say, radiators, you would simply enter the word radiator and up will pop every place the word appears in all 32 issues. Or maybe you remember reading about ARP bolts used in a certain application. Simply enter ARP and you’ll find every instance of the letters. The same goes for phrases like “aileron flutter,” person’s names like “Paul Lipps,” cities, airframes, engines, you name it. If it’s something that’s ever appeared in the first 32 issues of CONTACT! Magazine, you’ll be able to find it in seconds.

...at least with some of our back issues. While we usually try to order enough extra copies of each issue we print, to keep a good supply of back issues in stock, years ago we ran out of many of the early issues, especially issues 1-32. We paid a young man to scan them all, but scanning properly is a labor of love— which was something this kid didn’t possess. So for several years after that we have been sending out less than quality scanned-andprinted versions of these early issues to those who ordered them, and typically the cost to print them in-house and then mail them exceeded the price we charged. Something had to change.

The price of ordering all 32 back issues at the bulk amount of $3.50 each comes out to $112.00 USD. When it’s all said and done, it looks like we’ll be charging onethird as much. If you still want hard copy, we can provide that as well but with much better graphics, thanks to our volunteer George Willenbrock and my grandson Alex Panzera. It will be available not much longer after AirVenture 2015 in DVD format, and not longer after that, in downloadable form. Please keep an eye on our website for more information and the formal announcement, hopefully in the next issue of CONTACT! Magazine.

Earlier this spring we were fortunate enough to have a volunteer join us at our office, who took on the task of properly scanning the issues. George Willenbrock is actually the very first volunteer to join our team. When I published my very first issue, after taking over from the

Speaking of volunteers, John Horvath was another great supporter of CONTACT! Magazine. If you’ve ever been a regular at AirVenture, Sun ‘n Fun or COPPERSTATE and came by our booth at any of those events, you probably met John. He was always ready to lend a helping hand, man the booth, run errands, and never once had his hand out expecting anything in return. John passed away on June 8, 2015 from complications from contact with agent orange during his Vietnam tour in 1966. He was 70.

FACEBOOK We’d like to remind everyone that CONTACT! Magazine has a Facebook page that’s updated almost daily, sometimes several times a day, with news and information that we find to be important or otherwise informational to homebuilders, even if it’s just fun and unusual images or videos. It is of course free to visit– with nothing to join or otherwise collect your personal information, but if you are already a Facebook user, you might wish to “like” us. www.facebook.com/www.CONTACTMagazine www.ContactMagazine.com


John Lewis Horvath III was born in on February 14, 1945 in Los Angeles, CA. He was a resident of Moab, Utah for 10 years prior to his passing, and was also a resident of Stockton, CA for 30 years. John honorably served his country in the U.S. Army in Vietnam from 1965 to 1967 and was awarded a Bronze Star for bravery. He was a master mechanic and loved airplanes. He will be missed.


September 26, 2015—French Valley Airport, Temecula, California

Last year we tried something new and it paid off. Accepting EAA chapter 1279’s invitation to co-host our annual event at their home at the French Valley airport in Temecula, CA, we set up shop in the spacious air conditioned terminal building where educational forums were presented all day and lots of planes were on display out on the ramp. The only downside was the inaccurate weather prediction that called for rain and discouraged several would-be attendees. As it turned out, the weather was great as you can see by the photos. So with that, I’m pleased to announce that on Saturday, September 26, 2015, we’ll be hosting our 12th annual Alternative Engine Round-Up. The event will have a soft start on Friday, the 25th, as we receive and welcome arrivals. On Saturday we’ll have a day of educational forums and lots of cool stuff to see on the ramp. There will be a nice catered dinner that evening, and the next day we’ll be there to support those who flew in get home safely. None of the details are set in stone (except the date) but we plan to have easy access from the parking lot to the show for those who drive in, and plenty of ground support (including transportation to and from motels) for those who fly-in. The uncontrolled field has a beautifully paved and lighted 6000’ x 75’ runway, lots of tiedown space, and even a few vacant hangars that can be rented by the day for those who wish to keep their planes inside overnight. Additionally, there’s a very nice restaurant on the field. For more information, please visit our website: http://www.contactmagazine.com/roundup.html If you’d like to display your plane, present an educational forum, offer assistance or even display a product, please let me know as soon as possible. You can reach me best by email: (Editor@ContactMagazine.com) or by calling my office phone number during normal business hours: (559) 584-3306 We hope to see you there! ~Patrick Panzera



Profile for Editor, Patrick Panzera

CONTACT! Magazine Issue 109 Pegasus and Thatcher CX4 and CX5  

Pete Plumb’s Pegasus DP-1 O-100 Prototype.— CONTACT! Magazine’s editor, Patrick Panzera had the pleasure of meeting Pete Plumb at EAA AirVe...

CONTACT! Magazine Issue 109 Pegasus and Thatcher CX4 and CX5  

Pete Plumb’s Pegasus DP-1 O-100 Prototype.— CONTACT! Magazine’s editor, Patrick Panzera had the pleasure of meeting Pete Plumb at EAA AirVe...