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Messages - Bill James

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16
Hangar Flying / Paul Harvey
« on: December 24, 2014, 09:34:02 AM »
You might enjoy hearing this again from Paul Harvey
 
     The Man and the Birds
     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gY2pTAAn9pc



Also,
     “… because, life wouldn’t be worth living without the airplane.”   -Paul Harvey

You can get the rest of the story on this interesting Paul Harvey quote in the book Good Day by Paul Batura (at books.google.com) by pasting in:
 
https://books.google.com/books?id=v2z-j6DeBQYC&pg=PA216&lpg=PA216&dq=without+the+airplane++life+not+worth+living++Paul+Harvey&source=bl&ots=xWbHGqwvrG&sig=RIIV_Kxni7xoP3_dlmNL--SaWA8&hl=en&sa=X&ei=vtuaVLr4BMSQsQSZ8oDgDQ&ved=0CCUQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=without%20the%20airplane%20%20life%20not%20worth%20living%20%20Paul%20Harvey&f=false

17
Hangar Flying / Eze Summer 2014
« on: December 06, 2014, 02:34:37 PM »
Eze Summer 2014
The 2014 calendar initially had five major events listed. We made it to seven.  A good year. It’s not always that way.
Three things come up as interesting (that means fun).
One, on the way to Oshkosh I found out when flying lean of peak LOP, rather than keeping the throttle at full open, it doesn’t hurt to play around with the throttle and maybe end up with a little lower fuel flow. My interpretation is that with the throttle slightly canted it creates some productive turbulence in there, for better mixture longer. -I had made a two page note on that I didn’t include here   :)
Two, after due diligence study on the two armfuls and a couple of flight bags full of technology out there, its still the Eze and the altimeter and the pointer arrow on my hh GPS. And me. And a pair of underwear and a toothbush. I also have the mini iPad and such on board, but don't usually get around to them. -Also two pages on notes not included here.   :) 
Three, I am still in the afterglow of mentally ramping up to become a side-by-sider.  My wife mentioned for the third time that she would like to fly side-by-side. So the hunt began in earnest. Our neighbors have a Comanche.  I like it. -One page of notes cut out here.
I have always liked the Tailwind. To me it evokes a wild side or renegade visage similar to the VariEze, but different. There are two nearby. -One page of notes cut out here.
After a few weeks it was back to the Cozy. Pretty solidly. That had been my best candidate in the first place. With the mission changed because of grandkids in Atlanta and Montana, when looking at the Cozy with the right tilt of the head it became more lithe and sleek looking. If you held your tongue right. Flying along with Vance and others, I knew they were doing very well in cruise. At times as well as the Long EZs.
The Cozy 3 became my target. I actually became an advocate. It has a firewall the same or very similar to the LongEZ. In other words, you could end up with a pretty good aft end and cowl closeout.
Now for the two seats side by side. Beagle was a lot of help here. After a week of study it got through to me that per person, the Cozy has two inches less width than the VariEze. Hmm. At one point I was talking with my Comanche neighbor and he said “Why couldn’t you just stagger the seats?’ I believe I had been thinking that for a couple of days but the actual words just hadn’t made it to the surface yet. That was a given. Anyway that became a great option. –Two pages of notes…  :)
So now to the big issue. Weight. What could go wrong. The early stages of the hunt had included checking on several projects in work. But there was a flying Cozy nearby that I had seen before my hunt had actually started. And what was to say the projects wouldn’t already be relatively as heavy as the flying one. The issue for me was the nose lift. How can you get away from the nose lift? Hmm.
I told my wife I was going to look at it. She asked if she could go. This whole side-by-side thing is good.
So after looking at the plane a few minutes, we were sitting in it. –A page of notes left out here.  Very tight. But I had the stagger thing up my sleeve.
As we drove out of the airport she asked me what I thought. I said that I liked what I had seen and that it would be great fun to incorporate some ideas on simplicity and weight, which looked plausible after looking at this plane. And that I would love to try them. I asked her what she thought.
She said, “I kinda like your airplane.”
She talked for a moment about the trips we had taken over the years to Colorado and Tulsa and Atlanta and to south Texas to see her mom and to RR and such. She talked about how we could still do these family visits and even an occasional local sight seeing flight again.
It was very encouraging for her to voice these warmhearted thoughts, not to mention it gave me a moment to recover from mild whiplash.
So I come away from a great several-week ride of being a side-by-sider with a warm heart. And with a few ideas to try someday. There is a little letdown feeling as I walk away.
But as I stand here leaning on the longeron, a finished and well-worn longeron, I see the altimeter and the GPS, and that new engine monitor gauge, and the prospect for the new year looks good.
We wish the same for you-
Bill and Claudene





18
Hangar Flying / Rough River 2014
« on: October 18, 2014, 08:34:59 PM »
Enjoy the photo and video work of Edward Savage.   
Bill James

For all of my aviation friends out there (especially the canard pilots), here are pictures and video from Rough River 2014. This album also includes video of Cozy Girrrl Randi explaining the CG strakes. Thanks also go out to Bob Tilley for preparing a bunch of awesome Jambalaya for the crowd on Saturday!
Edward Savage

https://plus.google.com/photos/114028828598324140520/album/6070570792593995393

19
Hangar Flying / Re: What killed the Long EZ?
« on: October 14, 2014, 10:27:18 PM »
Last Friday a spectacular VariEze flew a flawless first flight. The airplane started life several years ago in our hangar. Then the new owner spent a couple of years going through the plane. The detailed prep for the first flight covered several months. He endured several deliberate delays, patiently attending to minor glitches, gently nudging the aircraft and himself to readiness.  He called after the first flight with a couple of questions that he eventually pretty well answered himself. I declared it an official holiday in his name and got him to describe the indications, a great way to savor celebrating the big event. I hear from several other closet VariEze drivers pretty regularly.

Going back to your original questions;
I never requested help from RAF.
Seems that finding plans and parts and help all kinda fell into place once i started building. However, for the fifteen years I had the plans but hadn’t started building, I felt totally isolated, not being able to find or even see an Eze. When I did see a few at the Kerrville fly-in the pilots seemed too busy to notice me. I understand that now and suggest that I would and do totally welcome anyone to butt into our rampant discussions on the ramp. Just elbow your way in.

Though initially isolated, once I jumped in and started building, everything changed. The Internet was in its infancy then but they saw my name in the CSA roster as a new member and VariEze builder and started showing up. Lots of advice was offered on outdated parts, what kind of epoxy to use, some very pointed questions and answers on a few critical things – the self-policing thing - and then back to the light hearted fun and games. But you know, if they hadn’t come by, I would have figured out a way to get it done. Today, with the access to information…  BTW, any builder MUST read the first few CPs, as mentioned in the instructions. It took me three months going through all that to be ready to start building. If you don’t want to do that, well, you know….
So much for my personal experience on your questions.     

A few other thoughts,
So how is it owning any airplane, Eze or factory built?
One friend flies the heck out of his factory airplane. Every week he picks up and then returns his grandson two hours away. Once a month he flies way north for business. Then they fly out on a family vacation trip every few weeks or months. Actually his real airplane has been in annual for over three years with bad cylinders, now in a squabble with the engine company. So he bought another four seater in the interim.

Another friend pays to have his factory plane maintained while he barely flies it, wishing he still had his homebuilt.

Several friends have a partially built (non-eze) project in their hangar, untouched for several years.

Other friends have partially restored motorcycles and rusty antique coca-cola ice boxes sitting in honored places in their garage waiting for their special touch, untouched for several years. Several friends have partially restored cars, untouched for years.

The thought is, airplanes take time and attention, and life gets in the way of other things besides LongEZs.

Back to Ezes,
years ago I used to return from Eze fly-ins depressed because I felt I could never do what those guys had done. That “financial/time-required” gap is still there, but now it has shifted to when taxiing by a hangar secluding a sleek two-place turbine or such. But you know, in a way, I didn't do what those guys had done. Because of the personality of the plane, the gap is fairly painless especially after finishing up a pretty good year including the Burnet Texas GIG, Burall’s Colorado Springs fly-in, Oshkosh, Rough River, a very interesting flight home from RR, visits to see new grand-kids, and a few “That Was Fun” sunset runs for good measure. I tried but cant capture here what it means to spend time with some really special people... or the flights over some really special places....

For practicality, observations on the positives and negatives on design or time to build should probably include ramp time at these events. Standing on the ramp at Rough River I saw the usual new crop of beautiful Cozys, four Defiants i think, the beauty and efficiency of the LongEZ per Dave Adams and his endless builder rides, and our unsuccessful effort to get all seven VariEzes and twenty or so VEze drivers/builders in attendance in one spot for a picture. Next year.

While building the VariEze there were several times when there was no time or no money. The plane waited.
In recent years, with fifteen grandkids, we have gone to over a hundred baseball and soccer games a year. Last Saturday we watched the local soccer games here in the morning and then flew 1.5 hrs to Tulsa for two more soccer games.
When I was building and ran out of time or money, the plane sat there patiently and waited for me. It is sitting there waiting for me now. It’s a beautiful thing.

Great treasures are often buried under a thicket of challenges, designed for you… on purpose.
Bill James

20
Hangar Flying / KANAB 2014
« on: September 03, 2014, 09:33:22 PM »
The first time I raced at a R.A.C.E. event was Kanab in 1997. I came in third, in my class, of three. When i crossed the finish line the two VariEze drivers that beat me were sitting in lawn chairs drinking sodas; Savier and Hertzler.
Those that attended the Silver Anniversary (25th) event this year were treated to great weather and great company. I would say that the attendance was quite top heavy with canard stalwarts. The second race heat almost finished before the turbulence showed up. I heard there were about 35 airplanes on the ramp and even though some left early, still 60 people at dinner Saturday nite. Great hospitality from the folks at Aikens Lodge and nice shade to sit by the pool.
A couple of poolside sessions a day made for plenty of airplane talk. Among things I enjoyed included having a tailwind both ways for the five hour trip from Fort Worth, sitting in the shade listening to Mike Melville talk about how much fun the Starship was to fly, Dave Ronneberg describing how many Long EZs and Berkuts he built, and the interesting side discussion I had with Mark Zeitlin about whether the canard stalls or not. Great fun. Oh yes, and catching up with many longtime friends. And one more, the vibrating spectacle of multiple canards zooming overhead at the finish line.
A highlight of this Kanab was John Lambert unveiling his magnificent LARGE book on the history of the RACE events from about 1983 to the recent times. It has the numbers for all but a couple of the races and an abundance of pictures of pilots and friends through the years. John did a great job of gathering images and history. Many of the pictures are of one person, or two or three individuals together, but there is often even more to see in the background. Very special to see the places and faces and appreciate the scope of Shirl Dickey's RACEs even for those of us that were not major players. Many of us will see pictures of our own planes we have not seen before. I have tried without success to describe the feeling at the start of the race of floating shoulder to shoulder with fifteen other Ezes but the pictures say it all. I took my copy to work and smiled as other pilots were wowed and I didn't have to say a thing.
I highly recommend the color version. Thanks so much John Lambert. And Char and Gary for your years of... being there.
During almost every flight there is a time when I realize where I am and what I am doing, and I am a little overwhelmed in a good way. A great way. The trip to Oshkosh this year certainly called that moment up. The flight to and from Kanab, and the time there, was the perfect thread to keep a lot of things knit together. Maybe we are getting a chance to appreciate some people and some things in this country while we still can.
Gettin ready for the next trip-
Bill James


21
Hangar Flying / KFLY
« on: June 02, 2014, 09:19:40 PM »
Burrall Sander’s Canard Fly-in at KFLY near Colorado Springs has been on my calendar for some time. This first trip to KFLY turned out to be up there with the more enjoyable Canard events I have been to. This is the way I remember it.

Several important events had elbowed their way onto the weekend schedule. But early Saturday morning I decided to launch. That was the third or fourth re-decision on whether or not to go. Lots of places one needs to be. One of the main factors for going was after the 0-290 rebuild and lots of local flying to get the plane out on a real cross country. So it’s a go!

A little over three hours later, after miles and miles of miles and miles, Pike’s Peak was peeking up on the horizon. The chatter on 122.7 came alive and I found myself approaching KFLY with the returning racers. After loitering a couple of minutes I was able to land during a lull.  I wondered about doing like some Marathon runners, jumping in near the finish line and claiming to be a participant. Maybe next time.

Hello 6874 ft MSL. And the DA was higher. Zipping through touchdown I saw shark fins everywhere, both sides of the runway. As I taxied in more race finishers came zinging in on final. Berkut, Berkut, Berkut, Cozy, Velocity, Long EZ, VariEze… and a few local non-race spam cans mixed in…  What a scene. And it looked like a couple more Berkuts were already parked. Taxiing in, the view of the airport hangars spread out as far as I could see. Lots of Canards. Lots of airplanes! And Burrall’s hangar was full of spectacular works of art in progress.

Parking and getting out I see familiar N numbers, interesting looking persons, and familiar faces. Beagle of course who was at the great Texas Burnet GIG two weeks ago, James Redmon who was also at Burnet, there was Mike Mellville, and Dave Adams who was holding my motel key, and on and on, so many great-to-see-again folks. It struck me that there was a lot of history here, and history being made.

I spot Burrall and as I walk up he is managing to herd a large gaggle of cats and his consistent answer seems to be “yes, yes, over there, yes, yes…   I guess there’s not much to putting on one of these fly-ins.   :)

I see several VEzes in attendance and several guys I know to be working on VEzes. The iPhone buzzes and it is Joe Person waving at me from across the runway standing by our parked VEzes.  He was tying down after the race and was pointing to the cookout lunch at the EAA hangar. It’s great fun to try to walk through the crowd of Canard folks at these fly-ins. Happy faces everywhere, calling up flashbacks of memorable memories.

As Joe and I munched burgers and brats I realized that the fellow sitting next to me at our table was Craig Catto of Catto Propeller fame. About a decade ago at RR Craig looked at my prop and said something about epoxy fumes and someone having rolled up wet BID and smoked it, which is an exaggeration.

Craig’s propeller presentation in Burrell’s hangar that afternoon was to say the least immensely interesting and inspiring, a video of tufted prop blades from a GoPro that Craig mounted on the crush plate. And he was soon followed by BBQ and then Mike Mellville’s show and tell of he and Dick Rutan’s flight around the world in their LongEZs. Mike’s slide show began with a picture of he and Dick looking extremely young sitting in their identical nose-less LEZ canoes on sawhorses with their feet sticking out front of the canard bulkhead. It ended with a shot of Mike flying a WWI biplane, one of five aircraft of the era that he has mastered so far.
 
Walking the ramps you see an abundance of bright ideas and bright eyes. Of the many afternoon and evening side conversations, I would classify three or four of the exchanges of information and opinion and BS as classics. Besides the side conversations, I believe that often in the quieter moments, significant information, both positive and not so positive, is transmitted between old friends and also often between new friends, that lead to someone making a positive change in their aircraft or their operational routine, if the recipient listens. And that’s good.

Several times in quiet moments the thought occurred that after a quick decision the plane easily got me here in less than four hours, and that Orville and Wilbur would have very much enjoyed the flight up, as well as the camaraderie of the day. I believe they were canard drivers?

As usual, several lessons learned:
- High altitude ops are serious. You (I) need to plan, review lessons learned (before you go), and keep your wits about you, both in flight and on the ramp when trying to push the plane to the fuel pump  :)
- It was impressive to see folks flying and operating successfully at the afternoon 10K+ density altitude.
Earlier I mentioned the VEze guys at the fly-in. 
- Of course the main highlights of the weekend for me included catching up with Joe Person again and and finally seeing his VEze; and dragging out of him all of the crazy things he is doing that he will talk about, and wondering about the crazy things he is doing that he wont talk about. Hope you got to see Joe and his spectacular VEze recently on the Discovery Channel.
- And catching up with Dave Adams again, always a pleasure.
- And as we were just preparing to leave, a new VEze builder from Albuquerque had just arrived and walked up and starting asking questions. But time had flown. You know how the cadence quickens when everyone starts saddling up. I hope he contacts me as he said he would.
- Another VEze driver provided the learning highlight for me. As Dave Adams and I were starting up to depart, after I had pulled the prop through a couple of dozen times, and Dave had tried his hand at it, Dave suggested not enough fuel, and I thought it was flooded. Chris Woodard, a KFLY resident and owner of Burrell’s VEze came up and asked if he could use a particular technique for propping the engine. I told him that with the two EMags it had normally been starting right up, but there were too just many people watching. I expected him to launch into a discussion of air molecules and gas molecules and holding your tongue right but instead he just motioned for me to man the throttle and walked behind the plane. He gently but deliberately flipped the prop - three times - and after numerous attempts by me and Dave Adams to fling the prop into forced combusted submission – Chris started it on the third flip. With no thrashing.
Just started right up and purred.
As the motor started I immediately recognized and remembered the several times the motor has started for me with that same simple, quick flip through the compression arc, and the excellent sound of the effortless strong ignition bite and bark and start up, with me recognizing the difference but not realizing why or what I had done right. I also remembered years ago seeing Gary Hertzler at Kanab standing there behind his prop and seemingly almost nonchalantly flipping the prop through a couple of times, and again that excellent strong ignition bark and rumble to idle. I also remember Brad at EMag telling me that the engine would start fine with a leaner mixture.
When I thanked Chris he pointed out that Joe Person had just showed him the technique that morning. Joe had said that with the ferocious manly flings of the prop the fuel gushes more than needed. However, the quick short flips through the compression stroke inject just the right amount of fuel. I think all that is close. That simple insight is worth much more than whatever “price” I paid to get to KFLY. And the notebook has several more of those insights, and good cruise info on the 0-290 to boot.
Ah, the chance to fly creatively again.
Thanks Dave Adams, and Chris Woodard, and Burrall! Good to see everyone.

Great to see the Canards Rising
Bill James
Fort Worth VariEze


 

22
Hangar Flying / Texas GIG at KBMQ Burnet this weekend 17 and 18 May
« on: May 13, 2014, 10:21:08 PM »
The Texas GIG is this weekend 17 and 18 May at KBMQ Burnet northwest of Austin. So far 40-50 attendees. Nice airport with eats nearby and a museum in the CAF hangar on the airport. If you didn't get an invite and want one next year let Gary know at gmmmlm@aol.com
Bill James

23
Hangar Flying / tachometer used with E MAG
« on: April 06, 2014, 02:52:15 PM »
What is a good electronic tach for use with an E MAG electronic ignition? I understand that you use the 6th pin for the tach connection.
Thanks
Bill James

24
Hangar Flying / Logbook Entry:
« on: February 22, 2014, 10:10:28 PM »
Logbook Entry:
2/23/14 VariEze N95BJ  LCL  1 Landing.   SEL 1.2.   Cool 70 deg. Calm, mostly. Deep, wide Gold/Red/Turquoise sunset. The usual. Amazing...

25
Hangar Flying / Not This Time
« on: December 28, 2013, 11:33:14 PM »
Not This Time
The nose swings around to the South and I can see the nose tire swerve and straighten on the center stripe of Runway 17. Throttle up and the plane hunches up for the takeoff run. Off the brakes and a couple of jabs of left rudder keeps us on the center stripe. Nose tire comes off at sixty and the mains spin free an instant later.
No sedate 100 mph climb. Not this time. This time a gentle squeeze on the stick pushes the nose over and the airspeed needle cranks up for a fifty-foot full speed rush down the runway. Over the departure end a firm squeeze on the stick and we’re surging skyward big time with a quick snap to the left around crosswind and a quick snap right to wings-level and in a flash we’re on downwind at pattern altitude. A little nose over and she’s cookin’ downwind and back on the power and we’re swooping around left base to final. Wings level and we’re smooth sailing not a burble down the runway and in a blur we’re past the numbers and heading up again big time and calling outbound to the northeast. 
Over the next rise there is no time to wait for the friends to come out and wave. Not this time. This time it’s just a once over and a quick wing waggle and we’re movin on to greener pastures.
No gentle swoop over the lakeshore past the RC guys on their new mini-runway. Not this time. This time we hurry on and briskly jink and juke with the rudders loosely following the swerves of Bear Creek. We flash past the railroad tracks and fall off the edge of civilization into the open flat ranchlands.
No big wide circles contemplating the engine gauges. Not this time. This time there’s not much time so we go straight for the good stuff, wingovers, eyes outside with the occasional glance at the gauges and the steady exhaust tone thrumming all’s well.
This time on the third or forth pull up, for the first time in a long time I think about what I’m doing. I think about the steps of the wingover maneuver. For an instant I’m back in the orange and white exhaust-tinged T-28 with its 1425 hp and massive three-bladed prop tugging and twisting and torqueing the airplane in all the wrong directions. I remember struggling to counter each excursion with the taught control input and the awkward conclusions that resulted from raw memorization. I remembered how much rudder was needed at 220 kts and how much more was needed at 100 kts and how easy it was to come out the bottom of a loop 45 degrees off heading. And how all you can do is keep trying.
Floating across the top today I remember the day back then when it all came together, when just the right nudge of rudder at just the right time worked magic. When you’d done so many wingovers in the air and in your sleep that it was second nature. When you knew what the airplane was going to do before it did it. When you started intuitively putting in that nudge of rudder and that squeeze of the stick and the throttle just ahead of time - the right time, the day you learned to outsmart, or more specifically you learned to work with the molecules. The next couple of wingovers fade back and forth between the massive riveted canopy and the svelte clear canopy.
A check of the time has us banking hard for home, returning to normal and enjoying the simple, sleek nature of this airplane. The entry and pattern are smooth and delightful and we glide silently through base. Turning final I confidently confirm nose gear down for the third time. The tetrahedron is about twenty degrees to the left, the windsock is twitching a little, and the trees there can cause some burble. At fifty feet I start the gentle mixing of the stick as usual. A little mixing of the stick and a little throttle through ground effect always help for a gentle arrival. This time it’s just a tad too little throttle, and just a tad too late. We drop in from two feet.
I usually only log one landing per flight.
But not this time.   :)

Have a Great New Year!     
Bill   


26
Hangar Flying / Yes, that was fun.
« on: November 23, 2013, 10:28:51 AM »
     A little left rudder and the nose swings around to the south. A little right rudder and I can see the nose wheel straighten and come to a stop on the center stripe of runway 17. All clear outside. The canopy comes closed and locked and checked. Brakes on, the power comes up and the rpm checks good. Again the plane indicates its eagerness to fly in the way it kinda hunches up for the takeoff run, backed up by the strong indications on the engine instruments. 
     Its seeming eagerness to get going is probably my imagination but that’s what it feels like to me and I like it. With the elevators an inch low the nose lifts on schedule and a squeeze on the stick holds the climb at 80 kts. A quick check outside and then inside again to keep an eye on the engine instruments. The oil pressure, rpm, CHTs are double-checked for a hint of anything different from the previous flights. The steep climb angle seems to put the panel right at eye level making it easy to scrutinize the instruments.  At pattern altitude a little rudder and a brisk turn puts us in the usual circle or two around the pattern giving the plane time over the runway to do anything funny early on. 
     On this takeoff the article comes to mind in AOPA magazine a while back where the author said that for an engine failure during early climb out, most pilots don’t have an appropriate awareness of how much nose-over it would take to get the nose low enough to get and hold the speed you need. Then I remember the EZ/F-16 driver that said that his flight tests showed that with an engine failure we canard drivers need to maintain at least 22 kts above our min speed for maneuvering and then for reduction of the rate of descent.
     It’s exciting to be in the air again. The freshly overhauled 0-290 has performed a couple of dozen flights by now. The takeoffs are consistent and strong but each flight is still flown pretty deliberately. The break-in period has gone well. On the first couple of flights I just flew big circles around the airport at high power. After flying the last few years more sedately mostly thinking along the lines of LOP it was exhilarating and a fun change to rip along at full speed for an hour. An hour can be a long time. It was kinda like back in the early days of the downdraft plenums running wide open over the ranchlands trying to overheat the engine and not being able to.
     But now we’re already climbing out west of Fort Worth. I say we, because my wife is along on this trip, her first ride since the engine rework. She is interested in seeing the lake area from the air again and I want to imprint another smooth enjoyable flight. Little did I have to do with it, it was a great smooth flight through the historic Texas hill country. Lake Palo Pinto is the lake we were interested in. It is pretty low on water and you can see the valley and the river the way it used to look years ago before the dam was put in. The Indians painted the tree trunks along the creek to mark their territory and welcome guests, thus the name referring to painted posts. It is really interesting to fly along the interstate and check out the scenery along our normal journey from the air, and then fly over into the ridge lines of the valley. The drive is usually just over an hour. Even with the power back we make it to the lake today in about fifteen minutes.
     We cruise around the lakeshore a couple of times at an appropriate level and wave at a few weekend neighbors. We talk about how fascinating it is to see how different things look from the air. I fly by the water tower on the ridge near our cabin. The water tower is an especially distinctive landmark because just beyond it there is a straight road between the ridge lines with no power lines or mail boxes; my perfect hill country reserve landing strip if’n I ever needed it. We turn east for the return trip and I add power to climb out. With the reserve landing strip fading away behind my interest turns to tracking the engine gauges. I breath in the feeling of the positive, powerful, sure response from the aircraft.
     In the moment I’m a little overwhelmed again at what this plane is, and has done, and has meant. Now days it takes a longer moment to sequence through the results of this Eze venture. I finger on the auto pilot and feel a twinge of luxury remembering the early days of flying the simpler aircraft back then, heading out all directions and drawing the far reaches of this land a little closer and a little friendlier. With the airport in sight I reach out for a last armful of the horizons and think of the dozen or so new friends that are now working their way toward building or rebuilding or finishing building a VariEze, and mentally wish them well. Like their efforts, the engine rebuild didn’t happen in the couple of weeks that I planned, but we got it done.
     Back home we make the requisite pass over the runway and circle to land. On downwind Claudene says “OK talk me through what you’re doing.” Wow, that’s a first. I tell her to follow me on the stick and she says “I am.” So I talk through lowering the nose gear and the trim change and the slowing airspeeds. Rolling final I mentally fuss at myself for a moment for not being as slow on final as I wanted, then re-remember that weight has consequences. On final I am mentioning how slightly mixing the stick makes it easier to hold the attitude and in the flare there is a little burble but the plane settles in gently, just like I knew what I was doing. The tires chirp. Mentally I can almost feel the wings longingly holding on to that last wisp of lift. Probably my imagination.
     Taxiing up to the hangar I can look back through the years and imagine my hangar mate Dave walking out to hold the nose and both of us grinning and how our shout of “Cheated Death Again” bounced off the hangar doors. Checking Claudene in the back seat, I decide to break with  that traditional shout this time. Just as I start to say something about what a great flight it was, and she says “Well, that was fun.”
Yes, that was fun.
Bill James

27
Hangar Flying / Re: Installing AP Servo
« on: October 09, 2013, 08:37:58 PM »
Chris-
I installed the TT roll servo on the main spar aft wall on a plywood pad with bolts, similar to the stock aileron hardware pads on the main spar ends.
The servo rod attaches to the aileron torque tube where it comes out of the firewall. Where there were two holes in the flange for the aileron tube rod ends I added two triangles to trap the three rod ends, with two matching holes for the aileron push rods and a new hole above them for the servo rod. The servo rod is above and parallel to the right aileron torque tube along the main spar. Just installed the servo on the aft spar wall where it went without shortening the tube. There was a picture in a recent CSA newsletter (a year ago?) with Buzz Lightyear substuting as the servo. Will be glad to send a pic but it is probably available here in the CSA pictures.
I won't wrestle with the pitch servo details here unless you need it too. Let me know if you do.
What a great addition to the plane.
Bill James

28
Hangar Flying / Re: So I want to build... BUT
« on: August 23, 2013, 11:17:38 PM »
Lots of great aircraft out there these days. I wonder how many types you can build stock and have a great performer, and then if you are so inclined, over time pick up another 30 mph or so...

29
Hangar Flying / Re: Aeropoxy Questions
« on: August 10, 2013, 12:09:29 PM »
Matt-
Very interesting analysis.
     FWIW, many folks have picked an epoxy and stayed with it for simplicity and convenience, and to minimize the variables. I started with the predecessor of EZ Poxy and stayed with it. When I was building in the 90s, EZ Poxy had few issues and reportedly the best resistance to fuel which was encouraging. AC Spruce is the only source I have used, again the KISS principle.
     While I used it to build the plane, the cylinder plenums, an oil sump, and a myriad of other contraptions, there are in fact things I would not use it for.  That's a joke, kinda   :)   I am not suggesting that anything be assumed about the qualities or characteristics without one doing their own due diligence.
     Everyone has their preference. I have benefitted from using the standard EZ Poxy and know its curing characteristics. Still in the simple column, in cool wx I use a hair dryer (not a heat gun) for saturation during fabrication and overnight often have a drop light in proximity of the component. Obviously with any product it is prudent to be cautious of fumes and physical contact. Complete mastering of Rutans composite workbook is a given. Also, it is good to confirm that your heating system isn't creating an issue, space heaters in particular.
     
     An aside, early on when I was beating the bushes trying to get up to speed on things like epoxy and components and such, I got an interesting response from several folks about what particular type or brand they used. After talking about various qualities and capabilities of the particular item, when I got around to asking them which one they used and why, their response was, "Oh, it was given to me."
Back to square one.
Bill    :)

30
Hangar Flying / Re: Happy Birthday to my EZ!
« on: August 01, 2013, 06:15:37 PM »
Congrats Dick,
That's a long, easy summary; made short and sweet  :)
Many Happy Returns!
Bill James

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