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Messages - Bill James

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Hangar Flying / The Voyager Constant
« on: July 09, 2012, 06:48:32 PM »
When Dick and Jeana flew the Voyager around the world nonstop unrefuled, there was one constant. What was it?
...Mark Z, please wait as least 0.003 seconds before you nail it  :)
Or better, until there are a couple of good replies.
Bill James

Hangar Flying / Re: Start of my dumb questions
« on: May 18, 2012, 04:29:16 PM »
For consistency i have stayed with EZ Poxy, and am pleased with it.
Re the NDT- suggest that you do the practice bookends because its fun, the 1x1 glass layup for your information, and the structural layup with the 8 layers of glass on the foam strip because it is assuring.
You quickly become an expert with the glass and foam and learn to spot things that don’t look right.
Bet the best two things you will do is digest the Rutan Composite document for fundamentals, and talk in person with every  experienced builder that you can for shortcuts and the in-between the lines understanding of the things to do and not to do.

I have pretty well learned something from just about every person around these parts...  :)
Bill James

Hangar Flying / Re: TruTrac Pilots
« on: May 13, 2012, 10:29:45 PM »
Thanks guys. Last month i couldn't even spell autopilot installer; now I are one   :)
I am trying to put something about the installation together for Terry Schubert in the next CSA newsletter. But there isn't much left after i cut out the silly stuff that i did that everyone else is already too smart to do anyway.
I appreciate your help. Actually the install has been appropriately educational, interesting and enjoyable.

Hangar Flying / TruTrac Pilots
« on: April 30, 2012, 11:35:11 PM »
You TruTrac Pilots out there-
For the roll and pitch servos, which of the three holes in the servo arm do you use? Many other questions but i will start with that.
Bill James

Hangar Flying / Re: Death of the Canard Builders??
« on: April 26, 2012, 01:31:11 PM »
Let's see, what time is it?...   :)

Hangar Flying / Re: Death of the Canard Builders??
« on: April 25, 2012, 08:18:02 PM »
I left out the best parts.
Like on that first takeoff in a while, ripping up to a thousand feet, breathing a little easier now and settling into the seat, remembering the days and weeks and months of your hands working over the plugs and the tires and brakes and valve settings, torquing the prop bolts, all disappearing in a haze now,
…smoothly leveling off, adjusting the trim, the good feeling how well all the things work, how smooth it is, how beautiful it is, all of it- the plane, the sky, the life,
…the flashback to shaping the nose foam, fitting the consoles just right, molding the stickgrip, the altimeter coming alive for the first time,
…settling into the seat again just for fun, just right, ripping left. And rippling right. That beautiful sweeping turn and pull behind the canard; the Peter Pan things you can only do and feel  and see in an Eze,
…making friends with the steed again; the rudders, the trim, feeling that good feeling that triggers your cautious subconscious to check all round for traffic, again, and the instruments! Again. All good. All good mechanically because of your hands. All good in the lofting and banking and ...everything, all good, just like you hoped.
…wish it could be put it into words.

The Lord loves us the way we are, but too much to let us stay that way   :)

Hangar Flying / Re: Death of the Canard Builders??
« on: April 23, 2012, 10:14:05 PM »
Finishing the well worn path out over the ranchlands (mostly ranchlands), there is just enough time to beat the sunset home. The nose lowers to the left toward the winding deep green oaks and pecan trees along the creek leading home. So lush you can’t even see Bear Creek under there.
I still can’t overheat the Eze. It just takes the high speed run in stride, as usual, and happy for more.

Just enough time before sunset. As with so many times before, with one finger the power is backed off a little to the wingover power setting. The nose is already swinging a little low and left to exactly 180, and already coming smoothly up to that perfect angle, now a little left rudder over the top, through 090 on speed and altitude, swinging swerving back downward and beginning the gentle pull with the nose coming up with the altimeter settling on altitude and airspeed and 000. Already lofting up again, in the groove, snapping mental images of the vistas that are held for a few seconds and then replaced with a better one…

That was thirty minutes ago; the first wingovers in several months. The third flight in three days, all business after the annual, now complete with the multiple checks of static RPM, nosewheel liftoff speed, the rebuilt carb, new plugs, the autopilot in but unconnected… Test checklist complete after three flights and still time for a few wingovers.

Spectacular weather. The meager flight time during the seemingly endless too-busy to finish and fly days… those vacant weeks until now,  drain away. All done. All good. All new wingover data in the noggin, greens and blues and purples and turquoise’s and shades of whites and tans,  no grays or browns for now… the gentle, just right wind on final to assist in supporting a satisfying touchdown…
Over the three days I have been chased in by a glistening Lacombe, a Thorp T-18, a Lancair, a classic yellow Cub, a Coot amphibian, a brilliant yellow Tailwind, a PITTS…
In the rumble of engines shutting down, I decide not to interrupt the grinning, and friendly insults by mentioning to them their… our… planes are dying out. Oh, and an RV. I don’t think any of us are too worried about any of the airplanes loosing or winning a popularity contest.
I have heard that airplanes can expand your horizons. Or bring them closer…

Gotta run, time to visit some about VariEzes.

Hope that helps  :)

Bill James

The Lord loves us the way we are, but too much to let us stay that way  :)

Hangar Flying / Re: Downdraft vs updraft cooling
« on: April 23, 2012, 09:57:36 AM »
Yes, the planes are inspiring in many different ways. We start with an excellent design. The examples I mention were impressive and inspiring to me because they were simpler than normal and had long term durability due to the attention that HAD been devoted to maintaining them safe for flight so well for so long.

Hangar Flying / Re: Downdraft vs updraft cooling
« on: April 21, 2012, 02:31:09 PM »
Which is more effecient any why?  Speed gains from either?

So. How do you like your answers?   :)
I like 'em.
I remember two experiences.
"There I was," standing on the ramp filled with 80+ canards, looking at a very crude airplane. He and his wife were preparing to depart. During the weekend most folks gave it a wide berth, pretending not to have noticed it. The previous evening, the builder/pilot had received the CSA 2000 hour patch. He said that he had landed in 48 states. He had started out building with two partners. They were still building.

"There I was," standing on the ramp at Truckee, having flown 1400 miles nonstop from Fort Worth. Another pilot was showing me his well-used Eze. For years I had envied him from afar as one of the really active guys. They had all started 15 years before me and I was glad to finally meet him because of seeing his name in the CPs. His plane didn’t have wheel pants. He looked at my plane and then his, and said that he had never made a flight longer than 300 miles, or leaned the engine...

They were having all the fun, with pretty bacsic airplanes.

Hangar Flying / Re: Should I pursue a pilot's license?
« on: April 14, 2012, 02:28:34 AM »
>>They must pay you by the word....
 - Yes, that's my secret to success.  :)

>>THat is some killer performance though you can really get that Variez moving.
- Don't believe anything - until you are flying next to the guy doing the talking, and then you can see for yourself.  :)

>> When you say 400lb payload, is that wet or dry? I weigh 220 lbs by myself.
 - Sorry, I removed my references to the Gross Weights from the earlier post and here. My apologies. There were several adjustments in the Gross Weights in the CPs that one should get familiar with if they are looking at buying.

>>You must pay for an annual, you have to get it certified.
 - I am in trouble. 

>>$100 Burrito, at 4 GPH hardley. You should convert it to run auto gas.
- I am way behind on my carbon emissions. Everyone started 15 years before me, and besides that the plane was down for a couple of years. I have a lot of catching up to do, so for now I am just glad I don’t have to make it in my bath tub. 

I still want to find a good Long Ez or Variez and buy a used one. Save $$ and time into flying it.
 - Cool

>> How is the payload the same for a Long Ez and VariEz?
-  I messed that up and removed the GW references. Look at the designed empty and gross weight values in the CPs. And for fun check on the production planes too; how much they can carry.

Are you IFR rated?
Me, yes. The plane, no.
Good hunting-

Hangar Flying / Re: Should I pursue a pilot's license?
« on: April 13, 2012, 09:12:41 PM »
>>How much piloting experience did you have before you flew your Variez?
 - Several layers and flavors to that answer, still to get to the same answer. I had lots of helo time in the Marines and cattle-herding, some very valuable training in the 1425 hp T-28, I had owned a taildragger and had variable time in a coupla dozen other types. Probably the most valuable and heartwarming flight experience i have ever had was flying C-172s during the ScrewWorm Eradication Program over the Rio Grande Valley dropping sterile flys over the super-infested ranch lands.   :)   :)   :)
Didn't matter. You still gotta do your homework for the Eze. The knowledge base needed to fly anyting smartly is relatively small, and you will be there as a licensed private pilot. One day in the hangar a guy came in and stalled around for a couple of minutes and then said he wanted to fly cross-country to New Mexico and asked me how do you do that.  He was Captain in a heavy and an F-15 jock. But he had never flown civilian. Same as a new private pilot. And whatever his experience, he still had to learn to fly his RV. I told him to go over to the office and talk to the new excited instructor and have some fun. That's what i had done years earlier after getting out of the Marines. Pretty much what you will do getting your license.
>>Was it easy to learn to fly?
  - Yes. On your first front seat hop, for takeoff put the elevator an inch or so TE low. On liftoff hold that paint can attitude i menioned earlier and gently let it fly itself to a thousand feet. Then gently get the feel for it, which should take 15 seconds. Just get away from the runway first.
>>What is the useful payload on it?
 - Look at the plans and POH for that. Your plane will be different from mine. <Sorry guys, i took out the GW references for a better look at them> Staying knowledgable about gross wieght and stall angles and such should keep you scared enough to be cautious on your load and on your toes during takeoff. There is lots of talk about payload and takeoff but one should always be poised in any a/c for the engine to quit on climbout.
>>Max Cruze speed?
Oh, that's an easy one, only a dozen or so answers. Lets say, er, 180? ...for the average VariEze? I dunno.
When flying my plane on the 1.5 hours to south Texas, speed is around 200 TAS and 6 GPH. Flying nonstop from Fort Worth to Reno was 175 mph from takeoff roll to shutdown after taxiing around there for 15 minutes; flying against the wind, 1400 sm in 8 hours at 3.8 gph.
A couple of years ago the trip to OSH was leaned to 2200 rpm at 180 TAS and used around 3 gph. Coming home was at peak at 2550 rpm, over 200 TAS and 6 gph.
It doesn't matter. My ground speed is very variable because i always have a headwind. Really. A few weeks go i had to be in San Antonio and took off into a 45 mph headwind. The next day i flew back into a 35 mph headwind. Imagine when that used to happen in my Cessna-120 taildragger, and it worked hard to hit 80 mph.
When the tornados came through a coupla weeks ago i gained 80 knots on downwind but totally lost any advantage gained on the base leg... (just kidding, but not much).
When not on trip to OSH or RR, or flying with buddies to the hundred dollar burrito, or such, i normally fly once a week or so, for 30 or 45 minutes, checking on the new highway to Cleburne, or what type of cars are at the race track a few miles south and if its worth going there, lofting a few wingovers, and gliding through a low pass and perfect approach to a feather soft landing. Normally.
What were those things you were asking about again???
Bill :)

Hangar Flying / Re: Should I pursue a pilot's license?
« on: April 13, 2012, 05:50:37 PM »
How much is the annual?
I meant to also include that in the "doesn't matter" category  :)
Obvious repair/replacement is done day to day, and dollar to dollar. Besides the ongoing maintainance, in February I  do the complete annual inspection checklist,  compiled from several lists that others suggested (thanks guys), with a couple of things added from my notebooks. I usually get an A&P to do something like adjust the first set of valves, or set the timing, for that valuable additional set of eyeballs. To answer your question, I don’t know. It really doesn’t matter. So far, knock on wood longerons, I haven’t gone into debt building or flying. I did work two jobs while trying to get the engine. Scott Carter of Extra Eze fame held it for me for 18 months.
Several years ago while I was remounting the gear with the plane upside down, my dad got ill (6 hours away) and it took a couple of years to get it back in  the air. I will say that once you are back in the saddle, those lost days disappear. Especially if what took you away was more important. Some things that take me away aren’t as important. That’s when the shorter sleep cycles and midnight oil come in. Interestingly, while I was building I was self employed. The busier I was with work, the better the building went. Probably something to do with money. And maybe that I was in a more productive temperament all around. When work was slow it was harder to get revved up to go out in the garage.
Piloting experience?
Doesn’t matter. Surprise! Sure, the more the better, maybe. You still have to adjust to a cockpit like no other. When I moved my plane from the garage to the airport, a friend that I had been helping with his new-to-him VariEze (N2NP) stopped in and dropped the keys in my hand. I flew it for three months while getting my plane ready for first flight. I had flown in the back of several Ezes, but then I flew ten flights in the front seat with an instructor in back.  On the first flight I was totally uncomfortable. Felt like I was landing 5 feet below ground level. That night I reflew every landing attempt in my sleep. Several times. The next flight was great. And since. I suggest that in prep for the first front seat flight that you sit in the plane with the extended nose wheel on a paint can or such. With the canopy closed imprint that attitude and view down a long taxiway or road. That is your (new) sight picture for takeoff and landing attitude. Once you are flying, the pilot stuff will come. It is good to remember that experience is the best teacher, especially when it is someone else’s experience. A lot of valuable pilot knowledge is picked up in the coffee break at a flight school, or at midnight smoking a cigar in the bar in Jackpot or sitting outside on the stone fence at Rough River.
If I say it quickly… I don’t know any normal person that couldn’t build or fly an Eze. I expect to be roundly corrected here, but that’s my opinion. Maybe I just don’t know the right people.
Useful load. That friend that bought VariEze N2NP was an engineer but knew little about the canards. I’m so glad. I was well into building mine and was able to help him. One day on the spur of the moment we decided to go the KC-GIG (Terr Yake's Kansas City Grazin in the Grass). The day before leaving we filled her up and both got in to see what it was like to fly around the pattern. Nothing to it. As we planned, it was cool, the runway was 6000 feet long at 700 agl. All good. The next day we arrived with unplanned matching luggage - a baggie with a toothbrush and pair of Skivvies. We saddled up and headed out, ready to fly the four hours non-stop. Less than two hours later we were ready for a pit stop. We landed, stretched, figured the fuel needed, and took off without refueling. In other words, we got smarter. We did not need to take off with full fuel. We got smarter on several things that weekend. Unfortunately, one lesson, not ours thank goodness, was the first step in any emergency- fly the airplane.
Payload and Max Cruise Speed?
OK, I will let you in on the highly guarded secret – it doesn’t matter.  :)  As you build you will make choices between gizmos and pizzazz and Nirvana-like speed. Then you will learn to fly your airplane. And all will be a rewarding part of the experience and likely better than in most other flying machines. For cruise, you level off at the altitude where you were promised the lowest headwinds, and lean and adjust the engine to your pride level or credit card limit. To be sure, you will do the required diligence while building, doing the weight and balance and such, and all other critical elements. But I bet that most of the things that are holding you back now will be different, and you will have a whole nother set of setbacks and challenges then, all designed to whittle you into a better man.
BTW, the Mustang and truck are well preserved, for having over 100K miles when i got them. And my wife has gotten everything she has wanted since i got the roadster before i had time to tell her about it...   :)
Oh. Can you imagine what it will be like when you do your first level off and pull the canard into that sweeping right turn for the first time? With the clouds skimming overhead. Or rush up from the deep green fields on that first wingover and break over into the crimson sunset ?
Sleep well tonight :)

Hangar Flying / Re: Should I pursue a pilot's license?
« on: April 13, 2012, 01:44:33 PM »
The cost is up to you. While building I used to come home from the Eze flyins enthused from the powerful "seeing is believing" event, but also very aware that my airplane had a very specific and different mission than some, personal therapy. Oh yeah, and personal expression. And that it would not be decked out or as impressive as many are. It helped that i readily accepted that we all have different passions involved here.
The thing that drew me to the canard type airframe is the same thing that is so gratifying now, after being hooked for 35 years and flying for 15 years - the airframe provides a spectacular capability for you to go many directions do what you want.
While responding to your pilot's license theme, I am thinking of the other current thread on the staying power of the canard types. I go through periodic cycles where I try to imagine myself into other types of aircraft, to please someone else or gain a greater capability. After allowing myself enough room to get hooked on another, I easily return to the Eze for the basics, therapy and self expression.  
My thoughts on building and owning and what type can simply be put - the plane waited for me. Spending on the plane was simple. I had very little flexibility. When i could buy more stuff, like glass or epoxy, i did. When i didn't, i didn't  :)    I now realize that the final cost didn't matter.  As with most important things  :)
I have it pretty good with a 1997 truck, a 1997 Mustang, a 1997 roadster with no windows or spare, and a 1997 airplane. After flying the Eze with no electrical system for several years, i put in the first gizmo, an alternator. Now a dozen years later I am putting the second gizmo in the plane, an autopilot. Recently i realized that i probably could have done everything that i have done without the alternator...
There are many things i dont want on the plane. Four notebooks full. Five now actually. A ton of weight was saved by not using 99% of my ideas, literally.
To get to something useful for you, I am very glad that i got desperate enough one day to get started building. I got a lot happier by just unloading the stack of dusty boxes into my garage. I was an airplane owner. A canard airplane. Am glad i built, but also know of very happy buyers.
I appreciate the planning and thought that many put into this. But for me, everything changed once i got started. Much of my planning changed. This or that part would become available, and i would be able to get it because i was in the mix and someone told me about it. It may be interesting to put our thoughts into two piles, and see how full the "can't" pile is. The basic airframe is known. How much time you put into glitzing it up is up to you. At first flight my plane had nothing on it that wasn't needed for flight. Many things were accompished during the 40 hour restricted period, which to my surprise and chagrin took 3 months instead of 4 days  :)
The past few months have been busy, so, much of my activity on the plane is after hours, often pulling it out in the spotligh for a startup, maybe to check for leaks after the carb rebuild. It is frustrating when we can't fly as often as we want. But it is especially gratifying being able to just go out there and sit and look at the plane for a few minutes. Knowing it is ready to go when we are. A while back i flew 31 flights in 31 days. Good thing i had somehow gotten started way back there  :)

Bill James

Hangar Flying / Re: Should I pursue a pilot's license?
« on: April 05, 2012, 01:31:58 PM »
Do it. Who knows what your situation will be in 5 yrs, 10 yrs...
Whatever your level or station in life, piloting an aircraft well is immensely gratifying and satisfying. Building and flying the plane has dramatically changed my life. Like most things, if you are already happy, the pilot stuff will open up even more vistas of joy. If one is determined not to be happy, well, you know.
Find an enthusiastic instructor and go for a couple of flights. Great fun. Then play it from there.
Go for it.  :)
Bill James

Hangar Flying / Re: Downdraft vs updraft cooling
« on: March 19, 2012, 10:51:59 PM »
That was my reasoning Dave, cooling air having to go up through the exhausts with my initial updraft armpit installation. Early on, working with the plans-baffling and listening to others talk about how much they had done with it still not working, it became overwhelming to think about what it would take to adequately seal the cowl area. As I thought through the plenums and DD flow, the details all fell in to place.  
It may seem that I went to a lot of extra work to go to DD with fully enclosed cylinders in upper and lower plenums, but to me it was a smaller job than sealing the entire cowl, especially with some other things i wanted to try. And DD was the early combination that worked for my plane. That’s what worked earliest and best.
Lots of folks have great cooling with the stock system. And some don’t.
After testing the DD/plenums cooling for a couple of years, flying wide open at 2000 ft on 100 degree days, and climbing hard to 10K feet, and I couldn’t overheat it, I realized that it worked too well during normal flying, so I closed down the inlet size several times. Even after the downsizing i cant overheat it.
I am happy for anyone that has good cooling, however they do it.
The primary cooling work in my installation is the draw of the augmented cooling; using exhaust air to pull air through the cylinders. While the plenums fit well, I have observed that in my installation the seal of the plenums doesn’t have to be perfect because all of the air is being sucked out with the exhaust. The inlets work well,  but it  doesn’t really matter if some air is pulled into the plenum from inside the cowl. That reminds me of several other observations...
Some random thoughts, getting randomer  :)

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