To quote a friend, “When you paint, the aircraft will never look better than when it leaves the paint shop. When you polish, it looks better all the time.” There is a catch to that hard truth: Polishing is never done. You may log 200 hours flying the airplane before you lower the polisher, step […]

The Decision to Polish

To quote a friend, “When you paint, the aircraft will never look better than when it leaves the paint shop. When you polish, it looks better all the time.” There is a catch to that hard truth: Polishing is never done. You may log 200 hours flying the airplane before you lower the polisher, step […]

On Thanksgiving

One of the compelling reasons to aviate is it can demand the ultimate payment, and with an impartiality Hemingway appreciated. That alone elevates flying above a game and tends to focus our interest in favor of increased professionalism. In a world made safe to the point of never really thinking about it, at least on […]

Small Screens, Big Deal

Just as we wrapped up our big-screen EFIS buyer’s guide in this issue, Garmin released its new GI 275. I’d heard rumors that Garmin, among other manufacturers, was ready to make some waves in the small-scale EFIS field, which is partly why we decided to break out the smaller devices for another issue. And it’s […]
uAvionix tailBeacon X

uAvionix tailBeaconX

An all-in-one taillight and Mode S transponder.

Just In Case

I’ve participated in countless conversations with homebuilders that included the phrase, “Just in case.” The phrase is usually used while discussing flight safety scenarios and, to a lesser degree, building concerns, like a fear of committing to permanent fasteners. The “just in case” comments remind me of my first day of Basic Military Training when […]
Mojave airport aerial image

Cutting It Short

Recidivist readers will recall last month I went on a bender over a breeze in Mojave and how a single chock saved the day. That is, in a steady 35-mph wind gusting well over 40 mph, a single chock proved sufficient to hold my otherwise untethered Starduster from wandering off on its own unsupervised investigation […]

How About a Little Prop Talk?

Here’s something new for me. Until my recently acquired GlaStar, I have never owned an airplane without an adjustable propeller. True, the Pulsar XP’s two-blade, all-wood GSC was technically fixed pitch, but it was ground adjustable. Funny thing is that I remember setting it to the recommendations of Aero Designs, maker of the Pulsar kit, […]

The Fellowship of the Wing

In the classic J.R.R. Tolkien trilogy Lord of the Rings, a small band of intrepid adventurers are sent on a near-impossible mission—to save the world they know from evil and to set civilization back on a path toward goodness. This fellowship seems, at first, to be horribly ill-conceived. Its members include a couple of small, […]

Toolcraft

The best tool for certain tasks may require a bit of ingenuity and home shop fabrication. The purpose of this treatise is twofold. First it’s to describe a specific and known issue and its clever solution and, second, to illustrate and encourage creative thought and modification of tools and/or implements to solve vexing problems. Around […]

Unforeseeable Experiences

Of this I’m convinced; had I arrived in Fargo, North Dakota in a Skyhawk, Sundowner or Cherokee instead of a homebuilt, my brief stay would have suffered for it. My time at Minot Air Force Base, two days later when my Sonex, Metal Illness, and I shared a ramp with a B-52 and a B-1 […]

In Case You Missed it

RANS S-20 Raven

More than the sum of its parts.

2012 Alternative Engine Buyer’s Guide

If you’re in the market for an auto-conversion engine for your homebuilt aircraft, here’s a definitive guide to the options. By Patrick Panzera.

Letters

Fiberglass/Epoxy LayupsIn "Maintenance Matters" on page 52, a photo shows a fiberglass/epoxy layup...

Kit Stuff

Drawing on experience; by cartoonist Robrucha.