Checking your magneto timing is part of every yearly condition inspection, but beyond that it is something you should be able to do whenever you suspect that your magnetos’ performance is not up to snuff.  If your plane seems a bit down on power or your mag tests start giving you drops of more than […]

Magneto Timing

Checking your magneto timing is part of every yearly condition inspection, but beyond that it is something you should be able to do whenever you suspect that your magnetos’ performance is not up to snuff.  If your plane seems a bit down on power or your mag tests start giving you drops of more than […]

How to Run an Airline

Compressed air is one of the great, yet unheralded, conveniences of the modern workshop. It’s without a second thought that we blow chips off the lathe or hook up a spray gun to shoot a coat of paint on the latest project. The size and complexity of an air system for a particular shop is […]

A Grid-Free Hangar

This may well be the most ambitious project I’ve tackled in the last 35 years of writing my KITPLANES® columns. I’m going to unplug my own hangar from the commercial power grid and run it completely from solar power. No cheating with gas generators. (I think using the gas generator once in a blue moon […]

Take the Glare Out of That Glareshield

Many popular aircraft kits‭ ‬utilize a sheet of aluminum to form the‭ ‬glareshield‮—‬that‭ ‬“shelf”‭ ‬located above‭ ‬the instrument panel and below the‭ ‬windshield‭. ‬While this component‭ ‬provides a cover to the avionic components‭, ‬it also can function as a mirror to send blinding sunlight into your eyes and block‭ ‬your vision‭. ‬A more accurate description […]
Dimple die polished

Home Shop Machinist: Power Polishing Promise

Back in the February 2019 issue of KITPLANES®, I promised a column about polishing on the lathe. I’m finally able to make good on that promise thanks to this month’s project: a dimple die tool that I made as a companion to last month’s project, the Findlay punch. A dimple die (also known as a […]

ADS-B, Eh?

In the December 2019 issue of Kitplanes®, Larry Anglisano took us on a scenic journey of what ADS-B is going to look like from our northern neighbor (“Avionics Boot Camp: ADS-B for Canada and Beyond”). He strongly implied that the rest of the world may just follow Canada’s lead, although for the love of 100LL, […]

Alternate Air Opening

This was discovered on an aircraft during a condition inspection. It really was a poor installation. Nonetheless, the aircraft had been operating on unfiltered air for quite some time. It’s not the first time I have seen this. It is quite easy to check during a preflight by using a flashlight and peering up into […]

Findlay Punch

Hole-making punches, also known as knockout punches, are a quick and easy way to make accurate holes in aluminum sheet. Punching works by shearing the material between a male and female die. Provided the dies are sharp, the material is not too thick, and the force is adequate, punched-out holes are nearly perfect and require […]

Engine Overhaul Part II – IRAN vs. Overhaul

Back in September 2019, we looked at the process of evaluating a troubled engine to determine just how much work it was going to need to get it back in the air. The big question for the owner was: Do I overhaul the engine as per the Lycoming Direct Drive Overhaul Manual and replace parts […]

Testing, Testing, Can You Hear Me Yet?

We’ve come a long way from the Narco Omnigator (vintage 1958 or so) to the latest glass gizmos that do everything except make the morning coffee (and that’s an option for next year’s model). What has not changed a lot is the little switch box audio selector panels that route the various audio signals to […]

In Case You Missed it

Optimizing Induction Air

Fine-tuning intake system runners for increased performance and economy.

Wind Tunnel

Seemingly inconsequential alterations—even mounting an inflight camera on the airframe—can result in big changes to an aircraft’s handling and performance.

What’s New

Master Mechanic introduces the Swift Driver, Aircraft Spruce launches an online magazine and offers a simplified FAR/AIM book, and California Power Systems carries Rotax 912 engine rubber replacement kits.

Aero ‘lectrics

If you want to keep your paint and other supplies from freezing next winter, try this relay and heater (made to work in conjunction with last month’s temperature sensor project).