Whole-Plane Parachutes

I enjoy KITPLANES very much and look forward to every issue. But I’ve been surprised that in the eight years that I’ve been building my Avid Flyer, you’ve never, to my knowledge, done an article on whole-plane parachutes. How come? Got one in the works?

—Mike Rancourt

To be honest, I have looked before for someone to do an article on ballistic recovery ‘chutes for homebuilts, but have never had any luck. I think part of the problem is that for aircraft faster and larger than ultralights, a ‘chute system needs significant design work and testing for each installation, and few of the kit manufacturers have done that. If you do see a rare installation in a homebuilt, it generally has not been tested, so you have no idea if it will work properly if required. I have flown two E/A-B aircraft that were equipped (the SubSonex jet and Merlin PSA), so they are out there—but have not been widely accepted yet. Many talk about them, but when they discover the facts of price and design integration, they decide not to do it. Perhaps an article would generate more discussion, and we’ll keep looking for someone who wants to do such an article. Any volunteers?—Ed

Locating Holes

In Jon Croke’s article, “Locate That Hole—Precisely” [“Plane and Simple,” April 2017], he showed how to align a hidden hole with a dual-strap alignment tool. That is not always possible due to tool reach or geometry problems. To solve that issue, use two cylinder magnets and a non-magnetic stainless steel punch that slides through the hole in the magnet. The strong magnetic fields of NdFeB magnets easily reach through aluminum skins and align concentrically with each other. Simply slide the inboard magnet into alignment with the existing hole and transfer punch through the hole in the outside magnet. Works good! Magnets (part number 636) from K&J Magnets are $1.28 each.

—David Barker

We’ve seen (and used) the magnet trick ourselves. There used to be a kit that involved small magnets and a “magnetic viewer” that worked well. A good builder can add all of these to their bag of tricks, and use whatever works best in a given situation.—Ed

Homebuilt Judging

Because it included Judging Form A, the judges’ bible, I give Ed Wischmeyer’s article [Perfectionist’s Playpen,” July 2017] a 10+!

—John Knapp, Chairman, seaplane judging

What’s ADS-B?

In “What is Happening on the ADS-B Scene?” [August 2017], you did a great job with almost all the acronyms throughout the six-page article. But what does ADS-B stand for? This should have been defined in the very first sentence.

—Michael Scheetz

As we mentioned in the letters column in our June 2017 issue, most style guides used by the media allow the use of “standard acronyms” without a definition. ADS-B has been a hot topic in aviation for almost 10 years, so we feel it qualifies as a standard acronym.—Ed.


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