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Goodies and Gadgets: July 2014

Zenair Rivets Now Available at Aircraft Spruce
Zenith Aircraft Company is making available their unique blind rivets through Aircraft Spruce and Specialty. Blind (or pulled) rivets are a common type of fastener used in metal kit aircraft construction. They are available in 1/8-inch and 5/32-inch diameters.    

What makes the Zenair rivet distinctive is that as the rivet is pulled, the rivet head is drawn into a dome-shaped top which gives the finished rivet a low profile rounded top, enhancing the strength of the rivet while improving airflow over it. The ease with which these rivets can be pulled, or “popped,” saves considerable time and simplifies the entire kit building process. Aeronautical engineer Chris Heintz, designer of the popular Zenith line of kit planes, first started using structural blind rivets for light aircraft construction in the 1970s when he sought an easier alternative to bucked solid rivets, which require additional tooling and skills.    

“We’ll be using Zenair rivets during the construction of the One Week Wonder at AirVenture this summer,” said Sebastien Heintz, President of Zenith Aircraft. “Volunteer builders begin unpacking a complete kit for a CH 750 Cruzer on opening day and expect to taxi the completed aircraft within a week. We expect several thousand people to stop by the construction area and pull a blind rivet, so they can say they helped build an aircraft.”

Aircraft Spruce also carries the Zenair Pneumatic Riveter for $99.85 along with the Zenair Manual Riveter for $49.50, both of which feature the required domed head for pulling and forming the rivets. A package of 100 1/8-inch rivets (part number 12-03709) costs $11.65 and have a shear strength of 130 lbs. The 5/32-inch rivets (part number 12-03711) are $16.75 with shear strength of 220 lbs.

For more information visit Zenith kit builders can purchase the same products directly from the Zenith Aircraft Company. See

To watch a demonstration of pulling Zenair rivets, EAA has made a short video showing the process:


Garmin Adds Attitude Information to the Aera 796/795

Garmin has introduced a new version of software for the aera 796/795, which allows one of Garmin’s best-selling aviation portables to receive even more information from the GDL 39 3D. When paired with the GDL 39 3D via Bluetooth or standard hardwire connection, the aera 796/795 will display AHRS-like pitch and roll information and a slip/skid ball.

After installing version 4.40 in the 796/795, attitude information derived from the GDL 39 3D will appear on the 3D Vision page of the aera. Pilots can choose from full screen attitude-based synthetic vision, or split-screen with a moving map display on the bottom of the page. Even further, up to four pilot-selectable data fields may be shown on the map while in split-screen mode. Traffic and weather information derived from the GDL 39 3D, may also be displayed simultaneously on the moving map. When used in conjunction with the GDL 39 3D, the 3D Vision page on the aera offers an enhanced level of situational awareness, which provides valuable back-up attitude information.

In addition to pitch and roll information, the latest software for the aera 796/795 series includes new flight plan editing capabilities. Similar to the Garmin GTN touchscreen navigators, pilots can easily drag and drop an active flight plan segment over an airport or waypoint for convenient flight plan edits. For airspace or weather diversions, customers can drag and drop a flight plan segment to an area where a waypoint does not exist and the aera will create a new user waypoint and insert it into the flight plan.

Version 4.40 is available immediately as a free update via WebUpdater ( and offers existing customers exciting new features which aid in flight planning and bring even more capability to the aera 796/795.

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