AirVenture Oshkosh, Part 2

By Ed Wischmeyer

In my experience, ailerons are the most significant factor in how much a pilot enjoys the aircraft handling qualities. The SeaRey amphibian has new Frise ailerons that are much lighter than the already sensuous ailerons of the LSX, and I’m looking forward to visiting the factory and trying them out. I do want to let the southeastern summer abate, so I can avoid the oppressive heat and humidity, though. The SeaRey discussion on the shores of Lake Winnebago with designer and old friend Kerry Richter was much more enjoyable because of the cooler Wisconsin summer.

Meanwhile, out in Arizona, my airport neighbor who built a full-scale replica Spitfire added servo tabs to his ailerons to reduce aileron forces. It was surprising to read that the original Spitfires had heavy ailerons and light elevators, the reverse of recommended practice, but pilots raved about the handling qualities of Spitfires. That seems to reinforce the observation that the great majority of pilots adapt to their airplane’s handling qualities instead of being objective about them. Pilots will often express many enjoyable qualities of their airplanes in ways that really describe their experiences with the aircraft rather than the aircraft itself. In any event, he won an award for his Spitfire, well deserved in my opinion.

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Oshkosh 2015

By Ed Wischmeyer

The enormous Airbus A350 between flying displays. (Ed Wischmeyer)This year, I drove from Georgia. I made eight stops in Atlanta, all on the freeway. I drove 13 hours and 550 miles the first day, 12 and 660 the next. Uff, da! But I’m here. I’ll go home a different route.

A few press releases came out on the way north. Garmin’s avionics now talks to ForeFlight, and Jeppesen Mobile Flight Deck, and that’s good news on several fronts. One is that ForeFlight is rather well done, an IMHO, and now Garmin avionics owners can get the best of both worlds. The other good news is that this is the first crack in Garmin’s closed system approach.

BeLite has a new ultralight, this one looking like a low wing version of their Cub series but with the fuselage chopped off at the base of the windshield and the top of the seat back. Electric power is planned.

On the way in Sunday morning, my first stop was to get press credentials. The obligatory magic trick is to show the good folks how to cut your IQ in half – and then you put the press pass around your neck.

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Homebuilder's Workshop: Learning the RV-9A

By Ed Wischmeyer

So with the RV-9A in hand, it was time to learn to fly her properly. I’d made a few landings with the previous owner, and knew that I could land her safely, but that’s not nearly the same as flying the plane well.

Some of the quirks had to do with keeping the cylinder head temperatures at an acceptable level on climbout. A friend and I pulled the top cowling and found air leaks, fixing the easy ones at the front of the cowl. The engine still runs warm on takeoff and climb, but at 110 knots or so, the CHTs stay below 400 (most of the time) and the rate of climb is good, even with a fixed pitch prop. Even with the air leaks fixed, the engine air inlets are sized for cruise, so the high temperatures in climb may just be a fact of life.

With that relatively high climb speed, the RV-9A would not be good for mixing it up with Cessna 152s and 172s in the pattern. You’d eat ‘em up in the climb part of the traffic pattern.

The level off technique is like in other airplanes, only more so. In my Cessna, I’d start easing the power off 100 feet below the desired altitude, with the climb speed being the same as the pattern speed, 90 MPH or 80 knots. In the RV-9A, pattern speed is 60 knots, way slow because the plane doesn’t go down and slow down very well. The technique is to pull the power back to 1,200 RPM, traffic pattern power setting, a full 300 feet below pattern altitude. This lets you coast up and slow down at the same time.

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Homebuilders' Workshop: February 2015


By Ed Wischmeyer

EAA founder, Paul Poberezny, said that people come to EAA for the airplanes and stay for the people. For whatever reason, that seems an appropriate reminiscence on this clear, brisk Georgia winter afternoon.

The current issue of EAA Sport Aviation has a marvelous summary of the U.S. homebuilding movement, written by Richard VanGrunsven, the “RV” in the RV series of airplanes. In addition to being perhaps the preeminent homebuilt kit vendor, Van knew some of the very earliest homebuilders who coincidentally lived nearby in Oregon.

I first met Van at Oshkosh one year, about the time that the RV-4 came out. I had sent him three dollars or so for an information packet, and it came in the mail. Then I noticed an ad that said that the information packet was four dollars, but he had sent me the information packet anyway. At Oshkosh, I gave him the extra buck, and we had maybe a brief conversation.

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Homebuilders Workshop: January 2015

Hope for the eFIRC

By Ed Wischmeyer

By way of happy accident, I managed to establish correspondence with George Perry, Senior Vice President who has taken over leading the (AOPA) Air Safety Institute. One thing led to another, and I was talked into taking their eFIRC, electronic (online) Flight Instructor Refresher Clinic.

The bottom line? Good things are starting to happen at ASI. The eFIRC show’s balance, perspective, candor and even humor are so refreshing to see in an aviation course, or any other course, for that matter. Dogmatism is diminished. These are all harbingers of good things to come and a very welcome change from past offerings.

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