Monthly Archive: January 2014

Jan 31 2014

Finally, A Good Decision

20140131-062651.jpgI would normally encourage everyone to fly, and especially encourage those who have been flying to keep flying. But, this guy has made the right decision to quit flying. It’s in his best interest, his wife’s best interest, and in the best interest of aviation as a whole. Specifically those of us who build and fly experimental aircraft.

The following is a direct copy and paste from the Mansfield News Journal:

“JEROMESVILLE — The Federal Aviation Administration says the pilot injured in an experimental aircraft that crashed Dec. 4 near Jeromesville had been involved in previous accidents never reported to authorities.

The preliminary report issued Jan. 13 said William E. Moore, 65, of 295 Township Road 1600, told an investigator who interviewed him at Kingston Nursing Home in Ashland that he does not plan to fly again.

“I’m done flying,” Moore confirmed this week.

The Jeromesville man told the News Journal he felt comfortable tinkering with an experimental, amateur-built aircraft because of his background as a mechanical/electrical engineer, but he had become increasingly concerned about problems he’d had flying the plane when the crash occurred.

Moore said he’d taken about half of the training he needed to fly solo, and was hoping to perfect his skills with touch-and-goes on a sod strip at his farm. His goal was to take his wife, who loves to fly, up in the Sparrow 11 he purchased April 9, 2012, he said.

Instead, after two short flights without incident, the aircraft apparently fell while Moore was turning it an estimated 150 feet to 200 feet in the air. Moore suffered two broken legs and a broken arm, and he was unconscious for five days after the accident. Medical staff told him he had bruised his brain, and it took two to three weeks before he could think normally, he said.

Moore still is recovering at Kingston. Doctors have told him it could be six more weeks before he can safely put weight on his right leg.

The FAA said Moore had about 300 hours of flying time in ultralights and about 30 hours in the Sparrow II when the crash occurred.

FAA investigator Arnold Wolfe wrote that Moore, laid up at the nursing home, told him about “many of the accidents he had in the Sparrow 11” before the crash.

In one incident, Moore hit power lines by his house, which stopped the aircraft and caused it to fall to the ground tail first. The Jeromesville man wasn’t injured, but the plane’s tail was destroyed. Moore, who did all of the maintenance on his plane, rebuilt that, the report said.

“During the investigation at the accident site, I noticed numerous cold welds on the fuselage structure,” Arnold wrote. “One tube became disconnected and was laying on the floor of the fuselage. It looked as if it just fell off.”

The FAA investigator wrote that Moore told him it became apparent after he rebuilt the tail section that the ailerons were rigged incorrectly, causing the Sparrow to go left when he initiated a right turn.

Moore’s flight instructor for ultralights, Gene Berger, told the FAA he saw the Sparrow 11 at the Shelby Airport, where Moore took it for a test flight, and noticed the aileron cables were held together with zip ties instead of a turnbuckle.

According to the preliminary report, none of Moore’s previous accidents were reported to the FAA or the National Transportation Safety Board.

On Dec. 4, the 65-year-old was testing new carburetors he had just installed. He told the FAA he taxied the aircraft up and down his sod runway a few times with the cowling off to check the engine operation, then flew around the farm and landed with no apparent issues.

Moore said his wife was watching when he reached an altitude of 150 to 200 feet, then turned the plane. Then, it crashed.

The FAA report said Moore didn’t remember the crash. “He stated ‘I think I took off again and the engine quit at some point. I think I was returning to the runway, but I am not sure,’” Arnold said.

Moore said he believes he may not have brought the engine up to full speed, which meant he couldn’t pull enough airlift. “I think I’m very lucky. If my wife hadn’t been home, I probably would have been dead. I would have bled to death,” he said.

Both wings and the nosecone of the Sparrow 11 were damaged by the impact.

Moore had a student pilot certificate, but no repairman or mechanic certificate, according to the FAA. The report said the Jeromesville man kept no pilot flight or maintenance logbooks. Arnold wrote that Moore pointed to his head, telling him he kept that information “up here.”

The aircraft was not registered, and the airworthiness certificate and operation limitations did not appear to be on the Sparrow when it crashed, according to the agency.

Moore said he took up ultralight flying eight years ago, after hearing a radio advertisement for a flying club. He never had any major incidents while flying ultralights, but he occasionally had to make minor repairs, he said.

The Sparrow 11 was “a lot different,” he said.

“I had a major crash a year and a half ago. It was my fault. I just put it in a power stall. I hit a tree limb and it spun me around. It put me tail down first, into a field.” Though he wasn’t hurt — “it was like landing on a shock absorber” — the experience was scary, he said.

“I found that the engine I had in the plane wasn’t strong enough to do what I wanted to do,” he said.

He said he feels badly that his wife is having to spend time with him at Kingston, rather than somewhere a lot further south, as Ohio remains in the grip of record low winter temperatures.

The two had been planning to take off in an RV to spend the colder months “somewhere in the Gulf of Mexico,” Moore said.”

Jan 30 2014

Steve Wittman to be Inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame


I’m happy to see him receive this honor, even if it is posthumous. Wittman played many important roles in aviation, and his contributions reached much father than most people understand. The next time you’re at Oshkosh, take the time to really study the displays at EAA’s tribute to Steve at the Pioneer Airport, adjacent to the museum. There is a lot to be learned there, and it’s one of the best parts of the museum.


“The late Sylvester J. “Steve” Wittman, the pioneering aircraft designer, builder, and racer who was an early EAA member and the namesake of Oshkosh’s Wittman Regional Airport, is among six individuals who are among the class of 2014 inductees for the National Aviation Hall of Fame (NAHF).

The NAHF announced the upcoming year’s inductees during Tuesday night’s annual dinner hosted by the Dayton, Ohio-based Aviation Trail Inc. on the anniversary of the Wright brothers’ first successful powered flight on December 17, 1903.

Wittman built his first airplane in 1924, and competed in his first air race in 1926. Wittman managed the Oshkosh, Wisconsin, airport, and operated an FBO and flight school there while continuing to design, construct, and fly innovative aircraft, his homebuilt kit plans selling in the thousands. His final air race was in 1989, at age 85. Along with Wittman’s name on the Oshkosh airport he managed until the late 1960s, EAA Chapter 252 in Oshkosh is known as the “Steve Wittman Chapter.”

FMI – National Aviation Hall of Fame

Jan 30 2014

The Human Fly

I’m not going to write much about this, as the story of The Human Fly is fairly well documented on the internet. A quick Google search will keep you busy with videos and websites, at least until your boss walks up and catches you watching goofy videos from 1976.

20140130-091941.jpgI didn’t realize Clay Lacy was a stunt pilot. There are some pretty good videos on the Clay Lacy Aviation YouTube channel. “Props, Pistons, and Pilots” is another really good vintage video featuring a 1000-mile unlimited air race. The ship Lacy flies is, um… unique. The YouTube channel is definitely worthy of an afternoon of watching. Even a few taildraggers in there, too.

Much like the Everal prop video from the other day, I’m very thankful for the keepers of these old videos, images, and history for sharing them in our new digital world.

Jan 30 2014

Free Airplane Plans! :: Update.

I originally posted about Team Mini-Max and their free digital downloads of the drawings for their line of ultralight and Light Sport Aircraft back in December 2012 (click here for the original post). The post has been one of the most popular on Taildraggers, Inc., so I know you guys and gals are downloading those plans.

Team Mini-Max recently posted a link to the manual to go along with the plans drawings on their Facebook page, and I felt it was a good opportunity to update the post here, too. The manual covers all models.

Go get your free plans here:

Don’t forget to download the manual!

I highly recommend following Team MiniMax on Facebook. Like many businesses, their Facebook page is often the most active resource for up to date information. Lots of activity on Facebook.

If you want to learn more about the Mini-Max line from other builders and pilots, check out the East Tennessee Lonesome Buzzards forum.  Click HERE to go THERE…

The Hi-Max featured above is shown as owned by Homer Webb, High School Principal and associate at the Cold War Museum in Texas.  More pics HERE.



Jan 29 2014

Eleven More CFI’s Added to the Directory!

learntoflyhere150x150Hey, hey, hey!!! More new CFI’s added to the Taildraggers, Inc. CFI / Flight School Di-rec-to-ray!

Folks, please support your local CFI. These fine ladies and gentlemen work hard for your business, all to promote and share a passion for aviation. Alright, enough babbling from me, here’s the scoop:

Hoosier Aviation :: Terre Haute International Airport, Terre Haute, IN (KHUF)

Raintree Aviation :: Cecil County Airport, Elkton MD (58M)

DC Aerobatics / Flying Lemur, Inc. :: Potomac Airfield, Fort Washington, MD (KVKX)

Knife Edge Aerobatics :: Strother Field Airport, Winfield, KS (KWLD)

Star Aerobatics Co. :: The Eastern Iowa Airport, Cedar Rapids, IA (KCID)

Greg Bockelman, CFI :: Dubuque Regional Airport, Dubuque, IA (KDBQ)

Votaw Aviation :: Sparta Community Airport – Hunter Field, Sparta, IL (KSAR)

Allmond Aviation, LLC :: Mount Hawley Auxiliary Airport, Peoria, IL (3MY)

Bad Attitude Aviator Training Company :: Salem Airpark, Salem, OH (38D)

Indy Tailwheel :: Westfield Airport, Westfield, IN (I72)

East Coast Aero Club :: Laurence G Hanscom Field Airport, Bedford, MA (KBED)

As always, we encourage ALL tailwheel-friendly CFI’s and Flight Schools to get listed here on Taildraggers, Inc. We receive nearly 1,000 hits per month for people searching for tailwheel CFI’s all over the U.S.A. You should be getting those customers!!! Follow the links below to see the directory, and learn how to get listed.

Taildraggers, Inc. CFI / Flight School Directory

How to get listed


Jan 29 2014

Hoosier Aviation

HA_2_ColorHoosier Aviation
Instructor: JP Mellor and Ethan Malavolti
Location: Terre Haute International Airport, Terre Haute, IN (KHUF)
Telephone: (812) 877-7600
Email: Click Here to Send a Message

8724VAircraft: 1975 Bellanca 7ECA Citabria

Rental Rates: $130/hr

Instruction Rates: $30/hr

Solo Rentals Available: Yes

Additional Information: Very Nice Citabria. We offer a small, friendly, and professional atmosphere.

Jan 29 2014

No New Pilots?

20140129-113013.jpgIs there a looming pilot shortage? Was there ever a looming pilot shortage? Will there ever be a real pilot shortage? I don’t believe that there is, or ever was a looming pilot shortage. In the long term? I don’t know.

What I do believe, is that the lie of an upcoming pilot shortage is an excellent boost to the business of the professional flight schools and universities. The lie keeps kids spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to finish their pilot training at a collegiate level. That’s each, in case you didn’t know. If they’re not fortunate enough to have parents who can foot the bill, or who aren’t smart enough to work their way through school, then they’ll be burdened with student loan payments that exceed most mortgage payments. All this so they can fly regionals for less than $20/hr. And that’s not a forty hour a week job.

I’m not saying that kids shouldn’t grow up to be professional pilots. I just think it’s time we stopped lying to them about the realities of their future careers. The training is expensive, the pay sucks for a very long time, and very few people actually end up sitting left seat in the majors. You will not be flying triple seven’s straight out of college. I hope you like ramen noodles.

Now, if you’re truly passionate about flying, and being a pilot for an airline is the only thing you’ve ever wanted to do, the you’re the perfect person for the job. Be proud of your passion, and work your way up the ladder. You’ll be happy you did.

Jan 27 2014

Taildraggers, Inc. :: Instagram Daily Digest

A daily injection from the Taildraggers, Inc. Instagram feed.  Click HERE to follow!


Jan 27 2014

January 27, 2014

20140127-080250.jpgThis is my Baby Ace, N173DP. This picture was shared with me by a friend of the builder. The date is unknown, but I’d assume sometime in the early ’90’s.

With some work on my part, I’ll have this Ace back in the air in a couple of years. Some people could do it a lot faster, but what’s the rush. I’m enjoying this.

For those of you following my progress here on the website, I promise there will be more posts come spring. I have a few cans of zinc chromate ready to do some cleaning, sanding, and painting. I’m just waiting on warmer weather.

I have pulled the engine from the airplane to put into storage until I’m ready to go through it. I picked up some desiccant plugs for it to keep the moisture at bay.

The next step is to finish removing everything from the fuselage that isn’t welded in place. It feels like I’m moving backwards, but I know the effort will be rewarded in the end.

Jan 27 2014

Happy Birthday, EAA

20140127-074920.jpgHappy birthday, EAA.

From “On January 26th, 1953, Poberezny calls the first official meeting of EAA at Curtiss-Wright (now Timmerman) Field in Milwaukee. At the end of his opening speech, 36 candidates became 36 members. They elected officers, discussed a name for the organization and talked about by-laws…

Paul said, “Because the planes we flew were modified or built from scratch, they were required to display an EXPERIMENTAL placard where it could be seen on the door or cockpit, so it was quite natural that we call ourselves the “Experimental Aircraft Association.”…we did not relate it to military experimentation but rather as a synonym for the word sport.”

Jan 25 2014

50th Anniversary of the Breezy

20140125-100303.jpgThe Breezy has been a fixture at the EAA fly-ins since the Rockford days, making it’s first appearance in 1965. It has been a popular ride-giving machine, in nearly constant operation at the annual gathering, introducing many people to not only the thrill of simple flight, but also the varied opportunities in homebuilding. An iconic design, the prototype Breezy RLU-1 is on display in the EAA AirVenture Museum.

From the EAA and

“January 23, 2014 – With last year’s passing of Carl Unger (EAA #2515), Breezy co-designer and fixture of the AirVenture Oshkosh flightline, there was concern over the status of Breezy plans. Would the iconic aircraft, so closely aligned with the EAA homebuilt movement still be available? It is not uncommon for the availability of plans to become an issue after the passing of a long time designer.

We are pleased to report that that is NOT the case with the Breezy. Carl’s son, Rob Unger, EAA 585561, has picked up right where his dad left off. Rob is also an EAA member fully committed to keeping the Breezy plans available for future generations of EAA members to enjoy building. Believe it or not, 2014 is the 50th anniversary of Breezy! This summer, at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, we’re working with Rob to celebrate the golden anniversary of the Breezy design.

We encourage anyone with a flying Breezy to join us at Oshkosh. A dozen owners have already committed their aircraft to the event! For more information on the celebration, Rob has set up a Breezy page on Facebook. For more information on the plans or the Breezy 50th Celebration you can contact Rob Unger via e-mail.”

I asked Rob, via Facebook, how to order plans for the Breezy. Here is his response:

“Hi Wayne , you have come to the right place. I have plans available, the cost is $175.00 shipping included. Address; 7911 W. Joliet Dr. N. Tinley Park, Il. Thank you, Rob Unger”

I encourage anyone interested in this fixture of Oshkosh history to get in touch with Rob for a set of plans, “Like” the 50th Anniversary page on Facebook, and get to building a Breezy of your own. It’s on my list of planes I’d like to build.



Breezy 50th Anniversary Facebook Page – An informational website, NOT directly affiliated with Rob Unger, but featuring some excellent history on the Breezy RLU-1.

Jan 25 2014

Luscombe Model 10

Add this one to my list of “airplanes I want to build”. I can see taking an abandoned Silvaire and converting it to a homebuilt “Model 10”. It may not be an exact replica, but close enough to capture the spirit of the original. It would sure cause a stir on the fly-in scene!

imageThe following is copied directly from Wikipedia:

20140125-065549.jpg“The Luscombe 10 was a single-seat sport aircraft built in the United States in 1945. It was a conventional, low-wing cantilever monoplane with fixed, tailwheel undercarriage and designed for aerobatics. The wings, tail unit, and engine section were all adapted from the Luscombe 8, while the fuselage centre section was an all-new design, relocating the Model 8’s wings from a high to low position.

Despite promising results from flight testing, Luscombe ultimately felt that there was not a sufficient market for the type, and development was halted almost immediately. The sole prototype (registration NX-33337) was destroyed in 1948 for tax reasons.”

Additional insight from Darrell Graves’ The Golden Age of Aviation website:

20140125-065646.jpg“The Luscombe Model 10 was an attempt to build an all new post WW II light airplane. The Model 10 was a slightly revised Model 8 Silvaire with the wing being moved from top to bottom and a single cockpit replacing the two seat cabin. Naturally this modification was not that simple, the wing had to be redesigned into a full cantilever type, however, a fundemental requirement throughout the design was that as many standard Silvaire parts and assemblies would be used as possible. The fuselage was the same except for the center portion which was rounded at the top to provide for the single cockpit, the tail surfaces were made on the Silvaire jigs but were cut off to provide a reduction in area. The wings were Silvaire wings using Silvaire ribs, but a new spar was designed to take the loads that were normally supported with struts. The structure was all metal with the exception of fabric covered wing panels.

20140125-065336.jpgThe job of designing and building the model 10 was accomplished in less than six months. It was the work of Mishcha Kantor, Luscombe engineer, who supervised the entire project from start to finish. He worked with the avowed intention of creating the fastest single seat light plane in the 65 hp class and carefully supervised the design of a buble canopy for the cockpit, generous wing fillets and large fairings over the landing gear struts.”

Span: 25 ft
Length: 17 ft.
Empty Weight: 845 lbs
Engine: 65 hp

Cruising speed: 122 mph
Max speed: 135 mph
Manufactured by Luscombe

Jan 24 2014

A Plane, A Place, A Perfect Day

Model aviation documentary from the 1980’s.

Jan 24 2014



Jan 21 2014

Everal One Bladed Prop

one_bladed_propThe picture at right was shared by Bill Poturica on the STUNT FLIERS AND AIRSHOW GREATS Facebook page, and as do most aeronautical oddities, stirred a bit of discussion.  It doesn’t take much googling to find an original article written by Walter W. Everal about his propeller design.  (Link to .pdf HERE).  In the article, published in September of 1937, Walter explains some of the principals and features of the one bladed propeller, including increased efficiency due to the single blade operating in undisturbed air, and an automatic constant speed function whereby the blade moves fore and aft along an axis within the hub.

While this is all very interesting, it’s of little to use to us in our modern times.  We have so many good propellers to choose from, that the benefits of the single bladed prop are far outweighed by the reduced cost and complexity of a simple two bladed prop.  That is, of course, unless you happen to be one of the very few people who own and operate an Everal one bladed propeller.

Enter Andrew King and Gene Breiner.  Gene owns a J-2 Cub with an Everal prop, and Andrew was kind enough to make a video of himself flying Gene’s airplane.  In so many ways technology is the enemy of tradition, but if it weren’t for GoPro, YouTube, and Facebook, it’s quite possible that we would never have gems like the video below.

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