Category Archive: Homebuilts

Homebuilt aircraft.

Feb 16 2014

Four Methods of Flush Riveting

My new favorite Disney film.

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

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 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.

Oct 28 2013

Welding Torch Tip Selection Chart

A welding torch tip selection chart for oxyacetylene welding of aircraft structures. Taken from “Aircraft Welding – Navy Training Courses – 1950 Edition”, article titled Introduction to Oxyacetylene Welding.

Includes tip size in inches, tip drill size, Smith tip number, Victor tip number, Airco tip number, and approximate thickness of steel sheet or plate.


Oct 20 2013

Howard Henderson’s Pietenpol Aircamper

But it’s so much more than that. This is a really fantastic video that not only highlights a wonderful airplane, but also reminds us of the fascination the world held for flight in the twenties and thirties. So many dreamed with their eyes turned to the sky, their fantasies of flight becoming more real by the day. As men crafted machines of wood and steel, pioneering a movement of tinkerers and quiet craftsmen. Toiling away in basements, barns, and garages, they transformed the materials at hand into airplanes; and turned their dreams into reality.

Aug 23 2013

Gone West

phpGone West.

Paul H. Poberezny

Thank you, Paul, for all you did for sport aviation.

Jul 23 2013

For Sale: 1970’s Vintage Steen Skybolt Fuel Tank

tank1This tank was purchased  new in the early 70’s, and has been stored ever since.  It’s “new”, but has some light surface corrosion.  The inside of the tank is shiny and clean.

This tank is different from the tank that Steen sells now.  The new tank has baffles and some other changes.  The new tank is also $949.

I’m asking $600 for this tank, but will consider offers.  Will also consider trades, specifically for parts I can use on my Baby Ace.  I am looking for wheel pants, a nice prop from Sensenich or Cloud Cars, aluminum cowl parts, Cub exhaust system, etc, etc, etc.

Local pickup in Front Royal, VA.  I’m happy to meet at a mutually agreeable location for the right deal, of course.

Shoot me an email if you could use this tank!



Click on the thumbnails below to view the full-size images.

May 01 2013

FOR SALE :: Scott 3200 – New Old Stock

Folks, I picked this tailwheel up recently as part of a Skybolt project I bought. I’m not parting out the project, but I’d prefer to use a newer Wittman style tapered rod tailwheel gear. So, I have no need for this one.

These are over $2,800 new from Univar (don’t believe me, HERE’S THE LINK). I’m asking $2,000 shipped to your door in the lower 48.

Please let me know if you have any questions, or want to buy it.  This is a “what you see is what you get” sale, so look at the pictures closely.

Send me an email

Thank you!


scott3200.5 scott3200.4 scott3200.3 scott3200.2 scott3200.1

Jan 25 2013

A History Lesson in 4130

20130125-085209.jpgConsider it the backbone of the classic aeroplane. Steel tubing has been used in aircraft structures the world over for the last 100 years. We Americans weren’t the first to adopt steel as a primary material, we learned it from our European brothers who pioneered it’s use and figured out the engineering for us. We were still building everything out of wood. Which comes from trees, in case you didn’t know.

Now, I’m no authority on the history of structural steel, but I found the following article very informative and easy to read. Much like knowing the heritage of your family and country, it’s worthwhile to know a little more about the heritage of materials you’ll be working with. Consider it an important part of your aero-education.

This article was published in the September 2012 “Vintage Airplane” publication, a division of the EAA. Thanks to Hal Bryan for putting the article up on the web.

Link: Sep. 2012 VAA Tubing Article

It’s also available on the Vintage Airplane Assiciation’s Facebook page: Vintage Aircraft Association Facebook Page

Jan 04 2013

Jason’s Ace :: N1029S

Hidden away in basements and hangars everywhere are craftsmen, toiling away on their creations. Luckily for us, some of them prefer to work in the dark art of aviation. They build with their hands, and bring to life beautiful works of art that are not only pleasing to the eye, but also capable of taking flight.

Not all of these men (and women) seek fame and praise in the land of the internet, and the only way to see their accomplishments is when they bring them out into the public.  Many times they stay hidden, and only become known to those in their local community.  Just because it’s not on the internet, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.  Sometimes you have to leave the house…

Anyway, all of this was brought on by a plane I saw on…  The internet.

I’ve been a member of the CorbenAces Yahoo! group for quite a while, but now that I actually have a Baby Ace, I’ve spend more time going through the messages and digging up conversation from other owners/builders.  What I’ve found is that while there are hundreds of Baby Ace’s out there, very few of their builders and caretakers participate in the web forums.  I don’t know why, but I’m guessing it’s not quite as macho to brag about your ten thousand dollar airplane as it is to brag about the latest glass doo-dad you bought for your RV.  Just a hunch.

Jason from Texas has a real nice Baby Ace he bought a while back.  He’s been working out some minor tweaks to the trimming, etc, and recently reported that everything is ready for a full flying season in 2013.

“I finally wrapped up a very long “First Condition Inspection as the New Owner” kind of inspection.  3 months later, and I’m finished.  Found LOTS of little things, but no deal-killers.  Best part is, I’m now cruising hands-off at 2150 RPM at just under 90 mph.  Before, the plane was rolling left and lots of right rudder was required….at about 75-80 mph…

Since I purchased this aircraft on 6-September-2012, it’s been at an Airpark some 30 plus miles away.  That’s just where I had the previous owner fly it into and where I downed the aircraft for this year’s condition inspection…  …I finally flew it to my home field near my home (only 4 miles away).  I’m loving it.  Weather has been crappy, but it’s sure nice for the plane to be so close to home.  I’ve added a pic to my photo album… of when I flew it in on Christmas Eve.  Looking forward to LOT’S of flying in 2013.  I can’t even begin to express how happy I am with the plane……..especially now that it’s trimmed and rigged properly.  It’s like a new plane.  

Here’s to a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2013 to the group.”

I think that’s an excellent sentiment to say “Happy New Year” to everyone out there.  A huge congratulations to Jason on getting his beautiful Baby Ace flight ready again.  I hope he’ll share some in-flight pics come Spring time.



Dec 25 2012

Free Airplane Plans!

Do what?!

You read that right, friends.  Team Mini-Max is giving away free digital downloads of the complete plans to build any one of their Mini-Max line of ultralights and Light Sport Aircraft.  Fill out the form and get your free plans!

I’m getting the Hi-Max plans.  I’ve always admired the simplicity and longevity of the Mini-Max line.  My first exposure to the Mini-Max was a small ad in the AMA magazine about twenty years ago.  Makes me feel like I’m getting old to think of it that way.

Here’s the text from the Team Mini-Max website:

” At Team Mini-Max we know the current economic climate is really putting a strain on many households. That’s why we’ve decided to give our plans away for free. By offering them at no cost we hope many more pilots and potential pilots will be able to achieve their dream to fly!

When you see the quality and detail that we’ve put into each sheet, you will know it’s an indicator of the quality of our designs and the kits themselves. So we hope you will come to Team Mini-Max when you’re ready to buy a kit, sub-kit, parts or materials.”

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.



Dec 16 2012

Vintage Fly-In Photos

Jim Rice is the owner/moderator of the Globe Temco Swift Yahoo! Group, and also has an extensive collection of photos of his experiences growing up in an aviation family.  What caught my eye was his collection of photos from different Antique Airplane Association fly-in’s from the early 1960’s.  Of all the really beautiful airplanes, the one that caught my eye was Mong N353L.  What can I say, I’m a sucker for little biplanes.  Especially legit homebuilts from what I consider to be the heyday of the EAA.

So, I sent a link to the photo to Ed Fisher, SAA President and Mong guru, who provided me with a little insight: “That Mong was originally built in the ‘very’ early 60’s by Jerry Quarton, of Galt, California.  He flew it to the Rockford, Illinois EAA fly in  and was so tired from the flight that he sold it to Carl Woods that week at Rockford.  Bought a bus ticket home, and went right out and built another Mong…..  Carl was from the quad cities area, I think Moline, so it was always around the western Illinois/eastern Iowa fly ins in the sixties.  Then It was sold to a B. Gugelor, who still owns it today.”

Huge thanks go out to Jim Rice for digging out these old photos and putting them on the internet.  Additional huge thanks to Ed Fisher for being a wealth of knowledge on not just Mongs, but so much of the history of the homebuilt “movement”.

FMI:  Jim Rice’s website
The Globe Temco Swift Yahoo! Group
Sport Aviation Association
Ed Fisher’s RaceAir Designs


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