Sunday, November 23 2014 @ 03:29 PM EST Contributed by: Kevin Horton Views: 12
I had a quick business trip to the Portland, OR area this week. Flew down on Wednesday, one day of meetings, and flew back home on Friday. After the trip came to light, I took a look at the map, and saw that the meeting site was only about 15 minutes drive from Van’s Aircraft.
I grabbed a 6 AM flight out of Ottawa on Wednesday, so I would arrive in Portland by mid-day. I drove down to Van’s after lunch, and did a factory tour.
The operation is smaller than you would expect, given how many kits are sold each year. Van does an excellent job of using components on multiple aircraft models, which helps reduce the number of different parts that must be kept in inventory. The efficient use of space helps them keep down the cost of the kits.
The manufacturing area is busy, as they make the vast majority of the aluminum parts that go in kits, or to the QuickBuild factory in the Philippines. Here we see RV–7, –8 and –10 QuickBuild fuselages waiting for an order.
RV–10 cabin tops and RV–8 QuickBuild wings.
This WW-II vintage electric rivet squeezer is used to assemble RV–12 wing spars.
Two Trumatic computer controlled punches quickly trim sheet metal parts to shape and punch rivet holes. The repeatble accuracy from these punches is what has allowed Van’s to move to matched hole construction on newer models. My early series RV–8 was the previous generation, with prepunched holes only in the skins - the builder had to carefully align the holes in the skins on the centre of the flanges on the bulkheads and ribs, then drill holes through the skin into the structure. With matched hole construction, the bulkheads and ribs arrive with holes in them. This saves a huge amount of time, and obviates the requirement for jigs.
The prototype RV–14A, RV–6A and RV–10 aircraft, parked outside the Van’s Aircraft hangar. I’m pondering building an RV–10, as we’d like the option of carrying friends and family with us, so I did an RV–10 demo flight with Ken Scott. The RV–10 has a wide, tall and long cabin, with much room than most four seat aircraft. The visibility from the cockpit is expansive, the stick forces are relatively light, and the performance is excellent. I’d like to find a partner for the RV–10 though, as I don’t want to sell the RV–8, and it makes no sense to own two aircraft.
Sunday, November 16 2014 @ 08:59 PM EST Contributed by: Kevin Horton Views: 14
The website was down for a few days this week, and I have no idea why. I hadn’t changed anything since the last time I know it was working, and tech support wouldn’t admit to making any changes on their end. After two days of complaints from me, it suddenly started working again.
By the time they got it working again, I’d already signed up for hosting services at SiteGround. SiteGround gets much better reviews than my current site host, and it’ll be a bit cheaper. I’ve got the site mostly working on the new host, but I plan to update to the latest Geeklog software before I switch the site over. If I started over today, I’d probably choose a different solution than Geeklog, but it is easier to stick with it than move all the content to a new platform.
There may be some turbulence during this changeover, so keep your seat belt fastened.
Sunday, November 16 2014 @ 08:49 PM EST Contributed by: Kevin Horton Views: 13
Saturday I did some maintenance on the aircraft, then got a short flight off in the afternoon. I had hoped to do some more testing of an experimental technique to determine stall speed using GPS data, but I didn't get airborne early enough in the day. We had an overcast ceiling by the time I finished the maintenance, and it was bumpy below the cloud, so there was no point wasting time doing the tests, as I knew that the data quality would be poor. Maybe next weekend.
Sunday, November 09 2014 @ 07:26 PM EST Contributed by: Kevin Horton Views: 14
The weather today was much better than I expected, so I took advantage with a short flight. The winds at altitude were lower than a week ago, so I did some more stall speed testing, using GPS data. The results seem to make sense, but I need to get data from a couple of more flights to see how consistent a result I get. I’d compare to the results from last week, but I forgot to bring that analysis home from work, and I won’t be back into the office until Friday.
Sunday, November 02 2014 @ 06:55 PM EST Contributed by: Kevin Horton Views: 22
We had clear skies today, so I went flying in the afternoon. I trialled an experimental technique to measure stall speed using GPS that we have been discussing at work. Unfortunately, the air was too bumpy at low altitude, and the winds were over 40 kt at higher altitudes, so the data is probably not very useful. I’ll crunch it at work on Monday to see what it tells us.
Monday, October 13 2014 @ 03:42 PM EDT Contributed by: Kevin Horton Views: 28
The weather on Sunday was wonderful, and we took full advantage by flying to Toronto for lunch. Toronto City Centre Airport is on an island close to the CN Tower, right next to downtown Toronto. It is the main hub for Porter Airlines, and is a great way to get to downtown Toronto.
Here you see downtown Toronto, the CN Tower, and the airport as we approach from the west.
The view as we turn onto base leg for runway 08.
Calling Nav Canada to close our flight plan.
Terry, after a great lunch, ready to head back home.
The Porter Airlines terminal, and some of their DeHavilland Dash 8 aircraft, seen shortly after take-off.
Sunday, September 28 2014 @ 08:06 PM EDT Contributed by: Kevin Horton Views: 39
The weather this weekend was spectacular, and this time of the year you never know if this is the last weekend like it. We went out to eat Saturday evening, sitting outside in the setting sun.
Sunday, we flew to Sherbrooke, Quebec, to meet friends for lunch at the airport restaurant, sitting outside. The trees are just starting to turn colour here, but the elevation in the Sherbrooke area is about 500 ft higher than around Ottawa, and that apparently makes a big difference. The trees are pretty much at peak fall colour in that area.
Thursday, September 25 2014 @ 08:05 PM EDT Contributed by: Kevin Horton Views: 89
While at Oshkosh, shortly after we landed, a golf cart with EAA Press folks rolled up. They aircraft had caught their eye as we were taxiing in, and they asked if I’d be interested in doing an air-to-air photo flight sometime during the week. I quickly agreed, and we did that flight a few days later.
The photo guys were flying morning and afternoon every day, with several subject aircraft each time, and they took 500 to 1000 shots of each aircraft. I knew it would take them quite a while to sort through all the shots, so I wasn’t surprised when it took almost two months before I saw the first results of this flight.
Today an alert RV–4 owner alerted me to the October 2014 EAA Desktop Wallpaper, which was a beautiful shot of our RV–8.
Other sizes can be downloaded for the next few weeks from the EAA site.
4 comments Most Recent Post: 10/06 10:32AM by psychose
Sunday, September 14 2014 @ 08:06 PM EDT Contributed by: Kevin Horton Views: 49
Today was the first flight since getting back from Yarmouth. It was just a short flight to warm the oil, so I could change the oil and filter. After the oil change, I inspected the exhaust system for cracks. I’ll finish the inspection ahead of the firewall before the next flight.
Thursday, September 04 2014 @ 11:01 PM EDT Contributed by: Kevin Horton Views: 51
Terry and I had a great trip to Yarmouth, NS to visit my folks, brother and sister over the Labour Day long weekend. My sister lives in Yarmouth, but my brother lives NW of Toronto, so it is a rare occasion when we are all in the same place.
We flew down on Friday, stopping in Sherbrooke, Quebec for lunch. We could have done the trip to Yarmouth nonstop, but I was concerned about the high surface winds in the wake of Hurricane Cristobal. It had passed by well south of Nova Scotia, and was currently off the east coast of Newfoundland. It was producing wind gusts well over 20 kt at Yarmouth, and the wind direction was forecast to stay almost exactly between the two runways. The winds at Halifax had gone to over 30 kt. I was concerned about the possibility that the crosswinds when we would arrive might be higher than I was prepared to risk during an aft CG landing. It looked like I might have to divert to northern New Brunswick to find lower winds, so a fuel stop on Sherbrooke ensured that we would have lots of diversion fuel upon arrival in Yarmouth. As it turned out, the winds upon arrival had veered a bit, and while the gusts were still over 20 kt, the wind direction was only 20° left of the runway heading. No problem.
My brother Ron was visiting as well, so I threw him in back on Saturday and we blasted up to Stanley (CCW4), to check out the annual Stanley Fly-In. Multiple RV builder Jerry Wilcox had brought the Wright R2600 engine that he had recently restored. The engine had come from a retired TBM spruce budworm sprayer. Jerry ran the engine for a few minutes in the afternoon to blow dry his hair.
On Sunday I did a couple of short flights with family members.
On Monday Terry and I drove up to Digby, a scenic town on the Bay of Fundy. Terry enjoyed her lunch of Digby scallops.
We flew home on Wednesday. The departure was delayed waiting for the fog to start to break. The visibility was 1/8 mile in the early morning, but it finally increased to the 1/2 mile that I needed to legally take-off. We skirted the south end of a long line of convective activity over the Bay of Fundy.
After the fog and thunderstorms, the only challenge left was very strong headwinds, which had the ground speeds down to 125 kt for quite awhile. We could have made it back to Smiths Falls nonstop, but the predicted 3:25 duration was a bit longer than we wanted after the morning coffee. We stopped in St. Georges de Beauce, Quebec, a very nice airport just across the border from Maine. Lots of red roofs on the hangars, cheap gas, and friendly staff.
Terry and I had a wonderful visit. It was great to see everyone again. And the RV–8 is a very efficient way to cover the miles. I’ve been experimenting with lower cruise RPMs. In the past, I usually used 2450 rpm and full throttle, and usually got around 162 kt at 8.0 to 8.2 USG/hr, running lean of peak EGT. At 2300 rpm and full throttle, I’m seeing 159 to 160 kt, burning 7.2 to 7.5 USG/hr. In automotive terms, that is around 25 mpg at 184 mph. Try that in your car!