TIPS and TRICKS
for HOMEBUILDERS

 


This page contains an accumulation of articles and links to information I have found useful to me.  This is by no means a complete list and will be added to on a regular and ongoing basis.  Because of copyright restrictions I hesitate to include many of the aritcles I have accumulated but will try instead to point out those sites containing them for your use.  Hopefully other builders will find this information as useful as I have.  I would also like to ask other builders to pass on to me any articles or web links which they feel would be of use to other builders.  I am not sure what form this will ultimately evolve into, but initially I will try to categorize the information into sections and lists.  


 ( I am just getting started on this section so check back often.)

CONSTRUCTION TECHNIQUES and TOOLS

Access Cover Construction A neat method for constructing access covers on fiberglass aircraft.
Aileron Drive Seal Sealing the aileron control exit through the fuselage to prevent drafts.
Antenna NAV/COM Installation Installation of NAV and COM antennas using copper tape antennas.
Arm Rest Construction Farication of fiberglass armrests for the KIS Cruiser.
Center Control Stick Installation of a center control stick system.
Control System - Control Stops Control system internal stops.
Door - Interior Drip Rail Drawing of a drip rail to catch leaks around gullwing doors.
Door - Locks (Hendricks Locks) Installation steps for installing the Hendricks door latches.
Door - Locks (Improved Hendricks Lock) Ted Scott has modified the Hendricks for more secure locking.
Door - Lower Door Seal Drawing of lower seal on the gullwing doors.
Door - Sealing the door hinge Bill Schertz - on sealing the Cruiser Door Hinge
Elevator Extension Photos by Al Rosa detailing process
Elevator Extension - Another Example Another example of extending the TR-4 Elevator - GOOD!
Extend Manual Flaps Arm Extended manual flaps arm and control system.
Front Gear Modification - TR4 Builder submitted modification to TR4 Front Gear
Fuselage & Wing Turning Jig An inexpensive and workable jig for turning the fuselage.
Fuselage Turning Jig Another wing and fuselage turning jig.
Glass Cutting Method Cutting glass without the streaching problems.
Glass Layup Preparation Illustrated steps to preparing a glass and epoxy layup.
Grounded Fuel Filler Cap Installation of a grounded fuel filler cap.
Landing Gear Root Fairing Fabrication of wing root fairings for the KIS Cruiser.
Landing Light Installation Procedure Installation steps in the wing leading edge.
Nose Gear Mods Cruiser Nose Gear modifications.
Nose Gear - Rubber Bushing Improved rubber bushing mount for nose gear.
Overhead Console - Air Control Servo control system to shut off air to overhead console.
Painting the Wing A jig for holding the wings during painting of the wing.
Pilots Flight Manual (Sample from TR-1) Excellent flight manual for the TR-1 aircraft.
Pilots Flight Manual (John Petrie Cruiser) Another excellent flight manual for KIS Cruiser.
Pressure Cowling Fabrication Constructing the mold for a fiberglass pressure cowling.
Random Ideas   Just some random ideas on building.
Retractable Steps Photos of the retractable steps by Lyle Hendricks Mfg.
Retractable Steps (Hendricks Mfg.) Installation of the Retractable Steps.
Retractable TieDown Design Drawing of retractable rear and wing tiedown.
Rudder Pedals - Something Different Rudder pedals that give more leverage and a good tactile feel.
Rudder Pedals - another variation John Forster gives us another variation on the rudder pedals.
Rudder Strobe Light Installation Installing a combination tail / strobe light in the rudder.
Sandbags / Weights Need some weight for wing close out - remember bell bottoms?
Sanding Vacuum Table Great idea for a vacuum sanding table to hold down dust.
Spiral Tubing Cutter Cutting your own spiral tubing for wire runs.
Tiedowns - Self_Retracting Photos of counterbalanced self retracting tiedowns.
Weight and Balance - Download Download a Weight and Balance worksheet.
Wheel Pants for Cruiser John Petrie shows examples of Cruiser Wheel Pants
Wing Construction Jig Construction of the wing mount jig used during wing close.
Wing Rib Jig Simple jig for drilling holes in the wing ribs.
Wing Root Fairing Julian Bone's TR-1 Wing Root Fairing Modification
Wing Tips Installation of the clear wing tips for navigation/strobe lights.
Wingtips - Removable Removable wing tips using piano hinge
Wing TieDowns- Self Retracting Self retracting wing tiedown installation
Wing Walk Mod to Wing Flaps Using part of the Flaps for a wing walk/step.
Wiring Diagrams - Keith Miller Downloadable group of wiring diagrams.  (Great!)
Work Table - Modular Construction of a modular work table for wing construction.



AVIONICS

Most manufacturers have now established web sites to detail the specifications on their own equipment.  I have only found a very few sites which give the necessary information to help you determine the required avionics and / or good comparisons of the available equipment.   

One such site is AVWEB, The Internet's Aviation Magazine.  For those of you not familiar with Avweb, they are an excellent source of aviation news and views.  If you subscribe to the service, which is free by the way, they will e-mail you a weekly aviation news review.  The review is a capsule of the weekly stories covered in detail on their web site.  Thes are stories covering all aspects of aviation.  They even offered daily reviews and coverage of the Air Adventure in Oshkosh this year.  (Including a realtime link to the audio from  the Oshkosh Control Tower.  It was facinating to listen to those controllers work.)  In addition they offer numerous other services. The most important, in reference to avionics, are numerous comparitive reviews of avionics equipment.  Avweb has several categorized indexes to their article files of which the "Avionics Corner" is of primary interest here. Some of the more interesting articles for the homebuilder would are:  (There are many more.)

Another site which is both an avionics supplier and has expended a great deal of effort to educate and inform us about the current avionics equipment is Eastern Avionics International.  Eastern has done more than just list their items and give you the prices.  They have attempted to give the homebuilder the information needed to select the right equipment that fits their needs.  I wish more of the suppliers would take a hint from these profesionals.  (No I don't work for them but I do appreciate them.)  The Eastern Avionics Buyers' Guide is their Guidebook to Popular Avionics. "This pilot's guide to avionics has been carefully prepared for the serious avionics shopper. Essential information is provided about each instrument category and issues that all pilots should consider when shopping avionics. Furthermore, individual models of many units are reviewed and tips and pointers provide you with critical decision-making information when you most need it."  Check this site out and check out the individual products for reviews and their prices are good.  They also offer a quick connect prewiring package you just might find worthwhile too.



COMPOSITES

We all know that COMPOSITES is miss-spelled and should be COMPOST but then some of us less educated hicks think that Composites are the way of the future in aviation.  Right or wrong one thing is very certain, Composites are here to stay and we need to learn how to work with them effectively and safely.  Here are a few articles and links which should help us all to work with composites better.

The first thing I would recommend for everyone considering a Composite construction method for their homebuilt is to attend one of the Alexander Sportair Workshops on composites. These workshops are put on by professionals who know what they are doing and are very good at helping you feel comfortable with the use of composites.  In fact, I would recommend attending an Alexander Sportair Workshop specific to whatever construction method you choose.  They are worth it!

Many resellers such as Aircraft Spruce have some excellent information for the homebuilder on composite materials.  The Composite Materials section of the Aircraft Spruce catalog has an extensive write-up on composite materials including their qualities and use.  I highly recommend reading this section of their catalog and reviewing the charisteristics on all of the composite materials.  You may not use more than a few of these but understanding the differences can be of help.


ELECTRICAL

"Where Do I Start?"
by Martin A. Hadley
Over the years, the most frequently asked question from homebuilders has been,

 Where do I start wiring my electrical system?

This article by Martin A. Hadley was pulled from a web site which I have lost track of but felt the article was good enough to include along with all copyright information.  If someone knows of the site I will include the link.



AeroElectric Connection


Numerous posts in the Rec Aviation Homebuilt newsgroup have indicated that to start on your electrical system without first reading the book put out by Bob Nuckolls is a big mistake.  I would tend to agree and would highly recommend that you obtain and read the book before starting on your electrical system.  Bob maintains a web site called the AeroElectric Connection.  Bob has written many articles for Homebuilders which have appeared in Kitplanes, Sport Aviation and elsewhere.  Some of those I have found most interesting are below.  Check out his website for additional articles which may be of use.

Aircraft Electrical Systems: a Philosophy for Reliability
    Nuckolls' first law of aircraft systems design and fabrication: "Things break!"

The Future of Amature Built Aircraft - We Need to be better than certified.

Fuses or Circuit Breakers?


ENGINES


Lycoming has published a complete set of articles on aircraft engines that are available on-line for viewing and/or printing.  Click on the Right Side Image Above to load the index to those articles.  Nothing I could write would improve on these. (In fact, nothing I could write about engines would improve on anything!)


Engines, Propellers and Accessories Links

Aero Trading Ltd. - Airmaster Variable Pitch Propeller
Aircraft Engine Rebuild (Video homepage)
Atkins Rotary Engine (Wankel Aircraft Engine)
Crossflow Aero Corp. (Engine Conversion - Subaru)
Custom Aircraft Parts - Custom Aircraft Exhaust Systems
DELTAHAWK, INC. Recreational Diesel Engines
Dyna-Cam Engines - Totally New Certified Engine Type (200hp)
Electromotive, Inc. Total Engine Contol and Distributorles Ignition
Eric's Aircraft Engine Information Page
G & N Aircraft, Inc. - Aircraft Engine Overhaul
General Aviation Propulsion Program
Global Aircraft Corporation (QCS Propeller)
Grand Rapids Tech - Engine Info Sys
Hayes Rotary Engineering - Rotary Engines
HKS HPower - Sport Aircraft Engines
J.P. Instruments (Engine Instruments)
Leroy Enterprises - JPX Aircraft Engines
Limbach Flugmotoren - Aircraft Engines the World Over
Magnum Aircraft Engines - Engine Svcs Continental and Lycoming
Mid-West Engines - Rotary Engines
Moravia Inc. - Distributor Lom Aircraft Engines
Northwest Aero Products - High Performance Aircraft Engine
Orbital Engines (New Type Engine)
Orenda Aircraft Engines - High Performance Aircraft Engines
RAM Aircraft Corp (Aircraft Engines)
Sensenich Propeller Mfg. Co.
Sky-Tec Aircraft Starters
SubieLyc Engine Systems - Subaru Engine Conversion
Teledyne Continental Motors
Textron Lycoming
The Ball Piston Engine - New Unproven
Turbine Design Inc. - Turbine Conversions
Unison Industries - LASAR Electronic Engine Control System
Victor Aviation - Quality Rebuilt Engines
Wankel Rotary Combustion Engines Motors and Vehicles
Wankel Rotary Engines - Mid-West Engines
Whirl Wind Propellers Corp. (Const. Speed)
Zoche aero-diesel Homepage




HOMEBUILDING