Off plans…

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Anytime you go off plans, it creates a bunch of work and can add significantly to the timeline. However, adding cool features is what an experimental is all about.

Now, I’m not an aeronautical engineer, so I NEVER just go off plans by myself.  I have some pretty strict rules:

1. Does the mod affect safety of flight? I never go off plans on these mods. No mater who else did.

2. Would Cessna do this? I keep this thought in the back of my head as a guideline. Cessna Safe.

3. Is this a well documented mod? Are the parts involved aircraft parts?  Like adding parking brakes.  I’m in.

4. Is the mod a kit I can buy that many others have done? My Nav lights fall into this category.  LED lights for wings and tail. Thinking about Electronic ignition.

5. Have many before me done this mod?  Flap up travel limit switch falls here and in 4 above. I may buy the kit or do the Automotive relay thing.

6. Are the risks small?  Fairings on the rudder cable go here. My Avionics tray fits here too.

7. Cost appropriate? Am I overbuilding for the plane I want?

8. Is this a Real mod or am I just fantasizing about it? Rotary Engine?  Retractable landing gear?  Three seats?  Propane operated simulated machine guns????  Wow!  Nah…


For now, I’m building a standard, 150HP Lycoming, Mags and a carburetor with a wood prop. BUT after I’m flying a bit????  We’ll see…





This Site is run on WordPress…

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RV-9 Ribs

RV9 – Ribs

Someone asked about how this site is run and hosted.

I use WordPress for this site and I host it myself (about $70 a year including the domain registration) The theme is called “Notepad” but there are thousands of themes.

If you go to, you can get a free web. If you want your own domain name, add $13/yr  I always recommend that you own the domain name, no matter what path you choose.

If you want to do the whole thing yourself, I use They have a one-button WordPress setup.

WordPress is very  fast to setup, easy to use, and easy to load pictures and other media.


To use a WordPress site:

To get WordPress software (free):

To do easy self hosting:



Turtle Deck is Complete!

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Finally!  It is starting to look more like a plane than a canoe. *sigh* Lots of small stuff and you see no change. Do a little BIG stuff and it looks like real progress.  So, top skin is on, and parking brake valve is back.

Fuselage under construction

Fuselage under construction

We had a visit from the man who will be giving us the pink slip tonight. I wanted him to see how we are working, and get an idea what to expect when we are done.

I think it is VERY worthwhile to have professional eyes have a look at the project every once in awhile.  We have an A&P/IA wander by. The local EAA guru has been by, and now the future DAR has had a look.  We do careful work, but extra looks are always welcome.

When getting advice from more than professionals (friends, relatives, other builders, etc.) it is a good idea to listen and evaluate. There are a ton of OWT, SB, and OCITIHIOTI out there that will need to be evaluated. Always look for stuff in writing before you believe everything you hear.


OWT: Old wives Tales

SB: Superstitious behavior

OCITIHIOTI: “Of course it’s true, I heard it on the Internet”



Avionics tray…

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I had an avionics tray in my Skyhawk, and we had a lot of stuff to put there.  As electronics got more modern, and smaller, the tray was almost empty. Now the pendulum is swinging the other way again with EFIS and Radio avionics going remote.  Add a tray. Pretty light, and leaves more room at the panel.


avonics tray

I have an inspection this week, so I’m trying to be real careful to get the shop clean.  I also got my parking brake valve back so that will go in next week-end.

The battle of the fuel pump(s) is/are over!

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I want to use mogas in my plane.

Mogas is getting up to 10% alcohol in it, and that is not going away. Now in California, you can no longer get gas without alcohol at any regular gas station. So a good solution is to use electric only fuel system that pushes fuel instead of trying to pull it.

No worries about vapor lock, and no worries about the effects of alcohol on rubber parts in manual pumps! Two pumps with two independent switches would eliminate the need for a valve. Fuel pump placement at the root of the wing would eliminate considerable plumbing inside the cockpit.  I talked with lots of folks about the idea. Many support it, and in fact fly with it today. Many poopoo’d the idea as too risky. What if this and that and that happen???

Well, after considerable thought, and the ringing of my motto in my head: “What would Cessna do?” I decided to wimp out and stay with the plans.  Keep the valve, one electric pump and one engine driven pump.

Fuel pump

Fuel pump










Yes, this is an experimental  aircraft, but I’m not an engineer.  Also, when you go off plans (which i have done once or twice) you add many hours to the process.  So, I’ll live with the current plan, and maybe do some experimentation later.

Rear Turtle Desk is ON!

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We have been making quite a bit of progress.  Fuel pump is in, brake lines are inside, wiring movers forward, and the rear turtle desk is now riveted on.  we wanted to be sure we did not have any more wiring to do before installing that. That area is now a tight fit if we need changes.  Also, the seat belt shoulder harness restraint cables are in!

RV-9A top deck

Many small tasks make it look like we have had little progress, but when you get a big piece on, it looks like you did a TON of work.  Remember, the small stuff is important too.

The brake valve had to go back because the bottom fitting threads were wonky (an advanced aviation term) and will get a new fitting.  I bought EZ Lube for all pipe thread fittings on brakes and fuel lines.