Yukon Home-Builders Projects
Homebuilding in the Yukon is alive and well. There are some very high quality aircraft flying here, and there are some very capable people to help you build locally.
ABOVE - Miles visits Lens field in his pristine Savanah.
There is currently a world-class Glassair nearing completion in Whitehorse. We know of a Chinook,a Bushmaster, a CH750, a YZ, an RV9, an RV-6, a Challenger, a Magnum, a Tundra, a 601, and a 172 rebuild, all underway in Whitehorse and the communities. The list of completed and flying amateur-built and other class aircraft, is even longer. We see an RV-6, RV-8, several RV-4's, several Chinooks, a Beaver, a Murphy Moose, a Storch, a GlassAir, a Savanagh, an Avid Magnum, and more, are all currently flying in Yukon skies.
ABOVE IS A VIDEO OF EMERY'S CHRISTAVIA I COMING OUT OF ROSE LAKE FIELD LAST SUMMER.
It may be time to organize a few builders-help meetings. If you need help contact us and we may be able to connect you with what you need.
CGRVO - finished, 0-360, CS Hartzell, 6" wheels
This accurate PA - 22 "Simulator" I built from an old PA 22 and parts donated from generous Yukon aviators to be used and enjoyed by children who visit the Yukon Transportation Museum.
This is a ' KLONDIKE MULE', looks like a Maule M-4, but it ain't!
And this looks like a KITFOX ?
Miles Beaver RX550 +Blog
Miles brought his Advanced Ultralight Beaver over for an engine change. Of course one thing always leads to another with a job like this, but our objective is to keep the aircraft original so no major modifcations are allowed. We started by weighing the aircraft (but without wings) so that we can work with known W&B values. This is important because Miles new ROTAX 503 will have a starter and the pre-requisite battery and wiring.
The old 503 came out with few complaints. The new one has some advantages (like dual electronic ignition) but otherwise the fit-up was pretty smooth. We had to use the old stud system because this engine hangs inverted. The fuel system will be completely replaced with new, and an electric fuel pump added. A choke control also needs to be added. In a fit of weight conciousness George started drilling lightening holes in the aluminum floorboards and pedals. The plastic rear bulkheads were replaced with .020 for a slight saving.
About now the predictable gremlins start showing up, some cables could be replaced, one horizontal stabilizer strut needs to be replaced, the bungees have reverted to a rope-like-state. The wheels and brakes are removed and cleaned. The rear-seat fuel tank is removed, steamed, fittings pro-sealed in, and a window cut into the (non-structura) fuselage side skin to view the tank levels. The windshield and door glass are aged so off they all come too. There is a new "double cable" elevator control system available that is investigated.
Throttle and Choke cables are new, and since a new engine deserves new instrumentation why not build a new panel while we are at this? A couple of calls to Aircraft Spruce and Aircraft Sales and Parts to exercise Miles credit card and the project is going ahead full-bore.
Update; The engine is in, the prop was out of spec so a new one has been ordered. New instruments and new panels are made and installed (yes there is a 'second' one overhead). The double elevator cables is now a fact, some inspection covers have been instaled at the base of the foot tube, and a clear insert was put in to allow visual verification of fuel levels. The battery, a master switch, and small buss panel is instaled on the right side of the pilots seat. The wings are being inspected and new gap seal tapes installed, then they will be fitted.
Well, the engine break-in didn't go quite as planned. The engine started and ran well, but there is no signal coming on the grey tachometer wire. No Tachometer = No break-in. We checked resistance (40 ohm) and current (only .08 VAC shows). Ah the joys of building in the North....contacted the guys down South in the Okanagen but it is tough for them to do anything from there. And when they send parts up to us the Post Office becomes expensive and far less than service-oriented. Most parts end up making at least two round trips, and overnight, or next-day delivery becomes one week at the soonest. Frustration in building? Read the article at the bottom of this page.
So, Bob at Light Engine Services sent the stator and tools up, then followed with a phone call to coach me through the R & R, then set up and test run procedures. An hour of work and the engine starts and runs perfectly, and the tach now indicates, so we do the break-in run while chained to the old Land-Cruiser (The vehicle in my fleet with the cheapest windshield). Miles and I transported the fuselage, wings and struts to the airport where four hours help by Tom Law and Joe Bachofen see it assembeled. We borrowed the aircraft scales from Whitehorse Air Maintenance and the weight and balance was complete in 30 minutes. Miles is ready to go. His Beaver looks pretty good if I do say so myself.
Joe's GlasAir 1
At the end of this January Joe cleaned his shop, parked his tools and invited the local COPA chapter over to look at his GalssAir project. He has put many years and thousands of hours into this aircraft, dedicating himself to the highest quality possible. It is the finest quality workmanship that I have ever witnessed. The attention to detail has to be seen to be appreciated.
From the web page; "...The Glasair was the first kit aircraft that used moulded surfaces rather than the Rutan method of construction. The original Glasair 1 required a very long time to construct. The original company, Stoddard Hamilton, (named after the late designer) went into liquidation due to reasons outside the Glasair range. Fortunately the company was purchased by aircraft enthusiast Thomas W. Wathen and is now going from strength to strength. The Glasair range included a taildragger version (TD), fixed trike (FT) and a retract (RG). Wing extensions were available which improved performance at higher altitude but reduced g loadings. The Glasair is the ideal long distance fast personal aircraft. These aircraft are not only extremely strong, but fly better than almost any experimental. They are renowned for their handling characteristics. In addition, the resins used very rarely cause allergy problems for builders. Performance is varied according to choice of engine, which can range from 160 hp to 200 hp. ..."
Joe has opted for a new injected 0-320 with Hartzel constant speed propellor, retractable gear, instrument panel, with extended wings for 51 gallons useable fuel. It won't have trouble getting to Oshkosk (other than bureacracy) once finished, and when it does it is a sure prize winner. Here are some photos from our visit;
Well done !
A lot of aircraft building projects in North America historically ended in failure. There are lots of reasons for this, but realistic expectations will really decrease your chance of quitting in frustration. I have built several now and I wrote the following article after one of my more "difficult" builds. But, since writing it, I have finished a better kit, a Van's RV-8, and must say it was a much more enjoyable project. Vans has it together. I have finished a Maule M-4 and a Kitfox rebuild too, and each has had its' stresses. But the article still might still be relevant and helpful to some;
Homebuilding Aircraft -For me it goes like this. by JG Balmer
There is a psychology in aircraft building that is hard to warn first-time builders about. We may become so “focused”, so “self-absorbed” (and so "cranky" according to my wife), that we are different people for a while (sometimes for a loooong while).
There are going to be times (many times) when you will be stressed, even depressed. Sometimes, because things go wrong, or because things go too slowly. Sometimes because you make a mistake or because you can’t seem to figure a simple thing out. You will be hard on yourself; asking questions like; “Others have done this why can’t I?” At times like this, if you have other builders to talk to, hearing them say, “I did the same thing,” or “I remember doing that,” has only limited consolation to us.
Later, things will go well, and you will solve a problem, or design a solution or a feature that you can be justifiably proud of. These moments make it all seem worthwhile and achievable. But it is such a massive undertaking that the “ups” can be short lived and the next inevitable down-cycle can take us back to frustration. The cumulative effect can be consecutively deeper depression and sometimes this is followed by exhaustion. This is beginning to sound like a stress lecture.
But don’t let the next downswing in production become a destructive cycle where each swing reflects on the last and adds to the frustration. The trick I find is to recognize these cycles and make sure they are not cumulative. That’s where the builder’s log can help. I try to make sure I record the ups as well as the downs.
I also try to make realistic schedules. What is a realistic time frame….it really varies for each individual. And schedules are made to be broken, don’t let the rate of production become confused with the actual technical building problems. My brother advocates keeping a few high VP (visual production) tasks handy and when you need an up, do one. I also like to keep a few fun tasks available….when that difficult fuselage riveting gets me, I do a little work on the instrument lay-out, or put my wheels together. Be prepared to take a week off every now and then. Both you and your family deserve it. When things are going right, recognize it, you can be proud of your progress and congratulate yourself.
When it is finally done, and some day it will be, the transition from builder to flyer can be much more traumatic than many pilots expect. As human beings we find comfort in consistency, and we have been consistently focused for a long time, years for many of us. The loss of this focus is significant. For many of us simply facing completion is a little bit scary.
The first flight is a whole separate issue. Suffice for me to say that building doesn’t end at that flight. There are still scads of work you will do after this. Re-adjustments, snags, testing, re-writing performance and handling figures, all remain to be done.
You will find yourself with more and more free time for the next little while….you will start spending more time with your family. One day, months later, you will be flying along and you will suddenly smile and say to yourself; “ it is over”, but you will be wrong.
It will be a year or more after this, you will be flying along on a sunny day, the engine will be strong and comforting, the air smooth and the weather clear. The smile and the feeling is hard to describe, but if you listen carefully you will suddenly hear yourself saying; “Look at what I did.... It was worth it...... But my next airplane will have…..!”.
CHECK OUT THE FIBERGLASS REPAIR ARTICLE BY JOHN ROGERS AND JOE BACHOFEN (Click Here)
A real good resource to check out is ; "www.rivetbangers.com
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