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Sonex Aircraft Builder victord from Houston, TX

Sonex homebuilt experimental aircraft project Sonex

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Aircraft Project Log Entries (50 entries)

  • Mar 29, 2014 389 Falcon Heads arrive (0 hours)
    Falcon Heads arrived for me while I was working out of town. Unfortunately, since I was called to work out of town, I missed Corvair College #28 in San Marcos. What a disappointment that was. I ordered my parts from Dan Wesemen, Sport Performance Aviation, was hoping to pick up my engine mount and some other parts while in Florida for work and thought I may save a little bit on shipping. But as fate would have it, Panther kits have them backlogged on the welder, and William Wynne was out of town for CC 29 when I was relased and ready to buy. Typical hombuilding scenario, just when you think you have it all worked out, it doesn't work out. I will just have to order and have shipped like everyone else.
  • Jan 26, 2014 18 Form Lead Aileron Counterweights (2 hours)
    I had some scrap lead from when I used to make surf fishing sinkers and some old lead pipe from plumbing repairs. I melted them down, created a form with scrap wood to the dimensions listed in the plans and lined the wooden form with heavy duty aluminum foil. I am surprised how well the foil held up to the hot lead. After making the lead bricks, I realized I probably could have used some scrap .032 and bent a form on my small break and sealed the corners with the metal duct tape, and it would have made really nice looking lead bricks.

    How do I melt Lead?

    This is an outdoor only project. A simple propane burner and a hand held torch is all I used. I actually used the burner on my outdoor grill, but you can also use a camp stove or free standing propane cooker. A cast iron pot is the best thing to use because it retains the heat and keeps the lead in its molten state longer while pouring. I used an enameled tin pot as that is all I had at the time, and it worked well for me. Important to remember: Anything you use that comes in direct contact with lead is no longer suitable for any other useage.

    Caution: Lead is a very toxic metal. If you try this, be sure there is plenty of ventilation, use the appropriate mask for protection from fumes, and do not use any of the items exposed to the lead for food use again.
  • Jan 26, 2014 18 More counterweight photos (0 hours)
    These are some additional photos of the counterweight making process for the ailerons and melting and forming the lead to do so.

    Where to Find Scrap Lead:

    There are multiple sources you can find your lead cheap or free. A great place to start is your local tire shop. They usually have buckets of old wheel weights sitting around and are usually happy to part with some or all for free or a very reasonable price.
    I also did some plumbing repairs in some old homes that still had lead pipes in the walls behind the sinks and saved those as well. I even bought some lead ingots off of ebay as well someone had melted down and cleaned the lead before selling. Roofing Jacks (plumbing) are also a good source of lead as well and a good place to stop when you see a new roof going on as they are usually replaced at that time. Your sources are only limited by your ideas.
  • Jan 17, 2014 13 Aft Spars (3.5 hours)
    While reviewing the plans, I realized I would not be able to bend the Aft Spar Blanks on my Dave Clay Brake because it was only 7 1/2 feet long, and the long piece is just short of 8 feet. So I called up a friend of mine that does custom metal roofing, and he let me make the two pieces on his 10 foot brake. Bonus to that is I made the entire spar in one piece and did not require the use of the splice plates I had fabricated years ago. I had some problems and drilled some oversize holes in the attach brackets, so I will have to order some 5/16 pop rivets to correct it.
  • Jan 12, 2014 12 Rework Spar Attach block bolts (2.25 hours)
    The spar bolts had bottomed out and the nut would spin instead of unscrewing. I had to cut the nut and bolt from the attach block and replace with a new one and used 2 washers to avoid bottoming out again.
  • Oct 06, 2013 65 fabricated tail wheel pushrod and tail wheel assembly (3 hours)
    Welded and Fabricated tailwheel pushrod according to plans. Received 5" Tail wheel from Great Plains and fabricated tail wheel Bracket to wheel size. Plans call for 4" wheel, but decided from other builders experience to go ahead and upgrade to begin with.
  • Aug 07, 2013 65 5" Tail Wheel Received. (0 hours)
    I ordered the 5" Tail Wheel from Great Plains. It is supposed to be softer and long lasting. Not making as much of the "megaphone" noise while rolling. We will have to see how it performs. Price was right at $39.95.

    The statistics for the tailwheel:

    5" diameter 2 1/2" from center.
    1 1/2" wide @ bearing
    Made in Canada (not china, that is important for me)
    There seems to be 2 independent bearings in the center. Each side can move opposite direction from the other.

    weight:
    17.75 oz
    1.110 lbs.
    504 grams
  • Jul 02, 2013 389 Starter modification (2.5 hours)
    The starter has been partially modified by having a different ground down gear installed for contact with the flywheel. Also the top bolt ear has been cut off to provide a low profile. Todays modification is to install an aluminum "ear" to replace the mounting point previously cut off. Bolts used to attach the ear were upgraded to grade 8 hardware. A rear stabilizer bracket was also installed at the rear of the starter that attaches with one of the aluminum top cover bolts.
  • Jul 01, 2013 389 1 modify and weld valve covers (4 hours)
    The stock Corvair valve covers are plain with no fittings. The Aero conversion required welding an oil fill spout on the right (passenger side) rear upper corner of the valve cover. The oil filler tube is the original taken from the oil filter housing and cut down to fit in the valve cover. The Left (pilot)side of the engine requires two oil breather tubes to be welded into the rear facing side of the valve cover. The upper (larger tube) being 5/8 steel tubing and the lower smaller tube being 3/8 steel tubing.
  • Jul 01, 2013 389 2 modify and weld valve covers / fabricate starter brackets (2 hours)
    Completion of the valve cover modification by adding the oil breather tubes. Also fabricated and welded the two starter attach brackets pictured in black in the final photo. These mount to the top of the engine block cover plate and anchor the starter in place.
  • Jun 26, 2013 20 Fabricate and Weld Aileron and elevator control rods. (5.41 hours)
    Keeping up the welding pace, I am having a blast! Fabricated the aileron long control rods and the elevator pushrods, short and long.
  • Jun 25, 2013 65 weld and fabricate tail skid (7.66 hours)
    There was no drama here other than some minor straightening after tac welding the plates on the tubing and making sure the plates are at the correct orientation angle.
  • Jun 24, 2013 34 fabricate and weld canopy corners (2 hours)
    This was back to the micro torch for some finesse welding. Cutting the small tubing and welding the canopy corners.
  • Jun 22, 2013 28 fabricate and weld Rudder pedals (9.5 hours)
    This entry represents work from 6/21/13 to 6/24/13 for 9.5 hours.The rudder pedals were the first welding with square tubing and round tubing. The metal was thick, and my micro torch could not heat it hot enough, so I used my full size torch to weld these, and it had no problem. The welded ring on the end of the tube using #7 welding rod was a bit challenging. Also, when you weld the pedals on, the 1" main tubing becomes warped and distorted and requires straightening. I used a torch in the vise to bend it back in line just like bending the flap tube.
  • Jun 16, 2013 28 Fabricate and Weld Flap control tube. (15 hours)
    This entry is for work from 6/16/13 to 6/21/13 for a total of 15 hours. This part was only slightly different in that I was applying tabs and a ring to the tube. The tube was heavier walled tubing and welding the 1/8 steel plate it required just a bit more time to get the tube hot enough to weld with good penetration.
  • Jun 15, 2013 11 Fabricate and weld Flap pushrods (5 hours)
    As I am welding parts, each piece has a new procedure in addition to what I have already done. The flap control tubes have a bolt end and a plate metal end as I have already done, but it also had a bend in the tube as well. This was accomplished by placing the tube in the vise and heating the area cherry red in multiple areas and applying pressure by hand until I have acheived the bend and radius I am trying for.
  • Jun 13, 2013 11 Fabricate and Weld Idler Push Rod (4 hours)
    Today was a very big day for me. I had recently purchased a set of Oxygen/Aceteylene tanks and the cart at a great price after having searched for months. I also purchased a micro torch from ebay, so I was finally going to get to start welding! I have been apprehensive about this since I started the build. I took te EAA welding workshhop a few years back in 2010 so I was ready to give it a try. I ordered the steel from Air craft spruce a while back and it has just been sitting in my shop.

    The first part I decided to weld was one of the control rods since I thought they would be the easiest to start with. After welding up a practice rod, and it turning out pretty good, I fabricated and welded the Idler push rod. I was very pleased at how the welding was turning out. It was by no means a "pretty weld", but I tapped on it with my hammer after completion and it was a solid and good weld. Whew! what a feeling of accomplishment!
  • Jun 11, 2013 14 Bell Crank Assemblies (15.83 hours)
    Now this was a process that I quickly viewed a few times and underestimated, and never really realized how much work was involved in it. These actually had some detail to them and took me longer than I had originally anticipated. Total time was 15.83 hrs.
  • Jun 10, 2013 12 Wing Attach blocks and spar tips (5.75 hours)
    I riveted on the spar tips which had not been done yet. I had not pilot drilled the wing attach blocks before installation thinking it may be easier to drill on the spar. Well I ended up breaking off 2 pilot drill bits in the blocks and had to remove and remake one of them. I have not redrilled it yet as awaiting new hardware since the bolts stripped.
  • Jun 09, 2013 14 Root Ribs (5.75 hours)
    made the Root Ribs. I also took this opportunity to perform a mod on the forward root rib by cutting the metal between the two lightening holes for easier access to the flap rods after wing installation. This is an approved modification by Sonex.
  • Jun 04, 2013 14 Forward and Aft Gussets (20.75 hours)
    This entry represents work from 6/4/13 to 6/8/13 for 20.75 hrs. I was attempting to make the AFT gussets and when I completed the set, I realized I had made Forward gussets instead, which I already had. So second try, I completed fabrication and installation of Aft gussets, and also completed installing forward rib gussets as well.
  • May 24, 2013 14 Aft Rib Form Blocks (2 hours)
    I previously had problems making the forward ribs using the router method. I burned through 3 router bits and ruined the form blocks. I made new ones for the Aft Ribs, purchased a new router tip, and the black and decker router I have had for over 20 years gave out. I purchased an harbor freight router and used it once and everything started falling off of it. all of the screws were loose and it was mostly plastic. I went to Sears and purchased a router and another bit. This was my problem the whole time. The craftsmen router ran smooth as silk and made the cuts easily.
  • May 24, 2013 14 Forming Aft Ribs (24.75 hours)
    This log represents work from 5/24/13 to 6/3/13 for 24.75 hours. Difficulties with changing routers and burnt bits prolonged this process longer than it should have been. The Rib flanges look a little narrow, but I am thinking they should be ok as long as I am careful when I am drilling.
  • May 22, 2013 12 Flush Rivet main spars (7.75 hours)
    After over a year of not working on my project due to working out of state and other obligations, I am now back. This entry represents time worked from 5/22/13 to 5/29/13 for 13.25 hours. Flush riveted the main spars and also riveted the hard to reach rivets with the hammer and bolt method. I was impressed at the simplicity yet good control to smash the rivets. The only thing is that it leaves a bit of a flat spot on the round head from hammering.
  • Mar 18, 2012 12 Rivet Spars (9.25 hours)
    This entry represents work from 3/18/2012 to 3/24/2012 for a total of 9.25 hours. With the loan of the Hydraulic C Press, I began the riveting on the Spar Webs with the standard round headed rivets. Once the Press was set for the correct thickness of the squeeze, it was a very easy process to squeeze the rivets to correct shop head thickness.
  • Mar 12, 2012 389 modify starter and oil pump housing. (1 hours)
    Today, after having gone to CC#22, and learning a few new things, I modified the Starter housing to mount and also drilled out the oil pump case for higher output oil pump as mentioned by William.
  • Mar 10, 2012 389 Attended Corvair College #22 in Georgetown, TX (0 hours)
    I had a great time and learned quite a bit at Corvair College #22. It was hosted by Kevin and Shellie, and they did a wonderful job of hosting it. Great food, Great organization, and great hanger! William did a great job of helping us out, and spreading his enthusiasm for the Corvair movement. I look forward to getting my engine completed soon. It will be a 3.0 liter engine. William took my Engine case back with him to Florida so he could bore out for larger cylinders. I am looking forward to getting some progress done on my engine at the next Corvair College! Oh, We had 3 engines get run on the test stand over the weekend also! Great success and adrenalin pumper!
  • Feb 22, 2012 12 Redimple Spar skins (4 hours)
    After a visit from fellow aircraft builders Bernardo and Jerry, we discussed the dimpling on the spar skins and it not being deep enough. So the decision was made to redimple the skins deeper.
  • Feb 16, 2012 12 Visit from Jerry and Bernardo. (0 hours)
    Today, I received a visit from my friends and fellow builders Jerry and Bernardo. Jerry is building a Waiex with Jab 3300 and Bernardo is building a Lightening also with Jabiru 3300. During the visit, and discussing my dimpling the spar skins, it was decided that I needed to dimple them deeper. So that was the next thing on the list to do.
  • Feb 16, 2012 12 Visit from Jerry and Bernardo. (0 hours)
    Today, I received a visit from my friends and fellow builders Jerry and Bernardo. Jerry is building a Waiex with Jab 3300 and Bernardo is building a Lightening also with Jabiru 3300. During the visit, and discussing my dimpling the spar skins, it was decided that I needed to dimple them deeper. So that was the next thing on the list to do.
  • Jan 15, 2011 12 Drill/Layout Main Spar Web (2 hours)
    After almost 2 months of not working on my project, I finally got in there today, cleaned off my workbench of all of the kitlites stuff, and unrolled my spar web blank, and the one I purchased from the factory. I used it as a template, and laid out and drilled all of the holes within 2 hours. This web has ALOT of holes, and it would have taken me forever to layout accurately and drill them out. By using a factory predrilled web, it made the job very simple.
  • Jan 15, 2011 12 Spar Webs (74.25 hours)
    This entry represents time worked from 1/15/2011 to 1/15/2012 for a total of 74.25 housrs working on the Spar Webs. Purchased one from Sonex and used as a drill template for completing the second.
  • Dec 15, 2010 138 Lift Reserve Indicator (2 hours)
    I constructed the first part of my Lift Reserve Indicator which was the gauge. I will use an Air Craft Spruce Pitot tube for my sensor mounted to the opposite wing of the pitot tube.
  • Nov 21, 2010 19 Latest LED Light designs and welcome KitLites.com (0 hours)
    Here is the latest LED position lights I have made. I am beginning to fine tune the design and making it a more efficient, lighter and aerodynamic design while still looking good and providing excellent lighting qualities. This design uses the latest led technology. a combination of Superflux LEDs and How Powered LED anticollision lights and Strobes that rival many of the designs on the market at a fraction of the cost for these kits that will be available through KitLites.com . My New Webstore for Experimental Aircraft Builders.
  • Oct 15, 2010 19 New Led Position Lights Design! (0 hours)
    I have been working on a new Led Navigation /Strobe lights design. I am very pleased at how they came out. I believe there is a need for a good kit that homebuilders can assemble themselves for Sonex and other aircraft, so I am working on getting a good affordable kit to market. Check out my new website for LED Aero Kit lites... KitLites.com
  • Sep 27, 2010 389 clean, degrease and paint (3 hours)
    Cleaned and degreased The Valve Covers, Finished the Push Rod tubes and prepped for paint, cleaned and degreased the Harmonic balancer, and the cylinder cooling tins and then painted them all fire engine red.
  • Sep 26, 2010 389 Cleaning Engine Parts (5.25 hours)
    I spent today inventorying the disassembled engined. I degreased and cleaned the push rod tubes, and the oil pump housing.
  • Sep 22, 2010 11 Main Spar Web Cut and Layout (0.5 hours)
    I spent sometime today cutting and laying out the second Main Spar blank and decided after noticing the error in layout, I will order the premade blank from Sonex to make the layout and job easier and more precise.
  • Sep 21, 2010 389 Corvair Engine Cores (0 hours)
    Today was an exciting day for me, and a big one for my project as well. I went and purchased 2 Corvair engine cores from my Buddy and fellow Builder Berry, who had decided against using the Corvair on his project. I am really happy he offered them to me as I was not having much luck locating one on my own. After purchasing William Wynne's Corvair Conversion manual, I have been doing alot of research and studying on what it will take to Convert my Stock Corvair to a 120 hp Aero Conversion.
  • Sep 20, 2010 11 Cutting Main Spar Web blanks (2 hours)
    While cutting the Main Web Spar Blanks. These are the most crucial in the spar and must be laid out correct as all of the other layered parts are marked from these. Unfornately even though I measured twice and cut once.. I made a mistake on the layout. I will take the advice of several other scratch builders that have told me to order one from Sonex and use it as a template to make the other.
  • Sep 18, 2010 28 Inventory 4130 Steel Material (1 hours)
    I have received my order of 4130 Steel from Aircraft spruce and am inventorying it. It sure seems like less than what it looks like on paper.
  • Sep 01, 2010 28 Compiling 4130 Steel order (1.25 hours)
    I have recently just purchased my Gas Welding kit, and will be welding my own controls. I have worked through the plans putting together my order of 4130 Steel tubing, square tubing and plate. I will not be welding my motor mount, but purchasing that instead.
  • Jul 10, 2010 19 New design Led Position Nav lights (7 hours)
    I am now working on a new "encapsulated" design for my position navigation lights. They will be leds encased in acrylic. They will be smaller and lighter than the ones I made previously using the VW lenses.
  • May 15, 2010 11 Aft Wing Rib blanks (3.75 hours)
    I rough cut the Aft Wing Rib Blanks and started routering with the template. I ran into problems and the router gouged the template. I will have to remake it and try again. I had the same type of difficulty while making the forward ribs.
  • May 14, 2010 3 Finished Horizontal Stablizer/Tips/Elevator (0 hours)
    The homemade fiberglass tips have been painted and installed. The Horizontal Stabilizer is complete and ready to install to the fuselage. (after I build it that is ) The Tail may still be repainted witha accent paint once the plane is complete and has been flight tested.
  • May 14, 2010 4 Vertical Stab Complete (0 hours)
    The Vertical Stab is complete, painted and ready for installation. For now it will be wrapped in storage awaiting the fuselage to be built for installation. The white color painted on the tips is most likely temporary as accent paint will be applied once flight testing has been completed.
  • May 06, 2010 4 Vertical Stabilizer Home made Tip fabrication (20.33 hours)
    WooHoo! I have been working on the fiberglass stabilizer tips what seems like an eternity (actually several months). Actually I made it worse, or should I say longer, as I would go out, sand a little, apply more filler, and leave it to dry for a day or two.. sand some more... apply more filler, and leave it to dry.. I did most of the sanding by hand so that took much, much longer, I would also try to remove as much filler as possible in an attempt to make the tips as light as possible, and that meant more work and time as well. Overall, I am pleased with the way they turned out, especially the Vertical tip, after having practiced and improving my technique with both horizontal tips. One thing I discovered on my Vertical stab was I left a little more than an eighth inch of skin over the tip rib, and this allowed me to tuck the fiberglass inside the skin, without actually having to squeeze in between the skin and rib, which was just to difficult for me to get done. I also riveted another rib upside down to the outside of the stab rib, and screwed my fiberglass tip to that using stainless steel screws. I will be starting on my spars next. It will sure be good to be back to working on metal instead of fiberglass and bondo.
  • May 06, 2010 4 Vertical Stabilizer Fiberglass Tips fabrication (0 hours)
    Here are a few additional photos of the Home Made Fiberglass tips and fit.
  • Feb 07, 2010 138 slip/skid ball (2.5 hours)
    After seeing a great article in EAA Sport Aviation on making your own slip skid ball. I decided to make one myself and get a break from all of the sanding and finishing I have doing on the Fiberglass tail tips lately. There are not very many parts to purchase, and dont cost much either, but they are difficult to locate and it took me several trips to the Hardware stores, Lowes and a few specialty stores before I was able to locate all of the parts to make them. Once I had located all of the parts, I had enough materials to make many kits. I made some adjustments to some of the parts called out for in the article. I used bigger ball bearings, and bigger tubing as the ball is easier to see. I also used rubber expandable corks on the tube ends to make a nice neat and leak proof seal. Overall, I am very pleased with the outcome of the instrument and it was considerably less expensive than the $40 to $90 currently available. It really fit my bill of being a scratchbuilder to make this myself.

    If you want to build your own, Until my parts supply is depleted, I can furnish you a kit with all of the parts and save you the time and gas of trying to locate the parts in different places as I had to do and still get it built yourself for a lot less than a purchased one. Just shoot me an email through this log guest list or to vicdelgado9@yahoo.com
  • Jan 13, 2010 3 Berry Coppage visit (0 hours)
    Fellow Sonex builder Berry Coppage and a friend came to visit me today. I showed them my progress on my project so far which is the finished Horizontal and Vertical Stab with rudder and elevators complete except for the fiberglass tips which are in progress. We discussed the elevator movement and clearances and also making the tips. We also discussed the sheet metal bending of the elevator and rudder skins on the David Clay brake.

Aircraft Project Photos - Latest 50 (Newest to Oldest)