We did it!

The staff built Zenith CH 750 STOL had a successful first flight on Tuesday, 8/12/2014.  Tracy Buttles was at the controls.  A big thanks to the staff members who worked on the aircraft and the companies that supported the effort by donating their products  (special thanks to Zenith Aircraft, SteinAir and Dynon Avionics).  It has been a wonderful learning experience for many EAA staff members.

Kyle and Charlie (me) checking the radio and avionics._MG_7587

Performing a static run up just to confirm engine performance after repitching the prop._MG_7600

Lined up on the runway.  _MG_7752


Nosewheel off._MG_7756 _MG_7758


Flying well before the 1,000 foot remaining marker._MG_7761 Climbing out. _MG_7773

Coming in to land._MG_7810 _MG_7813 _MG_7814

Touching down._MG_7816

Three wheels on the ground._MG_7817

Tracy giving the thumbs up after bringing her in._MG_7870

Everyone was all smiles after the first flight!_MG_7897Until next time…


Posted in Uncategorized | 11 Comments

Airworthiness Inspection Complete!

Well, we made it!  The project is now officially an airplane in the eyes of the FAA.  When I took over the leadership of the EAA employee staff build, I set a goal of having it completed by AirVenture-Oshkosh 2014 and we received our FAA airworthiness inspection with one day to spare!  Thanks to all our team for putting in some extra time to make it happen.

FAA Inspector Ray Petersen examining the aircraft._MG_0674 _MG_0678 _MG_0696

Ray making sure the tank capacity and minimum octane is labeled and that the tank is properly vented._MG_0697 _MG_0718

It’s paperwork time._MG_0741

Our team fixing a couple of minor items that Ray discovered while I deal with the paperwork.  Fortunately everything Ray caught could be quickly corrected._MG_0753

The big moment!  Tracy, Tim, Kyle, Ray (FAA) and me (Charlie) accepting the airworthiness certificate and operating limitations.  Expect a first flight soon!_MG_0761A big THANKS to FAA Inspector Ray Petersen for being so flexible on the inspection date!

Until next time…

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Oshkosh or Bust – Airworthiness Inspection Scheduled!

Thanks to some outstanding customer support from Dynon and B&C Specialty Products, we received replacement parts that have let us recover from our misstep in time to still make it to #OSH14 with an airworthiness certificate.  No time for a first flight, but hopefully the FAA inspection and sign off will take place between now and the start of the EAA Convention.

Mapping out a game plan for wrapping things up._MG_0386

One of the final items was running the wire for the ELT remote._MG_0520

Securing the ELT antenna wire._MG_0556

Yes!  We have a working PFD again!



We are ready for the FAA airworthiness inspection!  The project will be in the Homebuilders Hangar at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2014.  Stop by and see it in person._MG_0370Until next time….

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Final TC Visit, Fuel Tank Calibration….and then a Setback

The best way to make sure you are ready for your final inspection is to have an EAA Technical Counselor do a final inspection just prior to having the FAA coming out.  That way you can fix all the things that would be a problem during the FAA’s airworthiness inspection.  The last thing we homebuilders want is for the FAA to think we don’t know what we are doing by having lots of squawks.

Fortunately for us our Technical Counselor, Joe Norris, is a former Designated Airworthiness Representative (DAR) so he knows exactly what is going to be an issue during the airworthiness inspection.

Here Joe is inspecting the throttle and mixture linkages.


Joe checking the AN hardware on the flaperon._MG_7606

Joe checking the fuel tanks and markings._MG_7642

Joe reviewed our FAA paperwork just to make sure we didn’t miss anything.  Other than a few minor items, Joe felt we had everything in order.


With the thumbs up from Joe, Phil and Jerry could now rivet in the channel covering up the stick._MG_0066

So we were down to only calibrating the fuel senders.  Step one was to drain out the usable fuel._MG_7593

And here is where we suffered a setback.  During our fuel calibration, we decided to switch to an auxilary battery since we had drained down the one on-board.  Unfortunately, we mistakenly hooked it up in reverse.  NOT good for our avionics!  Shortly thereafter our PFD went dark.  We left the hangar that day depressed.

The good news is both Dynon Avionics and B&C Specialty Products have provided excellent customer support as we troubleshoot our error.  Our thanks go out to both companies.


So here is where we stand.  The damage isn’t that bad but we had to pull the PFD and transponder to ship back to Dynon.  The airworthiness inspection will have to wait until after AirVenture 2014.  Disappointing but we will overcome this setback and have her flying right after convention!


Until next time…probably after AirVenture 2014.

Posted in Firewall Forward, Fuselage | 245 Comments

Fuel Flow Test and a Visit from Jack

EAA strongly encourages all homebuilders to perform fuel flow testing prior to flight testing.  Although not required for certification, the time to figure out if you have any fuel flow issues is on the ground.  For more info on fuel flow testing, watch the EAA webinar on Fuel System Testing.

Tim, Charlie (me), John and Tom preparing for the test.  I’m removing the fuel line at the carb inlet. _MG_6837

Not to waste any time, while we are doing the level flight test Jerry is working on installing the ELT in the tail section._MG_6851

Level flight testing complete, now it is time to test for high angle of attack by tying the tail down._MG_6952

Tom checking the angle._MG_7004

Testing in process.  As it turns out, we do in fact need a fuel pump when the aircraft is in a high angle of attack with minimum fuel on-board.  Perfect example of why you do the test!_MG_7014

Experimental sticker installed on entrance to the cockpit._MG_6567

EAA chairman Jack Pelton stopped by to check out the progress and give the staff some encouragement._MG_7114

Of course he couldn’t resist trying on the aircraft.  _MG_7126

Jim installing an access panel._MG_7332

Kyle putting some sealant around the fuel tank filler neck.  We used DAP Alex Ultra 230 with the 50 year life available at Lowes (expect a Hint for Homebuilders on this in an upcoming Sport Aviation)._MG_7344

Tracy working on a few more baffles for better cooling._MG_7159 _MG_7162

ELT and antenna installed._MG_7015

Jeff applying the N numbers while I safety wire a turnbuckle. _MG_7293

Jeff squeegeeing the graphic to remove air bubbles._MG_7298


Until next time…

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments