March 31, 2005


Got a call late yesterday afternoon from Roadway saying they want to deliver the the crate from Vans on Thursday. With the road posted for six tons during mud season and the driveway a tad gooey in spots, and not quite having turn around space for a tractor trailer, it was time to quickly put together Plan B.

I arranged for the truck to deliver the finishing kit to a business in the center of Canaan. John Babiarz brought his dump truck over and we sat on the park bench in the center of town and yacked 'til the orange truck came rumbling through town. When he parked accross the street from the Post Office we figured it was just as easy to back the dump truck up to the trailer and offload the crate. Worked slick.

Slicker yet was John's idea for a simple ramp off the tailgate of the dump truck to slide the crate down onto the garage floor. Vans did their usual excellent job of packing everything safely into the crate and we finished inventorying the parts this evening. Sure looks like a lot of fine detail work to fit that Canopy!

Pretty quick turn around that shipping, too. Van's shipped it on the 23rd and we received it on the 31st.

March 28, 2005


Received notice in the mail today from Vans that they shipped the finishing kit on the 23rd... Right on schedule. Now all we have to do is wait a couple weeks for Roadway to haul it from Oregon to NH. That and a little cooperation from Spring now that mud season is in full swing.... Nice flood in the driveway today.

Got a little riveting done on some of the various details that need to be caught up. With the platenuts installed on the inboard main ribs I think the wings are practically finished except for attachment of the wing tips, wiring of lights, and... The future fun of taking the tanks back off to seal up the sending units and then leak testing the tanks. The ultimate moment of truth on my efforts last year: working with the tank sealer goop.

Am still trying to decide wether to get an experimental open-sourced three-axis attitude indicator, or pay a couple hundred bucks more and get a Honneywell unit. It's either a unit from Rotomotion developed for pilotless helicopters or the HMR2300R Three-Axis Strapdown Magnetometer from Honeywell.

We'll see....

March 15, 2005


These three images illustrate a translucent ramp off the end of runway 25 at KLEB representing a three degree glide slope. The translucent red causes the software to alternate the AGL tape between the indicated height above the ramp and the indicated height above the terrain. This odd quirk makes it possible to skim along down the glide slope and pretty much keep it nailed.

If you go below the slope the translucent red ramp disappears... sort of an odd twist. The idea being that since you do not have a real HUD to work with, you can display with synthetic vision something that would be very hard to do with a HUD, namely detailed positional queues for the glide slope. In theory one could work the performance numbers for an AC backwards to develop pattern and glide slope translucent roadmap for the pattern.

Also fixed a few gremlins I found in the way flightgear handles waypoints. Would like to build in a visual model for a flight plan.. We'll see.

Meanwhile, we sent the rest of the amount due to Van's for the finishing kit. After we get the finishing kit we're looking at probably getting one of the cheaper UAV grade AHRS to do some testing with a laptop. I'm somewhat inclined to wait on the hardware testing until Oshkosh this summer as I expect there will be some vendor surprises. The digital age for avionics may be entering a "golden age" of development.

March 07, 2005


Why you should never leave your dryer unattended...

After checking the pipe to the outside and finding no blockage I put my hand on the discharge end of the dryer and noted it seemed a tad weak on the airflow. When I took the back cover off and rapped the plenum with my knuckle it sure felt rather "solid" for a sheet metal assembly.

The input to the plennum is immediately adjacent to the heating element on this 16+ year old dryer and seperately I had to remove a lot of dog hair balls from the dryer tub assembly. I figure when the plenum got to the point of effectively blocking the discharge entirely the element would cook off the hair and start a fire.

Just because the discharge pipe and the vent screen are clear does not mean a dryer is safe!

March 02, 2005

Synth Vision

Having some fun figuring out how digital image files are put together at the nuts and bolts level. This shot shows Lebanon airport form the North with exaggerated tiling of the scenery. The town of Enfield and Hanover are the browned dotted surfaces, Enfield on the left and Hanover on the right. The Connecticut river is shown in red... Lest you mistake it for road at night. These changes to the view are simply generated by modifying the texture files used by Flightgear.

The intereresting addition to this display is the Magenta block up in the airspace representing Lebanon's Class D airspace... Kind of, sort of. I just hacked a couple hundred meter diameter cylinder to a height of 1000 meters. KFLOG accurately shows airspace limits on it's topo maps... So I'm going to take a look at their binary formats to see if I can use them generate the actual airspace limits.

This jpeg was put together after I finally figured out how to do a simple cylinder up into the airspace (colored in magenta here) and yet be transparent in the view. This way when you're flying cross county, the myriad of airspace limits you have to deal with will be visually queued on the synthetic vision display. The idea being to load the synthetic vision view with useful information, not just a lifelike rendering of the scene.

...Of course, we know we can do that now.