Tom Jones

I’m Back, Finally

The question is

Where the hell did you go?

Actually a couple readers did ask that exact question, at least someone is reading my ramblings.

I was attending the other congregation for the summer, that is my excuse anyway. I’ll explain.

The short answer I used all my available (and not much) build time with aviation related activities.  I was busy detailing steel during the summer construction season and with the business end of Fastcraft motorsport.

My Lark Experimental airplane

After last post I knew I was going to be gone a couple of weeks to visit my girlfriend of over 10 years who now lives in FL. We’ll upon return I was very busy just getting caught up, as typical after a few days away. I received an e-mail from the daughter of a pilot in the area that passed away and she asked me to identify an airplane her dad was building in his garage. If you are not aware I am a private pilot, but at the time of this request I was not a current pilot, meaning I did not have a current Medical, bi-annual and my experimental airplane was out of annual, so in other words I am grounded. The daughter was having an estate auction of all her father’s items. I agreed to meet her and ID the airplane. I recognized it immediately as a Sonerai Formula V race plane as I use to own a Sonerai. I did not know the gentleman who passed away but could tell from his extensive collection of tools and equipment and interest I am sure we would get along well. Now all his toys and basically a life time of homebuilding hobby are up for auction. Looking around I spotted 2 Buick/Rover 3.5L complete V8 engines and a spare block. I immediately think VortX RTV8. I did not want the airplane but a good friend of mine who lives in SC is former V racer and expert in this airplane and he was interested if the price right. The airplane is about 85% fabricated. I ended up buying the airplane and the Buick V8’s at the auction and selling the Formula V to my ex hanger mate and I ended up with the V8’s out of the deal.

formula V race plane project

I always I told myself I would never allow myself to become a non current  pilot which was my current status. Well buying and selling this airplane made myself feel guilty. I also was aware my airplane was hangered without flying for several months. I was concerned any further neglect may end up costing me dearly down the road. So I decided to do something about my airplane and non currency. This was the catalyst that started a chain of aviation events that basically took up my building time and summer. I passed my medical, always a relief. Something you need to do every two years. Then I spent time doing airframe maintenance going through the airplane and getting it ready for the annual condition inspection and sign off which must be done by a registered with FAA A& P mechanic. Once that was done it was time for me to take the bi-annual flight test and review. Every two years pilots a take few hours of book work and a flight performance test. Then during this time I had an inquiry of someone wanting to buy my airplane. Something I was not planning, but I would like to get another airplane in the future, just was not planning the future to be now. Well I made the mistake of looking in Trade a plane to see what may be available. I found an airplane that really interested me and is exactly what I am looking for in an airplane. I always wanted to own a Midget Mustang racer and actually have first refusal on a very beautiful midget that will become available next year.  The Midget while fast and able to cruise at 185 mph on100 HP is strong enough but actually not the best airplane for aerobatics which is something I wish to continue to learn how to perform. The Midget does not have inverted fuel and oil systems and since they only hold 15 gal of fuel are limited in cross county travel. The airplane I found in trade a plane is rather rare. It is a Zenith Acro Z 150 nick- named the Red Devil.

picking up the new project

It made it’s Debut in 1980 atOSHperforming in the aerobatic show. It is stressed for plus and minus 12 G loading. Has inverted fuel and oil systems and even smoke! Cool. It also has a 26 gallon fuselage ferry tank that gives this airplane great range of 600 miles! It has a 150 HP engine that will burn about 1.5 gallon more per hour than the Midget but it still can cruise at near 180 MPH. So this airplane does all I every want to do. It has

acro Z home in shop

some historical significance since this airplane was built by and was the personal airplane of renowned airplane designer Chris Heinz. Kind of the airplane version of owning a car that was build by Colin Chapman. A deal was struck. I feel I bought it at a bargain price which makes it all the sweeter deal. But the down side is the airplane is also out of annual and has not flown in over 4 years.  The seller of this airplane decided he wanted to repaint the airplane and stripped it of paint, but before he could repaint, he was involved in a bad car accident and was in hospital for several weeks.

He is OK but he will never be able to pass the medical for his flight certificate, and this father also a pilot recently quit flying. So the airplane was listed for sale. So one weekend with help of friend we made the trip to Chicago to two the airplane back to east Ohio. Ends up the person who acquired about my airplane did not buy it, at least not yet but that is fine by me as it will give me something to fly to keep current.

Red Devil at Oshkosh

Then every year at the end of August my EAA chapter holds an annual Wings and Wheels event at the New Castle Muni airport KUCP. I started this event 6 years ago.

We had only about 5 airplanes fly in first year, but the event is growing every year and now over 115 airplanes flew in and 265 custom cars attended. In fact the residents in the area look forward to our event. Kinda now feel obligated that the show must go on. Our chapter is small and looks like I am the permanent chairman of this event. The 3 or for 4 weeks leading up to this event is almost a full time job and certainly no time to build. So that is how the summer went or in other words it just seems to pass by. So to explain the congregation comment I made at start. I was watching Speed Channel several years ago when they interviewed GM new product development manager Bob Lutz. He mentioned as a young man he raced motorcycles, was a Marine and civilian pilot and race driver. Lutz commented Motorsport to him was like a second religion with motorcycle, airplanes and race cars as the trilogy. I thought to myself I may be a member of this congregation. So this summer I attended the aviation congregation. But I am now full time attending the Locost Seven congregation until this VortX RT is on the track and road. The Red Devil will have to wait.

On with the build, Now where did I leave off. Better read my own blog!

Below are some Fly In Pics. You get a great variety of airplanes and cars at the wings and wheels event. Just a few pics to show. The Ferrari Pics were from another local fly – in I attended.But the Enzo is worth notice as well as the yellow Ferrari of a model that I am not sure ,but I believe it to be very rare and at one time was part of a museum collection. Maybe a reader will be able to ID model. It is real not a kit.

1901 Steam Car
The Stig, Cool plate
Ferrari Model ?

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