Thursday, February 27, 2014

Les Kanna's Unity Special

Les Kanna seated in the future "Unity Special."

Our good friend, Les Kanna, is building a Onex (pronounced one-x) in his shop at Unity Airfield (SC76) near Lancaster, South Carolina.  For the kit-plane challenged, the Onex is a single-seat version of the all metal Sonex Aircraft.  It is a neat design, and a perfect fit for Les, who is a master machinist.  Highlights of the design include, 6061 aluminum primary structure (of course) with a stress limit of +6 Gs to -3 Gs, folding wings, and a max gross weight of 950 lbs. Target empty weight is 600 lbs.  The Sonex folks are pushing a 2180cc (80 hp) VW conversion by AeroConversions, Inc., to power the Onex.  Les is more creative.  His Unity Special will be powered by a 1800cc BMW motorcycle engine with a 2.5 to 1 reduction drive of his own design.  He thinks the power output should be slightly over 100 hp.  And if that doesn't work; the folks at AeroConversions will be happy to sell him an engine.  My bets are on Les!

The Jellystoners have been following the project for about a year and a half now. . .

December 2012

Behold!  Les Kanna's airplane factory!

Countersinking the bolt holes on the main gear legs.

No drag here!

April 2013

Brother Baker shows his approval.

Rudder pedals with toe brakes installed.

Brake lines are recessed in the trailing edge of the main gear legs.

August 2013

Right side inboard wing ribs.

Instrument panel.  The machined aluminum cylinder in front of the magnetic compass is the fuel tank fill port.

December 2013

BMW motorcycle engine parts. . .

The reduction drive unit beginning to take shape.

The Les Kanna Fan Club:  Jellystoners Gary Barbeau and Joe Baker.

Engine mount will be replaced with one that fits the BMW engine.

January 2014

Starting to look like an airplane!

The flight deck is quite comfortable.

Outboard left wing.  All of the large parts are finished. . .

Outboard right wing.

Aileron counter-balance---a Les Kanna design.  An aluminum plate will cover the weight.

February 2014

1800cc BMW motorcycle engine.

Les braces the engine mount of his own design while Brother Barbeau looks over his shoulder. . .

Time to test fit the engine!

Ta-da!  The propeller shaft will mount to the reduction drive unit at the back of the engine. The forward propeller shaft mounting plate is not installed in this picture.

This has been a fun project to follow.  Stay tuned!  More later. . .

Friday, February 14, 2014

Captain Buzz Flett

Captain Buzz Flett

My good friend, United Airlines Captain Duncan Flett, known throughout the world as the Exotic Guy, is a second generation airline pilot.  His father, Captain Buzz Flett, acquired his worldliness flying C-47's in North Africa during World War II.  After the war he landed a job at Northeast Airlines, and never looked back. . . Northeast merged with Delta Air Lines in 1972, and that is where he eventually retired.  Not a bad career.

The Delta Flight Museum is currently undergoing a massive renovation.  It is scheduled to reopen sometime this summer.  Part of the renovation is a new front courtyard.  In December the museum announced that bricks for the courtyard were available for purchase; part of a fundraising campaign.

It is my pleasure to announce that when the museum reopens, there will be a 4" X 8" brick in the new courtyard with the following engraving:


Happy Valentine's Day, EG!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Triple Tree Chilly Chili Fly-In

The word was out. . .  On Saturday February 8, 2014, twenty bucks would get you a hot bowl of chili, and all the fellowship an air-minded individual could ask for, at the first ever Chilly Chili Fly-In at Triple Tree Aerodrome in Woodruff, South Carolina.  Pop Baker heard the news all the way out in Arizona.  He rode the airliner in from Phoenix Friday afternoon; a one-stopper through DFW.  Proof that a Jellystoner will do just about anything for a good bowl of chili---including spending time in Texas!  Hold the hate mail!  I like Texas.  In fact, if Big D still had a pilot base at DFW, I would seriously consider moving there.  Our kids are out of the house, and my wife has a set of cowboy boots---and a pickup truck!   But I digress. . .

Triple Tree Aerodrome lies just fifty-two nautical miles southwest of Jellystone Air Park.  It's an easy flight to manage.  Simply depart the Rock Hill - York County Airport (South Carolina) on a westerly heading, pick up the second set of power lines trailing off to the southwest, and follow them all the way to Triple Tree.  So easy; even an airline pilot can do it!  Word to the wise, they do have an arrival procedure for the big annual fly-in that is held in September.  It is easy to locate on the Triple Tree website.

Photo by Brian Baker

The Jellystone formation of three to Triple Tree was led by our good friend, Ben Zimmer, in his 1967 Cessna 150.

Photo by Brian Baker

Brother Baker and I followed in Kevin Accomazzo's 1966 Cessna 172.  Orange was a popular color in Wichita during the Sixties.

Pop Baker, and his grandson, Colin, were Tail-End Charley's in the Baker & Son 1947 Luscombe 8A.

Photo by Brian Baker

At 11:30 AM the formation was overhead Triple Tree Aerodrome.

The website said to keep things simple and park on the west side of the runway.

Ben Zimmer & Joe Baker

"Hi Honey!  We're here. . .  Yes, Colin's being good.  He rode with Pop in 43 Bravo. . ."

Don't judge a book by it's cover.  This is a nice flying 172!  The orange interior is a little bright, but it has a nice solid engine and the trim setup is perfect.  The more I think about it, I believe this is the nicest flying 172 I've ever flown.  Kevin says a new paint job is just over the horizon.  I predict when that happens, the former owner will try to buy it back.

Photo by Brian Baker

The '36 Jim Wilson Special had the primo parking spot. . .  Again!

Photo by Brian Baker

Is that a GPS?  Say it ain't so, Jim!

Triple Tree Mower

Pat Hartness (hands in pockets) gave us a brief tour before lunch.  Pat is the Big Kahuna at Triple Tree Aerodrome, and a super nice guy.  It takes about 30 minutes to cut the 7000' runway with the new floating-deck mower(s.)

Les Kanna, Joe & Brian Baker

. . . on the patio behind the big hangar.  A pair of RV's were overhead.  Or maybe it was a Cessna 195.

The Chilly Chili Chow Line---except it wasn't very chilly.  The day was warming up.

My view of the front of the line. . .

. . . and the stragglers.

The Triple Tree BT-13 was parked on the ramp---making way for tables and chairs inside the hangar.

After lunch it was time walk the flight line.  The Boswell family's 1949 Cessna 170A lives two doors down from Jellystone Air Park.  It's a cream puff!

Since the Jellystoners were using his 172, Kevin Accomazzo had to ride down with his father in the Great Lakes.

Everywhere you look, someone is having fun in a RV!

I was hoping to get a shot of a smokey engine start, but the Howard DGA-15 cranked-up without a single puff!  The only smoke I saw all day was from the two departing RV's.

Moon shot!

I call this one, Waco Moon.  No, that's not Jim Wilson.  He departed earlier.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Upon Further Review

Brother Barbeau needed a Flight Review.  Friday afternoon Brother Baker had nothing better to do. . .

"Test; test; can you hear me?"  "Loud and clear."  "Great!  Tell me what you know about Class D airspace."  "Say again; I can't hear you."