Aerolite 103 ultralight aircraft, Aerolite 103 experimental aircraft, Aerolite 103 experimental light sport aircraft (ELSA), Lightsport Aircraft Pilot News newsmagazine.

Lightsport Aircraft Pilot is a directory of aircraft that generally fit into what are described as ultralight, advanced ultralight, lightsport aircraft, experimental light sport aircraft, experimental aircraft, amateur built aircraft, ELSA or homebuilt aircraft in the United States and Canada. These include weight shift aircraft, more commonly known as trikes, powered parachutes, and powered para-gliders.

Aerolite 103 ultralight, experimental, amateur built aircraft.

Current Manufacturer
Wings of Freedom LLC
150 Christian Ave.
Hubbard, Ohio 44425

(330)-534-5548 Fax: (330)-534-5547

Max also gave himself "one-heck" of a Birthday present as this was the day he chose to take his Aerosport on its maiden flight.
Also the local news paper of Newark, Ohio was there to cover the story of Max's maiden flight / Birthday present; making the front cover page.

His wife told Aeroworks that "now that every where we go in their home city; that Max is known as the guy with the little yellow airplane" (cool ). 

He is also an excellent source of information as he as written a building diary during the assembly of his Aerosport-103. 
Max is also quite active in corresponding with other Aeroliters.

Building the Aerosport 103


It is now 11-16-99

I am preparing to send this diary to Aeroworks to post to the web-site. My AeroSport is all done, and I am ready for my first flight.  If you are smart, you will read this entire diary before beginning your construction. I have thoroughly enjoyed it.  

If you are trying to decide whether to get the slip-on dacron covers, or the fabric and paint, read that section carefully.  Fabric and paint will at least double your assembly time (but it's worth it...).  I think I've accomplished my goal with this diary, which is to make the process easier for all that follow me.  

I would also imagine any builder that came before me could have done the same thing (and for my sake...why didn't you?  You know who you are...)  Enjoy it as much as I have.   -Max


Picked up my AeroSport 103 kit from AeroWorks in Millersburg, Ohio.Aerolite 103 construction

Max's wife, granddaughter, and Father-in-law. Home and time to assemble the Aerosport-103!

6.0 hrs

Began construction.  Take the time to make absolutely sure that the fuselage is level, and square to the vertical tube.  Check, check it again, and then check it again.  If it's not square here, you will be making much more work for yourself later. Actually, you need to drop what you're doing and go to Sears.  Buy yourself a Craftsman magnetic protractor.  It is about as big as a CD, and a degree scale that you read through the face.  A pendulum swings inside, and is always plum.  

When you put the base onto whatever you're checking, you simply read the deviation from plum (that's up-and-down, not to be confused with level, side-to-side).  Since the base rests on the magnets, and aluminium doesn't work with magnets anyway, you will want to pry the magnets off and give to your wife for her refrigerator.  

Now the base will be better.  You may also want to order a pneumatic rivet gun at this point, if you have an air compressor.  You'll need it shortly.  I got mine through Northern Tool, for about $ 60.00.  If not, you'll have arms like Charles Atlas by the time you're done (you young-un's are saying..."Charles who?")

9-20-99 10  Main fuselage assembly




9-21-99 4 

Nose gear assembly, adj. to rudder pedals, windshield.
Ordered pneumatic riveter.




3.5 hrs

began setting ribs on wing - interrupted by curious neighbors. 
Get ready for it...once people find out your building an airplane, you're going to get visitors.


n/a BIG SCREW UP !!!  I realized that the ribs were installed backwards.  Thank God it's only one wing.  I ordered 200 new rivets from a supplier in Cleveland...will be here tomorrow.  I don't need that many, but I'm not done building, either.  

In the meantime, I drilled through all the attached ribs and removed all ribs. That's the easiest way to remove a rivet...just use the same size drill bit that you drilled to install the rivet.  Drill right through the center of the rivet, and it pops right out.  I'm in the process of reattaching them correctly.  

The wing is so symmetrical, I had no way of knowing that the there was indeed a RIGHT and LEFT wing.  AeroWorks said that it has happened several times, with their builders.  
You would think a WARNING in the plans would help??


n/a I'm not counting this as assembly time, since I had to work backwards - not forwards.  I did get all the ribs turned around, and encountered no problems.  I filled all the old  holes with rivets.  I figured the easiest way to attach them was to put them on the opposite side of the "x" on the line (which I did).  I did get the rivet order today, but still no air riveter.  When I work tomorrow, I'll be picking up with new work.

Blue Max NOTE
From this point on, I describe the construction in more detail.  I also tried to make suggestions for improvements.

2.5 hrs.

Attached rib braces and drilled fabric holes.  Mounted aileron tubes.  This LEFT wing is done.  Got started with the right wing, but just barely.  I have to work overtime at 12 noon.

7.5 hrs. 

I did the entire right wing in 2:15 !  It sure helps to have done the first one.  When I'm done, it would probably take me half the time to build another one. 

After the wings, I next mounted the wings to the fuselage, and began attaching the right side struts.  The fuselage has to be levelled on every axis again.  I did this with 2 small floor jacks under each main gear strut (still no main gear spindles).  This took A LOT of head scratching and interruptions.  USA won Ryder Cup!  

The right wing is ready to have the washout set.  The left wing will go allot faster.  I won't be able to work on it tomorrow, as I am beginning my last concrete job of the year.

8 hrs.

Today I set the washout on the right wing, attached the left wing and got it done to this point.  I then completed both wings by attaching the jury struts. 

The drawing shows the l.e. smash rivet using only one, but two on the rear.  It is best to use only one on the rear, also.  This is because the sleeve of the clevis that fits into the jury strut makes it very tight to get two rivets in.  It looks better with one, too.  

HINT:  If you do want to use two, turn the second one 90 degrees. to the other, which will permit them to fit.  I found the directions on the setting of the washout very confusing.  

Here is the easy way to understand the concept:  The objective is to raise the trailing edge, so the wingtip is at a lesser angle-of-attack.  This way, should you be approaching a stall,  the wingtips will still be flying.  You will still have aileron control (to a point).  

Not many ultralights have washout set in the wings.  On the setting of the washout, I found it much easier to use a magnetic protractor, instead of a 4 ft. level with a 2" block taped on.  It was very easy to keep going back and forth...checking and re-checking the angle of attack at the root and 12" outboard of the strut.  

Also, it would probably be a good idea to have both wings attached before setting either washout.  This is because you may cause the fuselage level and plumb to change as you lift the trailing edge of the wing.  It would probably be best to have a helper SIT in the plane (patiently) while you then properly level the fuselage, and set the washout.  

HINT:  A magnetic protractor worked as good and quicker than a level at levelling and plumbing the fuselage.  You can get one at Sears, as it is made by Craftsman.  It has two magnet strips in its base, but they don't work on aluminium, and besides, they won't let the thing your checking to make contact...they only touch the magnet.  Get a screwdriver and pull those magnets out, throw them away.

AeroWorks claims that the angle of attack should be 5.5 to 6 degrees at the root, and 4 to 4.5 at the outside of the strut, hence 1.5 ( or 2 ) degrees reduction in the angle of attack. In MY plane, the angle of attack at the root was exactly 4 degrees on each wing, so I set the attack angle at the strut at 2 degrees.  

I need to develop a procedure for removing/installing the wings.  Removing the right wing was almost a disaster when the bungee cord slipped on the ladder, causing the wing to twist.  I think the first step needs to be removing the bolt that attaches the strut to the lower hoop.  Gravity will hold it in place until you're ready to pull the wing away.

9 hrs.

 Well, I thought I would be able to work on the tail...WITHOUT the wings on...but I should have looked at a finished photo of the plane.  I would have seen that the upper boom struts attach to the wings, and everything else attaches to them. Soooo, the first thing I had to do was put the wings back on.  I am getting the hang of it.  I actually put the left one on without the assistance of a ladder supporting the tip end.  I think it might be easier to do if you don't use support on the wingtip.  

I only made one mistake.  On the " L-tangs" that attach the front of the horizontal stabilizer to the upper tail boom tube (each side), I instead used the upper parts of the saddle that attaches the front horizontal stabilizer strut to the lower boom tube.  

I had mistaken the upper saddle part(s) for the L-tang, because I couldn't FIND anything left in the parts that looked like an "L" except for the upper saddles.  I sure could have used a photo.  I am finding that he further I get into assembly, the less photos showing assembly.  They must have gotten tired of taking photos.  I corrected the boo-boo, and completed the tail assembly. 

Everything I assemble now will be disassembled to do the covering, then reassembled.  I attached all the control horns to the flaps, ailerons, elevators and rudder.  

I ordered a CITATION 240 HVLP spraying system from Aircraft Spruce & Specialty Co.  I find it sooooo much easier to concentrate when I'm absolutely all alone, with no kids, radio, noise or interruptions.  I should build it during the night!

3 hrs. 

  Attached hinges to ailerons and flaps- attached to wings.  In setting the cables for the ailerons, I found them to be slightly too short.  I fixed this by changing the location of the cable clamp on the steering yoke to about 3/4" closer to the steering yoke itself.  The ailerons are now adjusted to droop about 1/2" from the trailing edge, while the adjusting turnbuckles are turned all the way in.  Perfect.

4 hrs. 

It took a long time to properly set the flaps.  I also attached the elevators and rudder.  I ran out of AN3-13 bolts.  I only need a few more.  I also adjusted the flaps to droop (about 1/4").

3.5 hrs 

I'm taking allot of time scratching my head.  I attached cables to rudder and elevators.  The cable clamp block next to the yoke was not in the right place, so I had to unbolt it and move it 2" towards the seat.  It would not allow the yoke to move past 90 degrees (you couldn't pull it back).  

I found out later from Mark that the block position was okay, but the actual clamp(s) attached to the block were turned around.  If I had drilled out the rivets and turned it around it would have accomplished the same thing.

The entire tail is square, level, plumb, etc.  It is as perfect as it can be.  The elevator has more travel up than down, but it travels the entire limits of the cable.  It is sufficient in each direction, anyway.  I think I'm ready to begin covering!

3 hrs. 

I got my spindles UPS yesterday!  They forgot to send me the bolts to attach them, and the replacement bolts for what was short.  I attached them temporarily by sticking rivets in the holes (do not squeeze them).  

I thought about toe-ing in the wheels a little bit, but I decided to follow their instructions...which is straight ahead.  The instructions have you mount the wheels on the spindles, but the next step attaches the brakes.  Obviously, you need to install the brakes BEFORE you mount the wheels.   

I haven't secured the brake cables to the struts yet, as I will be attaching the streamlined strut covers.  I'm not sure at this point whether I'll attach them to the outside of the cover, or drill a hole and run them inside for the most part.  I think this would be a cleaner installation.  

They didn't say so, but you need to put grease on the cable before you put it in the housing.  I need to check out the mounting of the main strut covers, as holes or slots will need to be cut for the jury strut attaching points, etc.  I also need to drill the attaching holes for the strobe lights, and determine were the lines will run.  After that, I'll be taking it back apart so I can begin covering.

3 hrs. 

I took it all apart.  I would not want to do this everyday.  If it had to be broken completely down every time I flew, I would hangar it someplace.  

I am very timid about getting started with the fabric, so I'm going to wait until tomorrow- when I'm sure I'll not have any interruptions, as Connie is not here - and I'm watching Megan while I'm trying to work.  That won't work if something happens and I have to quit.

7 hrs. 

I had nothing to worry about on the fabric.  I covered all but the wings.  I tried experimenting with a heat gun, but the heat was too concentrated, and too hot.  It was too easy to get real hot, real quick.  I was able to melt a hole through the fabric without much trouble.  Use an iron instead.  

When closing up the open ends, the manual says to "glue the open end shut..."  I found that the BEST way to do it is to apply glue over the end where you will be laying the fabric to close.  Apply at the same rate that you did the first two glue/mek coats before you pulled on the fabric.  

With this layer of glue still wet and sticky, pull the fabric over the glue and rub it with your finger to seal it. It works very well, and very quick, and you don't need to clamp it.  When you have the whole side stretched, then cut off the excess material.  

You need to pull the material at LEAST halfway around the tube (or whatever).  You can use a utility knife to cut off the material against the tube, but you DO NOT want to cut against the tube for the other side that you will do next, as you would also cut through the first layer of fabric.  

Instead, use scissors, and again make sure you are at least halfway over the end.  The fabric should overlap the first layer.  After you've cut the second side excess off, you can smooth the seam by applying a little more glue.  

You can use the brush to smooth the seam edge, or you can use your finger (which I prefer).  It gets a little messy.  If it feels like it's getting too sticky, you can put a little more glue on.  I thought the hardest part would be cutting around the clamping blocks on the horizontal stabilizers, but they were easy.  See the photo to see how the reinforcing patch looks like around the clamping block.

5 hrs. 

I finished putting the straight MEC, then 2 coats of 2-1,  MEC-glue mix over all the perimeter.  This took quite a while.  I then heated up a nail set and melted the fabric through at all hole locations.  I took the wings inside and stripped off the struts and all the hardware.  I wiped them clean.  I also drilled the holes for the streamlined strobes.  All of the ribs are still perpendicular.  

Tomorrow I will start with the 2 coats of glue to the perimeter, and go from there.  I also received my EIS by UPS today!

7 hrs. 

I got the right wing glued and covered today, and had begun to shrink it when the power went off at 5:15 pm in a bad thunderstorm.  The power was off until around 3 am.  There were 26 power outages around the county.  The wind blew the rear lower  tail boom over, that I had propped up against the building.  It hit the wheelbarrow and put a dent in the tube.  Not bad- but it ticks me off.  

I also found out that AeroWorks gave me 2 RIGHT wing covers, rather than one of each.  I tried to see if I could use the right cover on the left wing, but the seams don't line up right.  I'm also running out of glue.  I don't think I'll have enough to finish.  I haven't wasted a drop.  

I picked up a Sharp Viewcam at H.H.Gregg for $287.00!  I really like it, and the balance of the project will be in color.  Because of all this, I think I may have to make a trip to Millersburg.  I can pickup the missing landing gear bolt, left wing cover, and glue.  I can return the first instrument. panel, wrong wing cover, and maybe give them back the instruments that I will not be using.

7 hrs.

 I DID drive up to AeroWorks.  Picked up left wing cover, bolts, glue...made exchanges.  Don't you know that they gave me the wrong landing gear bolt?? It's too long, and I can't make up the difference with washers, because they will get in the way of the strut cover.  I'm just going to get a 10/32 die and thread some more threads on the long bolt, then cut off the excess.  That should work.  

Well, let me tell you...there is alot of work in the wings.  I attached the cover to the left one; glued it; shrunk it; 2-coat glued it; attached all the reinforcing patches underneath (that took awhile); and melted the fabric at all hole locations.  Keep in mind I only got as far as beginning to shrink the fabric on the right wing yesterday, when the power went out.  

I also got the right wing up to where the left one is.  THEN, I put fabric rivets in one wing.  I don't know if I agree with the "...dip in straight glue..."idea, as this really makes  a mess.  I hope the rib tapes cover the glue that has oozed out around the rivet head.  I still need to rivet the other wing, and then glue on rib tapes to both wings.  I should THEN be ready to UV paint all pieces.

4.5 hrs.

I riveted the other wing, put rib tapes on both, and applied 2 coats of glue.  The wings are finally ready for UV paint, but the glue is suppose to dry for 24 hours before UV.  I'll paint the UV on the wings tomorrow.  I DID paint one coat of UV on all the other surfaces.  

HINT:  Do your painting outside in the sun, as it dries much faster.  It is latex, of course.  I had NO MEK left, and had to clean my brush out with ACETONE.  I suppose it could be used in place of MEK, but I didn't want to try it.

HINT:  When attached the rivets that have been dipped in glue, do about 12 at a time, then wipe the surface of the rivet briskly with a terry cloth rag.  It rolls up the excess glue, and is the easiest way to remove it that I have found.

4.5 hrs. 

I applied the 2nd coat of UV to the control surfaces, and put 2 coats on both wings.  I accidentally knocked over the gallon can of UV!  I lost about 1/2 gallon before I could pick it up.  As it turned out, I still had enough UV to do all but about 2/3 of the top of one wing, of the 2nd coat.  I need about 8 oz. to finish.  I could not find the UV at ANY paint shop, aviation shop, etc.  

I don't know where AeroWorks gets it.  A guy at Parr Airport in Zanesville told me that I ought to be able to use latex exterior (flat black) paint, as it should already have a UV protectant in it.  He is probably right. I've decided that this is what I'm going to do...NOTHING.  

I already have a good coat of UV on it, and in the manual they discourage MORE than two coats, as it only adds weight.  I'm sure it will suffer no ill affects of not having a 2nd coat.  I'm ready to scuff the surface with the included ScotchBrite pad.  I will then he ready to paint yellow!  

I have to fully read the instructions that apply to the paint gun, HVLP, and paint.  I also have to build a plastic-enclosed paint booth.


The weather was cold and wet today- no painting.  I picked up some polyurethane enamel to practice with.  I also need to go to Ohio Auto Care on Hamilton Rd. tomorrow to pick up the gloss black paint, and related supplies. 

6 hrs.

Today I picked up the trim paint and assorted supplies.  They don't make Durethane anymore.  It was suggested that I use PPG Concept, instead.  I got it is gloss black for the trim.  It takes hardener and reducer just like Durethane.  I will also use a flex additive in it (on the fabric).  I got an epoxy primer to use on the metal.  I then came home and built my spray booth.  

Actually, I just hung plastic around the perimeter. The floor got sticky as I painted.  Let me tell you one thing...I can't stress this enough...


I made the mistake of taking a breath after I took my mask off, and before I got out of the enclosure.  Whew!  It was strong.  I have no doubt that anything less than a separate breathing source would be dangerous.  Thank God the Citation 240 has the forced air built in. 

 No about the painting...I'm not satisfied.  First, the mistakes I made:  

1)  Dragging the bottom of the spray can in the wet paint.  
2)  Spray gun dripping...fixed when I snugged it down more securely.  3)  Dragging air hose in the wet I loop it around my neck- end of problem.  
4)  It is hard to see the "wet" line of the paint you're applying.  

This could be remedied by repositioning all of my floodlights so that you are looking into the glare.  It becomes harder to see as you apply successive coats.  I don't know what I'll do about the finish.  I know that the paint seems a little thin, after adding the reducer.  Without the reducer it may cover better.  I'll call AeroWorks at 9 am to see what they say.  

I'm not terribly impressed with the HVLP sprayer, either.  Of course, I did get a full three coats out of it.  If would probably have only covered two using a conventional sprayer.  I think my disappointment with the sprayer is probably due to the paint viscosity.  I DO wonder if it would not look any worse if I had used a paintbrush...  

I'll see how things go; I may decide to wet sand this finish, and/or apply a third coat.  If I could do it all over again, I would have applied a white or yellow UV undercoat...NOT BLACK.  

Also, every little imperfection underneath telegraphed through to the top.  It did seem to get better by the third coat, and tomorrow, maybe it will be better yet.  You MUST take care of every defect when it happens, or suffer the consequences.  Hairs from the glue brush, excess glue, glue runs, wrinkled fabric.  

If anything ever happens to this fabric, I'll probably replace it with that SuperMonokote-type stuff that I saw on the Challenger at the Fairfield Co Airshow.  Oh well, tomorrow's another day.


I talked to PPG, and AeroWorks today.  PPG said that I should use 1/2 as much reducer, and that should take care of the problem.  They also said that I should not expect to have complete coverage with only a tack coat, followed by a wet coat.  They told me to "just paint" with no lighter tack coat.  

Todd told me that the paint is so finely atomized by the HVLP, that may me causing a problem.  They use a Taiwan gun from WalMart for about $50, and it does a great job.  Connie threw the box away the Citation HVLP came in, so I guess there's no returning it.  

Todd suggested that I paint over the black UV with a yellow flat latex, as it's cheaper than using epoxy.  I agree.  I wish I'd have never used the UV at all!!!  He also said that yellow is the hardest color to cover.  I just got off the phone with Axis (maker of the Citation 240).  He said that I am using the correct fluid nozzle and needle (1.0 mm).  

He also said DO NOT reduce the reducer, and do everything just as I was.  He said that yellow paint over black is GOING TO TAKE MORE COATS, and I need to accept that.  I guess I agree. 

I've just contacted every paint store in Newark, and no one has an exterior, flat latex, in yellow, or anything close.  I then went to Meyers, and guess what...they not only had it, but it was YELLOW.  It's a better color than what the Durethane yellow is!  I'll tell you, I think if you could get the same color in a oil based polyurethane (house paint) I would use it instead of the Durethane.  

I put on 2 coats of the yellow - onto a small area of one of the elevators.  I let it dry completely, then poked and prodded.  I am certain that it will not crack, split, or peel off.  The part that was tested almost completely hides the black underneath.  I think I will now be able to use only 2 coats of Durethane, and completely hide the black UV.  I can't wait to get started...

9 hrs. sort of covered the black.  I did all black UV surfaces with 2 coats.  You can certainly still see it is dark underneath, but maybe it will be enough to only require 2 coats of Durethane.  I could have put it on thicker (easily) but though it might be asking for trouble, since this latex does not have a flex agent in it.  

I sanded the previously painted wing, and got it ready for the last coat of Durethane.  I also used a tack rag on it, and will to all other surfaces prior to painting.  The sticky stuff on it really picks up the dust.  I am better at handling and adjusting the spray gun.  The final coat looks pretty good, and I'm sure the other surfaces will look better yet. 

Make sure you angle the lights to make it easy for you to look into the glare - it makes it much easier to keep track of your "wet" line.  I really like the LexAire spray gun.  The over spray is greatly reduced. It's also fairly easy to clean.

8 hrs.

I sanded the 2nd wing and painted it.  The yellow latex over the black really made a difference.  I only needed two coats of yellow.  Of course, I put the first coat on as a wet coat, instead of a tack coat.  That was the recommendation of PPG. It was a good one.  

After two coats, I still had enough left to do another side, so I put a third coat on the bottom.  The bottom REALLY looks good.  I then scuff sanded all the rest of the fabric covered parts.  I was careful not to sand too heavily, as it would sand all of the yellow latex off.  

The consequence of that, however, is that the brush marks can still be seen under the yellow durethane.  There not bad (and they're better than black streaks), but you can still see them.  When the wing was dry enough, I pulled it out and laid out all the other pieces., to paint only one side of them.  I leaned them across long sawhorses at about 45 degrees.  I was afraid this would cause runs, but I only got a couple small ones. I put on two coats, with about 30 min. between coats.  

There is absolutely NO SIGN of the black streaks showing through.  Todd at AeroWorks discouraged me from only doing one side at a time, but I don't know how I'd have done it otherwise.  

Tomorrow I'll flip them over and finish with two coats...then I'll be done.  I don't think I'll do the black right now, in the interest of getting it in the air.  I'll either do it after I have flown, or save it for a winter project.  I think I'm going to have a good bit of paint leftover.  It's ironic, as I though in the beginning that I was going to need a good bit more.  I'm leaving both wings outside tonight...I hope they survive the temperature. (and maybe frost) okay.


Woke up to 20 mph winds, but about 57 degrees.  I hope the wings (that were left outside) survive the wind okay.  Okay, I've been outside.  Both wings are OK. The top of the second painted wing is a bit dull, or satiny.  I suppose the temperature. caused it, except it only got down to about 45 degrees.  The old Simonize reconditioning fluid would probably do the trick.  

I wouldn't call it oxidized, but it is something similar to the 75 Cutlass that I painted a stripe on the hood.  It sort of got a "foggy" look on the paint surface.  I think "blemish" is what they call it.  It looks OK, but I may decide to re-paint the top.  The bottom looks great (of course, it did get three coats, and the top only got 2). 

I painted the backside of all the other fabric surfaces.  They got coats, and they look okay. I'm going to attempt to wetsand the more obvious runs, and see what happens.  It is taking a long time for the paint to "cure".  I think I am going to do the black trim ON THE FABRIC ONLY.  I'll paint the metal later on.  

I'm going to keep the trim a simple pattern...well...not too complicated.  I also got the airspeed (0 - 80) today...but no pitot tube.  I'll read up on how to run the tubing.

4 hrs. 

 I worked on the instrument panel today.  I was going to cover the existing panel with Formica, but I decided instead to buy a Formica countertop, and just cut it out.  It was mo more expensive than the smallest sheet of Formica (and I would have had to buy  and apply contact cement).  

It is white.  Then...I got the idea to paint it yellow, to match the plane.  This is a great color, and the instruments look fantastic in it, but...I did it with a brush, and you can see the contour of the brushstrokes.  Not bad...but I'm not elated with it.  

I will now do one of several things: 
1)  Leave it as it is;  
2)  wet sand the yellow flat, then use something to bring back the gloss;  
3)  Wet sand it flat, then spray paint it with yellow (and do the nose of the airplane at the same time;  
4)  sand off ALL the yellow, and leave it white;  
5)  Cut out a new one, and leave it white.  

Option 3 appeals to me, but I haven't made my decision yet.  I wasn't going to paint the nose of the airplane again, but if I can find nothing to bring back the gloss, (after wet sanding out the brush marks on the nose) I will do that.  I am also going to use something to soften the I.P. mount to the tubing, so as to reduce vibration.


You know, I got behind on my entries, and I just can't remember what I did today or the 26th.  Sorry.

11 hrs. 

 I attached the muffler, minus the elbow hooks welded on.  I'll ask my neighbor if he could weld those on for me.  I want to tell you that properly placing the sleeve around the muffler is very important.  It would be best if you have a helper.  

It is difficult because the position of the muffler changes as you tighten the bolts around it, relative to its position to the exhaust elbow.  You can take a good look at the photos, and that might give you a starting point.  

You will find that the muffler slants slightly back towards the engine when done correctly.  This will get the elbow seams lined up with the exhaust manifold.  Realize something else...your exhaust elbow is held in place to the manifold and the muffler by springs.  The hooks for the springs are already attached to the muffler and the manifold, but have to be welded to the elbow.  

There will be three on each side, and should be straight across from the matching hooks (already attached).  The tension applied to each will not be the same.  The elbow will droop somewhat, as you have the elbow in place, but NOT attached to the springs.  

When determining where to weld the hooks on the elbow, you will want to create more of a "stretch" on the spring(s) on the bottom the elbow, as this will pull the muffler/elbow back up into perfect alignment.  The ball and socket fittings on the exhaust allow for a pretty out-of-alignment attachment, but you will want it to be aligned for aesthetic reasons, too.  The MX that I took my lessons in had a horrible alignment.  That made me feel better about my job. 

 I attached the elevators, rudder, and the ailerons.  I then masked and painted the black trim. Two coats of BRUSHED on PPG Concept (black).  It is extremely glossy, and levelled quickly.  Maybe too quickly, as a couple of runs developed on the rudder, as I painted it vertically.  It took a long time.  I'd like to repaint my truck with this paint.

7 hrs. 

 The black painted tips of the wings look bad.  It apparently wasn't the temperature. that affected them, because all the other black painted fabric also got cold, but it was inside my building. (unheated), and all of it looked fine.  

I decided to repaint the wingtips.  They do look better, but remember, I brushed it.  It looks great from about 50 ft.  I applied a stripe pattern, using two 1/2 in. stripes and a 2 in. stripe.  It is very nice.  I found out by accident that there is a clear plastic strip that you need to peel off, after the apply the stripe.  The blue masking tape I used was too sticky.  Some of the sticky junk stuck to the yellow paint, and has proven very difficult to get off.  Whatever gets the goo off, also takes the yellow paint off (like MEK).  

I didn't even try lacquer thinner, as its characteristics are similar.  But I eventually DID try it, and it seems to work okay, without dulling of softening the yellow paint.  

Here is the solution.......USE THE 3-M FINE LINE TAPE.  
I used a 1/4 in. strip to mask for the black, but then stuck the blue masking tape to the 3-M tape, but the rest of it stuck to the yellow paint.  If you are going to mask for spraying, I guess you could use regular masking tape, just make sure it sticks to the 3-M fine line, and the plastic or paper that you are masking with.  

Your fine line may need to be about 1/2 in. wide (instead of 1/4 in) to better accommodate regular masking tape. Also, the fine line tape made a PERFECT line, and came off easily.  The leading and trailing edges are getting banged up a little bit.  I'm going to need to touch up little marks, maybe after I am flying.  


As far as I'm concern, this will take several days, during this time of year (October).  It probably wouldn't be a problem in the summer.

2.5 hrs. 

 The wings survived outside OK.  Today I remounted the throttle grip, so as to provide much more tension when turning the throttle.  I put a screen door spring (about 3 in. long, and the exact diameter. of the i.d. of the throttle grip) inside of the throttle grip, between 2 finder washers that I had leftover.  Just push the grip on until it is as much tension as you want, then tighten down the screws.  It works perfect!  Sometimes I just fall in to it.  

I also ran the wires in the wings for the streamlined wingtip strobes. This was difficult, but I got it done.  It would not have been any easier, had I done it earlier in the construction. process.  

Mounted the carb., but have not connected any hoses, or the throttle cable.  This is one area where I am critical of the assembly manual... there are several areas where the clearcut by-the-numbers procedure is simply not there.  It causes me to waste time, look ahead, etc.  

I wish I had all those hours back...  If I didn't have the photos that I had taken while at AeroWorks, I don't know what I'd have done.  I can't tell you how many times I've walked back inside to my computer (at least 200) to look at a seemingly insignificant part of a photo for clarification.  Hopefully for all others after me, what I'm doing will help.  

HINT:  Do not spill any lacquer thinner, acetone, or MEK on the LEXAN windshield.  It will melt it, and eventually turn it to mush.

3 hrs. 

Today I attached the strobe heads to the wingtips.  This was a real pain, for a couple of reasons.  

1)  The male pin that you are suppose to attach to the wire(s) coming out of the wingtip was too large for the female coupler already attached to the strobe head.  It absolutely would not fit.  This is an inexcusable fault on the part of Kuntzleman Electronics, and I'm going to tell them so. 
2)  Equally inexcusable, the clear lens that attaches overtop of the blue soft material had the holes drilled in the wrong place.  It would have been impossible to push the lens far enough onto the strobe so that the hole in the lens lined up with the threaded hole in the strobe.  In fact, it was far enough off that I had to drill a completely separate hole on one of the lenses, and both holes on the other.  I hope the rest of the Kuntzleman electronics, that I have not yet installed, are better quality control.

6 hrs. 

I have to apologize to Kuntzleman.  The fitting on the strobe head is for a stripped wire, not for the wire in a connector.  I read and reread the directions, and didn't grasp that, but that's because I had a pre-conceived idea of what they wanted to say. They still screwed up on the drilling of the holes.  I talked to Todd Raber about it, and he said his Kuntzleman wingtip strobes were also that way, requiring additional holes to be drilled in the lens.  

Meanwhile, I attached the prop.  This was a piece of cake when I actually got to doing it.  I had to buy a torque wrench that would measure clear down to 175 in-lbs., which divided by 12, is the same as 14.58 ft-lbs.  The wrench (Craftsman) I had only went down to 20 ft-lbs.  

I also ran all of the fuel lines, and attached the fuel pump.  I don't know how anyone without a photo of what it's suppose to look like would ever be able to figure it out.  I had taken photos at AeroWorks, and I've look at them over 200 times.  The video and the photos I took will help immensely.  

I mounted the fuel primer bulb high enough that I could reach it over my shoulder from the seated position, if I had to.  Make sure you attach the filter and the primer bulb in the right direction, by using the arrows.  

I'm getting a little aggravated at how long it is taking to get so little done.  It seems that the instructions should be somewhat more structured, or by the numbers, to tell you exactly  what to do, just like they did in the beginning of frame assembly.  For example, there is nothing to indicate what line goes where, as it relates to the fuel pump.  There are many other examples.

5 hrs. 

Today was a bad day.  Snow flurries all day, cold, blustery.  I mounted the PRECISION POWER SUPPLY and the SMART STROBE DUAL MAGNUM boxes.  I basically mounted the two boxes on top of each other, like a sandwich.  

You'll have to see the photo.  I called Kuntzleman to make sure I was following the directions right.  You have 5 wires coming out of the Rotax 447:  

The brown one is the ground.  Ground this to the frame.  

The half-black/half-yellow wire (by itself) is the ignition kill wire.  Wire this to the kill switch, already attached to the upper tube.  You'll also need to put a small piece of wire on the other side of the kill switch, and wire it to ground.  

The gray wire is the tachometer wire.  From what I read, this may or may not be what you use for your tach connection, depending on what instrument you use.  I think with the EIS it will work.  I guess one of the lighting coil wires will also work for the tach...but only one.  If you connect to the tach using one of these and it doesn't work, then you'll know to use the other.  If you use the tach that came from AeroWorks, I believe you'll need to use the lighting coil connection, and tape off the tach wire.  

The yellow and yellow w/black stripe wires are probably clipped together on a spade bit.  These are the lighting coil wires.  The power they produce is AC.  Most power-use applications on the plane require DC, so the AC has to be converted to DC by means of a regulator/rectifier. 

Take these two yellow wires apart, and connect one of them to the red stripe/white wire on the smart strobe, and the other to the black stripe/white wire (on the smart strobe).  If you're not using a strobe system, then the lighting coil wires connect directly to a rectifier/regulator.  The lighting coil produces AC power, and the rectifier/regulator changes it to DC power, and regulates the voltage, depending on rpm.  

The Kuntzleman Precision Power Supply  is an elaborate rect./regulator.  It has two wires that need to also connect to the lighting coil wires (on its input side), and it has two output wires.  One is black, and is grounded.  The other is red, and is a 3 amp DC power supply.  It has allot of features, but I won't list them all here. Any and all of the DC powered accessories will be powered from this little wire.  

In my setup, that will be the CB radio, the EIS, any landing light(s), and the DC powered strobe. I don't know how many amps that all adds up to, but if it's more than 3, something's got to give.  Should it prove too big of a load, I may consider adding a battery.  This would provide an additional source to draw  from for short periods (like when landing with landing lights, etc.)  

It was suggested by Kuntzleman that I not make the strobes switchable, that is, just have them on anytime the engine is running.  This seems like a good idea to me.  The bulbs are rated for 1200 hrs., and I did buy them to use them, right? I will only add a switch if I install a battery, so as not to draw current when it's not running.  

I said it was a bad day?  I was attempting to position my wing behind the fuselage, so I could plug the strobe into the smart strobe box, and check the fit.  I lost control of the wing, and ended up dropping it onto the tail boom section.  It poked a hole in the middle top of the fabric.  It is more like a rip, about an inch long.  I haven't decided exactly how to fix it, but I may try SUPER MONOKOTE, then cover it with a handmade decal, like a bumblebee, stripe, or something like that.  I'm hoping I'll not have to redo it with fabric.

4 hrs. 

I have had some time to thoroughly read the directions for the EIS, and other related instrument hookups.  I connected the EGT probes to the tapped fittings in the exhaust manifold.  Just screw in the fitting, put the locking nut and compression fitting onto the probe, and insert the probe tip into the fitting.  Push it in all the way until it touches the other side of the manifold, then back it out about 1/4".   Tighten down the locking nut, making sure the probe doesn't slip at you do.  

I have read that you need to remove the rings from the spark plugs, if you use CHT sending units.  I did this.  The CHT sending unit goes over the threaded end of the spark plug, before you install it. Don't forget to gap the plug, which is .020".  On the Rotax, you can thread the CHT leads through the cooling fins on the cylinder head, where it will come out directly over the spark plug hole, then drop the spark plug into the hole.  If you don't, the lead will get bent up.  You'll see what I mean when you examine it.  

The photos and the video both show the proper way.  Also, make sure the CHT ring around the spark plug doesn't start to turn with the spark plug as you tighten it down.  Spray the ring with WD-40 before you position it.  

With all the various wires that are now accumulating, you need to decide how they will be run to the various terminations (ie, instrument panel).  It is probably best to leave most of the wires loose, until you see how many wires you have, where they go, what can be grouped together, etc.  This is where a picture is worth a thousand words. Study the photos that are enclosed, and you'll see how I did it, anyway.

4 hrs. 

More work on the wiring today.  I cut all the wires coming out of the EIS that I will not be using.  I cut them very short, so they don't come out of the back of the plug.  The EGT and CHT wires are very long, but all others that need to reach the engine (ie, tach wire) will have to be spliced, to make them long enough.  I had to pay extra for the pre-wired harness.  I don't know why EIS didn't think that the tach, power, etc. would not need cables as long as the EGT/CHT. 

The entire frame is grounded, so I found no reason to run the various ground wires clear back to the upper root tube.  I just grounded things wherever it was convenient.  Also, on the EIS, they indicate cylinders by #1 and #2.  Which is ask?  It doesn't matter, so long as you know which probes are connect to which cylinder, and that one is designated.  

For example, if you connect the probes from the EIS EGT #1, to the cylinder closest to the prop, then that is cylinder #1.  Simple enough.

3.5 hrs. 

I put all the wires inside of the black accordion tube, and secured it with nylon ties alongside of the lower tube and up the vertical tube.  The hardest part of it is trying to determine how to make the neatest installation.  You do, however, have to know in the beginning where every wire starts and terminates.  And because everything vibrates, I have taken precaution to isolate wires as best I can.  In the photos, take note of the EGT and CHT leads.  All I have left to do is wire the tail strobe, and install-connect the Skysports Fuel Probe.

3 hrs.

 I forgot about wiring the remote switches on the EIS.  I don't think I've mentioned this before, but the EIS has three buttons on the front of it that control its operation.  When you are strapped in, you cannot reach the EIS without releasing your seatbelt (or at least the shoulder straps).  EIS has attached three leads that you can install on a tube, or wherever, so that you can control the EIS while strapped. 

The switches are SPST, momentary on.  What that means is that when you push the button it grounds the circuit, which cycles the display on the EIS.  I got mine at Radio Shack.  I am installing mine on the left side of the hoop tube, inside of a small aluminium box (that I also got at Radio Shack).  

There was no way to attach the switches directly to the tube, as you could not reach the nut to tighten on the back.  With the box that I bought, there is still room on the front of it to mount three more push buttons, or a couple of switches (future devices). I also shrunk on a couple of tubes, where the wires enter the hole in the tubing.  This should keep it from abrading.

3.5 hrs. 

I finished up soldering the remote wires in the box.  I then installed the throttle cable.  Be sure to take all the slack out.  Once you have attached the carb end to its fitting,  it's much easier to the slack out.  

My neighbor welded the exhaust spring hooks onto the exhaust elbow, and it is perfect.  Smear on some Permanex (Loctite) Hi-Temp. silicone ANTI-SEIZE compound where the elbow touches each piece.  

I had to quit early, because I drove over to St. Clairsville to take my first flying lesson.  I did very well, and I'm happier than ever that I bought an ultralight.  Something else came to light, however.  

What I am getting ready to say cannot be understated...


I got better very quickly, but when I began trying to bank a turn, it was not very good. The thing that I learned very quickly is that making turns is much like changing lanes on the freeway... movements are very small.  There is also a bit of a lag, after initiating a control.  

The takeoffs and landings were the most fun, as you would expect.  Well, except for the flying about a foot off the ground in the hayfield, dodging large bales!  I'm not kidding!  We then flew at treetop level.  I thought the branches were going to sting my legs.  It was more fun than I've ever had on ANY type of ride.  I can't wait to fly my own.

My hearing, however, did not recover for 1 1/2 days.  I had a very noticeable ringing in my ears.  It is the most loud noise, sustained, that I've ever experienced.  We had headsets, and I don't think it was the engine that was too loud, it was the volume of the intercom system.  I found out later that my instructor had EARPLUGS, in addition to his headset.  I sure wish I had.  I will NEVER to it again!  He later told me that the volume could have been adjusted.  I'll use my own headset the next lesson.  If that won't work, then he'll just have to give me hand signals, because I'm not going through that again.


Today I re-read all of the instructions for the Skysports Fuel Probe.  I think I know understand how to install it.  I also put gear oil in the reduction drive.  Todd at AeroWorks says the best way to fill it is to just put 12 oz. in it, rather than filling it until the oil begins to come out the lower hole (messy).  

I got some other miscellaneous information from Todd, as follows (in no particular order):   

spark plug gap is .020"; make sure to remove the spark plug ring, if installing a CHT probe onto the plug; let your plugs be the best indicator of how proper mixture and temp.  Proper mixture and temp will produce toasty brown tips.  

Too lean (which also means too hot)  will produce light gray or white, chaulky tips.  The proper CHT is 300 to 400 degrees.  You want to be watching it when the temp. gets to 425.  He said for me to set the limit on my EIS to 480 degrees.  The EIS has a red warning light that begins to flash when ANY parameter has been exceeded.  

I guess that lets you fly, instead of constantly cycling through the display pages, checking for readings.  The EGT limit should be set at 1200 to 1225.  Wide open throttle while flying should produce 1000 to 1050 degrees.  Midrange power will produce 1100 to 1150. 

 Funny, isn't it?  You would think that lower rpm would produce lower temp's.  In the box that comes with your Rotax will be a hardware pack.  In it will be two short bolts, with copper rings.  These are the plugs for the EGT fittings on the exhaust, should you foolishly decide not to install EGT probe(s). 

Incidentally, there is a hole on each side of the gearbox, that you might think would need a plug also, to keep the gear lube from running out (it's also threaded).  It apparently does not need any plug.  

Gary Church (who has some photos on the AeroWorks website) gave me the following info: 

Redline rpm is 6800.  Your max rpm, while tied down on the ground (break-in) should be 6250 to 6300 rpm.  You will gain approx. 300 rpm to your max. power while flying, as you're now in clean air. 

 Adjusting your prop. so that your rpm is too low or too high will create problems.  Your max. power rpm should be about 6500 straight and level.  

Also, Todd told me, without even trying the current setting, to change the jet needle position. There is a jet needle, and a needle jet, so don't get confused.  The top of the needle has 4 positions, into which a retaining ring is snapped.  The retaining ring controls how far into the needle jet the jet needle is permitted to drop (or fit).  The higher onto the needle that the retaining clip is positioned, the lower the needle is permitted to drop into the jet, effectively leaning the mixture.  My ret. clip was in the 2nd from the top, with a very small o-ring filling the top spot.  Todd had me move it to the 3rd spot from the top (or the 2nd from the bottom).  Reposition the o-ring to the spot vacated by the ret. clip.  

I'll still need to try it for awhile, to see how it responds.  There seem to be allot of things that control proper mixture:  idle speed, jet needle position, air mixture, etc.  I'll go over the proper start-up procedure, but after I have started my own.  By the way, the "54" on the side of the carb is the model, not a designation of the size.  This carb. is a 36 mm.

4 hrs.

Four hours today, and not much to show for it.  I did get the hole cut for the fuel probe, but I didn't get it installed.  I connected jumper cables to my truck, to power the EIS, and set all the parameters before  I start the engine.  I was able to power up the EIS, but it wasn't working right.  I traced the problem to the remote switchbox. Specifically, the "next-ack" button was acting like it was being depressed, although it wasn't.  When I disconnected the switch, everything worked fine.  I removed and re-soldered the switch, and it worked okay.  In a short while, one of the other two switches did the same thing.  I am going to replace all three switches with better quality switches from somewhere else.

4 hrs. 

Four lost hours again.  I tested the EGT and CHT probes, with heat.  The EGT leads proved to be attached backwards.  In other words, the cylinder that I had designated as #1 was reading as #2 on the EIS.  All I had to do to correct it was to cut off the heat-shrink tubing and disconnect the spade bits, then switch them.  The CHT probes were fine.

The instructions for the calibrating of the fuel probe are complicated, but complete.  What I want to accomplish is to have the gauge read "empty" when there is actually a gallon of fuel left.  I can also calibrate it so that it reads in percent.  ie, when the tank is full, it will read 100%.  At one actual gallon, it will read 0%.  I got rushed at the end of my allotted time, so I didn't get the probe secured in the tank.  I did put exactly one gallon of fuel in the tank.  I also had to cut the probe (it started at 24").  So it would fit in the tank w/o hitting the bottom.  I think the probe is now 14 to 14 1/4".  I accidentally dropped the internal flange into the tank (I knew it would eventually happen).  I'll try and retrieve it with a magnet.  

I also picked up three new switches from AutoZone.  They are automotive type, and heavier construction.  They won't have to be soldered, as they have spade-type connectors.  They are also lever-type, rather than push-button.  I may like them better.  The instructions to installing and calibrating the fuel probe are very complicated.  I am not at this point, going to go into the step-by-step.  I'll come back to it after it's all done and add something.

4 hrs.

Success today.  I got the fuel probe attached, and I was successful in calibrating it the way that I wanted.  I was not, however, able to do it without almost completely draining the tank.  It is required in the directions, but I thought I was more clever than that, and tried to do it without it.  It cannot be done that way, because the adjustment "pots" on top of the fuel probe are tied in to each other.  When you turn either one, the display on the EIS changes.  If anyone has any problem calibrating theirs, just give me a call.  I'll be glad to help.  

It won't do for me to go through the entire procedure here, as they will all be different.  I took the day off from work today so I could go back to St. Clairsville and take my second lesson.  The earplugs and the volume control made all the difference in the world.  I could almost here him better with a headset than if we were face to face.

  We practiced cross-controlling, stalls, and of course, takeoffs and landings.  It was pretty windy, but more than that, it was gusty.  I understand now why so many ultralight pilots do not like to fly in the wind.  You are in a constant state of correction.  I hadn't thought of it, until now...but I had always wondered whether I would get airsick or not.  I've read some about it, and I guess it is influenced by your mental state, as well as the physical factors.  I'm happy to say that I have not even remotely gotten sick to my stomach.  I would think it would have happened today, if it were going to happen.  Now I've probably jinxed myself.

4 hrs. 

Boy, I can taste it now!  I'm so close.  I just have trivial details to finish up.  I safety wired the prop (a total of ten bolts), the reduction drive (two fill plugs on side, top and bottom plugs), the exhaust springs (6), the muffler-to-cylinder head bolts (2), and the fuel probe (5).  Don't forget to put Loctite on the muffler-to-cyl. head bolts. This is probably pretty important, as you cannot tighten down the bolts too tight.  What I mean is that it won't let you, as the rubber washers begin to squeeze out long before it gets tight.  

Neither the fuel probe or the propeller came with safety wire, so I ran out on the fuel probe.  I'll get some before I fly.  I also found the solution to the little slit I put in the top of the right wing.  I found a roll of (believe it or not) BRIGHT YELLOW Super Monokote, from my model airplane days.  It is not quite as "yellow" as the durethane paint, but it was pretty close.  I ironed it on in three layers, increasing diameter ovals.  It worked perfect!  It also shrinks up, just like the fabric.  

This is what I have left to do:  
1) put graphite lube on the throttle and brake cables  
2)  mount tail strobe  
3)  reassemble  
4) mount my GPS  
5)  break the engine in.  

One of our patrol pilots from the aviation section told me I need to check the weight and balance.  He said that AeroWorks should have something to indicate where the Center of Gravity should be.  I'll have to contact them on that.  I would also like to weigh it, so see what the gross weight actually is (with and without my weight added).

6 hrs. 

I started my engine!!  It was fantastic.  I feel such a sense of fulfillment.  You know, if any of the wiring, mechanical connections, fuel system, prop bolts, or a dozen other things had not been right, then it might not have started.  I am proud of myself.  There...I'm reaching around and patting my own back.  

I didn't break it in, as it was pitch dark by the time I was able to start it.  I can't believe how long it took to put it back together.  I still need to attach the tail strobe and the gap seals.  The right side wingtip strobe didn't work.  The left one worked intermittently.  I am positive it's because the replacement connector pins I used were too large in diameter, and I couldn't shove them up into the connectors far enough.  The circuit could not be completed.  I'll replace them with the proper ones tomorrow.  

I had a pleasant surprise...the EIS is backlit (green) and it is bright!  It seemed to function fine, in the short time the engine was running.  I let the CHT climb to 225 before I revved it at all.  I didn't go over 4500 rpm, and that was just for a couple of seconds.  I can't wait till tomorrow to break it in.

HINT: When starting the engine, prop the tail up onto something, just as when you're assembling the tail.  I didn't make this mistake, but I'm sure that if you leave the tail on the ground, it will come up hard on it's nose gear when you apply throttle. 

Incidentally, I rotated the brake drums 90 degrees. forward.  This put the brake cables more on top, rather than coming up from underneath.  Had I left the cables underneath, they could snag tall grass, etc.  Now if you have already attached your brake cables the way I had originally done it, then you didn't read through this entire diary before you started construction!  I have to make corrections as I go, you should be doing everything right the first time, at my expense!! 

Remember when I described putting the ribs on backwards?  I had another builder email me, and he indicated that he was getting ready to do his wings.  Before I could warn him about the rib problem, he had already begun attaching them backwards.  I believe he only did 4 or 5 that way, then he saw the holes for the hinges on the leading edge, and realized he had them backwards.  

Aerolite 103
Max Rentz standing by his AEROSPORT-103 while wearing an OZEE Flightsuit with matching color scheme to his Aerosport-103 ( nice- touch ).

I took the opportunity, since I had the brake assemblies loose, to correct a slight binding in each brake drum.  This was caused because the large washer (paint black) that has been welded on the spindle was not exactly perpendicular.  This washer is the part that you drill through, in order to attach the brake assemblies.  I took a quarter size washer, cut it in half, and shimmed between the two in order to make it perpendicular.  

The wheel and brake drum can then be attached, and the wheel spins freely without rubbing on the shoes.  You can tell if you have the same problem by seeing if the spacing between the drum (on the wheel) and the brake shoe plate is even.  If not, then you'll need to shim it, too.  

You know, I haven't added up all the hours, but all I know is I have really enjoyed the building process.  I once heard a house builder say, by the time he finishes a house...he hates it.  I understand where he's coming from.  I thought I would run into that here, but I couldn't have been farther from the truth.  I will have an empty feeling when all the construction process is done.  I guess that will give me reason to add things, or tweak.  

I do still have to paint and install the streamlined strut covers, CB radio, etc.  That also gives me hope for the future, as I one day will be building a homebuilt airplane, such as a Velocity or a Lancair.  Can't wait till tomorrow...

3.5 hrs. 

Well, it's tomorrow!  Lots of fun today.  I spent a couple of hours rounding up miscellaneous parts:  Galvanized wire (safety wire, 20 ga.); a keyed switch to use in the ignition circuit; graphite for the throttle cable; tie down anchors; and while attempting to get new connector pins for the tip strobes- I actually found identical connectors- pins and all!!  The package was at an old electronics store, and looked like it had been hanging there for 20 years.  It had yellowed, and the price was written in pencil. No bar codes here!  I connected them all, and attached the tail strobe also.  No need to run the ground wire clear up to the rear mast, just put it on an "eye" connector and attach it to the bolt that holds the strobe on. 

 Remember, the whole airframe is grounded.  Okay, now for the results on the engine break-in.  Everything went fine, although it takes 1 hour, 4 3/4 minutes.  During this time, I got cold- as the prop was pulling air.  I guess that's better than being behind it.  

I followed AeroWorks instructions, which is as follows:  
1)  Fuel on 
2)  Choke on  
3)  Squeeze primer bulb  
4)Ignition on (or kill switch off, whichever terminology you prefer)  5)  yell "CLEAR PROP"!!  
6)  pull the starter rope.  A couple of pulls, and it will fire.  

Unlike most other engines, it will run, albeit a little rough, with the full choke on.  Let this run for about 30 sec. to 1 minute, then kill the engine.  Walk around the plane and take the choke off.  

Come back around, ignition on, "clear prop", and pull starter rope.  If yours is like mine, you'll have to keep it at about 2500 rpm to keep it from dying.  It is a brand new engine, and it will run better as it breaks in.  By the time I was done with my break in, mine idled at 2230 rpm, and was very smooth.  There was no hint of quitting. 

 Below is the ROTAX 447 break-in procedure.  I recommend making a copy of this, as I did, and keep it on a clipboard where you are sitting (and you will be sitting).  I took my Rolex off, and put on my Casio w/stopwatch.  That way, all you have to do is keep track of the total time, and where you're suppose to be.  I put a checkmark alongside each duration as I finished it.  I also noted the average EGT and CHT as I   progressed.  I didn't think of doing this until I was well into it, however.  The numbers are in italics-bold.  

2000 (idle)  2 min.  2 min.    
3500 5   7    
5000 1   8    
2000 9    
4000  5   14    
5500   1 15    
2000 1 16    
4500 5 21    
Max (6250) 10sec 21:10    
2000 1 22:10    
5000 5 2710 1100 345
Max (6280) 15 sec 27:25    
2000(2250) 1 28:25 1020 301
5000 5 33:25 1092 337
Max (6310) 20 sec. 33:45 996 378
2000 (2210) 1 34:45 1027 318
5000 5 39:45 1009 331
Max (6330) 30 sec 40:15 1000 376
2000 (2220) 1 41:15 1027 310
5500 5 46:15 1070 360
4000 5 51:15 1170 320
Max (6370) 1 52:15 1050 360
2000(22700 1 53:15 970 296
Max (6340) 2 55:15 1000 379
2000 (2270) 1 56:15 980 320
5500 5 61:15 1100 370
Max (6280) 3 64:15 1050 430
2000 (2230) 30 sec 64:45 975 280

I also listed the rpm at max throttle and idle.  I have not touched the idle or air adjustment.  I only moved the jet needle to the 3rd position, as a stated earlier.  I was told that there is a midrange rpm where the engine seems to get hot, and that did happen.  

As I recall, it was at 4500, which was from 16 min. to 21 min. (check the chart).  Slower or faster, it was okay, but 4500 caused the EGT to read about 1235 to 1240.  I'm sure it won't be a problem in the air.  My alarm on the EIS is set at 1225 degrees.  I'm going to reset the alarm limit to 1200, as that is the published limit from Rotax.  I may lower it from there, depending on what I find out from those that know. The published CHT limit from Rotax is 480 degrees.  The highest CHT I read was 441, and that was at the very end of the last full power segment which lasted 3 minutes.  I told you that AeroWorks told me to set the EIS warning to 480?  Well, the whole purpose of the alarm is to give you warning before it's a serious problem.  I'm going to reduce that parameter also, probably to around 420 or so.  Hell, it only reaches about 1000 degrees. at max throttle.

As you can see, I'm getting over 6300 rpm average at full power.  That will probably translate into over 6500 in the air.  We will see...  The idle speed is very constant, at 2230 +/- average.  

I'm going to have to create more spring tension on the throttle handle, though.  It wanted to return to idle when I let go of it.  Remember the screen door spring in the handle?  All I need to do is push it on a little tighter.  

Okay, I couldn't resist...I had to get in and taxi across my back yard.  I could only go about 60 feet (with the trees and all)  but it was neat.  I found I was also able to start it from my strapped in position.  Now to wait for a warmer day...

Time to Reflect...

I am now ready to fly.  I have a couple of little details to complete, and I will continue to add to this diary as I prepare for and complete the first flight.  

The whole purpose of this was to help you build your AeroLite  - AeroSport, by clarifying the directions, having an abundance of photos to use as reference, and little hints that will speed up your assembly. The most important function of this diary is to keep you from making MISTAKES, like I did.  Remember the wing ribs?  

Some of the text will not apply to your plane (ie, if you don't install an EIS).  I spent alot of time on the strobes, EIS, and fuel probe.  Those that opt for these accessories will appreciate it...all others...just skip that part!

From time to time, I have been critical of AeroWorks.  You will agree, however, that I never questioned the quality or integrity of a component or assembly.  I found not a single remarkable flaw in the kit, as supplied.  Thank God that what they may lack in assembly manual expertise, they make up in their skill where it counts.  

I have no experience with other ultralight manufacturers, but I have seen some of their kits.  Some of the devices cause me concern.  Remember, I had originally planned to get a two-place, probably a Challenger.  I was so impressed by the AeroLite I changed my mind, knowing that I was giving up a seat.  

You will also get excellent phone support from AeroWorks.  You may get a recording when you call, but they will call you back the same day.  You can also call me at (740) 366-2176, or email me at  .

One more thing...I'm not an English major.  I write for substance, not  sentence structure. My goal is to articulate building procedures, and little more.  Don't email me, saying that I ended the sentence of page 13 with a preposition.  I do spell pretty well, though, and I seldom need the spell checker.  If you find a mistake, it is from the typing.  I did go back and edit certain areas, as I learned more information about the topic, etc.  Some of the writing may seem not to "flow" as well, as a result.

It's been two months to the day that I picked up my kit from AeroWorks.  I do wonder how much less time it would have taken if I had done these things differently:  
1)  No written diary, photos, or video  
2)  Dacron slip-on covers, rather than the time-consuming fabric and paint  
3)  no EIS (including fuel probe)  
4)  eliminate wingtip and tail strobes 
5)  eliminate the black UV underpaint (only applies to fabric)  
6)  eliminate the head scratching...hours and hours of staring at the instructions. 

I just counted up the hours...207 grand total.  You're now thinking...that's alot more than the "60 to 80" advertised, but remember all the extras listed above.  

I'm absolutely certain that I could have built a Dacron version in 60 hours, without all the accessories.  With what I have learned, I'm also certain that I could do another one in about 40 hours. 

Enjoy your construction, and safe flying!!  -Max P. Rentz   
(aka- "BlueMax")

Ultralight News Editor's note: The following note from the factory was received when I asked for permission to use the story on site.

One thing to keep in mind is while Max did a great job in putting his diary together. He had never built or flown any aircraft before this . He also did many modifications to his plane drastically extending the build time along the complexity of the original design. 
However he does say it would be twice as easy this time around and feels he would follow more of our  ( factory ) recommendations during assembly. We have also really updated our construction manual ( which was pretty good compared to most ) with a newer and even better one. 
Max is one of my favorite owners and is very active in communicating with fellow Aeroliters. We at AERO-WORKS really enjoy him very much. You may want to contact him and I know Max may want to do an update to add to this building diary as his experiences of flying an what he as learned from this. Contact Max @ Max P.Rentz
E-mail Address(es):
Thanks Todd  

Aerolite 103 ultralight - experimental lightsport aircraft


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