Yooper Rocketman

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Yooper Rocketman last won the day on June 1

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About Yooper Rocketman

  • Rank
    Won't Leave!
  • Birthday 12/18/1955

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    KIMT, Iron Mountain, MI
  • Interests
    Building Lancair IVPT, should be flying in 2016. Active pilot with Northwoods Airlifeline, flying mercy flights for almost 25 years. Built a custom log home, several solar collectors and restored a 1940's wind turbine. Also love 60's muscle cars.
  • Reg #
  • Model
    M20K Rocket

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2,488 profile views
  1. Wire welder

    TIG is probably more like "GAS" welding, in that you are using the tungsten tip and amp control on the handle to control the heat, inert gas shielding the weld, and feeding aluminum in much like you would in a gas weld. These machines are usually water cooled as well, requiring a water source and drain point for the cooling water. The issue is the cost of the equipment for TIG vs. wire. If you're not doing a LOT of aluminum, you will struggle getting good at it and the cost is not as effective as wire is for standard metal welding. We only use TIG at my fab shop for aluminum, using wire for 90% of the welding work. You're looking at two different skill sets for TIG vs. wire feed welding. I would stick with a flux core 120 volt wire feed unit as this will most likely fit 90% of your needs with a very reasonable (and resale value option) cost of entry. Take your aluminum to someone that does it a lot. You will probably save money in the end, especially when considering the up front costs and stocking inert gas. I don't weld much anymore, but all my welders use the new hoods. If I was to take on a large project, the hood would be my first upgrade! For now, I drop the project off in my fab shop and seek out the best welder for the particular job I am doing! Oh.... you'll find wire much easier to strike an arc too, as long as your feed and amperage are set right. Tom
  2. Wire welder

    Don, Not aware of a flux core aluminum. Like nels noted, aluminum welding is more commonly done by professional shops using "shielded gas" (argon or CO-2) welding. We actually do a ton more welding with TIG than wire (aluminum fuel and hydraulic tanks, all the tiny mod parts I made for the Lancair, etc.....). For aluminum welding I find wire to be "crude", fine for large aluminum trailer repairs but not something for more precise work. A couple tips from a stick welder (me) that transitioned to wire; If the wire doesn't come out when pulling the trigger, stop immediately. You're bunching up wire at the feed end because you've got splatter on the tip and the wire is not able to move up the whip. To fix that issue, cut the wire where it goes into the whip at the drive end, pull the tip (unless you can grab the wire there with wire cutters) and pull it through. Cut off the bundled up wire at the machine and re-feed into the whip. Use an anti-splatter paste, keeping it right on the welding machine, dipping the tip into it occasionally when hot. It helps a lot with the first issue I just described. Practice your feed rate and amperage settings on scrap material about the same thickness you plan to weld until you are comfortable determining those settings without a test. As in arc welding (stick), have a very clean welding helmet glass so you can determine your flux vs. your molten weld material providing you the cleanest weld (keeping your flux out of the weld joint). Be careful with thin material. Unlike stick welding where you have to heat the material excessively to drop out a hole in your material, the wire feed will "PUSH" a hole through sooner on thin material. Lastly don't do like the TV motorcycle shops do, welding without the helmet! Tom
  3. Wire welder

    I've been in the welding and truck repair business all my life (now a truck dealership and trailer manufacturer). Back in the 80's my guys used stick more often than wire. I could probably sell my one and only stick machine if it were not for the fact they do all the TIG aluminum welding with it. All production work is with our wire machines now . Go wire Don!! Tom One of our recently completed smaller trailers.........
  4. Today's flight for 2017

    Flew my little cancer buddy down to Grand Rapids MI from up in the U.P. for more chemo treatments. The Airlifeline Bonanza was down for Avionics maintenance and my Lancair is down for a final bodywork push before going to my painter. Caleb was disappointed we weren't taking the prop-jet but was still happy they didn't have to drive. Tom
  5. Upgrade from C to K? Should we??

    DITTO! Here we are, my last trip to Spruce Creek with the Rocket, north of Knoxville TN and only 1 1/2 hours to Daytona Beach (OK, we had a little tailwind). Non-stop. With my F model it was always one or two fuel stops. Tom
  6. Mike Miles Test Pilot, Retires after 41.5 years

    Neat story! That's definitely an accomplishment to RETIRE as a test pilot. Tom
  7. Thoughts on Velocity aircraft

    Yep, Joe Trepicone. He's been drooling over my Rocket for years and I finally got him to move up from his Tiger this past summer. After my discussions with him during my transition training it became painfully evident a Mooney would be one of the best "pre-Lancair " airplanes. It's amazing the amount of Lancair pilots that moved up from a Mooney. Speaks volumes about our Mooneys. Definitely take you up on dinner! Tom
  8. Thoughts on Velocity aircraft

    You're based at KOSU? Toledo half way.........that's funny. I get into KDLZ occasionally to visit a good friend building a Lancair Turbine. I'll give you heads up the next time and if it happens to be an overnight I can even have glass of wine ! Tom
  9. Thoughts on Velocity aircraft

    85 knot landing speed??? I can't come close to 42 knots on landing (half the speed) with my Rocket. Over the numbers at 100 knots, land at 85 with the IVPT. Fatality rate has definitely been an issue. If we sat down for a drink and I told you the accident details on some of them you would be amazed. Tom
  10. Thoughts on Velocity aircraft

    I suppose you guys were wondering when I would chime in? Bryon; the crash rate is no where near one third, but it IS pretty horrible. It's not a real forgiving plane if you don't fly it right. Two things absolutely necessary are to keep it in coordinated flight (it will swing fuel out to the wingtip FAST if you are not coordinated, which with under half tanks can be a real problem) and stall characteristics are all over the board, based on each builders work. The accident rate decreases something like 10 fold when you get over 150-200 hours on the plane (in a reasonable time frame, not 5 years). I am over 165 hours in 9 months on mine, for that very reason. Too many accidents come back to pilots buying this slick airplane with light logbook hours and/or more money than common sense or experience (V-tailed Doctor killer of the 60's comes to mind). I doubt there has been a Lancair IV, IVP, or IVPT accident since 1999 that I have not reviewed and studied the accident reports. Although a few are head scratchers, most are so flagrantly obvious what was done wrong I just shake my head. LOBO (Lancair Owners and Builders Organization) has been advocating a program for the Lancair's much like the FAA did with the MU-2's when their record was so bad. The program brought the accident rate down on that plane tremendously with the mandated training. Amazingly enough, the very people (owners) that would likely benefit the most from this program with the Lancairs (lower accident rate means affordable insurance and a truly justifiable resale value) seem to be against the concept, even if THEY are grandfathered in and not required to get the training. This proposed mandate would mostly address new owners of these planes. Here is a really interesting development for this air frame. Mark Manke and company at RDD (Mark worked on my plane in 1999 with me during my factory assist program as a Lancair employee) have developed a new wing and new tail for the plane, as well as incorporate the BRS recovery parachute in the LX7. They are targeting the "new" Cirrus customer looking for more speed and pressurization with an equally safe airplane. Preliminary feedback from insurance companies has been they will be near the same price point as the Cirrus fleet. This thing stalls like a certified airplane, has 6 hours of range which can be done in pressurized comfort, and is probably 40-50 knots faster in cruise. http://www.rddent.com/lx7.html Tom
  11. Reserving old, expired N numbers

    That's happened with me and a month or two later they send me my money back, after "Short N Numbers" is assigned the number. Apparently when it first becomes available they will take anyone's money. Tom
  12. Thinking about airpark property

    Load the baggage compartment to the max. Helps a lot on grass with the Rocket! Tom
  13. My local EAA Chapter hosted our 15th Annual Ford Airport Day last weekend (just getting caught up enough to post it). We invited the Model A club from the U.P. to come down to be part of the show and allowed them a photo shoot with the Ford Trimotor, our premier attraction this year. The main show was Saturday, but the Trimotor was with us for 4 days and Friday we hosted the local VA Hospital and their Annual POW/MIA Event. When the vets got off the bus, they buzzed right over to a T-6 we had parked as the backdrop to the podium for the POW/MIA speakers. It was pretty neat to see their interest in an old warbird era trainer, owned by a pilot from Pontiac, MI that was in the area and agreed to hang around for our event. He ended up on three TV stations that evening, so clearly got a bit of attention. Following the POW/MIA Ceremony, the chapter provided the vets a free lunch and after that they were sitting outside in their wheel chairs when the Trimotor taxied out for a flight. They asked if the pilot would do a "Flyover" as he departed the pattern. We called him on the radio and he complied. After the Trimotor departed the area a few vets asked their escorts if they might be able to get a ride? Pattie with the Trimotor from EAA called national and they agreed to drop the ticket price 33%, the airport manager and our chapter covered the rest, and after a considerable wait from the VA management for approval, 8 vets and a couple escorts loaded on the Trimotor for a ride. They were some happy vets when they got off the plane! Tom
  14. Thinking about airpark property

    As a fellow Michigander I had a wife that wanted a winter home where it is WARM. Like Buddy, we have a home on 7FL6, Spruce Creek. You can find homes in the same range as some have quoted above, but need to be watching closely and regularly to find them when they come up for sale in that price range. The Association fees are $1400 a year, but considering we are on probably the largest airpark in the world (600 airplanes based there, 1400 homes) with full security and the association fees cover both the runway costs AND the security, I feel they are very reasonable. There is no state income tax in Florida, and a decent homestead property tax break for Florida residents (of which I DON'T qualify for) so ownership there can be pretty reasonable. Unfortunately, Volusia County feels we got too GOOD of a break on my purchase, and we are fighting a 13% increase in our property taxes this year (hearing in late October). Absence of that issue, we love our winter home at Spruce Creek. Tom
  15. Today's flight for 2017

    I flew down to Grand Rapids, MI this morning to pick up a young boy after his weekly chemo treatment (was dropped off yesterday by one of our other pilots but blood count was too low to allow same day return). He gets really excited when he finds out he'll get a ride in the Lancair (this was his third flight in 4PT). He's been on weekly treatments since December and will finally go down to monthly in another month. One hour flight verses 7 hour drive each way so the family really appreciates it when we can fly them down. Anyway, they parked me next to this Mooney. Wondering if it belongs to anyone on Mooney Space? Tom