View Full Version : January 2010 Kitfox of the Month Dave S.

12-31-2009, 08:40 PM
Name & TeamKitfox.com username: Dave S & Diane S

City/State: St Paul, MN

Kitfox model/Series: Series 7 Trigear

Engine & prop: Rotax 912ULS, Warp Drive Tapered tip, Nickel edge

Date started, date completed: January 2005 - July 2008 3.5 Years & 1200 Hours


N128DD was certified as an experimental homebuilt on July 7, 2008 with the
initial flight test conducted on July 18, 2008. Each of us decides if we are
going to do the first flight or not - while this is a decision not to be
taken lightly, In my case, I felt that I had prepared well enough to be a
test pilot for this aircraft. NOT doing the first flight somehow seemed
like contracting out the honeymoon! NO way! The first flight was restricted
to a perfect day with only the ground crew of two - all business, no party. A
hospitality day at the hangar was held on August 10, 2008 for family,
friends, fellow pilots and builders - all party, no business.


No two Kitfoxes are identical and N128DD is no exception. The kit was ordered
without the quick build wings; and, without powdercoating; instead,
sandblasted, epoxy-primered and Aerothaned. I have to say the Kitfox gives a
person to chance to work with just about all possible aircraft materials -
steel, aluminum, fiberglass, plastic and fabric.

N128DD is set up for Day-Night VFR with traditional "steam gauges". Avionics
include a Garmin GTX 320 transponder W/King encoder, Icom IC-200 Com Radio
W/Commant antenna, Softcom Intercom, Artex ME409 ELT and Lowrance RAM mount

Fuel system uses the dual 13 gallon wing mount tanks, Kitfox fuel placards,
aluminum header tank and Facet electric boost pump.

The electrical system utilizes a dual buss, dual alternator dual battery setup
with the Rotax primary system feeding the avionics and with the larger
alternator powering the lights and other high draw equipment. A cross feed
permits backing up either system with the other; and, the ability to start
with either or both batteries. Each system has a separate voltmeter. I have
always found that a voltmeter provides more useful information than a
ammeter, although both would be best. Aeroflash wingtip three light system
with wingtip power supplies for the strobes is used and a pair of automotive
halogens are used for taxi and landing lights. A red LED strip is used to
illuminate the panel from the glare shield rim.

Tips, tricks, discoveries and challenges

1) Some of the the fuselage bracket tabs for the rudder pedal adjustment
levers were found to be poorly welded and one separated during sandblasting -
I needed to practice my gas welding skills anyway. I want everyone to know
that this was BEFORE John McBean got the company.
2) The fuselage was somewhat magnetized. My original second hand compass
simply would not adjust no matter where it was placed. A S.I.R.S NV2A 2400
compass with a better compensation system worked fine provided it was located
to the extreme left or right side of the glare shield - it ended up on the
Pilot's side and compensates perfectly.
3) The liquid cabin heater provides adequate cabin heat for any weather I care
to fly in (down to 10 below zero) and a pair of fabricated cowl vents provide
adequate ventilation when needed in warm weather. Have to fess up - the first
flight was done on an 80 degree day with NO cowl vents and NO shutoff for the
heater - that got corrected rather quickly!
4) I fabricated some seals to close up the hole around the flaperon horns -
this is really necessary in the winter.
5) The Initial test flight uncovered a slight tendency to roll left which was
solved with fine tuning the wing washout. The initial book dimension for the
horizontal stabilizer and trim adjustment were right on; although the manual
elevator requires some back pressure on final with flaps extended and trim
full nose up - a modification with the trim assist which John McBean sells
helps this a lot.
6) The seat pan which came with the kit was modified with the under seat pans
that John McBean sells - these provide a storage place and double as a
safety to prevent the seat from ever coming down on the aileron rod - a few
cases of which are memorialized in the NTSB files.
7) The seat pan is mounted with plain aluminum clamps and machine screws -
rather than the securing with zip ties. Also - a strip of hockey stick tape
is wrapped around the tubes so the bare aluminum clamps do not contact the
8) All of the hardware which was supplied with the aircraft for the controls
was upgraded from nyloc nuts to drilled bolts with castle nuts and cotter
pins. Also used a lot more cushion clamps and fewer zip ties than the manual
called for.
9) Fuel hoses - just throw out the milspec hoses and get fuel injection hoses,
particularly if a person is using auto gas as Rotax recommends. Don't get the
standard auto fuel hoses - get the fuel injection (lined) ones, otherwise the
cockpit will stink like gas. You know exactly how I know this.....
10) Performance with the 912 ULS and Warp drive set to a cruise pitch is so
close to the published averages in the book "How to fly a Kitfox" for the
series 7 that I don't really need to speak to this subject - just read the
11) I almost never use full deflection on the flaps - half flaps works fine
and full flaps produces almost no noticeable further reduction in stall
although full flaps seem to be pretty good yaw generators.
12) The engine has the induction airbox, which, in addition to securing the
carburetors firmly, provides optimum performance from the engine.

Each of us has a story about how things got this way. In our case, following
some economic reality that affected our local non-equity club, a return to
rental aircraft use made it eminently clear around AD 2004 the traditional
rental scene had changed drastically with respect to affordable, available
and reliable rental aircraft - experience indicated a person could only have
two out of three of these preferences.....oh well.....4 consecutive
mechanicals with rental aircraft pretty well drove the point
home.....Ownership appeared to be the way out; either doing a rebuild of an
affordable certified aircraft or going the homebuilder route. The homebuilder
route appeared to be more logical where a person could end up with a new
aircraft of their choice; and, for extra points, be the repairman also. Won't
say all of the options we considered because it would take too long; however,
the Kitfox was among the potential choices with a ride in a model IV priming
our interest and a demo ride in a series 7 making it a gotta have.


Officers and members of EAA chapter 1164 - My home EAA chapter, deserves
credit for favors and help too numerous to mention here; but, special thanks
to President Jerry W for guidance and use of his W/B scales, Tech Counselor
Mike H who performed two very complete in progress inspections, Mike from
Stein Air who introduced me to a really nice LED interior lighting system,
Jeff G who has more experience with aluminum than most of will ever see; and,
Rich C who not only got me some Challenger stick time in his airplane but who
became half of my ground crew for the first flight.

EAA Technical Counselors - In addition to Mike H of Chapter 1164, Richard M
of Chapter 54 did a pre-certification inspection.

Special thanks to John and Debra McBean who supplied most of the parts that
were missing from our kit as a result of the Skystar bankruptcy. John and
Debra are great people. They are honest and deserve our support.

Lake Elmo People - Eric B of Lake Elmo was kind to get me sufficient stick
time in his Kitfox V to satisfy my insurance company. Jim Z & Paul L helped
on a nasty December day getting the airplane moved to and hangared at Lake
Elmo 12 hours before the first snow of the season.


A good day in the blue sky....

Successfully building and testing an airplane, then giving your granddaughter
a ride in it how good is that!

12-31-2009, 08:50 PM
Congrats Dave on KOTM for the Jan. 2010. Nice way to start out KOTM for a new year.
Great looking Kitfox and very nice workmanship.
Lucky man. A new Kitfox to fly and a beautiful granddaughter to share it with.
Enjoy every flight Dave. Thanks for sharing.

12-31-2009, 09:04 PM
Super nice,they dont look any sharper than that. Randy

01-01-2010, 08:06 AM
Dave, Congratulations on your build! She's a bute.

01-01-2010, 03:34 PM
She's a real beauty, Dave. I'd love to see it up close sometime.

We should really think about a regional fly-in of all the Kitfoxers and potential Kitfoxers in this area...

01-10-2010, 04:26 PM
looks awesome Dave ,..you did a great job on her,.
something that you can use concerning centering your compass,.. is a product called magshield,.it's relatively inexpensive ,..there are a few places that carry it,..some computer repair places ..etc..you can wrap your down tubes or any tubes that might interfer with your compass,..with this material ..it is very light,.. it will block any magnetic signals,..
I use it on my magnetic motor I designed, on the beginning of a rotational cycle when the magnet's are apposing each other,.to block the magnetic fields..it will allow you to take 2 magnets ..with like poles facing each other ..normally repelling each other ..place this mag shield between them ,,and it bends the magnetic field so both magnets get attracted towards the magshield,..once passed the edge of the magshield they repel again creating rotation.. this will ,..I'm sure also block a any metallic object with in the compass's magnetic field,.. therefore making it's presence null

one place to get it is

there are also places with in the states to get it,..
just a thought :)


Dave S
01-17-2010, 09:16 AM

Thanks for the info on the magshield product - something that I did not
know existed.

I would mostly prefer the compass in the middle - just fine where it is flying the left seat but more than a little awkward flying from the right seat, I have discovered (OK - awkward only if a person wants to SEE the compass from the right seat<:o>).

Thanks for the tip.


Dave S
KF7 Trigear
St Paul, MN