DEC 2014

Experimenter is a magazine created by EAA for people who build airplanes. We will report on amateur-built aircraft as well as ultralights and other light aircraft.

Issue link: https://experimenter.epubxp.com/i/434207

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Page 12 of 44

EAA Experimenter 13 in a dead-loss battery system for a fraction of the cost of a magneto. The battery will supply a whole weekend of flying but must then be put on a charger. When walking through a hangar full of Legal Eagles, you have to watch out for all the extension cords. Engine weight is 81 to 85 pounds, depending on how diligent you are about removing weight. Leonard originally flew with a single Zenith carburetor but switched to a pair of 28-millimeter Mikuni carbs. They are easy to mount, easy to adjust, and eliminate the need for carburetor heat. Leonard said when he switched to the pair of Mikuni carbs, it was like a different engine. The engine produces 30 hp at 3400 rpm with a 54-by-24 prop, and the fuel consumption is 2 gallons per hour or less. There are examples in service with nearly 1,000 hours on the engine. Only wood props can be used, as composite props cannot withstand the power pulses of the ½ VW. Leonard describes his full-case ½ VW en- gine in a set of plans comprised of 18 pages of drawings and text. Engine plans are included with the Legal Eagle plans but are also available separately for $20. Two videos on the construction of the heads and on final engine assembly are available. Order information is at www.BetterHalfVW.com . REGUL A R ENGINE M A IN T EN A NCE IS CRI T IC A L Half VW engines are very dependable and give excellent ser- vice, but regular maintenance is critical. As Leonard said, "You can't expect to bolt the engine on and forget about it." Every 25 hours the oil should be changed, valve covers removed, and the valve adjustment checked. Monitoring the valves will give advance warning of any problems. The propeller bolt torque should be checked every 25 hours. The cutting, machining, and balancing of the crankshaft require a well-equipped machine shop, and there are multiple sources for those services. Leon- ard's engine puts out 30 hp, but there are custom builders that make more powerful engines by using larger cylinders. The most popular source of ½ VW engines is Scott Casler of Hummel Engineering at www.HummelEngines.com in Coolidge, Arizona. Scott builds full-case and cut-case ½ VW engines using aluminum billet cylinders. His engines range from 28 to 45 hp, and he offers electric starters, single or dual ignition, and battery systems. A lot of Legal Eagles are flying with Casler engines. CEL EBR AT ING L EON A RD'S 90T H BIR T HDAY AT A IR V EN T URE 2014 Leonard celebrated his 90th birthday during EAA AirVen- ture Oshkosh 2014 with about 70 friends and supporters at a local Oshkosh restaurant. The master of ceremonies was his son-in-law, Graeme Gibson, who has been involved with Leonard's projects since the first plans and instructions were typed and printed. He may have surprised a few when he announced that in addition to being an airplane designer, Leonard has a potential career as a stand-up comedian. When given the microphone, this gentleman, whose en- ergy makes other men 20 years younger feel old and tired, Les Homan brought his Legal Eagle XL to AirVenture 2014 from California and won the top award for ultralights. Joe Spencer's PuttPutt showing the unique, one-pound seat made of woven metal strips. Leonard Milholland at a Legal Eagle forum during AirVenture 2014.

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