JAN 2015

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/449720

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Page 14 of 32

EAA Experimenter 15 construction, and he has two more Corvair engines under his bench for future projects. His Zodiac Corvair spins a 66-inch Warp Drive propeller made of carbon fi ber, and it's set at about 9 degrees of pitch. One of the most striking aspects of Hoyt's Zodiac is the statement that it makes with its highly polished aluminum fuselage and wings accented with New Holland Yellow tractor enamel. Pat said, "When I was building it, someone would ask what color I was going to paint it. Truthfully, I didn't want to paint it at all, but there were some fi berglass pieces that I just couldn't leave bare." Not only is there minimum paint on the airplane, but it took minimum equipment to apply it. He explained, "I thinned the paint with mineral spirits so it would fl ow out better and ap- plied several coats with a roller, followed by very light sanding between coats and then some buf ng. I polished the aluminum with Nuvite; and I touch it up in the spring before Oshkosh and that's it. Other than cleaning dead bugs of the leading edges, it's almost trouble free. I get a lot of comments from people on the ground who say the airplane really shows up well when I'm in the pattern." He has what may be one of the least expensive paint jobs in sport aviation. His philosophy is: "I can understand guys going all out on painting a mega-dollar composite airplane or even a tube and fabric classic. Metal airplanes, however, have their own beauty that should not be covered with paint." When he was fi nished building and put the airplane on the scales, it came in empty at 840 pounds. The factory calls for 800 pounds with a Lycoming O-235. Pat said that the BRS para- chute system and the custom canopy account for most of his airplane's higher weight, but it is still in line with what similar Zodiacs weigh. Pat uses 1,320 pounds as the gross weight, and has no problem staying under that with himself, his wife, and full fuel, which is a lot of fuel, given the engine. So, 5 years, 11 months, and 16 days from setting the first rivet, N63PZ took to the air with Pat at the controls on Octo- ber 27, 2012, at 8:02 a.m. After receiving some fairly inten- sive transition training, he got to live out his longtime goal of being a test pilot, and he was doing it in something he built himself. Very few people in the world can lay claim to the same achievement. "I never did think of it as a big project," he said. "Rather, I saw it as a series of smaller projects. Whenever I fi nished a small piece, I had a sense of accomplishment for that. Finish enough small projects and eventually you have an airplane." AND HOW DOES IT FLY? The obvious question at this point is: How does it fl y? Pat said, "It'll get of the ground at 50 mph, but I usually wait a few more seconds and take of at around 60. I've not had any problems getting into or out of the same fi elds as my friends with Piper Cubs and Pietenpols. On the shortest grass strip that I can think of, on a humid July day, uphill and with wet grass, I was of the ground at full weight (with a passenger) by midfi eld, which would have been around 900 feet, which is by far the longest it's ever taken anywhere. "I come down fi nal at about 80 mph and touch down in the 50s. It loves grass runways, which is good because I fl y into a lot of grass airports, like Brodhead. Plus, the fl y-ins I like to go to are often on grass." The obvious question a lot of people ask about airplanes is: How fast is it?" "Cruise is a pretty steady 111 mph," said Pat. "I have not done anything to improve the aerodynamics, but I probably should. Wheelpants and some cleanup around the landing gear would get me a bit more. Va is 103 mph, and I slow it down if the air gets too bumpy. At that power setting, which is 2,800 to 3,000 rpm, it's burning about 5.8 gph." Pat also built the Corvair engine that powers his Zenith. He used William Wynne's conversion plans. He's building another Corvair engine for the Tailwind he is building now. A combination of digital and traditional round instruments grace Pat's panel.

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