This blog is about flying adventures in a Milholland Legal Eagle XL named ORV, or off road vehicle forbthe long version. It is a Part 103 Ultralight Vehicle by FAA standards. That means less than 254 pounds, max of 5 gallons of fuel, max speed 63 mph with stall under 27 mph. Powers is a 1/2 VW of 45 hp.
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Thinking and dreaming of building a flying machine and making it happen is, in some ways like taking a long journey to a vacation destination. It is necessary to have a dream to start with, some may call this a desire to do or have, followed by planning to make it happen. Very simplified view of it all.
In reality the dream sometimes goes for years before the point is reached to either do it or shut up. A point where dream starts to turn to reality, where internal decision is made to proceed no matter what gets in the way or how long it takes. Each of us in the great flying machine realm of the world have something in common, it is on full display at places such as the EAA in Oshkosh each year, when people from all walks of life and all levels to fortune, flying machines that cross the full spectrum, come together and share that spark. That spark is we all have a dream and are making it happen, in our own way at our pace. This spark is present and on display, silently but it is there. Years ago the young people working on hot rods in small communities across the country, building things in shop, were finding out and developing this spark. When I see most young people buried in video games, on their smart phones and never actually doing something with their hands, accomplishing something that they can be proud of for a life time, it makes me wonder where the future generations are headed. We need to encourage and celebrate those young people that are doing things with there hands, building things and accomplishing things of substance.
Once a person finds that spark all the skills to accomplish the planning, work and materials procurement can be learned in time to one day have a flying machine.
It has been a while since I have talked about Legal Eagle XL ORV, most flying and videos have been about LEXL SR 7-1/2. I am putting hours on SR and have only had hanger space for one of my Legal Eagles so ORV was first stored in the Toy Hauler and then moved to our Next Great Adventure location. There was one other matter that was slowing the accumulation of hours on ORV, and that was the fact that I kept losing compression in all cylinders. Since ORV last flew, I have replaced the cylinder heads with nice new ones. These are Honda Industrial engine heads and a full set of three heads cost a total of $ 223 delivered to my shop. They were complete with seats, valve, springs, gaskets, plugs, ready to bolt on. I have been using nothing but 100LL in ORV and that may have been a problem. If everything works as planned in about 2 weeks will have ORV back in the air again. Examination of old heads indicate valves moving freely when at room temperature and a crud build up on seats. Valve spring pressure is about 13 pounds per what I was able to find on internet, the feel in removing springs from valves indicates the 13 pounds to be close. In place of the 100LL aviation fuel will start using unleaded, no ethanol, automotive fuel.
I will be operating the 3V on ground for about an hour, various power settings and then will recheck valve clearances and head bolt torques. If all works out will give a try at getting airborne. We will not be flying from the 3300 ft asphalt runway at Oakdale but from a 3100 ft grass runway. We will need to taxi 300 feet from hanger to runway and then back taxi for takeoff.
We will be spending some time at T25, near Frankston Texas and when not there in Manteca California. All the work I do is over the internet so no one should see any differences except now I will have time to fly in place of sending more time driving from home to hanger. As time moves forward will be posting pictures and information from T25.
At this point in time Legal Eagle SR 7-1/2 in loaded in the Jayco Octane Lite Toy Hauler ready for trip to join ORV.
This very important stuff if you are thinking about building the Legal Eagle XL. I am 6’2″ and weight 260 lbs. Not a small person. The most serious problem I have is when making long flights on cold days my joints and muscles tend to freeze up and getting out can be a challenge, have to slide over to right side of seat first.
When you get your project completed it is important to place it in project completions of Kit Planes and Sport Aviation. It is easy to do and they do show it to the world. Now the top aircraft is not mine, a Lancair 320 built in Finland, but if you look at bottom of page you will notice Legal Eagle SR 7-1/2. Check out the March 2021 Member Central What our members are building section. It sounds like Oshkosh is going to happen this year and I fully intend to be there with Legal Eagle SR 7-1/2.
When building your Legal Eagle, any model, make sure you use aircraft bolts on all structural connections. There are all that many bolts in a Legal Eagle and using anything but Aircraft bolts is taking a needless risk. Using hardware store bolts to hold something in place like instrument panel, or instruments may be permissible but lift struts, wings, tail feathers, never permissible. Over the years I have seen hardware store bolts and screws used in places where a failure would mean the end. Lots of people use hardware store bolts for fit up and alignment, but they change all to aircraft bolts before final assemble and double check before flight. I have concerns about this because if bolts that are not easily seen, such as on wing fitting, inside wing, get left as hardware store bolts, they can break as easy as those exposed. Most hardware store bolts I have seen are the cheap all thread kind, they may be cheaper than aircraft bolts but the shear loads are less than 1/4 of an aircraft bolt and with the threads will crack at route and break. The better, non-thread bolt hardware store bolt is better but is very close in cost to aircraft bolts. Aircraft bolts are all inspected and make of materials to provide strength and toughness.
When you make that first flight somewhere it will cross you mind every bolt and nut and fitting installed and keeping you in the air. Make it a good thought and do not be wondering which bolt is gonna break and leave you in airborne flying mess.