The Beacon

February 2021


As in December, chapter operations were hampered by the pandemic. While all scheduled events were cancelled, the hangar remained busy with work on various homebuilts.

For the Peoria region, Illinois has reduced its restrictions on meetings, and the usual chapter functions will be on in February. Given the more contagious mutations of The Virus are now spreading around Illinois, this opening may not be for long.

Youth Programs

Last month, it was mentioned the Flight Club at Dunlap High School had accepted the set of PC flight controls recently donated to the chapter. This is now in operation at DHS, in time for this year's GAMA Challenge, and supplements an existing set of controls there.

DHS flight controls

Compared to "flying" with a computer's mouse, it represents a big step up.

In working with the Flight Club, Zoe Brand had visited the chapter a number of times and given a presentation on the Club's work. She's now at Embry-Riddle and sent a note to Mrs. Brandt at DHS, which was forwarded to us. Parts of it follow:

I wanted to say thank you for all the work that you do as a teacher. Thank you for introducing me to Xplane and EAA at the flight line. Overall thank you for supporting flight club and all the shenaniganís that went on! You inspired me to work in the aerospace industry and to try anything that I have an interest in. I donít think I would be were I am today without your encouragement and support.

I am enjoying my education at Embry-Riddle. I have changed my major to mechanical propulsion engineering and am building/designing/testing liquid rocket engines as an undergrad! I am going to be interning at SpaceX this summer and just got accepted into the Brooke Owens Fellowship! The fellowship is for women in the Aerospace community. I am so excited to be were I am currently in my schooling and I donít think I would be at Embry-Riddle without your encouragement.

Zoe included a link to a video of the engine on which she's working.

Once again this year, the chapter has provided $1,000 as scholarship money for the aircraft mechanics program at Lincoln Land Community College. They recently sent a letter of thanks:

We are so grateful for your continued and generous support of Lincoln Land Community College (LLCC) students... The contribution will be used to award the scholarship for the 2021-2022 academic year.

During this wild ride of a year, your gift provides a true sense of comfort and momentum for our students pushing forward with their dreams during this difficult time. This is especially true with your scholarship recipient, Logan Flowers. Logan is a 2018 graduate of North Mac High School that prides himself on helping others and giving back to his community through his work ethic and commitment to community service. He is paying for college on his own and your scholarship is helping greatly to reach his goal of becoming an aviation maintenance technician. He also has a great interest in classic aviation restoration and stated, "Planes built during WWI and WWII were not built to last this long, but I find it extremely important to keep a part of history around so we can look back on our accomplishments as a country."

... Your compassion for giving our students the education they need to excel and achieve their dreams is so appreciated! We are especially thankful of community friends like you who invest in education.

The chapter e-mail received a solicitation from a small, non-profit airplane museum in rural Texas. One of their members willed a recently completed RV-12 to them, and they are raffling off the RV to further fund their programs to interest kids in aviation:

We... utilize antique aircraft to teach kids any of the aviation trades, from becoming a Pilot, Engineer, or A&P Mechanic... At no expense to them, the kids learn in a J-3 Cub, and after soloing that, transition into a Grumman Traveler for their PPL. So far, weíve been pleased with our graduates, and at present we have 5 kids in various Aviation Colleges (not too bad for a town of 2600 population) who will hopefully continue on into various aviation fields. In addition to their flight training, most kids here have flown the Stearman, TravelAir, etc. If they are so motivated, we teach them welding, woodwork, and the other skill sets that go into restoration and maintenance.
The raffle is open until October, and each ticket is $100.

VMC and IMC Club

The VMC Club will not be meeting this month. The IMC Club meets the second Sunday, in the hangar.

phone for sale

For Sale

A desk phone in the shape of a P-51 has been received as a donation. The upper rear of the fuselage is the handset. Contact Greg if you're interested in purchasing it.


The Ron Wright Stuff

In the December issue, a list of the many aircraft Ron has worked on was given. This month the sundry J-3 Kitten ultralights will be described, and next month there'll be more on that custom ultralight he built.

Well, the primary differences between the J-3 Kitten and the Hipp's series of planes is as follows:

The J-3 Kitten was produced first, and it was designed to meet the Part 103 requirements—less than 254 pounds empty weight, single place, etc. The Kitten had wood construction wings, including the 4 bay ailerons with a thin plywood leading edge, fabric covered. The fuselage, tail, and landing gear were steel tubing and fabric. An unusual feature about the J-3 Kitten was that the turtledeck had a "peak" from welded-steel tubing running from just behind the pilot seat to the attach point for the leading edge of the vertical tail-plane. In my humble opinion, this always made that plane look like someone ran out of steel tubing!

J-3 Kitten

J-3 Kitten

The J-3 Kitten foks sold their design to another company, and they named it the Hipp's Reliant. The Hipp's folks made some "cosmetic" changes to the J-3 Kitten design:

  1. They designed a 5 bay, all aluminum aileron to provide better balanced turn co-ordination and feel.
  2. They knowingly did not make this plane to comply with Part 103, allowing them to beef up the overall construction and integrity of their new design.
  3. They a installed a better, spring loaded landing gear.
  4. They improved the design of the junction of the trailing edges of the wing to mate more aerodynamically with the fuselage.
Hipp's Reliant

Hipp's Reliant

Then after a couple of years of marketing the Hipp's Reliant, they designed an "improved," even more aerodynamic version and named it the Hipp's Reliant SX 1. That final version made the plane look more like a 1/2 scale J-3 Cub, and overall performance improved greatly over all their previous models.

Reliant SX 1

Hipp's Reliant SX

Your editor will here note there is no need to be bashful about asking for help when at the hangar. Ron is to have surgery for a hernia after trying to heft by himself an airplane engine over in the end-cap. Just ask!


The chapter has a new member, Josh Mattson, who recently bought a Pazmany PL-4 single place which needs to be re-engined:

I went and picked up the Pazmany PL-4 project, and it is now in the hangar. I'm very excited to begin working on it!

I took my first airplane ride in Taylorville, IL in 2008 as part of the Young Eagles program. Since then, I've been hooked on flying. I earned my Private Pilot Certificate in 2013 and worked in agricultural aviation for a few years. I joined the Illinois Air National Guard in 2013 and became an Avionics Technician on KC-135 aircraft. After a few years doing that, I went back to technical school and am now a Flight Engineer on C-130's here in Peoria. I've helped scratch build parts for a Sonex, co-owned a Jabiru SP, and partially restored a 1946 Taylorcraft. I'm 26 and am a full time student at Illinois Central College and will be transferring to Bradley University in the fall where I'll be earning my degree in Mechanical Engineering. I joined EAA in 2008 and have tried to be an active member ever since. For many years I planned and organized the breakfast fly-in's for EAA Chapter 137 in Jacksonville, IL. I'm very much looking forward to getting involved here in Peoria with Chapter 563!

Bob Pegg, the kitchen meister, will note Josh's experience. Josh's PL-4 has been tucked into the hangar between Greg's Corsair and the metal working area.

Josh's PL-4

Josh's PL-4
Pazmany liked access panels.

NE corner of hangar

The PL-4 is behind Andy's RV-8.

Andy's RV-8 has traded hangar places with Dave Fox's Zenith while working to get the wings of his RV mounted. The wings currently occupy the center of the hangar. Visible are the newly installed lights along the west wall over the brake and shear, done by Tom O'Toole and Greg LePine, as are the pair of light fixtures over Andy's RV. Both sets of lights came from storage in the end-cap.

New Plane!

Greg Harness has purchased a new Vashon Ranger LSA. Upon it's arrival mid-January, he swapped hangar places with Marty's C-172 to have a more comfortable place to check it over. Greg's hangar is also here at 3MY.

Harness' Ranger

The Ranger includes transition training, and (for a price) the factory pilot will ferry your airplane allowing you to take the training at your home field. The airplane is tidily done and has a modern "glass" cockpit. With a cantilever high wing layout, taller folks will have to hunch over, but those of normal height should have no trouble. Greg reports that with the O-200D, performance is spry. The factory pilot said the company has readied paperwork in expectation of the LSA weight limit being raised, the airplane having been designed for a 1600 lb gross.


Kent Cook made a successful forced landing at night in the Cessna 175 he was ferrying to Illinois from Tennessee. He set it down in the median of I-57 near Carbondale and sustained only minor damage. When asked why the engine stopped: "I think it was the hole in the top of the case."