EAA Chapter 563

The Beacon

August, 2022


The new chapter president, J.J. Hoevelmann, talked briefly to the chapter at the July meeting and will be presiding at the next meeting this coming Saturday.


J.J. is forming the nominating committee to seek out candidates for next year's chapter officers and directors. Let him or the committee know if you are willing to work on the board.

For Sale

Many new listings have been placed on the For Sale page of the chapter web site.

Youth Programs

Ray Scholarships

Our 2022 Ray Scholar is Chase Ehlers, and he's nearly ready for his checkride. His written test is this week, in Aurora. The day cross country work is finished with only the night work yet to do.

At the board meeting, Rob Meyer noted we've graduated all of our Ray scholars, which compares favorably to the roughly 80% rate across all chapters in the program. Rob feels part of the reason is our choosing kids who've at least a few flight hours done and are still eager to get their license.

OSH Air Academy

The chapter sponsored Killian Madeley for this year's OSH Air Academy and covered half the price. He was assigned to the second half, beginning in the middle of the fly-in and continuing on to this Saturday: "I've been learning sheet metal, welding, and other skills and have been having a good time hanging out with the other campers during free time. It's a pretty diverse bunch."

Airplane Building
teens at work on the Cruzer

Isaac and Nolan working on the elevator with Killian in the background at work on the map box.

In the above photo is new member Jim Augustine assisting Killian. As with other adults helping out, Jim mostly observes, or comments, or helps hold parts for the teens building the Zenith Cruzer. Jim is planning to start an RV-14 this fall.

At the July chapter meeting, Greg LePine donated to this project the tools he had kept at the hangar while building his F4U replica. The kids certainly will not be wanting for tools: Thank you, Greg!

Attendance at the build sessions has been increasing over the summer. At most of the July sessions there were about a half dozen builders working, although one session really didn't have enough on hand to keep them all busy. The teens are often on vacation with their families over the summer, so the same group isn't present each week. This past month, the sessions have been nearly a full day, 9 to 3, but once school begins, the sessions will return to half days.

Atrocious work on deburring tailplane skins required another lecture on proper deburring, along with a demonstration. The damage will be repaired by drilling extra rivet holes half way between the pre-punched holes provided by Zenith. Currently, the kids are working on the aft fuselage, with riveting having already begun on the belly.

Rob contacted the Ray Foundation and learned they will sometimes match funding on airplane builds. Whether to apply was discussed by the board, since we would want to bring the project to completion—ready for its first flight—should we receive a grant. (EAA's rules require us to sell the plane before first flight.) Thus far, we'd only committed to finishing the airframe kit before selling the project (and using those funds to start anew). The board voted to proceed, and Rob then prepared a letter with supporting documents to send to the Foundation. We received word this week the Foundation will match the $30,000 which the chapter received from the donor who got this project off the ground. Further, they will match, up to a total of $15,000, all future donations received by the project.

This means the chapter now has the funding to complete a flyable Zenith Cruzer, albeit one with a Piper Cub panel. With any success in future fund raising, we'll have enough to complete the Cruzer with a modern panel.

Rob has also contacted UL Power and Lycoming and both are willing to supply the project a new engine at a discount.

Kudos to Rob!

VMC and IMC Clubs

The VMC Club meets at the usual time and date this month, namely this coming Sunday at 6:30, in the hangar. The IMC Club meets the following Sunday at 6:00.

The IMC Club's fly-out to Indiana was canceled on account of the weather.

NWS Presentation

At the July IMC Club meeting, Ed Shimon from the Lincoln NWS office gave a presentation on weather forecasting. He is one of the "Warning Coordination Meteorologists" at the facility. There are 23 full time staff at Lincoln, and about 15 are meteorologists. The station is manned continuously, and due to some of the unique computer systems used, remote work is often not an option.

Lincoln is one of about 90 radiosonde stations in the U.S. These carry a small, disposable sensor package to about 110,000 ft, an operation carried out twice daily, unless there are severe weather systems such as hurricanes near the U.S., in which case there are 4 launches per day. At about $200 per launch, this adds up. The data collected includes temperature, dew point, and pressure, with wind direction (and balloon altitude) determined by GPS. The data is collected going up under a hydrogen filled balloon (at about 5.5 m/s vertical) as well as down under parachute (at about 11 m/s). This is joined with similar launches from around the world and fed in to national weather forecasting computer systems in numerous countries. The data helps align the weather models with the actual world, and the output of the models provides forecasting for all points around the globe.

He mentioned both the College of DuPage and NOAA's own site for viewing the weather sonde readings and learning about the weather models that utilize them.

The meteorologists analyze Skew-T diagrams, both those recorded and those predicted in between by the models. They are responsible for alerting the public and pilots to dangerous weather conditions. Temperature "inversions" can indicate where energy is likely to be concentrated and form severe weather, and temperature and dew point spreads can indicate icing. Dry air below precipitation can evaporate the rain, cooling that air mass and accelerate the downwash which can precede the rain. Wind shear is also visible on the data which accompanies the prepared Skew-T plots.

Historical data is used to prepare a wind rose for various locations, and these are used in selecting the direction of runways at new airfields. One interesting fact brought up is that adverse winds cause over half of the general aviation accidents due to weather. Visibility problems account for only 1/6 of the accidents.


At the July board meeting, the treasurer, Rob, covered the year to date results. Long term investments are down, of course, about 20%, and the investment committee plans to ride this market out. Overall, outflow has exceeded inflow. Donations are down some, while disbursements for youth programs are well up. Youth programs include scholarships to both Lincoln Land and Lewis University; operations of the Flight Club at Dunlap High; sponsorship to the Oshkosh Air Academy; and expenses (including lost income) related to the build of the Zenith Cruzer. Surprisingly, utility expenses didn't rise as much as predicted.

Rob noted the young man who received last year's scholarship to Lincoln Land has graduated and taken a job in aviation there in Springfield. Greg LePine mentioned the college invites chapter members to visit classes there to observe the work.


Morrie Caudill has sold his Onex to a chap in Oshawa, Ontario. Unfortunately, it may never fly again, since the new owner, who is not a pilot, needed a compact airplane to fit in the airport hangar where he stores his collection of cars. Morrie has recently cleaned out his hangar, #14, and there are a few items remaining if you wish to have a look.

Vic DeCroix

Vic DeCroix passed away on the 22nd. Vic was one of the charter members of the chapter, back in 1976, and he twice served as president of the chapter, including the first year. He had been in the Navy and worked at AT&T for three decades. In reaching the age of 91, he lived to see fourteen great-great-grandchildren. A few months ago, he gave his unfinished Zenith CH-300 to new chapter member David Anderson, and it now sits in the southwest corner of the hangar. The plane is in decent shape after having sat in storage many, many years.



There are 5 or 6 empty hangars at the field, if you are looking.

F1 Rocket at 3MY

Kevin Everett's F1 Rocket Evo

One fine evening in July, the above F1 Rocket was found refueling at 3MY and the owner was invited to chat with a group down at the hangar. After, he gave a brief demonstration, including a pass down the runway with a zoom climb to the north. Performance was high enough to make your editor giggle: These things move.

Mt. Hawley Airport, Peoria, IL