Saturday, June 19, 2010

Moose Creek, Idaho -- An Ideal Camping Spot

(c) 2010 everything on this blog is copyright James Wiebe, including text and photos.  Reproduction without written permission is prohibited.  High resolution images are available -- contact author for further information.

An Ideal Camping Spot has the following characteristics:

pristine, cold rivers which are clear as gin
trout in those rivers
mountains on all sides
deer, maybe elk
just a few campsites
no roads to get there, just trails and a backcountry airstrip
a USFS cabin, with a friendly forest volunteer
perfect temperatures -- 80's in the daytime, 40's or 50's at night
campfire conversations
at nightime, coal black skies, diamonds set in them
also at nightime, an occasional shooting star
just a few airplanes
just a few pilots and campers
friends, family

Moose Creek is such a place

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Tonight's Post is in England

I was invited to write a guest post for an English aircraft blog.  So I wrote one up concerning Carbon Fiber usage in our Belite aircraft.  In particular, I covered details of our upcoming carbon fiber stabilizer.  It's a four pound work of carbon fiber art:  strength and stiffness are off the chart.

But if you want to read about this new development from Belite, you have to make the round trip to England.!

Which is easy to do on the internet:  just click here. and you will be on the GolfHotelWhiskey blog, run by Matthew Stibbe.  He's got some good stuff on his blog!

Here is a high res pic of our carbon fiber horizontal stabilizer.  This same photo is on the blog in England, but this one's a little higher resolution.

As you have noticed, this Belite blog is expanding.  Our increased content is drawing readers just like you.  (Thankyou!) 

Thanks for your interest:  enjoy the reading.

-- James

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

First Flight, Circa 1970; Cessna Aircraft teaches me to fly; more.

A reminder:  this work is (c) 2010 by James Wiebe.  Reproduction is prohibited.  You may link to this blog or this posting.

Chapter 1:  First Flight

I grew up in Hillsboro, KS -- a town of about 3000 people in Marion County, Kansas.

Having lost my father before my fourth birthday, I have treasured experiences which I was given by other male figures in my youthful years.

I attended Parkview Mennonite Brethren Church in Hillsboro.  There was a man there, by the name of Dave Breese.  He was large man -- not necessarily in girth, but certainly in height, and also certainly in stature within that Church.  He was an 'evangelist', a radio speaker, an author, and -- a pilot.  I remember an odd characteristic of Dave Breese:  he attended our Church, but he was not a member.  Odd.  I don't quite know how to explain it.

As it pertains to flying, I do not remember how the invitation was made, but I do know that one Sunday afternoon, probably when I was 12 years old, he offered to give me a ride in his twin engine airplane.  This was an opportunity nearly on the level with Red Ryder BB guns.  An airplane ride.

I am positive that afternoon was a sunny day with bright white cumulus clouds.  A perfect flying day.

I do remember being in the airplane as he started each engine -- and I remember my anxiety that the engines wouldn't start.  But they did.

In those days, the Hillsboro airport was a grass strip.  In later years, it was paved; it suffered a fatal aircraft accident; (hence it's name, Alfred Schroeder field, honoring one of the dead) and I flew often from it.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Ground Handling

Long time readers of the blog are certainly aware of the incident last summer in the Flint Hills, where the right main landing gear axle snapped off after an unfortunate encounter with a pothole in the prairie; resulting in unfortunate (but relatively minor) damage to the maiden ship of the Belite fleet.

I sat on the ground for a period of hours, whilst working on email catchup and generally wondering when help would show up.  (It was hot, I had no water, but I had a cellphone, a Spot, and a good internet connection on my computer.)

That particular aircraft was equipped with solid tie rods on the landing gear.  No bungees, no springs, no nothing, so there was no shock absorber in the landing gear.

Very recently, we've started to offer a solution which improves ground handling over bumps considerably: spring steel landing gear.  Take a look at this pic:

Now this is an improvement.!  The first time I taxiied our aircraft with this landing gear, I felt like I had changed from a 1920's vintage model T to a car with a real suspension and shocks.  All the bumps smoothed out.  Amazing!  Cool!  Fun!  Driving an ultralight on the ground no longer felt like a bumpfest.

Above is a closeup photo of a mud splattered shock absorber spring.  Works like a charm.

We're offering them as optional equipment on our aircraft:  installed:  $200. 

Builders can add them simply by buying a pair of springs, available from MSC, for about $9 apiece.

Would it have made a difference while taxiing in the flint hills?

This product improvement is available on our award winning Belite Superlite ultralight aircraft, or with any of our other Part 103 aircraft.  You can purchase our aircraft as kits or as fully assembled, ready to fly.   See our aircraft at, or read more about ultralight aircraft at my blog.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Used Kitfox Lite for Sale! --- SOLD! July 2, 2010


We now interrupt this blog for an important announcement:  Our original Kitfox Lite is now for sale.  Yes, this IS a Kitfox Lite.  I originally bought this as a used airplane a couple of years ago, and it was very helpful to us as we developed our Belite 254.  But we don't need it any longer.

The aircraft in question was temporarily turned into a Belite 254 (through the addition of carbon fiber wings) and was featured on the cover of EAA's Sport Pilot magazine.

We have returned it to its original Kitfox Lite wings, which we saved, and we have basically given the plane a frame off restoration to new condition.