What is The Trailing Edge?

Mr. Bearhawks' Wild Ride -- my article as published in KITPLANES about a harrowing encounter with extreme turbulence

A Bearhawk Time Machine -- Using the Bearhawk to take me back in time by flying over a remote test site that my Dad told me about multiple times as a place where he had been a Flight Test Engineer (FTE) six years before I was born. It was a weird yet wonderful way to connect with a part of my Dad's past, even after he was no longer with us.

Flying a Piece of History -- C-53D Skytrooper -- a report on my chance to fly a militarized DC-3 that was a bona fide World War II D-Day veteran. I also totally geek out over the extremely early technology of retractable landing gear.

Survival Rations Taste Test -- In 1981 I was a survival instructor for the Air Force SERE program as a cadet at the USAF Academy. I've been carrying survival rations and water flex packs in my Bearhawk survival kit for years, and some of them were expiring. I bought replacements, and used the expiring supplies to finally find out what I was in for if I ever needed to consume them "in anger".

Fulfilling a Childhood Dream -- Operating a GM EMD E-8A Locomotive -- Besides being a long time airplane geek, I'm also a long time train geek. I stumbled across a program at the Southern Califonia Railway Museum where you could "rent" a locomotive and instructor for an hour for about $350. I couldn't pass up this chance to operate a 340,300 pound horizontal yo-yo.

An Ode To Friction -- My good friend "Stormy" Weathers went nuts one day and wrote a poem about friction. It was so wonderful I just had to share it.

Bearhawk Auxiliary Flap Handle -- Planting your face into the instrument panel is a less than desirable way to operate any primary control on an aircraft. After years of noodling I finally came up with a way to adress some of the undesirable features of operating the flaps. As a bonus, I finally got to use that T-38 parachute D-ring I had been carrying around since my days as a survival instructor 40 years previous.

Dealing with Unclean Power (Voltage Spikes) -- A hardware and software solution to debounce an input to stop the rain of simulated bombs all over the Antelope Valley.

Over-Voltage Ignition Woes -- Gary Aldrich told me his tale of woe trying to troubleshoot why his Skywagon engine would randomly quit in flight for a few seconds. I asked his permission to publish it to the Trailing Edge audience in hopes that it would help someone else who might run into a similar issue.

USAF Thunderbirds Smoke Oil -- During an opportunity to observe a practice session of the USAF Thunderbirds (briefing, flight, debriefing) I noticed that they use a lot of smoke oil. A lot, like 330 gallons per show...

Flight Test of a Replica Lilienthal Glider -- Link to a wonderful YouTube video program about constructing and testing a replica Lilienthal glider, with buildup through wind tunnel to flight test. Also a link to see Lilienthal's glider test hill.

The Fracture Mechanic -- Stormy has been at it again, even though he says that "Engineer Poetry" probably won't catch on like "Cowboy Poetry". This time the subject is cracks, fatigue, and structural strength.

Measuring the Aerotow Box -- Budding glider pilots learn to fly a maneuver called "Boxing the Wash" or "Boxing the Wake". Having done this maneuver hundreds of times, I always wondered just how big it was. I finally figured out a way to measure it. Spoiler: It's smaller than it looks.

Bearhawk 20 Minute Flight Test -- Report from a "20 Minute Flight Test" done for a University of Missouri Kansas City professor visiting TPS.

Why You May Want to Use Supplemental Oxygen at Lower Altitudes Than Required -- A discussion of Altitude Induced Fatigue, or how using supplemental oxygen at altitudes below the FAA mandated altitudes may help you arrive not feeling so tired. Also discusses pulse oximeters, portable oxygen systems, setting up your own oxygen filling station, and why Aviators Breathing Oxygen, Medical Oxygen, and Welder's Oxygen are really all the same stuff with different labels.

Bearhawk Starter Replacement -- During a condition inspection, bumping the Skytec 122-NL starter showed parts moving that shouldn't. Sky-Tec replaced this starter under warranty even though the starter was well out of warranty because the problem had been identified as an engineering weakness five years earlier.

A Weird FCF and Some Recreational Maths -- A post-condition inspection Functional Check Flight with a large number of unexpected events. Managing changes to the plan and breaking the safety chain.

A Near Tale of Woe, or "The Fracture Mechanic Strikes Again!" -- An observant pilot breaks the safety chain and stops a propeller from parting company with its engine and airplane.

Why Thunderstorms Form in the Summer and Why You Have to Drain Your Air Compressor -- You may know that humidity is affected by temperature, but did you realize that pressure can be used to remove water vapor from the air?

Bearhawk In-Flight Flap Measurement -- The Bearhawk uses a Piper style cable system to deploy the flaps. Because of cable stretch, the flaps don't actually deflect as much in flight as on the ground. This test quantifies the difference.

Oshkosh 2023 Flight Notes -- Notes to myself to remember what happened on the flights to and from Oshkosh. Also recommendations to myself on how to plan differently the next time.

Oshkosh 2023 Photo Essay -- Photos and captions that tell part of the story of attending AirVenture 2023. Includes my favorite feature - "Weird Things You See at Oshkosh".

These Are A Few of My Favorite Motions -- From guest contributer Mujahid Abdulrahim of the University of Missouri Kansas City, we get an insight into why these three visceral motions are his favorite to experience.

Ford Trimotor Pax Qual -- I step into a time warp back to 1928 to experience early airline flight. There's no TSA to deal with, but the noise level is just as bad!

Little Yeastie -- Stormy Weathers has been communing with his muse again, and his inspiration this time is a poem celebrating monocellular yeast organisms. Enjoy!

E-Mail: Contact Evil Editor Zurg at

Revised -- 26 August 2023