OMG MOAR TOOLZ!

We were reminded today that the third quarter in the program begins in about 8 weeks (7 weeks by the time I post this). We were also reminded that we need to get onto ordering tools for our next portion of classwork labs sooner rather than later. Very probably, none of the tools will be available locally.

Fair warning: this is, so far, the most expensive combination of tools to be obtained — and the majority of cost is likely within the first two or three items. Yes, really. Even considering what I’d said before about not needing to buy the most expensive/best/tool-truck-brand tool that can be found.

So… the list is below along with some of the sources I’ve found.


Lower chest tool box, recommended size 20”x30”x40”, 1 ea

Yep, gone are the days that we’ll just need a few screwdrivers and wrenches. We’ll need a bit more than can be carted around in a semi-portable toolbox. There are loads of options to be had and several that can be obtained new for about $300. There are also a few rather good options from Harbor Freight.

One could write a novel on what is and isn’t a good rolling toolbox to contain one’s tools. But here are some of the variations:

3X rivet gun kit, ATS-3XPK or equal*, 1 kit

It doesn’t seem there are many options available. Although I admittedly simply don’t know enough about rivet guns other than to say that you absolutely should not buy the cheapest thing you find. I ordered one from Aircraft Tool Supply then received an email a day later cautioning that they’re awaiting delivery, so it’ll be two weeks until they ship.

Not to worry.

Oh, they also have “designer colors” — as long as a designer fancies black, red, blue, or fashionable lime-green… no, wait — they call it jade-green.

Air drill 1/4 – 3/8 chuck*, 1 ea

Pneumatic. Not battery-powered, nor 1-phase/household current operated. And while it’s very much my opinion, I would discourage any keyed-chuck options unless your goal is ten-thousandths-precision, in which case you wouldn’t be doing the work with a hand-held tool. Also, that key is one more thing to keep track of. And if you misplace it, your drill is effectively a paperweight. I’ve preferred keyless chucks whenever possible.

Lincoln Long air fittings or adapters for all air tools), as needed

Okay, you’ll need to order one female end for one end of your air hose and male ends for every other pneumatic tool in your kit. You aren’t going to just use your regular pneumatic tools in the shop.

That said, it’s just 1/4 inch NPT, so you can rapidly assemble an adapter making your own shop air compatible with the Lincoln Long style connectors.

Aviation Snips, set of 3, ATS 865-3 or MKR or equal, 1 set

Fiskar’s scissors, they aren’t.

There’s a reason that they’re aviation snips and why there are three different kinds. When you cut metal, you’ll need to have left, right, or straight-cut of material depending on needs.

25’ Air hose*, 1 ea

You may want one of those coiled/recoil type hoses, but don’t. They’ll become a trip-hazard for anything except the smallest of crafty spaces with one person to step over it.

Also, avoid the “combination” sets or kits that have extra pneumatic fittings, gauges, nozzles, inflators,

Just a regular heavy-duty hose.

Oh, and if it comes with fittings (many will) then you’ll need to swap out its fittings with the L-fittings above.

Cleco kit, clecos & pliers, ATS CL50K or equal, 1 ea

The CL50K kit comes with 12 or 13-each of commonly-used Clecos. Totally sufficient for our needs.

#1 – #60 Numbered Drill bit set, 1 set

Fortunately, ATS has a numbered-bit set here. You might be able to find a cheaper/more-readily-available option if you shop around.

1/8″ – 1/2″ Fractional Drill bit set, 1 set

ATS also has a fractional set of bits that seem to fit our needs as well. Includes 1/16″ to 1/2″ in 1/64″ increments.

Rivet gauge set, ATS AE-1007 or RG031 or equal

I’m sensing a trend here: ATS seems to be either the only place that has the needed tools… or it’s the only place that I bothered to look. Save a few dollars and opt for the RG031 kit. It’s quite adequate.

Brass drift (3/8 x 10)

ATS does not have brass drifts. They have center punches and pin punches, but no drifts. Fortunately, yep, Amazon.

Needle file set, ATS S475 or equal

You know it has occurred to me that if SCC were to let ATS know what they needed, they could select specific part numbers and students could just order the “SCC 3Q ARCFT Kit”. Sure, people could shop around and find something equal… except as students learning about aviation, it may be that something is thought to be equal, but isn’t.

Babbling rant aside, a set of needle files can be had at ATS:

12 or 16 oz. Ball Peen hammer

ATS does have ball peen hammers. But you can also find them on Amazon or pick one up from one of a local DIY centers. Just a 12 or 16 oz ball peen.

Debur tool, ATS SVBHD or equal

Hmm, on the heels of the remark about not knowing if something equal, now we’ll consider deburring tools. Can one be found at Lowe’s? Home Depot? And, no doubt, many of them can also be found on Amazon.

Or, since you’re already selecting items from ATS, you could go with the list’s recommendation. Also, they do seem rather comparable in price.

Center punch

It’s just going to be a tool to dimple metal to mark a center point for drilling. You could go with a lower-tech two-hand solution. Or a higher-tech one-hand tool.

3/32″ pin punch

Yeah, we can get this one…

1/8″ pin punch

Or even better, get two of them together. ATS. HD. Lowe’s. Amazon. Even HF.

Protractor, ATS GT17 or equal

I wonder if the more expensive, super-awesome, high-tech $29 digital option is equal to the $17 GT17.

Hint: no, they’re not equal — one is nearly twice the cost of the other with little functional gain.

Mechanic hook & pick set, 5″ or greater

I honestly didn’t know that such things have a measurement or size classification. So, would these be 5-inch?

Eh, probably not. But we can probably go pick one from the assorted shops.

4″ C-Clamps, 2 ea

And you thought those C-clamps in your great-granddad’s toolbox were outdated and old-fashioned. Hardly. You can easily find several options across the interwebz. Caution: it seems that the assorted tool purveyors are including their own recommendations: “Here are some locking C-clamps and C-clamp pliers… they’re more better!”

No, thanks, just the old-style C-shaped clamp with the single, threaded screw.

#40 drill bit, 10 ea

Hmm… ten of them? I was wondering why we were going to need ten of them… if only somebody offered them in packs of two or three… wait… they really do readily offer #40’s in bulk packs?

#40 drill stop, ATS DS-40 or equal, 1 ea

This is, quite possibly, the cheapest item you’ll need to buy for the program. Don’t bother with the woodworking type drill stops.

#30 Drill bit, 10 ea

[Clicks the dropdown menu] Huh… and #30s as well.

#30 drill stop, ATS DS-30 or equal, 1 ea

This is the second of the cheapest items you’ll need.

Extension cord, 25′ outdoor quality, 1 ea

You know, having lived The RV life, I have several heavy-duty, outdoor-rated extension cords that I can retask for the hangar.

Do not buy the cheapest, and absolutely do not buy anything listed at “16/3 Heavy Duty Outdoor” — its description rather underscores that it’s inadequacy.

12/3 will work and you can find them at Lowe’s, HF, Amazon, and HD. Going larger to 10/3 would, while suitable, have diminishing returns. It would be more expensive than is necessary and wrangling the additional bulk will be problematic.

#2 Phillips stubby screwdriver, 1 ea

Stubby straight screwdriver, 1 ea

I already have some to re-task into aviation, but these can be found via the usual suspects.

#2 Phillips offset screwdriver, 1 ea

There’s the old-style fixed offset screwdrivers:

Or, for a few dollars more, consider a mini ratcheting angle-driver solution:

It may be more suitable and much more of a multitasker.

Pliers, common, 1 ea

Regular, old, everyday pliers.

Hmm… by “common” I wonder if they mean slip-joint pliers? Eh, here are a few.

Welding goggles (gas, #5 lens), 1 ea, Recommend safety glass style for non-prescription users

I don’t have a clue about anything involving welding apart from comprehending that soldering!=brazing!=welding. But I’ll go out on a limb here and say that having a super-awesome, instantly dimming, LCD helmet is not what you’ll want. When you’re learning to weld, it’s the wrong time to have the auto-dimming battery fail. Also: unless you selected a rolly-toolbox with a suitable space, you won’t be able to store it in there.

So, just goggles.

Oh, and ensure that they’re #5 shades.

Yes, you could check with Lincoln Electric or Eastwood and perhaps they have something that might work. I’m somewhat lazy and tend to go to the places that have worked well enough for me in the past: Lowe’s and HD are questionable, but oddly, HF, and, surprise, Amazon, have options.

So, everything else welding-related on the list is very much in the realm of “I haven’t a clue”. 🤷 But these might work.

Welding gloves (light duty for oxy-acetylene or MIG), 1 pr.

Welding tip cleaner, 1 ea

1/16 Gas welding rod, 1 lb.

1/16 Arc welding electrode (E6013 or E7014)

It doesn’t seem that vendors clearly state in some titles whether they’re E6013 or E7014, or vice-versa. So, click through and read the product description.

Paint gun (HVLP-recommend 20oz. reservoir)*, 1 ea

Disclaimer: I do have extremely-particular taste and preference in painting equipment. I painted houses and businesses professionally for several years before I was in Computer Science.

I hear from good authority (a student who graduated last term) that there was only cause to use the cup-gun (HVLP sprayer) for like one project.

If there’s only one painting project, it absolutely doesn’t justify the cost of a Wagner Spraytech HVLP or even a Spray Max (both nice) or a Graco 7.0 3-stage turbine HVLP (very nice) but neither one suitable. Nor the pneumatic Graco Edge II or the aviation-specific Graco AirPro.

But picking up an extremely inexpensive siphon-feed, pneumatic, HVLP cup-gun would work well.

Oh, and while you’re searching around for HVLPs, you’ll no doubt see ads and sales pitches directing you (insisting? demanding?) to buy burp-guns. Don’t. It’s a trap.

Just a super-basic, gravity-fed or cup-gun pneumatic sprayer.

Paint respirator (ProTech B242 or equal), 1 ea

Okay, this is an odd one — there doesn’t seem to be a “ProTech B242” respirator to be found. And I’m unfamiliar with the name

Well, there is a “ProTech”, but it’s not likely what we’ll need. The ProTech you’ll find online is one of those tactical-related vendors.

I don’t know if SCC requires a PPV respirator (doubt it, but for those with beards, it may be appropriate eventually) so something like a basic 3M painting respirator (Lowe’s, Home Depot) may work fine. Generally, cartridges in a painting respirators need to be replaced every day or so under regular use.


That’s about it. So far.

From what I’ve calculated, this is indeed the most expensive tool list of the lot.

Apart from the toolbox, which I already have, the greatest expenses, in order, were: the rivet gun, the drill, the drill bits, and the Cleco kit. Most other items were within the range of $2 to $20.


*Per the tools list: “New tools may say they include an air hose fitting but it will not come with Lincoln Long fittings, nor will air hoses.”

Trying Electric Flight…

Okay, the title is click-baity. I’m not trying electric flight — well, any kind of flight presently (though I’d love to) but on the heels of the post I’d made a short while ago about electric flight, here’s another piece that The Flying Reporter did on the Pipistrel Velis Electro.

Honestly, it doesn’t seem that Pipistrel is currently marketing the Velis Electro in the USA (but they do marked two of their other Electric aircraft as either LSA or Experimental here).

I’m still rather unclear as to the TCO for a private owner.

Although, again, ideal for training flights or flying the circuits several times round airfields in reasonable VFR conditions or as a commuter making short jaunts between airfields perhaps 50 or 75 NM apart.

Don’t think about how it won’t meet everyone’s needs (heh, just think of the uphill challenges faced by EVs in society). Instead, think about how, given what it can do very well, how it can fill some needs.

Yes, this may be an aircraft that has an optimistic future.

The State of Electric Aircraft

First, there’s Joe Scott’s take on a brief history and the current state of electrically-powered aviation along with some of the challenges that we all, socially and culturally, will need to overcome:

Are they doomed? That depends entirely upon what you consider to be “required” for an electric aircraft.

Next, there’s Pipistrel (Wiki), a Slovenian light aircraft manufacturer who has entirely-E-powered Velis Electro intended for training purposes. In fact, they have received, shockingly, the very first-ever Type Certificate from EASA — the European Aviation Safety Agency.

Pipistrel Electric Taurus (0:30), Alpha (2:18), and Velis Electro (3:44)

It’s only a matter of time until an eager aviator (or two or three) purchase and import a Velis registered as an Experimental Aircraft. Note that the Pipistrel Alpha is certificated as an Experimental or LSA already in the USA (ca. US$175,000, more or less as an LSA).

No Type Certificate for the Velis in the USA…

Yet.

Give it time.

Uh, no, it isn’t.

Spotted on one of the hand-outs that was dispersed last week:

I’m starting to think I’ve had (another) stroke.

It reads: “Is this true or false? Relative to ultrasonic testing, air is considered a good conductor and for this reason ultrasound will carry long distances in air.”

First, “relative to ultrasonic testing”? Not sure what that might mean.

Second, no, air is a rather horrible conductor of ultrasonic sound energy.

It reads as “TRUE – Relative to ultrasonic testing, air is considered a good conductor for this reason ultrasound will carry long distances in air.”

Uh… no, it isn’t and, no, it won’t. Air (of any kind or density) is an absolutely horrible sound transmission medium.

Starting a Rotary Engine…

Spotted on the Tubes of You — a hand-prop start of a rotary engine.

Now, for everyone else, this could be labeled “How Not To…”. No, nobody was puréed by the spinning prop. But there were so many possibilities for things to go pear-shaped rather quickly.

  • Inside of a hangar
  • Against a wall
  • The position of controls and the motor (and prop!) limit your vectors for egress
  • Walking around a spinning prop
  • Without ear protection (or eye protection)
  • And horrifying hand-propping technique involving walking slowly backward

Steve Thorn (FlightChops) and Kris Finkbeiner (with TacAero) demonstrates what we like to call the right way to hand-prop.

I rather like the effort Steve has shared in aviation through FlightChops. Rather inspiring, honestly.

A few last moment remarks on walking (staggering?) backward — and this applies to walking, running, bicycling, motorcycles, cars, trucks… but probably not locomotives (unless you’re its engineer):

Always watch where you’re going.

Never watch where you were.

Remain focused on the now and never fixate on what was.

Also, also: Just remembered that Steve did a couple of episodes on hand-propping. Here’s one that he covered on a de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver: