Solder Technique

There is an age old question in aircraft building, tip-up or slider....I mean crimp or solder? Everyone has an opinion and there are seemingly justifiable and logical reasons for those opinions.

In my younger days I always dabbled in electronics; from being in a special advanced program in high school to the Air Force working on missile systems and their counterparts on board B-52's I swam in solder, crimps, resistors, capacitors and cable. But I never really knew how to solder. Or at least that's what I found out.

Several lifetimes ago I worked for NASA. Because of my job I needed to become NASA Flight Solder Certified. That certification allows you to solder on satellite components, etc. It was here that I learned how much I didn't know about creating a good solder joint. That's a general lesson that life keeps teaching much I don't know.

So where do I stand on the age old question of solder versus crimp? I can't imagine one of our aircraft, in thier entire lifetimes, going through as much stress and strain as a satellite does at launch. If it does, you've got bigger problems than a solder joint. As a matter of fact, it’s probably the end of you problems, this time around and we'll all be sorry for your passing. However, I don't claim to be an expert nor did I sleep in a ... It's only a guess on my part (notice I left out the word intelligent).

It would be nice to see some empirical testing to the age old question: tip up or slider, I mean, solder or crimp?

We used the 63/37 ratio solder. I was told it was easier to get a good joint, using that ratio, than the typical 60/40 used in the day. Anyway, I found that before being certified I only thought I knew how to solder. Looking back, the soldering I did before I went through the certification training probably created mostly bad joints. Even when I was in the Air Force we were never truly taught proper solder technique. Everyone talks about good technique but there are few resources to get you there. is a link to some NASA video's on proper solder technique. As with anything it’s not the quantity of the solder it's the quality of the soldering. It really doesn't take much solder to get a good joint.

Have fun, whichever way you go!



Why don't we go fly?

I'd been working on an RV-12 for just over a year.  Everything was going pretty good.  The kit is really put together well.  If something doesn't fit, you're doing it wrong. The plans and pictures lead you step by step every inch of the way. It's just all there. When I saw somthing that I did, that I didn't like I just ordered a new part and put it in. Although I had one spot that bothered me and I felt like it was going to require me to rebuild a flaperon. There were a few rivets that just looked ugly and I wasn't sure I could drill them out without some major pains that might make it easier to just rebuild that flaperon from beginning.

Will Fox, the chapter technical advisior (among other things) didn't think it would be a big deal and with his 90 pneumatic degree drill, he offered me a helping hand. Come the big day (one of my Friday's off from work) I went to meet and pick Will up from the Santa Fe airport. I never mind going to airport and kicking around on the flight line! He was flying in from his home base in Los Alamos (you know, of atmoic bomb fame).

While walking down the flight line I ran into Amy Ross (the chapter Young Eagles Coordinator), getting the oil changed in her Big Yellow Bird. Like many of our chapter members, Amy is also based in Los Alamos.

Amy and Big Bird

Amy showed me around her bird and I had the opportunity to see a Beech Musketeer/Sierra up close (photo's). That's one impressive, rugged bird! Just the plane for an ex-Iowa farm girl who cut her teeth on tractors. Of course I wouldn't mind one either!

While we were talking on the line and taking pictures, we saw Will fly in.  Will was in his record setting, red Pegazair.

Will Fox and his Pegazair

By the time I wiped the drool marks off of both airplanes, we were running a little late.  I had a tele-conference crop up for work later, right after lunch, so Will asks, "Do you want to go flying?" Heck yeah! (photo's). Will did a pre-flight while I hopped in and buckeled up. These sure aren't the seat belts or instrument panel you'd find in a beloved Cessna!

Inside the Peg

There was a good bit of nose up attitude on the ground because of the Peg being a taildragger and those large 'outback' tires on the main gear. Will fired up his 200 horse IO-360.  After a brief call to the tower, we did S-turns down the taxi way and Will preformed a run up.

Soon the tower cleared us and off we went.  Quite literally off we went, it happened so fast that we climbed skyward before I could even imagine it. Will headed southeast of the Santa Fe airport. He showed me slow flight and stalls. Actually the plane doesn't really stall in the sense I was used to - you know where you're stomach stays at one altitude but nothing else does, and you're doing a piroutte on one wing staring at the ground rushing up. The stalls in the Peg?  Well they're much more like a canard, with a very slight nose bob up and down while you're decending. There was no tendency for a wing to drop, even when I was doing it!

Will also showed me the slats.  The slats are leading edges in the wing that pop out when the speed drops low enough.  It provides more lift and allows you to fly around at really slow air speeds. They pop in and out automatically. When the slats are in he can cruise in the 140 - 150 mph range.

Then Will asked if I wanted to fly. I hadn't actually touched a stick or control wheel on an aircraft that was moving since the early 80's. So with trepidation I said, 'My airplane'! Rusty really wasn't a word I'd use.  The Peg was really nice and responsive, nothing like the 172 I used to fly. I remembered that old pilot saying of 'flying by the seat of your pants'.  This was the first time I could actually feel it.  Although I admit I didn't know what to do!

I was comfortable in the 40 - 50 mph range so it took a while to get anywhere.  However, the plane wasn't so far ahead of me that I couldn't see it. I did a couple of power off stalls and of course at this speed everything was slow flight. Will pointed in a direction and soon we were flying over the town of Silverado (from the movie of the same name). I think most of the actor's had already gone home...


Will took the airplane back so I could get some shots below me.  After a few passes around the town we headed out across the plain.

headed out

Looking down below we came upon a pod of antelope running through the brush, just southwest of Lamay, NM.


All to soon it was time to head back to the airport and think about that tele-conference.  Thankfully, I didn't need to give much input because, by now my head was spinning.  I was overwhelmed, by the sheer joy of flight.  What I saw and experienced could never happen just driving down the road. It was incredible and truely made the day an experience I'll never forget. The next day I turned...oh well let's just say it was an awesome birthday present!

Now back to those rivets! And by the way, Will was able to actually help repair those rivets in the flaperon and it looks just like it should; great! Now that's a tech counseler!








Members Projects/Planes/Dreams

This page will link you members, their aircraft/projects. You'll see a wide variety of planes, people and dreams.

 Members!  If you don't have a page yet contact's lonely down here!

 Member Name - Click on the underlined name to learn more  Airplane Current Status  Picture 
Amy Ross and her Big Bird   Beechcraft - Musketeer/Sierra Flying  Amy Ross  
Van's RV-8 Newly - Flying catching some rays

 Bob Hassel - Jan Martinez - Bill Darmitzel

Part of a build team including

Jan Martinez (wife) and Bill Darmitzel (Jan's father)

 Van's RV-12 Building the Fuselage   

Carolyn Cook


Chris Trapp


David Roe

Van's RV-8 Flying David Roe Small

David Young


Doug Baltzley


Doug Reid


Gary Dawson


George Stephenson

George and Harlan's RV-7a Project

Van's RV-7A  Fuse done - Firewall Forward   george rv7a small

Jeff Scott

Award Winning KR-2S  Flying  Jeff Scott KR2S small 

Jeff Scott

Award Winning Cub Flying Jeff Scott Cub small

Jim Foley


Jim and James Shinas


John Elling


Lloyd Hunt

Cessna 182  Flying   Lloyd Hunt small

Pete Zabriskie

Sonerai IIL In Progress Dave Pratt welding 
 Richard 'Mouser' Williams and his RV-10  Van's RV-10   Finishing the Wings mouser wing small 
Rick Shore      
Roger Smith Piper Tri-Pacer  Flying  Roger Smith Small 
Ron Hyer      
Ronald Tarrson      
Skip Egdorf  Taylorcraft  Flying  Skip Egdorf small 
Thomas Spickermann Zenith CH-750 STOL    Thomas small 
Travis Perry      
Will Fox and his Pegazair Pegazair Flying Will Fox Pegazair small
Will Fox and his Bonanza Bonanza Flying Will Fox - Bonanza small
Will Fox and his 1 and 3/4 Questair Venture Questair Venture One flying and one being improved!  


The Chapter Meeting


 MonthDay - DateCity  Host & Notes
Jan  Thursday - 19th  Los Alamos KSAF
 Pot Luck
Feb  Thursday - 16th   Santa Fe, NM  David & America Young
Mar  Thursday - 16th  Los Alamos Airport, Roger and Skips Hanger  Roger Smith & Skip Egdorf
Apr  Thursday - 20th   Los Alamos  Logan Ott
May  Thursday - 18th   Santa Fe  George, Harlan & John’s Hanger
Jun  Thursday - 15th  Los Alamos  Will Fox
Jul  Thursday - 20th  Abiquiu  John George
Aug  Thursday - 17th  Los Alamos Airport - HLMHA Hanger   Skip & Roger
Sep  Thursday – 21st  Santa Fe   Doug Baltzley
Oct  Thursday – 19th  Hernandez  Debbie Spickermann
Nov Saturday – 12th  Jan & Bob - Santa Fe


Please Volunteer!


A look at the Glastar Kit & Project 

Dec Saturday 16th – Holiday Party  Los Alamossnowman PNG9935 little  Will & Barb Fox
Jan  Thursday – 25th  Open – Please Volunteer!  

General Meeting Information

Meetings are genearlly held on the third Thursday of the Month. Directions will be provided in the Newsflash email or contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

6:30 pm - Social Time

7:00 pm - Bussiness

7:30 pm - Tech Talk