Glow Fuel – Clean Fuel

methanol Flame

Model Airplanes generally use something called glow fuel.

This is because the most popular type of engine is the glow-ignition model engine. Glow engine’s do not require a battery or capacitors and therefore make model planes lighter and fly better.

This is usually a combination of Methanol aka methyl alcohol, oil, and nitro aka nitro-methane. Methanol is the largest component, oil reduces friction in the engine, and nitro is used for speed boosts.

Nitro-methane is the fuel that makes your plane “explode” with speed. Ever seen the mini explosions coming out of the back of a funny car? That is “nitro”. It should be noted that nitro is not allowed in the “F” class international competitions of the FAI.

The mixed in oil lubricates the metal parts in the engine. This fuel will burn extremely hot, and the resulting friction can damage the engine parts. But mixing oil with the fuel causes everything to flush through the engine much more smoothly and prevents extreme damage.


One of the best clean air fuels is methanol. Methanol reacts with the coiled platinum filament in the glow plug.  This is called a catalytic reaction. Using methanol in your model airplanes is used for three major reasons:

1. Its cheap.

2. It releases a lot of energy per cubic pound.

3. The small “glow plugs” that fit well in model airplanes will spark methanol well.

Using methanol is a much cleaner solution then fully fossil fuels. Using methanol in your model airplanes is a great way to help the earth. And you’ll never need to take your model plane to one of these places.

An often cited fuel combination amount is about %65 percent methanol, 20 percent oil and 15 percent nitro.  These aren’t fixed in stone, but is one of the most common mixtures.

There are results that show air pollution is dramatically decreased when methanol replaces gasoline. In fact air quality agencies were among the initial proponents of methanol in the late 20th century.

We also know that carcinoma causing elements are absent from methanol. This is especially beneficial as you may often be in close contact with the fuel from your model airplane.   Methanol is poisonous to humans in large amounts so be careful to store it in a safe place, away from children.  It doesn’t even have to be ingested to be toxic. If too many vapors get in the lungs or a lot is absorbed through the skin it can make you very sick.

But it’s affect on air quality is much better than the normal fuel. Normal gasoline emits hydrocarbons like benzene which are carcinogenic and can pollute air and groundwater. Methanol is biodegradeable and so if released into the environment is naturally and harmlessly absorbed when diluted


In conclusion lets note that if you are flying model airplanes you are probably using a methanol based fuel. Know that you are using a fuel that is cleaner than the normal car based fuels that are required to use smog shops.  Know also that you should be careful when handling the fuel.

The Electrical of your Homebuilt Airplane

Home Built Airplane

Homebuilt airplanes are also known as “kit” planes or “experimental planes”. They are not casual things to build and their construction should not be taken lightly, especially if you plan on actually going up in the air. We are going to talk circuit breakers and panels. So if you need a non airplane expert, call!

There are many different aspects of building a homebuilt.  One of the most critical aspects is the electrical system.  You might think the most critical part is the engine, but if the engine fails in an airplane a skillful pilot can glide the aircraft to the ground in the correct conditions.  However if the electricity in an airplane fails, the pilot will lose all control of the aircraft and a fatal crash is much more likely.

Lets take a look at some of the electrical components of planes that need to be done right.


The Control Panel

The pilot’s control panel is the most critical part of the plane to the pilot. This is where all the decisions, adjustments, and piloting actually takes place. The usability of the control panel in flight is of critical importance.  Of similar importance is the ability to work on, install, and maintain the control panel. Some kit makers recommend that you build your panel with a skeleton base and panels fastened in the front with rivnuts and screws. This makes it easy to loosen and work on the panel’s insides by simply unscrewing from the pilot’s seat.  To do this make sure you make your wiring long enough to be pulled up to this point and even “out” into the pilots compartment, when you are working on them.

Since you are building your own plane, the exact panels that you include are up to you somewhat.  But if you are planning on flying your plane, you’ll want to have strict standards on which ones you are including. Well known kit builders recommend:

  • flight instruments
  • engine instruments
  • electrical switches and magneto switch
  • radio equipment
  • non-avionic circuit breakers


The Circuit Breakers

Next let’s look into airplane circuit breakers.

(BTW, more information can be found here )

Circuit breakers purpose is to stop the power from overflowing and overeating a circuit, causing it to short. But believe it or not circuit breakers act as an “on/off” switch in some airplanes and circumstances. For example in emergency landing gear extension procedures, the pilot is often taught to pull the gear operating breaker so that bad signals won’t be sent to the gear during the emergency. Much like “resetting” a computer by turning it off and on, pilots often relied upon “resetting” a particular circuit that was acting wonky by breaking it temporarily.

But in recent times the FAA has veered away from promoting that as a viable practice. Many new airplane designs are putting the breakers out of reach of the pilots because they see it as a potential for errors and overuse.

They are also moving circuit breakers outside of the pilot’s purview because it allows more wires to be included in the panel space. But we are not experts on whether you should include the circuit breakers in the panels.

Another reason for moving them out of the cockpit is that after a certain amount of “popped” breakers, the breaker becomes reliable. So it’s important to be very vigilant about over usage of circuit breaker popping.

Finally, make sure your switches, volt and amp meter, & circuit breakers, are all manually tested and observed personally. Also, you can always call an expert electrician like


The Wiring

Wiring on a kit built airplane is one of the biggest risks of building the plane. It’s common to find homebuilt planes to have defective wiring. The homebuilt industry doesn’t have big players

The key components of the wiring infrastructure are the avionics, intercoms, and electric components.

Make sure you commit your wiring plan to paper. Don’t try to do it in your head. For God’s sake create a wiring diagram that has the parts and components ratings.

Many kit experts recommend that you have a two busses. A main electrical bus and a avionics/radio bus. This is important so if necessary you can shut down one without the other.  This comes in very handy during engine start up sometimes.

Make sure you have a switch for your alternator field, so you can turn it off and on to maintain control.  With this setup your voltmeter can alert you to whether your voltage regulator is working.  This will help prevent your from damaging your costly components, like radios, if you move to battery power quickly and turn off the alternator field.

Finally make sure that when you are doing your wiring you are looking at the big picture. Wiring takes into account every part of the electrical components of your kit. Map all your components out on a piece of paper and look at how the wiring will connect to them all. Take into account the future maintenance you will be doing and whether you can reach everything needed.

Finally, here is a GREAT video about this exact topic!


How to find best quality consumer goods

It is every consumer’s best interest to obtain goods that are of the highest quality and with pocket friendly prices. Obtaining the best quality consumer goods can be a challenge to many. Explained below are ways on how to find best quality consumer goods without much hustle. In this context, only durable goods are considered.


This is the ability of a good to measure up to the test of time while still performing its tasks effectively. This is information readily provided by the manufacturers of a commodity so that the consumer knows the expected useful life of a good.

The durability of technological goods is relative to new inventions and adoption of the new technology over time.

This information is important to avoid disappointments and unforeseen sudden expenses when a good such a desktop printer suddenly fails to perform.


This is the cost of purchasing a commodity. It is in the consumers interest to know the price of the good and if there are other hidden charges apart from the cost price. Some products incur other costs such as insurance cost, even before the good can be put to use

The cost of a commodity can be over stated in one retail shop yet other shops offer pocket friendly prices. It is important to know whether the total cost factors in after sales services such as repainting of a table after some years or even repair after breakage.


This is the ability of a good to perform the tasks expected and even more given the available resources. The best quality consumer goods should use minimal energy and are user friendly. The resources such as electricity for a washing machine should be readily available and used to the minimal. Cars that use less petrol are both pocket friendly as you save on gas, and environmentally recommended.

The efficiency of a good is relative to individual consumer needs and wants.

After sales service

Consumers always look forward to support from their suppliers in the event of anything going wrong. These services can be in the form of servicing a car after sometime to check on worn out parts among other issues. This gives customer’s confidence on the genuineness of the goods and the good-will of the suppliers to take care of previous customers while attracting new ones. This is an important gesture that helps to market the suppliers and results in satisfied customers.


Five Tips to Help Grow Your Business

If you have started a business, there’s probably one thing on your mind–how to make it grow. After all, how many business owners and managers have ever had on their list of goals to just survive or just get by? Right. None. So, how do you accomplish your goal of growing your business? Here are five time-tested and proven tips that will help you grow your business.

  1. Turn your customers into your salespeople. Customer referrals are, without a doubt, the most effective means of reaching new customers and getting new revenue streams. How do you do this? It’s easy. Treat your current customers like your best friends. Serve your customers better. Make the point of contacts to build relationships instead of making sales. You will find that eventually you will build both.
  2. Delegate. No business that was on the right growth track ever stood still. As a result, if your business is growing there’s no way you can handle all of the details yourself. As a result, you need to find people who you think have the right talents to help you, and then get out of their way. Delegate and don’t micromanage. You will be shocked at how much you can get done versus doing it yourself.
  3. Develop new products and services. Growing companies are constantly developing new products and services to offer their customers. The old adage of “innovate or die” is true. Standing still in your business will leave you standing in the dust. You should be constantly asking yourself, “What can we do new and/or differently to earn new business’?”
  4. Penetrate new markets. Growing businesses are constantly looking to develop new markets for their products and services. To do this, you should first determine who your market is, then decide how you can reach other markets. For example, if you own a small business that offers products that appeal to a certain segment of your population, what new product could you offer or adapt your current product to reach more markets. It doesn’t matter where those markets are, whether across town or around the world. Reach out and you will get them.
  5. Automate. If you’re spending too much time on tasks that could be automated, you are probably losing too much money avoiding the technological solution. Accounting is an excellent example of this issue. If you are using a bookkeeper who is still employing paper and pencils instead of computerized program, you are losing significant amounts of time and money. The message is clear: automate.