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Inclinometer – Slip Skid ball -Build It or Buy It for Cheap

Posted By:
Charlie Becker
Homebuilder or Craftsman
#1 Posted: 10/1/2009 10:04:14 Modified: 10/1/2009 10:51:02

I’m working on the panel for my Sonex project and want to have a skid ball.  Starting looking at the various aviation options and was shocked at the price for such a simple item (over $40).  I thought there has to be a better way.  Went back to the Sport Aviation archives and came across 2 low budget solutions:

Build your own-The “real” homebuilders solution


I haven’t built it yet but it looks good.

Skid ball plans.jpg

Store Bought Option

For those who don’t mind spending a little bit, I found this one from March 1993:


Lev O Gage inclinometer.jpg

You can still get the Lev O Gage II.  A little googling and I found it for 10.97 plus $5 shipping.

Hope this helps out some fellow builders.




Charlie -

This is a big part of what this forum is all about: members helping members find practical and economical ways to advance their projects and get in the air. The fact that you're a fellow staff member here at HQ, and that you were able to leverage the tremendous library of content in the Sport Aviation archives just makes it all the better, and reminds me why I came to work here in the first place.

Thanks for what you've brought to Oshkosh365!

Hal Bryan
Online Community Manager

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Built Sonex, Own J-3 Cub
Kristine Bennett
Homebuilder or Craftsman
#2 Posted: 10/1/2009 18:56:31

West Marine has much the same thing as the Lev-O-Gage, you can also find them at most any RV store.


remember KISS, Keep It Simple Stupid as well as add lightness to what you are flying!
Victor Delgado
Homebuilder or Craftsman
#3 Posted: 2/14/2010 20:46:12 Modified: 2/14/2010 20:47:42


Like you I am building a Sonex also. It is #969 a scratch built tail dragger.  It sounds like you are little bit farther ahead in your project than I am. I saw your inclinometer and like the simplicity of it. I decided to spend an afternoon in my shop and make one. As you said, locating the parts are the most difficult part of the project. After several trips over the weekend to the home improvement store and local hardware. I decided the easiest way to make it was to start with what I had already, which were larger ball bearings than were called out for in the article. Once I had decided to do that, the rest was easy. I purchased larger diameter tubing, o-rings, and expandable plugs for the ends of the tubes. 10-24 machine screws into the plugs and expand them as they tighten forming a good seal on the tubing.  Once I had the parts I needed to build one, I ended up with enough materials to build ten of these.


Below is my version of your inclinometer. The smaller one on the bottom was just a test piece to see if I wanted a smaller version, but it is hard to see the bb sized ball bearing in it.  The larger ball bearing model on top is much easier to see. I think once you build one, you will like it as well.


Files Attachment(s):
DSCF0003.JPG (461129 bytes)
Vic Delgado KitLites.com Scratchbuilding Sonex #969 EAA Chapter 302
Charlie Becker
Homebuilder or Craftsman
#4 Posted: 2/16/2010 18:36:05


Perfect, a scratch built skid ball for a scratch biult Sonex.

Thanks for sharing the feedback.  I'll have to go find the "expandable plugs" at the store.  I'm not familiar with them.


Built Sonex, Own J-3 Cub