Saturday and Sunday Chuck and I gave two advanced composite workshops with Zeke Smith at the Golden West Fly-in at Marysville Airport. Renee complained that the last blog entry did not show a very good picture of our tent, so here is a picture that shows it clearly!
Our tent is the small misshapened tent in the foreground. Obviously, we were more interested
in aircraft than tentcraft!
We also had time to look at airplanes! Below is a picture of Jack Burke’s “GoldWing Canard” composite aircraft. It is a modified Kato Kit canard. Jack is a member of our local (Livermore, CA) EAA Chapter 663. He is currently working on a 65% scale P-51 Mustang. We really enjoyed having a chance to get to know him better.
Darryl standing next to Jack Burke’s Kato Goldwing Canard at Marysville Airport. This is a single
place open-cockpit ultralight aircraft.
We also looked at some of the new sLSA aircraft. These are certified aircraft that meet the LSA rules. They are not homebuilts like our project, but are ready-to-fly aircraft. While there were 18 aircraft of this type available in February 2006, that number jumped to 36 in February of 2007 and 55 aircraft this past February! (Kitplanes Magazine Feb 2007 and Feb 2008). It will be interesting to see what will happen in the next few years with fuel prices and competition increasing.
Here is one of the very nice sLSAs we saw at the show. The Skyleader 500-LSA is a all-metal
aircraft made in the Czech Republic. It had several cool features. One that caught our eye
was the trailing edge step to assist getting into the airplane (see below).
A flip down wing step for getting onto the wing. Since it is hinged, when the aircraft is flying,
the step swings up horizontally, reducing air resistance. Very cool.
By the way, sLSA aircraft that resemble our design (2 seat side-by-side, enclosed cockpit, conventional looking and flying aircraft) cost from $80,000 to $120,000 to buy.That is one of the reasons we are building our own. We are hoping that our airplane will cost under (hopefully well under) $35,000. Only time will tell if we will meet this goal.
One fun thing about getting away from our project and getting exposed to a lot of interesting folks and aircraft are the ideas we get. One such idea was the wing step shown above. We have been thinking about a step for the wing for several years now. Originally we were planning to put a step attached to the fuselage just in front of the wing, but decided that it could cause the fuel tank to rip apart in an emergency landing…not a pleasant thought. For that reason, we decided to put the step behind the wing. That is until we saw the trailing edge hanging step on the Skyleader 500-LSA. Chuck did some quick calculations and decided that the trailing edge could be made plenty strong for attaching a step.
On top is our first version of our step where it is placed in front of the wing. Below that is our newest
(borrowed) step idea, with it hinged to the wing’s trailing edge.
Another idea we have been kicking around for a year or so is whether or not we could sling some hammocks under our wings. One of our early concerns was that we would have to get in and out of our hammocks at the same time. If either one of us needed to get out during the night (a not unreasonable idea) would the airplane tip over? Well, luckily, Chuck determined that if Darryl got out of his hammock, Chuck’s behind would not hit the ground! Chucked also looked at the shear stresses on the wing if a 200+ body was slung beneath it, and concluded that there was strength to spare. The only question remaining will be if there will be enough ground clearance under the wing to allow us to get comfy without touching the ground. There is still much more to consider, so stay tuned.
After we arrived home from Golden West, we did not do a lot more on the project. Between recovering from the trip and Chuck having cataract surgery on his right eye the following Tuesday, we took some much needed “R&R”. Chuck’s surgery went great; he was really amazed at the difference!