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QuickTalk 17 - LETTERS

At the end of my editorial in last issue, I remarked about being disappointed that the Dragonfly did not compete in the CAFE 400 efficiency race. Why they missed it is much more exciting. Reader Rex Taylor, the principal in the Dragonfly program writes:

"The reason Dragonfly didn't compete is the CAFE 400 this year is quite simple. It was torn down at the time for some major modifications (see photos).

We have been having the same sort of landing and canard breakage that the Quickie and Q-2 have; the only difference is that statistically speaking, we have had more planes flying with fewer accidents. (Ed. note: planes that ARE flying now have had fewer accidents. They do not have more TOTAL airplanes flying.)

We chose to work on the design to give our customers something easier for a low time pilot (with possibly no taildragger experience) to fly successfully. I believe we have achieved that goal pretty well. Look over both the MK II Dragonfly (inboard gear) and the Mark III Dragonfly with tricycle gear at Oshkosh. I think you will be seeing the things that are much more important to the average builder than a ...win at racing."

Having seen first the gorgeous photos, and then the real thing at Oshkosh, we'd have to say that their time in the shop was well spent. Over a year ago we saw photos where a Dragonfly builder moved his entire wheelpant inboard about 10 ft., but appearance suffered. This new design is very attractive.

At Taylor's OSH forum we learned that much of the anhedral was taken out of the canard with only a slight change in roll response in flight. The gear leg is of solid fibreglass of a constant cross-sectional area, and it is held in place by a single bolt. This allows for a quick repair by replacement in case of damage. This gear leg will easily accept larger wheels for unpaved strips. Above the pants, the gear is covered by a clean, flush fitting rubber boot.

We're impressed with the beauty and practicality of this solution to the ground handling problems we've heard about from Quickie, Q-2 and Dragonflyers. However, this is a substantial engineering change and although it has been static tested and flight tested on the prototype, we advise, as usual, cautious optimism until the mod is in the hands of other users long enough to validate its success in daily use.

Could this gear be adapted for the Q-2 (We thought you'd never ask)? Not without some major work, most likely the construction of a new canard, since there are major differences in the cross section and spar of the Dragonfly canard. But we know as sure as God made little green apples, there is somebody out there who is itching to be the first to try it. We only hope to be one of the first to hear about it.

Jim, glad to have seen you at the wine and cheese doings at the University. Sorry for the financial loss. People didn't know the value of that offered. Perhaps going back to a pizza parlor evening meal might be better (no $ loss for QBA), providing they can provide QBA with a private room or corner anyway. Also suggest that the QBA evening forum be arranged to a daytime thing. For the last 2 years, after leaving the airfield after 8 am to 6 pm walking my legs down to the knees, I left for a close motel to rest, et and clean up for your 8 pm "revival" tent only to be prevented by police from re-entering the field because of one-way traffic -- all lanes still exiting.

John Hicks #N401JH, Mary Esther, FL

EAA '84, helped by the good weather, was above par for me, although I'm still feeling bad about not getting there in style aboard our Quickie. The sure ride in the face of questionable weather was too good to pass up. I enjoyed the QBA meeting again; obviously there is quite a lot of diversity of opinion, knowledge and experience within our group--but it is INTERESTING. I thought you did a good job of keeping things under control. The wine and cheese party also was fun; I would have enjoyed more musical chairs for more mixing, but it was a distinct success in any case.

Will Hubin, Cuyahoga, OH

I have been working part time on Q-2 kit #2549 since August of '82. I took early retirement in May so I could get on with this project.

My Q dealer, Howard Meissner, a retired Marine/Naval aviator, was killed in a rough terrain landing near Corona, CA on 5/20/84. The Q-2 burned. An investigation found the pop rivets that held the throttle cable at the carb end failed and the engine went to idle. The Q-2 had a Revmaster engine.

Birch Parker #2549, Long Beach, CA

Howard Meissner was the original southern California dealer for Quickie Aircraft Co. He was a friend and member of the QBA who gave us candid counsel during our early years when we were trying to figure out just what the devil was going on out in Mojave. We will miss him. What follows is our last correspondence with him which was typeset long ago but not yet printed.

I read the letters to the editor with great interest. It's good to hear a few members/builders are accepting some of the responsibility for the finished product they wish to fly. I believe QAC has put out a good product with very little problem with quality control. The only difference has been the ability of the builder. From the some 47 kits sold by me during my dealership tenure, I have observed some outstanding construction and some that was pretty lousy. Those with the lousy workmanship have been those quick to place the blame on QAC.

In response to E. B. Barlow's letter in the Mar/Apr 84 issue, adjusting the valves on the Revmaster engine every 20-25 hours is not uncommon. Some valve seats seem to wear at different rates, but periodic adjustments seem to be a way of life with this type of engine.

Although I'm no longer the Southern California Quickie dealer, I will be happy to help anyone with a problem. I've been able to absorb a lot of information over the last year from Revmaster's Joe Horvath and Eric Shilling, with whom I have shared a hangar at Chino Airport.

Keep up the good work with Quicktalk.

Howard Meissner (#2075)

This next was sent to us very recently from Revmaster Aviation:


Aircraft using the POSA carburetor should be checked for the following, especially concerning the Revmaster installation.

The oil cooler on the Revmaster engine is attached to the bottom of the engine case with soft aluminum to prevent possible distortion and breaking, which could result in leakage. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should it be used to attach the throttle cable bracket. The throttle cable bracket should be BOLTED INDEPENDENTLY to the engine case, (repeat) NOT THE OIL COOLER.

The high vacuum on the POSA carburetor associated with low power during approach and landing sucks the slide against the carb base, causing it to stick. When this occurs a great deal of force may be required to open the throttle. This force may be too great for the bracket to withstand if pop riveted or attached to the soft aluminum. If the bracket is pulled loose, loss of throttle response results. Since Rev-flow carburetor has its own built in cable clamps, it is not affected unless the integral brackets are bypassed. Several incidents have occurred as a result of throttle cable brackets being insecurely mounted.

Incidentally, it is a good idea to check the method and security of the throttle cable bracket for all aircraft.

Just wanted to drop a note thanking the individuals that have been furnishing all the builders tips and flight reports. They save us all hours of work, broken props and shattered nerves.

I'm amazed at all the trips through the weeds, over runway lights, into ditches, etc...Are we spending the last 4 weeks preparing the aircraft for that first flight and neglecting our personal readiness?

Several hours with an instructor - preferably in a taildragger, or better yet, with a fellow builder in his Quickie - should be in order just prior to that first flight. After you've invested $10,000 ++ and many months of work, a couple of hundred dollars worth of instruction is cheap insurance. Of course if you fly a Pitts regularly, it might not be necessary!

Question: has anyone installed dual control sticks on a Q-2? Also, I'd like to hear some flight reports on the new canard.

My Wicks orders are always at my door within a week of phoning in and I have found QAC helpful and easy to deal with.

Mitch Strong #2835, Batavia, NY

In reference to Q-Tips in Quicktalk issue #16, p.4. While 1,1,1 Trichloroethane may not be a carcinogen, it is in the class of halogenated hydrocarbons. These have been known to cause liver damage. Wear gloves and most importantly, VENTILATE.

Steven Herrlinger #2094, Fairborn, OH

Those of you excited about the application of cheap LORAN-C navigation in small aircraft would do well to consider the following recent book on the subject. It first came to our attention at Oshkosh: "The Aviator's Guide to LORAN-C" by John F. Good, Aksunai Press, Box 326, Wakefield, MA 01880.


N303Q first flight was on 11 Feb. 84, from Witham Field, Stuart, Florida. Flown by a professional test pilot for about 45 minutes up to 2500 ft. Level flight at 3400 RPM 120 knots (126 mph). He tried some 70 deg. banks and approach stalls and found nothing wrong, it pitch-bucked per book. The only real problem he found was a tendency for cylinder head temp to go to red line in the climb.

Now a little personal history. I am almost 70, a retired bus driver, a 550 hour pilot who couldn't spell composite when I bought kit #0303 in September 1979. I took a year to move to Florida and started to work in the fall of 1980.

I am amazed at the problems that a good number of Quickie Aircraft builders seem to have. QAC is far from perfect. Parts of the plans are ambiguous, vague, poorly written and imprecise. I waited 3 months for exchange exhaust pipes and then those didn't fit either. So what else is new?? Hasn't anyone had a problem with a new car or a suit of clothes that wouldn't fit? In fact the only supplier for whom I have nothing but praise is the Terra Corp. These things all come with the territory.

On the surface I seem to have built a better aircraft than some of the letter writers in Quicktalk. How then, if this is correct, did I do it with no experience and just average ability? Thinking back, I realize I followed some rules and had some traits that worked for me. For instance:

I didn't set out to be something I couldn't be, i.e. be a bus driver trying to be an engineer, I just wanted to put a kit together and use the K.I.S.S. principle.

If it didn't seem right I walked away from it, it is surprising how many problems I solved in my mind while mowing the lawn or jogging. I didn't make any changes for my convenience, or because it was easier or any reason like that. The change had to improve the product and usually took more work.

Most important for me, I tried to be a world-class nitpicker. It took 12 weeks of filling and sanding to prepare the wing and canard for paint. If a washer didn't look just right under a bolt head, I found out why and fixed it.

I accepted the fact that my aircraft cost could approach $8-9,000, maybe more, and that it would take a long, long, long time to complete.

We are supposed to be building because we enjoy flying, why shouldn't we also enjoy building. I gritted my teeth, laughed at the hassles and today am not mad at anyone.

Art Kreutzer (#303)

As requested at Oshkosh, the cockpit paint I used in my Q-2 was Dupont 389-40156 "Grey Trunk Spatter Finish". This is the color with some blue flecks in it.

My Q-2, C-GUER was destroyed Aug. 5, 1984 at Grantsburg, Wis. after engine failure on take off. We landed in a swamp at the end of the runway and cartwheeled until coming to rest. The only piece intact was the cabin; no fire and no injuries, which says a lot for the design and for composites. Our Ministry of Transportation, at the request of the NTSB, has picked up my engine and shipped it on to Ottawa for inspection. I will write further when I get their report.

Arnold Forest C-GUER, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

ED. NOTE: This was quite a nice looking aircraft at Oshkosh. We are grateful when builders like Arnold share these sad experiences in the hope that whatever is learned can save someone else from a similar event. Thank you, Arnold.

The Sunday night meeting (at Oshkosh) was very valuable if only because the engineers in the tent mentioned the existence and explained the use of the inclinometer. Adjusting the angle of incidence at wing and canard mounting time was a mystery and a concern to me. No longer.

The QAC meeting earlier was a disappointment. Not much for information and no mention at all that there was any other source of builder support besides QAC and the dealer network. NO MENTION AT ALL that a builders association exists. I have ZERO faith in my dealer. Thank goodness that I know a Quickie builder and a Q-2 builder. These guys have been a lot of help.

I go through the newsletters (Quicktalk) and highlight key words in the hints and tips. This helps me later when I skim the plans looking for specific topics.

COMMENT: At Oshkosh there were 4 or 5 Q-2's in a row and only ONE had the stock tailwheel configuration. Angle of incidence problems? Improved visibility, handling, or landing?

Question: could someone who installed a landing light in the engine compartment (like Scott and Duane Swing) please submit a sketch showing how they did it?

I am debating the various merits of building my own engine. There is a production automotive machine shop a couple of blocks from my house, so if special tools or skills are required, they are available. Also, Michigan winter is not a good time to cure epoxy in a garage, and building an engine may take the edge off the cabin fever. I picked up Rex Taylor's book HOW TO BUILD A RELIABLE VW AERO ENGINE. A VW with severe Michigan cancer (a salt disease) can be acquired rather cheaply. To this end, I would be curious about the experience of anyone else who is re-building a VW engine.

I am very grateful to you and Robert and all the builders who have shared so much information through this newsletter.

Bruce Meck #2498, Lansing, MI

1. We have a sweet and sour relationship with QAC. When we tell truths that may negatively affect their sales, they wish we'd go away. When we find a solution to an exposed weakness, 4 or 5 months later they get around to it. For example, the stock tailwheel is still fine to them and there ARE NO handling or landing problems with the plane. We believe differently, and down the road, they'll come around, we think. We would like to be seen by QAC as a watchdog group of builders who are discovering things that could make the company and its products better. We bite at their heels, but we'd be in sorry shape if they weren't around.

Quickie Aircraft will not change without pressure from the marketplace in the form of sales declines or humongous lawsuits. This is an emotional market - you won't talk a guy out of his love, so Sheehan seems to know he can get away with most anything, so he has no pressure to change the status quo. However, an emotional market is just the kind that can generate humongous lawsuits once it gets pushed too far. Take a look at what's been happening over at Beech and Cessna lately as an example. Piper too.

2. If you are a flyer, FINISH THE PLANE. Don't mess around. If you enjoy the process of building, by all means, do an engine, a radio and anything else that will give you the joy of accomplishment and learning.

3. Rex Taylor sells another excellent book, BUILDING THE PERDIDO SKIFF, written by Bob Walters that is an easy to understand education in the details of composite materials and techniques. You will end up with a nice boat and no doubt about whether you are capable of doing an aircraft project. ED.

You can order a PDF or printed copy of QuickTalk #17 by using the Q-talk Back Issue Order Page.