QuickTalk 27 - QUICKIE REPORTS
- Category: Q-Talk Articles
- Published: Wednesday, 30 April 1986 07:11
- Written by Jim Masal
- Hits: 1106
Thanks to you Quickie guys who responded to my challenge to share your experiences and tips. The following three letters are of great interest because they present three unique perspectives of the Quickie experience which over the whole spectrum of letters received here over the years:
Dear Mr. Masal,
You asked for more Quickie builder input, so I'll put in my 2 cents worth. I feel compelled to say a few things to other builders and/or prospective builders I wish someone would have told me five or so years ago.
I started Quickie #540 in 1981 after the usual 6 months wait for materials to arrive. I had seen the fantastic claims and pilot reports in flying magazines and believed I could produce a cheap way to become airborne by building my own Quickie. I consider myself a slow but patient builder and I set out on a slow, methodical course, enjoying the aircraft building process and dreaming of the day when I would fly my own creation. I had completed the fuselage when I detected storm clouds on the horizon - the plane falls out of the sky when the GU canard runs into a few dew drops or bugs, and the little Onan is not what it's cracked up to be. Undeterred, I forged ahead. "Someone will figure this stuff out," I said to myself. After moving half way across the country and once again setting up shop, I completed the canard and wing. Over 2 yrs had now passed and the clouds on the horizon appeared darker than ever. I began to wonder if this project was worth finishing. I hung the project in the garage with plans to finish it "later". That's where it is today, hanging in the garage...waiting.
Why have I quit? I wonder if it is worth putting more money into an aircraft with such marginal reported performance and such a poor safety record. There must be a reason why you see so many EZ's and Glasairs and so few Quickies and Q-2's. I think the answer is obvious: QAC aircraft have some major problems. I was prepared to spend the time building an aircraft, but I am not interested in continually working a hangar queen or mending a broken bird. It appears many projects end up this way. Right now it does not appear that building a Quickie is the way to get an inexpensive, functional and reasonably safe aircraft.
To those who have persevered, I salute you. I truly admire your fortitude, and wish you the best of luck. You embody the true spirit of the EAA.
To those who are considering starting an aircraft project to ANY kind, I offer my humble advice based on my experience:
1. Don't believe manufacturer/designer claims. Ask someone who has built and flown the aircraft. If none exist...BEWARE.
2. Go to a major fly-in and count the number of airplanes there. See the plane and ask questions.
3. Realize prototypes are not final products, and you may be faced with many changes while building, some of them major. There is a reason these planes are called EXPERIMENTAL.
4. Realize homebuilt aircraft companies can come and go quickly. You are taking a risk with your money when investing in a project. BUYERS MUST BEWARE.
5. Realize you can probably buy a good used spam can for as much or less than a "kit" for a "high performance" homebuilt.
6. Realize you will spend more time building your plane than you will ever spend flying it. You build an aircraft for the building experience as much or more than the flying experience.
I can't finish this letter without a word of thanks to you, Mr. Quicktalk Editor (and your former partner Mr. Herd). You do an EXCELLENT job. Why you do it I'll never know, but I'm glad you're there to organize and pass along the best Quickie builder information around. If some people don't like your editorial comments, too bad. Do it the way YOU like. It has worked very well so far.
Old #540 is still hanging in the garage; I'm going to wait, see what develops and keep in touch with the Quickie community by way of QBA.
Craig Gallenbach #540, Aiken, SC
Thought I should pass on to fellow QBAers the reasons for my conversion to a Rotax 447.
1. On the first flight, the throttle linkage vibrated apart on the Onan (fun, cheap thrills!). I managed to stumble around and get it back on the ground in one piece.
2. Low (almost at time non-existent) rates of climb. On one flight my Quickie came within 3 feet of jamming itself into the tops of some very imposing trees (I fly off a 6,000' runway!!!).
3. On another flight the Quickie and I milled around over the airport until we had 1,000' of altitude. We then set off on our first cross-country to an airport 7 miles away. Of course I just HAD to throw away all of my hard-earned altitude and beat up the patch! We ripped down the length of the runway, did a climbing 180 turn and headed back for Leavenworth. Halfway back I noticed the oil temp going up. We were 100' up and the engine had heated to the point that the Quickie wouldn't climb at all (due to an oil sump gasket leak). I found that by keeping the nose down and the engine unloaded the Onan would continue to thump madly along. We had dropped to 50' above the ground by now and my airport was only one mile away. There was only one small problem to overcome and that was a line of trees 100' tall between me and the south end of the runway. I traded airspeed for altitude, ballooned up and over the trees. I landed downwind (when you only have 50' you don't have time to demand the same luxuries other fliers have...like landing INTO the wind for example.)
I have come to the conclusion that although the Quickie airframe flies delightfully, the engine is an accident waiting to happen.
Jim Prell, Kansas City, MO
This letter is intended to give some positive comments to balance out the many negative ones, which seem so prevalent in the newsletter. I have not been able to fly my Quickie as much as I did soon after it was completed, but I have made some long cross-countries, which have been enjoyable. I finished my Quickie in July '82 and now have just 200 hrs. on it. It has the standard Onan engine with the 20 hp heads and most of the Anderson/Little recommendations. I have had to add Helicoils to both sides on the studs around the exhaust valves. I also had to replace the rings on the left cylinder after finding that one had broken, probably due to high temperatures encountered before decent cooling could be achieved.
Anyway, I have flown my Quickie 1726 miles in the past 3 weeks with no problems. The first flight was 322 miles, each way, to west Texas to visit a friend. I had headwinds both ways, and averaged 98 mph at 3300 rpm and 1.8 gph or 54 mpg. The trip was uneventful...the best kind. I flew over at 2,000' MSL and back at 5,500' MSL.
The second trip was just last weekend; I flew my Quickie home from Houston, TX, to Aberdeen, SD, a trip of 1082 sm. This was completed in one day. I departed Houston at 6:30 am and arrived Aberdeen at 5:45 pm the same day. Total flying time was 9:43 for an average speed of 111 mph. I flew at 3450 rpm; fuel burn was 1.9 gph for an economy of 58 mpg. I made fuel stops in Oklahoma, after 357 miles, in Nebraska, after 361 miles and then flew finally to Aberdeen, 355 miles later. Again, the trip was the best kind, not unexpectedly uneventful. The weather was beautiful the entire trip, the combination of headwinds and tailwinds virtually canceling each other out. I was very comfortable most of the entire trip, and physically felt fine even after such a long time in the air; the semi-reclining seats are unbeatable. The price wasn't bad either...$28.00, not including the can of soda I bought in Nebraska.
I have more performance data to report since switching to Bel Ray oil and installing a new prop. The Bel Ray is good; I noted an immediate increase of 100 rpm on the ground and a noticeable decrease in vibration. Several people on the ground have told me that the engine seems to sound much smoother. I also finally got rid of the cheap Cowley prop and installed a Peery 42x30. This is a good prop for a good price - $135. It appears very well constructed, has fiberglass covered tips, and with the same dimensions as the Cowley, it turns up 300 rpm more in the air. I now get 3150 static and 3800 in the air. Climb has improved subjectively, though I haven't timed it as yet, and top speed is the same - 120 mph. Incidentally, I have been operating my Quickie off of a 1500'x20' stretch of county road near Houston with no problems. This is possible because the airplane was built light, I have remained light, and have several hundred hours in taildraggers, a statement which is important to remember during construction and initial flight-testing.
The airplane will stay in SD during this next busy year of medical internship in San Diego, but when I find time I plan to mount the instrument panel directly to the fuselage to decrease instrument damage and electrical joint failure.
Some of the more cynical members may profess that I am some sort of daredevil with a death wish, as some letters seem to suggest of those of us who actually fly our Quickies with regularity. I am neither. The key to enjoyable, safe flying begins during construction and continues after the test period with diligent maintenance, meticulous planning, and good judgment. I have had my complaints in the past, and am the first to admit the Onan is a marginal powerplant, but I am not going to waste all that time during construction by sitting on the ground waiting for the ideal engine to be introduced. I will make do with what I have, and have one hell of a good time in the process.
Steve Eckrich, Aberdeen, SD
From Norm Howell
1. In looking over Jim Masal's 20 hp engine heads I found he was using a short spark plug that doesn't extend into the combustion chamber as deeply as the ones recommended by Onan. The proper plugs have a longer threaded portion when compared side by side. You should use: Champion RS 14 YC.
2. During the installation of my engine, I notice that the torque on the three engine mount bolts did not rise rapidly to the 20 ft/lbs of torque as described in the Anderson/Little articles. Rather, there was a slow rise to 18 ft/lbs and the rubbers were noticeably compressed. Upon disassembly I found all six AN970-5 washers had been deformed and pushed outward by the ESMI-1 spacers. The force of tightening transmitted by the small surface area of the spacer walls did it. I re-read the Anderson/Little articles and found an innocuous statement about how they replaced their ESMI-1s with standards wall spacers. I called Harold Little and he suggested some 1015 low carbon steel bushing stock from Wicks. My new spacers are 1.80" long like the old ones, but with .065" wall thickness, they are a little harder to push into the ES-4 rubbers, but a little hydraulic or brake fluid slickens things up nicely. Also, this change requires that the ESM-1 aluminum mounts be machined out an additional .0625" of diameter.
3. It is not a good idea to put any petroleum based product other than hydraulic or brake fluid on rubber as they will attack rubber.
From Jack Dempsey #2802
I damaged my Quickie, sold it and am putting all my time on my 50% complete Tri-Q-200.
When I built Quickie #279, the owner's manual suggested that the first flight be made with only 3 gal. of fuel to save weight (which I had too much of at 300 lbs empty). The test flight was OK so I filled the tank and, OH BOY; I just cleared the trees at the end of the 5,000' runway. The next flights were with 3 gal. of gas as that was all the Onan could get to altitude with.
I put 70 hrs. of good flying on the plane while hoping someone would find a better performing engine, but it is too late for me. On 5-4-85 the N79QD was flying so good I made the mistake of staying up too long for the 3 gal of gas on board. A freshly plowed, wet, muddy field was no place to land a Quickie. The canard broke between the engine and the wheelpant as the right wheel hit a mud hole, did a complete 180 and broke the engine loose from the fuselage. It was all human error.
Last year I bought Quickie N515P from Pete Bliss in MA. It had flown 7 hrs and had some of the common Q problems: engine stoppage and vibrations. I am refurbishing it and will eventually use a Rotax 377 or 477 and move the wheels into a 6' stance. I would like information from anyone who might have done either.
Karl Hardman, 6507 Birchleigh Way, Alexandria, VA 22310 - (703) 922-8179 eve, (202) 767-3463 day
TO FLY A QUICKIE
IF I HAD ANOTHER SEAT, I'D TAKE YOU FLYING
TERRY HALL, QUICKIE #196
It's been said that flying a Quickie is the most fun you can have in public without getting arrested. After 160 hours of flying N196XQ, I'd have to agree. You get a lot of satisfaction flying in an airplane born from your own physical and mental efforts. It's like the feeling you get when you complete a nice piece of woodwork, only amplified 1000 times. It is also very pleasing to know that you are having all that fun and satisfaction while burning only two gallons of fuel per hour.
I'm often asked "how long did it take you to build your Quickie?" I answer, "it took me one and a half years to build it but I was single at the time: I'm married now and have a three year old son so it would probably take me fifteen years (if I could afford it and my wife would allow it)."
To crank the little 20 hp Onan engine, I usually pull it through several times, then backward four or five times, crack the throttle an eighth inch, flip the switches on, and swing the prop. It starts first time every time unless several people are watching (then it might take half an hour). The Onan is quite particular about the battery voltage. If I do not see at least 11 volts after switching the master and ignition on, I go get the battery charger because "it ain't gonna start!" Since N196XQ doesn't have parking brakes, I use the chocks-on-a-string method to keep from getting run over. If other people are available, I try to recruit someone to "crew" for me rather than bother with chocks and string: they simply stand in front of the rear wing and keep the plane from chasing me off the apron.
Take-off in a Quickie is a cross between a tricycle gear airplane and a taildragger. After applying full power, I give the engine instruments a final check; especially the tack to make sure that I have at least 3100 rpm. The Quickie's tailwheel is steerable so taxiing is no problem at the lower speeds. As I accelerate to the higher rolling speeds, the tailwheel loses its effectiveness and the plane becomes a normal "stay-ahead-of-it" airplane. Just before liftoff, you can feel the plane getting light. I use the term "liftoff" because you don't rotate the Quickie, you simply let it levitate. I guess you could call it a three point take-off. The climb rate of N196XQ is what most of us would expect with 20 horsepower: a little slow but you get there.
"Where's the beef?" You might say that the beef in a Quickie hamburger is in the flying. I usually compare my Quickie to a very responsive and controllable sports car while common store-bought aircraft would fall into the old pick-up truck category. My Quickie can turn on a dime and responds to control stick inputs immediately. Since the stick is controlled by short wrist movements, the airplane seems to almost respond to my thoughts. A real delight to fly.
A stall in the Quickie is "different". At an airspeed of a little less than 55 mph indicated, the front wing loses its lift and drops slightly then the airplane regains speed and the front wing flies again. The rear wing never stalls. If the stick is held back, the aircraft will pitch down then fly, pitch, fly, pitch, fly, etc. Burt Rutan calls this a pitch-buck oscillation. With full power you can pull the stick back, go through a series of stall oscillations and GAIN altitude. They tell me that you can't spin a Quickie: I'll take their word for it. N196XQ will normally cruise at about 100 mph indicated with a modified Cowley 44/27 prop: max cruise is at about 110 indicated. Since my Quickie weighs only 263 pound dry, carries a whopping eight (8) gallons of gas, and pegs 520 pounds at max gross; any weight variations are noticed in overall performance.
Landing the Quickie is not difficult but does take some getting used to: you're sitting much lower to the ground than you usually do and feel as though you are going to drag your butt on the runway. On downwind, at pattern altitude, and the desired landing point over my left shoulder, I pull the power to idle, turn base, and set up a 70-75 mph glide. After turning onto final and approaching the runway, I begin a very light round-out at about 12 feet AGL. At about five feet I begin serious rounding, followed by serious flaring at three feet then hold her off 'till she sets down to a perfect three-point landing. I've accomplished perfect three point landings many times, but rarely when anyone else is watching.
Another often-asked question involves the handling qualities in crosswind landings. You would think that the little ship would be blown all over the sky: but not so! The Quickie is no more trouble than any other airplane I have flown. It crabs well and slips like a champ. (Pardon the pun).
There are good and bad attributes of any airplane design. The Quickie is no exception. Realizing that there are limitations caused by those bad attributes and understanding the reasons for the limitations is a major way toward enjoying your airplane to the fullest. This knowledge also provides a starting point for the development of future improvements for those of us so inclined. I have started investigating the possibilities associated with propeller design. I feel that the Quickie can be best optimized with a properly designed and manufactured propeller. I am also following the development of small airplane engines with great interest.
I am very pleased with QBA and consider it an excellent mechanism for keeping us Quickie people in touch with each other and allowing us to share ideas and viewpoints. Finally, I would like to invite anyone flying by Tullahoma, Tennessee to drop in and visit.
Terry Hall, PH (615) 454-9254
ENGINE VENDOR ALERT - from Jim Masal
Whatever happened to the Global Engine Bob Giles and I were testing? Just after the first of the year Bob sent it back as the engine casting broke at its attachment to the engine mount. It also had never revved up to specs. After 3 months it is still not returned. Calls to the company continue to give us glowing reports on how it has been repaired, tinkered and tuned to give 500 more rpms and nearly 40 hp on the dyno but all promises of a shipping date have been untrue.
On August 10, 1985, Steve Hickam plunked down $700.50 as a 30% deposit on a $2,335.00 order for a Global engine and mount for his Quickie. As this is written, he has not received it in spite of many promises from his calls and letters. I questioned Global Prez Jimm Gill about this situation at Sun 'N Fun. He told me that engines are shipped to N-3 Pup builders preferentially over other buyers. When Hickam paid is apparently irrelevant. We believe that Hickam's money spends as well as any other and that it probably IS already spent. Gill suggested that Quickie guys could send engine money to his lawyer to hold in trust until the engine is shipped. This is safer than the alternative, if you trust lawyers. DO NOT DEAL WITH GLOBAL ON A CASH BASIS is our advice for now. The picture you saw in SPORT AVIATION and other magazines of a virtual room full of Global engines is deceptive. If you have a problem, keep QBA posted.
SAME STORY - VERSE 2
Here's a series of letter excerpts from Jim Prell: 2-1-86. The first seven hours with the Onan were acceptable (if one considers 200 fpm climb "acceptable"). After that the power output began to deteriorate. After just squeaking over the trees at the north end of a 6,000' runway I grounded N10KK until I came up with a more "robust" powerplant. I offered the airframe to Dennis Fetters (of Air Command gyro copter fame) and Dick Turner (ultralight designer). They have designed a retro fit kit for the Rotax 447 (prop, cowl, mount, etc.) which will bolt on the Quickie firewall.
(ED. NOTE: at this point, Prell is expecting a quick makeover of his front end then back to the wild blue. Turner, however, leaves for Venezuela. Turner finally gets back around early May, starts welding up Prell's mount. By late May, he is still not yet in the air. And so it goes! Dealing with small operations is fraught with delays and aggravation and even loss of bucks. Even Sheehan of QAC has had problems with this and some of you suffered for it.)
Prell writes: Cliff Wilson has found a supplier who has an exhaust system for a 440 Suzuki snowmobile engine that with a slight mod will bolt to the Rotax 447 and fit entirely under the cowl (no unsightly bulge). Cliff has been trying to talk me into using the Suzuki 440 on the Quickie, claiming it puts out more power and has lower fuel consumption than the 447. Cliff machines an adapter that bolts the Suzuki right to the Rotax gear box...There is now a 500 Suzuki two cylinder, two stroke flying a 330# ultralight and Dick Turner has a Cassutt under construction with a 95 hp liquid cooled Suzuki on the mounts.
Good tip from an Ultralight owner: buy a fuel filter with the biggest capacity available as two stroke oil will saturate the paper element causing any particles to glue themselves to the filter instead of dropping off and falling to the bottom of the filter. Change filters every 10 hours.
(ED. NOTE: My last phone conversation with Prell found him carefully investigating his old Onan and planning to install another Onan just to get into the air again. Notice how his engine conversion specialists lose their excitement for the project when the dreaming stops and the work begins. This is all too frequent an experience).
More: Quickie builder Terry Crouch dropped over to look at my Onan. He pointed out the real reason my graphite head gaskets had blown out. The studs, which had been installed at Quickie Aircraft, were all bottomed out inside the block. They had also been improperly torqued and had actually pulled out some of the soft aluminum threads. The top of the block was totally warped due to this as shown below:
No head gasket can seal off a screw up like this.
The crankshaft ends of the connecting rods were also galled out so badly that the tops of the pistons were actually hitting the 20 hp heads! I felt like a dummy as Terry pointed out why this Onan shouldn't have been on the front of an airplane in the first place.
From Gary Wilson
I have made arrangements with Ed Miller to pull molds from his cowl (on the Rotax 447, see last issue, ED.) if there is sufficient interest from those considering this installation. Five or more firm orders would justify production. Cost: $150 in glass, $195 in Kevlar, with a $50 deposit. Write Gary at 401 College St., Bruceton, TN 38317.
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