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Q-talk 2 - Q-2 NEWS

From Ray Isherwood:

The following is an account of a Q-2 accident that I witnessed. I knew the pilot only slightly, visiting him at the field several times when I got word that there was a Q-2 being assembled a few miles south of where I live. From my few conversation with Roy, he struck me as a person very set in his ways, and very sure of himself. It's almost as if Roy set out to make things as tough as he could for himself on his first flight. I'll relate the accident without editorial comment and leave that part to you.


The pilot had built the major subsections of his Q-2 while on an overseas assignment. Following his return to the states he put in 12-14 hour days getting his aircraft ready for flight. After about 4 months, he considered the aircraft ready. He spent one day conducting low and high-speed taxi tests. His total flight time in the previous several months consisted of approximately 4 hours in a Grumman Tiger, a tri-gear aircraft. He elected to make his first takeoff from a 3000' x 30' runway. Prior to leaving the parking area, he was asked if he wanted assistance putting his shoulder harness on. He replied that he didn't want to wear it because it restricted his movement in the cockpit. The wind was light and variable at the time of takeoff. The pilot applied partial power. Everything appeared and sounded normal. Shortly after applying full power, the aircraft drifted left. The pilot elected to continue his takeoff attempt through the grass adjacent to the runway, then across the taxiway into the parking area. He appeared to be trying to acquire enough flying speed to clear the parked vehicles and aircraft which were now directly in front of him. He was unable to gain sufficient flying speed and chopped his power just before the aircraft impacted a VW van and a pickup truck. The left canard bore most of the impact, turning the VW completely around. As the aircraft was pivoting to the left, the right canard contacted the pickup truck. The aircraft came to rest about 12 feet from initial impact. The canopy had popped off the aircraft. Both fuel tanks had ruptured, but fire did not break out. The fuselage was a shambles back to the cockpit area, which remained relatively intact. The pilot's legs were not pinned by the crushed fuselage and firewall and he was easily removed from the aircraft. The lap belt had not torn loose from the fuselage, and had to be released prior to extracting the pilot, who was alive but unconscious. He died prior to arrival at the hospital. The autopsy revealed fatal internal injuries in his chest area caused by impact with the center console.

Investigation by the NTSB revealed that although the left wheel appeared to turn freely, when it was removed from the wheelpant, it became evident it had worn right through the fiberglass in the top of the pant. The rubbing had apparently only taken place at close to takeoff speed. The right wheelpant was inspected. The left axle hole was drilled almost exactly 1/2" closer to the top of the pant than the right one. Additionally, it was determined that a comprehensive weight and balance calculation was not performed. The pilot had conducted an incomplete one, and had miscalculated his moments. His calculations showed him to be with CG limits when his aft CG was about 7" behind the aft limit.

ED. NOTE: Before you shake your head, say "Poor son-of-a-gun" and move on to the next page, sure in your mind that it would never happen to you, try imagining yourself as one of many over-confident builders who with great independence, shed the advice of other chicken-hearted mortals. Imagine yourself with the lack of patience and good sense that would allow you to cast your fate to the winds by deliberately avoiding careful thought and planning. Go ahead, shoot the dice and see if you wind up a macho man or a dead man.


While returning to Canada after OSH '84, Arnold Forest's Rev. 2100 lost power on a takeoff and the Q-2 was force-landed into a swamp in NW Wisconsin. The aircraft was destroyed (see QUICKTALK #17) and the engine was removed and sent to the Canadian Aviation Safety Board for examination.


- Compression was low until engine lubricating oil was squirted into the cylinders suggesting the cylinders and piston rings had dried out and were allowing blow-by.

- On running, the oil pressure fluctuated from a low 15 psi to an occasional 60 psi. Both oil pressure relief valve and oil inlet screen appeared normal. No high power run was attempted due to persistent low pressure.

- Engine was disassembled with no evidence of overheating noted. Piston tops and cylinder head carbon suggested the engine was running rich. The flange bearing was removed and it was noted that the oil supply hole on the bearing was over 70% blocked with sealant.

- All valves were removed from the heads. Carbon build up on the exhaust valve stems and inside the valve guides had reduced the working clearance to less than .001 inch. Valves 1 and 2 would not drop freely into the guides due to carbon.

It is deemed probable that valve sticking was the cause of the power loss. Exactly why is undetermined, however, one or more of the following is likely:

a) Over-rich mixture

b) Wrong type lubricating oil

c) Poor engine cooling

d) Incorrect back pressure in modified engine

Builder Arnold Forest adds these details: Engine TT was 100 hrs., it had new heads replacing previously defective heads in which all 4 valves were sticking constantly. Approx. 20 hrs on the new heads. Regarding the conclusions,

a) General practice was to lean by EGT

b) Pennzoil was used on Revmaster advice

c) Oil temps and CHT were monitored regularly - no abnormality

d) Incorrect back pressure could be a design fault and was suggested to Arnold several times by local mechanics.

ED. NOTE: I've heard very little over the past few months either good or bad from Revmaster operators. Does this mean that all of you are now as happy as pigs in mud?

Dear Jim:

After separating the wheat from the chaff, I have used what I felt was the best information available for my Q-2 and my flight experience level to fly C-GZZN from a grass strip for 13 takeoffs and landings.

The spec. list on C-GZZN is as follows:

Engine: Rev. 2100; 75hp heads; Revflow carb; 2900 rpm static.

Prop is 54Dx47P

Airframe: Belly board, aileron reflexer, T-tail, Vortex generators and smilie inlet.

The performance in the air is very good and very fast, especially when all you have for a reference is Cessna 152 experience. The landing phase requires your full attention from touchdown point to shutdown point. I followed the advice given several times: I spent at least 5 full hours at various taxi speeds until I could control the Q-2 with confidence on the ground.

I advise that the points laid out by Duane Swing in QUICKTALK #29 be adhered to by all Q-2 builders and pilots. I personally have gained a great deal from the QUICKTALK series and must give most of the credit to you and others who were willing to give information and share experiences through its media.

Curtis Lambert - C-GZZN, Fort Saskatchewan, Canada

Marv Getten sent some comments on his Revmaster Q-2, "Velvet":

On the belly board: He feels it's a good innovation. Prior to his installation he tended to fly downwind at 100-120 and on final with the nose pushed over, sometimes get to 125, then float on down the runway in a long landing. Now, he has to get on down to 100 to deploy the board on downwind and he holds that, using power to get to the runway, reaching ground effect just before the numbers, rounding out and pushing a bit forward on the stick to keep the plane a few inches above the runway until it gets tired and settles in. Marv feels pulling back on the stick just makes him sink faster and hit harder. He hasn't had a bad landing in 60-80 hrs.

On his Revmaster: He likes it. Coming back from an air show one day he noticed some vibration on his heels so he tested cylinder head pressure when he landed and heard air coming out of the exhaust pipes. He pulled the head on the right side and found the valves were so pitted they looked like bark on an old oak tree. Revmaster said they probably didn't put enough nickel in their early engine valves and the gas was pitting them. Marv switched to the 75 hp heads with the new, bigger valves, but found that in cold weather he was down on power and up on gas consumption. Revmaster felt with the bigger intakes, the fuel was cooling down and turning back to droplets instead of vapor. Marv noticed the engine picked up 100 rpm when he closed the cowl. This went away in warm weather when engine rpm picks up to 3200 vs. 3000 with the old heads.

Dear Jim,

Les Emerson and I were well satisfied with the end result of our Q-2 project - it flew well, did what the specs said it would, made it to Oshkosh '85, and we never put a scratch on it in 80 hours of flying. However, we did spend a lot of time working on the engine modifying cooling, adjusting valves and trying to isolate annoying oil leaks. We purchased and installed the 75 hp heads and got everything working quite well.

For several reasons, including much increased liability costs, other family and job demands, and getting a little weary of the tinkering necessary to keep the Revmaster in top shape, we put the Q-2 on the trailer last May, and there it sits in my garage. I have a little feeling that we decided to quit while we were ahead. Because of possibility liability, we do not wish to sell it, and I have checked into two museums for possible tax benefit related donations.

Dick Howland, Southampton, MA

ED NOTE: I've heard this business of constant tinkering with the Revmaster several times before...also sticking valves. Would you Rev. operators comment on this to me?


Here in the Dallas area I've gotten "blooded" in Q-200 testing by first hand observation of Bob Malechek's plane. At the 18 hr. mark he had already been through his quota of ground loops and near misses including one into a muddy field on landing rollout. No damage done. His present improved ground handling he attributes to two changes: He switched to Lamb main tires and dropped the nose 1.5" (although his previous ground angle of attack check was OK). The Lamb is a 10" diameter wheel as opposed to the standard 13". Width is the same. He saved 4.5 lbs. of weight in the bargain, but his wheelpants are pretty close to the ground. Bob switched to a soft tailwheel by R&K (marked: 6x225) which is listed by Aircraft Spruce as a "Homebuilder's Special Tailwheel" for $19.42. It's not pneumatic, just softer rubber, which Bob reports as dampening out the loud taxi sounds while sticking better to rollout. This wheel is wider than original necessitating a couple bends in the fork to accommodate it, and the axle needs to be lengthened. Stuff easily done.

At close to gross, Malechek reports these numbers for his 0-200 turning a Warnke 60x66 or 68 (it's not marked):

Static - 2200 rpm.

Climb - 2200 rpm.

Max rpm - 2800 at 7,500', 12 deg. C., 185 mph IAS an estimated 75% power.

Jack Harvey (FL) called and said that he found cooling problems on his Revmaster dropped by 15 degrees when he increased his cowl flap opening to 50 sq. in. Jack got concerned about his CG, so he called QBAer and QAC dealer Sherman Hanke (NC) who suggested that his CG ought to be set at about mid-thigh. I called Hanke (803-586-9225), and he said he believes the Q-2 weight and balance figures just "don't add up". He believes there ought to be about 7 lbs on the tail when it's right to fly. Incidentally, Hanke is very knowledgeable about these airplanes and willing to help any builders who seek advice. He produced the only Q-2 construction videotape available some time ago, and an updated version is still for sale.

I heard somewhere that the exhaust system on an Aeronca Champ would fit under a Q-200 cowl. Has anyone got SURE information? Meanwhile, Ted Fox got to looking at the 0-200 powered Lancair cowling. Looks to him like the Lancair exhaust might work and Lancair was willing to sell him one when he was ready. We need to catch this baby at an air show and do some careful measuring.

From Saylor Milton, Fillmore, CA

One of my several mods is a 4" ready-made tailwheel, which seems to have many advantages over the standard Q-2. Although much stronger, it is several ounces lighter and has swivel radius of an inch shorter than the plans model. This should allow better control in ground handling. This wheel is made for Santa Paula Flight Center, Santa Paula, CA 93060, and cost about $80.

My tailspring is not the fiberglass rod, which I think was much too short, but a 20" stainless steel rod wrapped with fiberglass. Rather than flox the spring to the fuselage, I bolted it through a rubber shock mounting made out of several nesting stiff rubber hoses. This shock absorber assembly was floxed in the tail prior to assembling the vertical fin. To adjust the stiffness of the shock absorbers, I installed a "C" clamp around them near the aft end.

Santa Paula $80 tailwheel

Enclosed is a photo of my belly flap lever. The handle is a cut-off 9/16" end wrench with the bolt brazed permanently into the wrench. A rod end allows adjustment of tension. The photo shows a micro switch which will activate a blinking LED if the flap is not all the way up.

Saylor's belly flap.

From Bruce Patten, Oakland ME


Mount the engine on the firewall. Drill 3/32 holes through the outer fuselage skin about every 6" around the fuselage about an inch back from the firewall. Cut out the prop shaft hole in the cowling halves as per plans. Mark a centerline on the edge of the bottom cowling and the fuselage bottom. Now put the bottom cowling in place using stiff sticks like doubled tongue depressors clecoed to the fuselage to hold the cowl flush with the fuselage. Line up the centerlines and add marks to the fuselage to indicate the top edge of the cowl. Trim the back edge of the cowl bottom to obtain the 1/16" clearance from the spinner.

After you are satisfied with the fit, put a strip of duct tape on the inside edge of the cowling and mark the sides of the cowl flap cutout. Rough up around the edge of the firewall and mask off the width of the cowl flap cutout on the firewall. Reinstall the cowling bottom and layup a 3 BID cowling flange directly on the firewall by reaching down the sides of the engine. Skip over the area of the cowl flap.

After cure, drill 3/32" cleco holes through cowl and flange where the fastening screws will eventually go so you can put the cowling back in the same place later. Now trim the cowling top so it drops in flush with the fuselage and cleco the top and bottom together. Don't worry if the side seams don't close up tight, you can fill the gap with flox.

It's more important for the cowl to fair smoothly into the fuselage.

Pull the cowling and at least make the cowl flap and air inlet cutouts before proceeding. When you get a chance to flip the airframe over (engine removed), cleco the cowling back on (cleco on the sticks to hold it flush), and lay up the rest of the flange by reaching through the cowl flap hole. Set your florescent drop light across the air inlet holes. It's easy!

SUN 'N FUN '87

Thank goodness it was finally Lakeland's turn to bask in the favor of the weather gods this year! Until I left Wednesday afternoon it was just gorgeous and just right for us campers. I'm still recovering from my "coma" following a 25 hour return drive (it ain't fun, but the price is right), so I'll report as best I can.

My most vivid impression was of the Glasair III flashing around the fast fly-bys pattern at 285 mph. That baby never appeared to slow down in the climb or any part of the circuit, and anything else in the pattern only doing 200 looked like it had brakes on. Wow!

For QBAers, 2 Q-2's showed, 3 Q-200's and Elliott's Q-200-0235. This time your editor was wide awake: E. C. Elliott, P. O. Box 2440, Gulf Shores, AL 36542 is not a QBAer, but he gave me permission to print his info for those of you interested in how he hung his Lyc. 0-235, 116 hp engine. You can call (205) 981-8897. (See #29, front page, for other details). To those of you who have asked, "220 mph cruise?!...What's he been smokin'?" Let me tell you he entered the SUN 60 speed race and those results should tell the tale.

Scott and Duane Swing and their ladies were sometimes "sunning" around their bird which has been modified with the 0-200 and LS(1) canard. Scott showed me his bottom baffle that is standard on C-150 0-200 installations, but which is left out on the QAC plans. Scott thinks it helps. He's now working another business, but it still allows him to continue Tri-Q support and develop other aviation interests. Scott said he's heard that T. J. Wright expects to produce improved Q-200 exhaust systems and metal parts for the Q-2/200 soon.

Duane and I talked about the new soft tailwheel (R&K 6x225 from Aircraft Spruce) that several pilots say improves ground handling. Duane said that the Glasair TD has a similar one and that the TD tailwheel can be adapted to the Q-2 with only a small amount of welding. Find yourself a TD builder converting to the RG and work a deal.

Illustrating the strength of the Tri-Q gear, Duane told the story of a guy who flared for some reason at 30-40 feet and slammed the aircraft in hard enough to break the main wing at both wing roots. The impact knocked the main gear out of position, but didn't break it.

Regarding toe-in/toe-out, Duane once talked to Cessna engineering getting the info that ALL Cessna taildraggers are designed with toe-in as the correct method of wheel alignment for taildraggers. Any other alignment, ESPECIALLY with a wide gear stance, only aggravates possible landing problems. Builder Ralph Hess reported he aligned his wheels with sandbags in the cockpit to simulate a loaded and more accurate landing condition. His toe is zero under load.

Talking about his Revmaster, Hess said he has been much happier since he switched to genuine German-made valves which were seated by hand lapping them in (reportedly, Revmaster uses a "bang fit" seating, i.e. bang on the valves with a mallet until they seal).

Rusty Cowles had his Q-200 in from TX and mentioned a tip that he installed a primer pump for his engine, which he was able to use once to clear a blockage in his fuel feed. It turned out to be some RTV he'd used to seal something inside his tank. He won't use RTV silicone there again.

You know the mod which sets the tailwheel pivot bolt vertical for better ground control? Builder/pilot Paul Adams set his 10 degrees beyond vertical and feels he gets even better control. He also reports that on short approach to landing he rolls in down T-tail until it is full down at touchdown. He's promised to send drawings of a dual throttle set-up he flies with.

No Tri-Q's or Quickies attended. No Gene Sheehan attended and if he comes back into the main stream, it probably won't be until all the bankruptcy proceedings are complete which I understand will take about 45 days yet.

For those Quickie pilots still wondering, I talked to QBAers close to Swanningson, and there's still no explanation of his fatal crash last year. There were even FAA reps on the field at the time of the crash and no more is known other than he had made a previous flight and was making this one to "check his engine".

You see the kind of tips you can get with a little Bravo-Sierra (B.S.) on the flight line? I have more...later. For those of you who are dismayed or intimidated by the humongous size and activity of OSH, I strongly recommend you try Sun 'N Fun. It is downsized but not pint-sized (about 20% of OSH), it has many good exhibits and good deals and retains all the breadth of activities as OSH with a more relaxed atmosphere. It is prized for the opportunity to display new planes and products in advance of OSH, and it is in a prime location for entertaining side-trips for the spouse and kiddos. In about 3 days you can see it all and have vacation time to spare.


Custom Composite Components

P. O. Box 6

Friedens, PA 15541

(814) 893-5806

Plans - complete kits - customer technical support - building service - composite workshop - Cowlings for Q-2, Turbo and Q-200 - all metal fabricated parts - Tri-Q sparless canards - builders assistance - plans for all Q Birds.

Stop in and visit us! 5 miles from exit 10 on the Pennsylvania turnpike; 2 miles from Somerset County Airport; 15 miles S.E. of JST VOR on the New York sectional.

Customer Composites has been in the custom fabrication business since 1981 and has built over a dozen Q-2's and dozens of composite parts for Q-2's and other types of planes. As the new dealer in the eastern U.S. we now offer building services for the Quickie and Q-2 and can supply you with a complete Q-2 kit including those hard to find items. We are service oriented and will respond to the customer's demands. "Our goal is to provide the potential kitplane builder with the best in kits and the best in customer services. We welcome your inquiries and will honor your business."

A pair of staggarwing biplanes captured by Terry Hall at Tullahoma

You can order a PDF or printed copy of Q-talk #2 by using the Q-talk Back Issue Order Page.