Q-talk 40 - LETTERS
- Category: Q-Talk Articles
- Published: Wednesday, 30 June 1993 07:11
- Written by Jim Masal
- Hits: 1930
I just wanted to file my 'trip report'. As you know I finally made it to Sun 'N Fun this year. The flight down was absolutely BEAUTIFUL! Clear skies and 30-knot tail winds for 900 miles! I flew down with a Long E and a Vari Eze. We of course get quite a few stares as we taxi in, especially when we do a formation flyby before we land! Although the designers may not like it, the Q-200 and the EZ(e)'s fly very well together. They have a much better climb rate than I do, but in cruise I can out run them.
As long as we were in Florida, we figured we might as well make a trip to the Bahamas, so 13 assorted EZ's and one Q-200 made a massive flight to the Great Harbor Cay Tuesday morning. We decided to climb to 11,500 for the 1.7 hour trip over, and although it took me the longest to get that high, the entire group formed up over Freeport for some pictures and the final leg to Great Harbor. Other than the ribbing I had to take for being the 'odd man out', the trip was great. I guess my plane can't tell when it's over water!
The one annoying limitation my plane has is the fuel capacity. I can only hold 19 gallons (about 3 hours plus reserve). You have to be very careful in the Bahamas because very few of the airports have fuel; you may have to bring your own. So I had one of the Long EZ's carry about 10 gallons for me, and we transferred it after we landed (I took a lot of sh_t for that too!).
The trip back was uneventful. We were very careful to follow all the customs regulations, and we cleared with no problem. If anyone is thinking of going to the Bahamas, I'd suggest you call St. Lucie Airways at Fort Pierce. They are in the business of helping private flyers make the trip, and they will help you with all the necessary paperwork. They made it quite painless.
One final comment - while we were sitting around the pool a Cozy pilot asked me a question that I really didn't have an answer for. He asked, "Why don't you see that many Quickies (of any type) at Fly-ins? Are they afraid to fly them?" I tried to stick up for the Q drivers, but I honestly don't know. The Q is an excellent cross-country machine. It's only real limitation is fuel capacity, but to be honest after about 3 hours, I'm ready for a stop anyway!
Perhaps it is because the Q flyers aren't as well organized as the EZ flyers? I mean no disrespect; whatsoever to the QBA, but it is a 'builders' organization. We need to concentrate more on FLYING these airplanes! Perhaps that would motivate everyone to finish their airplanes!
Paul A. Fisher, Q-200 N17PF, IL
ED. NOTE: I don't have the answer either, but this last question DOES get my gears turning ... and on many issues. I mean no disrespect either, but the QBA (meaning Jim Masal) has not got the time to do the substantial social planning/organizing to get fliers flying on interesting jaunts. Somebody or more likely somebodIES have taken great pleasure in doing that for the EZ's and probably other types too. All we lack is a Leader who has the time, interest and enthusiasm to take on the job. Again, it won't be me. If that thought is what is holding someone back, you are now released to spearhead the effort!
Leadership. Take a look at our boys in Springfield, MO. They very hospitably hosted an annual Q fly-in for a couple of years. Yet we never once had a good turnout of planes. If you're a lumberjack, sometimes you have to see a tree fall, don't you? These guys never got a crowd of planes. They put out the effort (and I bet they would still do it today) without an enthusiastic response. Those of us who DID go always enjoyed the visit but always hoped for more.
Now maybe this was wrong of me, but with little or no consultation with the Springfield folks I decided to join the Dragonfly bunch at Ottawa. Suddenly 15 of ours showed up and 11 of theirs. I made a good decision, but I don't know why we finally got the response we'd always hoped for. Is it just location, location, location? Certainly it took a leader and he popped up in the massive form of Spud Spornitz who with almost unbounded enthusiasm arranged the whole thing (I was several hundred miles south at the time, so give him all the credit). And due to your great response last year, this same leader is fired up again and hot to go.
Before I ramble off clean over the horizon, the point is that most of us have great ideas, but very few of us want to lead the charge and we won't lead it for long if we don't hear a rumble of hoof beats behind us. That's what the EZ guys have always had, starting from Rutan on down. We've missed that enthusiasm from the "top dawgs". Don't underestimate that difference.
Feb. 9, 1993
I am pleased to announce that another Q-2 is flying!!!
My first flight in 32DK was on Dec. 20, 1992! It was uneventful because of the extensive taxi testing we had done and mostly because of the dual I received from Paul Adams (N14PA). Paul first flew his Q2 in 1986 and has been a great help to us in building and preparing our Q2 for flight. My partner on SN 2453 is Harold Dirks.
While the first flight was no problem, the taxi testing in preparation for it was not without incident. This is where I swallow my pride and confess my inexperience and poor judgment. Last April 11, during taxi testing, I ground looped and broke the right wheel pant, tail spring and cracked the prop. I had ground looped 3 times previously but these were at lower speed and caused no damage. I attributed those three times to my lack of tail dragger experience, (i.e. poor response of my feet on the rudder pedals) and the hard rubber tail wheel. After we put on the soft rubber tail wheel, the tail wheel skidding was significantly reduced and my ground handling confidence grew. Perhaps a bit too much, because on a day that was more windy than previous days of taxiing, a left cornering tail wind combined with too high a taxi speed caused me to lose control. As I skidded off the runway the right wheel dropped into a rut and popped the wheel pant off. I was sick! The most difficult thing was telling my partner what had happened. I spent the summer of 92 repairing the damage. Finally in the fall we got the FAA to inspect it and our local Q2 test pilot, Paul Adams, to test fly it.
During the late fall, when Paul was making the first test flights, I made several length reductions to the Tapered Stainless Steel Tail Spring we put on to replace the original fiberglass one. In designing a metal tail spring, I thought it would be important to match the spring rate and flexibility of the fiberglass tail spring on Paul's Q2. This made for a very long and thin tail spring. After shortening it several inches we finally have a spring that feels good, but does not have nearly the flexibility of the fiberglass spring.
Our Revmaster engine has about 45 hours on it, only 25 hours flying. We indicate approximately 145-150 mph depending which propeller we use. I cracked the one that came with our kit so we were using Paul's wooden prop that came with his kit. We could easily red line the tach with that prop so we bought a carbon fiber, ground adjustable pitch prop from "Warp Drive", in Clear Lake, Iowa. Darryl at Warp Drive claimed we should get approximately 10 mph more with their prop and I would say it is more like 5 mph. At least the engine does not go into red line in level flight. We have 15? pitch on the blades. That makes the Warp Drive approximately a 49" x 58" where the kit is a 45" x 56".
Last Sunday I climbed to 10,000' where it would only do approximately 85 mph at approximately 200-300 fpm climb. Level flight showed approximately 120 mph indicated. Climbing to high altitude is one way to build time, because it must have taken approximately 15 minutes to get there. Climb rate in 20? - 30? air (at 1500' msl) is approximately 1000 fpm at 90 mph. Our empty weight is a heavy 675 lbs. I have flown the airplane at 1150 lbs. gross, with the OAT approximately 20?F. The heat muff works well, we ducted the heat to blow on the pilot's feet and I have never been cold flying in temperatures as low as 11? F. The biggest problem I have at those temps is the canopy tends to fog over when taxiing. Once in the air, the canopy clears fairly quickly. Starting the engine is never a problem, as the engine compartment is kept in the 40? - 60? range by using a 100 watt light bulb placed in thru the cowl flap, with a blanket over the cowling.
So far we have had no problems with CHT or Oil Temp, but this summer I expect to have problems unless we wrap the exhaust pipes that "preheat" the air coming in the inlets. This seems to me to be another of the many design weaknesses of the kit. We still have the factory exhaust and will continue to use it until it rusts out.
Landings in a high-speed tail dragger were what concerned me the most about flying the Q2. Taxiing (and a few ground loops) taught me to concentrate on keeping the airplane straight. I had to learn that when it starts to get a little out of line, to straighten it up right now! Taxi testing up to speeds of 60 mph took concentration and nearly always made my adrenalin and perspiration flow. I had heard that lots of high speed taxiing was not a good thing. Now I support that line of thought. While it is necessary to get proficient and learn the feel of the airplane's ground handling characteristics at high speed, (60 is fast enough, besides 70 is close to lift off speed) doing excessive high speed taxiing just exposes the airplane to unnecessary chance of damage. In my opinion it is more difficult to accelerate up to 60 mph, try to maintain control there for a few seconds and then decelerate and brake to a stop before you run out of runway, than it is to land by touching down at approximately 80 mph, roll out and brake to a stop. The reason is primarily the small rudder. At approximately 60 mph and faster, the rudder is effective. At speeds less than 60, the tail wheel is the dominant directional control device. That is why the technique that Paul Adam's uses and that I recommend for landing and takeoff, is to have full T-tail deflection and significant aileron reflex to force the tail wheel down. On Paul's airplane we used 10 turns less than full reflex and full T-tail deflection. On our airplane I use full T-tail and aileron reflex. This keeps the tail wheel in good contact with the ground and minimizes tail wheel skidding. A soft rubber tail wheel also is much better than the hard rubber tail wheel that came with the kit. The reason a Q2 will ground loop is the tail wheel is skidding and you lose control. We do not have individual braking, but I wish now that we did. Uneven braking is a problem that seems to come and go on our airplane. It would be nice to be able to apply different amounts of braking pressure each wheel. Also I think differential braking could be helpful in preventing some potential ground loop situations when the tail wheel is skidding and the rudder is ineffective.
It sure is nice to be flying, instead of building!! I can honestly say that I would not do it all over again. Harry and I spent more than 8 years, and more money that we could get out of it if we were to sell. If I were to do it over, I would buy a homebuilt and try to find an A&P friend who would inspect and sign off the work that I would do on it. Hindsight is 20/20. It is fun to fly and fast for only 3.5 gph!! Hope to fly to Oshkosh this year. See you then!
Charles Kuhlman, 1810 E. Olive, Marshalltown, IA 50158
(515) 753-7903 H, 754-3780 Work
August 7, 1993
During the front porch QBA meeting on Monday morning at Oshkosh Sam Hoskins asked how to determine best glide speed. He correctly stated that the FAA advisory circular AC-90-89, entitled Amateur-Built Aircraft Flight Testing Handbook covered best rate (and angle) of climb but did not address best glide. When I returned home from Oshkosh I referenced a book entitled Performance Flight Testing by Hubert Smith. Basically, the best glide speed is determined much like the rate of climb determination except that a power-off glide is established rather than a full power climb. Perform a series of power off glides each at a different airspeed starting with airspeed approximately 15 mph (or knots) below the estimated best glide speed. Glide for one minute and record the altitude lost. Increment the glide speed by five mph and repeat until approximately 15 mph above the estimated best glide speed. Plot the airspeed and altitude and the knee of the curve will be the best glide speed. By the way, best glide speed as described here is the speed that will yield the maximum glide distance. Gross weight does have a significant effect on best glide speed so conduct the tests at your typical gross weight when flying.
Personally, I recommend that everyone obtain and read the Amateur Built Aircraft Flight Testing Handbook, even if you've been flying for years. It has a lot of good practical information.
Oshkosh '93 was my 5th consecutive trip to Oshkosh in my Q200 and is my preferred means of getting there and back. Each year I enjoy meeting and chatting with the other QBAers that I haven't seen since the previous year.
Finally, I have two pair of the CHENG SHIN tires for sale since I'm currently using the Lamb tires. Give me a call at (703) 250-2298. Good flying everyone.
Enclosed is my membership payment for calendar year 1993. Thanks very much for the continued support you have given all of us, and in particular the encouragement you have given me.
I have been building, on and off, #2525 since 1981 and would have closed the project long ago had it not been for you and the continued enthusiasm you display as a result of your 'stick toitiveness' ala the newsletter. But with #2525 now on its wheels, some 2400 construction hours since I started, and only needing an engine to be mounted and an instrument panel to be installed (plus, of course, the seemingly unending sanding), it is calling to get out of the garage. Encouraged, of course, by the better half's pleading!
Again, my thanks to you and your newsletter. Because of your commitment mine has been restored. Good luck to you and your project and safe flying.
Joe Martin, Woodcliff Lake, NJ
ED. NOTE: Thanks, Joe. That's what I consider my contribution to be ... getting them all into the air as rapidly as your time and motivation allow. I don't always know when what I am doing is working so I thank you for saying so.
Enclosed is my renewal for 1993; I apologize for being a non-contributor. Shortly after buying the Q-200 project, I went through a costly divorce (nothing to do with the Q-200, we were separated) and moved into a small duplex with a single garage, managed some wing layups, but barely had room to think, so put everything on hold until my daughter was through college. The double garage I have now will be expanded 20 feet in a couple of months and I'll be starting in earnest at long last on the Q-200, which I plan to make a Tri-Q.
Since I haven't got into the project to any degree yet, I have no words of wisdom. However, I have 33 years experience as a pilot and A&P mechanic and am currently Director of Maintenance for Mountain States Aviation here in Walla Walls. If any member has any questions or problems regarding the O-200, instrumentation, electrical or avionics, I would be glad to help. My work phone is (509) 525-2180, 8 to 5 Pacific, or home phone (509) 525-3882, just ask for Ron.
Ronald F. Corrado, 1941 Delmont St., Walla Walla, WA 99362
Due to a little confusion on my part, I am quite late on the QBA dues. Here it is for this year. I don't know what I was thinking about, but I finally came to my senses.
Work on the plane (Tri-Q-200) is progressing slowly, but steady (Whenever the temperature permits). As long as I continue to work on it I'm satisfied. Some day it'll get finished, and I might have some useful information to share with the rest of the members. Thanks to them and yourself, I have a greater insight towards the construction of my plane.
Thanks for your time and commitment for all of us. I hope you'll be able to work on your plane more often, in spite of your dedication to the QBA.
Please run the following ad in the next available issue. I am trying to sell off a few excess items.
COLOMBOS COLASSAL COWLING SALE!!! I have an original untouched Revmaster cowl as supplied by Quickie and a Q-200 cowl with premolded inlets and oil cooler vent. The Q-200 cowl also comes with premolded "bumps" to clear spark plug leads on the front two cylinders of an O-200. Please call and we'll chat.
I also have a set of Rosenhan wheels, brakes and master cylinders which can be used on a Tri-Q or other small homebuilt.
Dennis Colomb, 743 Raven Dr., Vacaville, CA 95687-7258
Call (707) 449-6355
Over November, December and January, I had my engine off, repairing the unequal C.H. pressures. Found a broken land, which caused less power to develop in the right cylinder. Further check indicated that the original top compression ring was too tight. The ring had no end gap clearance when reinserted inside the cylinder. This in turn probably caused the land to break as the ring expanded due to the heating of the engine. It had to expand in some direction so it probably pushed sideways causing the land to break from the side load pressure. I replaced both piston, rings, wrist pins, connecting rods and end cap, scored the cylinder walls, cleaned the entire engine with scalding hot water, recoiled everything, reassembled, torqued everything correctly, replaced all carburetor parts and finished her up. Ran beautifully when doing high-speed testing. I even replaced climb prop (28 degrees) to cruise prop (30 degrees) as I had 3200-RPM static (with cruise prop). The repaired job gave the power I had previously. On 1st test flight, after 6 practice patterns and landings, I cruised to an auxiliary airport at 1500' doing 115 MPH! Great for me! This is the 1st time I cruised at that A/S at 3200 RPM. All other instruments were in the green. This initial flight was for 1.8 hours. In addition to the improved engine performance, I also improved my fuel consumption to 1 gal/hr. Previously, I had used up 1.2 gal/hr and only cruised at 90-95 MPH. You can see how elated I was.
On 3/27, 2 days later and with 15 degrees warmer temperatures (55 degrees) I made another 3 home-field landings. I did notice somewhat less power than 2 days previously. I attributed this to the warmer temperature. I tried to climb, but at the expense of increasing my C.H. temperatures to 400 +/-. I gave up the climb idea and decided to make a simulated landing at another airfield 20 miles west of base. No wind that day. From 1500' I let down on a down wind leg to 750', power at 1500-2000 RPM's. Turned base and then final with throttle back, carb heat on. As I crossed the fence line and down low enough to land I pushed carb heat off and gave it full throttle as I started to climb at 80 MPH. About 1/3 of the R/W used up climbing, the A/C suddenly got quiet! I scanned the A/S and saw it dropping through 65. I pushed nose down to hold A/S, made a 60 degree break to left, flew through a row of willow tree branches, leveled off and hit the deep snow at about 60. The sudden stop catapulted me over on my back into the deep snow (12-18" deep) where I remained upside down hanging in my shoulder harness and seat until help arrived.
I had to turn sharply to the left and through the trees as dead ahead of runway 28 were power lines, homes and woods. In retrospect I should have snapped off both master and ignition switches sooner. This I did after hitting and turning over. I was kind of disoriented, upside down and in buried snow (darkness) and could not locate the gas shut off valve instantaneously as I hung in my safety belts.
However, I resigned myself to wait. It got hot inside the cockpit upside down, until help arrived. The rescue crew flipped me right side up after asking if I was hurt. I said that I would be fine. Right side up again, I opened the canopy normally and got out unassisted. I removed my radio, found the Allen wrench and Allen screw to lock the canopy and followed the rescue crewman back through the deep snow to the waiting car. I did have a bruise that bled slightly off my left eye, my right hand was very sore (?) and the top of my head was tender. Days later (2) my shoulder and neck muscles were real sore. Hot showers and continuous exercising or flexing eliminated the soreness.
When I overview the entire incident I can say that the Quickie design is terrific! The glide ratio was more than the 13:1 that the book says. At low A/S (-60), low altitude (50') it did a safe steep turn beautifully. Stopping suddenly from 60 MPH, as the wheels dug into the snow did not damage the canard wing or the wheel pants. Flipping over on its topside did not damage to the canopy (due to the deep snow) or the tail section. The lower cowling was smashed and the 3 clips that hold it. The prop was smashed but so far the prop shaft checks out okay. More accurate checking will be needed. The problem of instant power failure was due to an electrical circuit break. I still am unable to find the cause of the failure. Upon getting the A/C home, it starts on the 1st prop turn, each time and runs great. We've tried to duplicate the failure but with no success. Carb ice was ruled out 56 degrees/20 degrees dew point (no gradual loss of power). We already checked both switches. The tach is new and functioned normally. It still does (no short there).
Is there anyone out there that could offer advice as to the possible cause? All suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
I will attempt to fix the A/C up, back to new, and get it repainted. If my annual (waived) medical exam grounds me, the A/C will be put up for sale.
The supine sitting position is terrific! The sudden stop did not dislodge me from the lap and shoulder straps. I did have a 3-ply insert to close the big hole in the seatback bulkhead. The seatback bulkhead is still solid as ever. The neck and shoulder soreness was from the straps holding me in place.
I am more impressed now with the Quickie design and material strengths.
The battery and case did tear off the floor (back of me) but none of the wires tore loose, nor did the battery lose fluid.
I do have a gas tank leak, which must be found yet after I repair the fuselage wall cracks and reinforce the canard wing (right side). Time will tell how the repair work comes out.
This letter took me a long time to write right. I expect to locate the source of the trouble first. As yet, I have not found out why it quit. The battery was checked out and had 12.6 volts in it. The battery was loose (the bolt was not safety wired) but in subsequent tests it did not cause engine to die. (The wire did fit tightly to the loose bolt.) I now have provisions for safety wiring the battery bolts.
Will write you more at a later date. Thanks for being the Key man and for so long!
Ted Kibiuk #508, NY
ED. NOTE: In a call subsequent to this letter, Ted reported that two guys with electronics backgrounds checked his electrical system and found no breaks. You Onan drivers know that your engine's ignition depends on an adequately charged battery at all times. Ted's engine started right up after he dragged it back home so an electrical system failure seems unlikely now. Perhaps his full throttle climb was somehow interrupted by the inability of the carb fuel pump to pull fuel at his climb angle. Anyway, Ted is fine physically but has no definitive answer to the cause of his stoppage.
Don't miss this most important point: IF YOU'RE DEAD, YOU CAN NEVER FLY THE AIRPLANE AGAIN. If you kill the airplane to save yourself you will be alive to rebuilt it or build another. Ted killed his airplane. He pushed the nose over at low altitude to maintain airspeed, turned safely away from power lines, homes and woods, elected to risk it flying through some willow trees then rolled it up in a field. He did not try to horse it around in a 180 back to the field and likely die in the spiral. Ted killed the airplane and stayed alive.
I was hoping to have this 40 hp Zenoah already in the airplane but at the last minute decided to do additional firewall mods.
Looks like this engine assembly with exhaust and radiator will probably run 10-12 pounds heavier than the original Onan setup. I'm using a mounting arrangement similar to Jinx/Brock's diagram with some changes.
The radiator is really an aluminum oil cooler, 8.5" x 11" x 1.5" purchased from J. C. Whitney for $42 (same as the $95 one from Leading Edge Air Foils). It's mounted underneath the engine at an angle tilted forward.
I had to fabricate a new cowling to accommodate the new engine/radiator assembly. The belt reduction system is "HTD" cogged belt, 1.90" wide 73/28 tooth reduction, custom made for this engine. As soon as I get this thing running, I'll drop you another letter with photos.
Do you know off hand what the static thrust is with the 18/20/22 hp Onan? It would give me some indication of what my prop/engine rpm should be initially. Don't you just love this experimental stuff?
Tim Van Ackeren, Milwaukee, WI
(414) 546-0986 eve
ED. NOTE: Yep, I do love it Tim, as long as the money for it is coming out of YOUR pockets. Don't know about the static, but somebody does and could call you. We have 2 Quickies already registered for Ottawa and maybe those guys will know.
I have reconfigured the rudder on my Quickie to the design of the Dragonfly (upside down L shape) and balanced it, thus having more rudder area but no more total vertical fin area. Can't say that all the work was worth it though. I was looking for a little bit more stability at low airspeed. The increased rudder area can definitely be felt but the plane is not any more stable. I think that I needed more vertical fin area. Of course, I'm a homebuilder (that looks about right!) not an Aeronautical Engineer so who am I to say?
I got Jinx's old cowl last winter and it now resides comfortably on the nose of my plane. I did not enclose the can (bottom) and it did slow me down about 5 MPH so will be changing that soon. Bounds loaned me his spinner mold and hopefully that task will be accomplished soon.
The vortex generator installation went very smoothly and I am happy with the results (except for the stupid people playing with them at airshows!). I have a rough canard and the VG's really increased elevator effectiveness as was noticed immediately on the first take off with them on. They slowed stall by only about 2 MPH and did nothing to top end speed. I have not flown in the rain with them on but look forward to the chance (about as much as shooting myself in the foot!!!). I am going to try gap seals on the elevators sometime this summer and will let you know.
I visited Jim Patterson in Salt Lake City this spring while there on business. He has a Q2 and hangars with Gary Jones of Kitplanes fame; there is a Tri-Q 200 and Q200 in the next hangar. I was in heaven. Interesting story was heard while there.
Seems the Tri-Q-200 fellow had installed a fuel tank ... guess where!!! Yep, glassed UNDER the main wing. Sure is a lucky fellow. He had a flat tire and lifted the plane up by the wing to change the tire and the wing folded on him. I think there has been enough of these stories now that we can stop putting fuel tanks near the foam in the wings or any other critical areas. Second lesson learned from this fellow: They tried to fill the voids in the wing using expanding foam but didn't have big enough or enough relief holes so the wing is now distorted and certainly looks unusable (don't know if it would have been usable even if the foam idea had worked.) Nice airplane otherwise!
If anyone knows where I can get a set of Cozy plans (preferably a MK IV but am interested in others) I'd sure appreciate a call. The key word in this paragraph is CHEAP, not much money to spend but lots of desire, isn't that always the way it is?
Safe flying to all!
Jon Finley, Helena, MT
My first flight in my Quickie was an exciting one. I had about 11 hours engine time with 4 hours taxi time.
As recommended, I had conducted the taxi tests in steps. Slow taxi was no problem, a little faster, still no problem.
I asked an experienced tail dragger pilot, "When does the squirrelliness start?" At the time I had had it up to over 40 MPH. He said, "If it's not squirrelly yet, it won't be." Later on he taxied the Quickie and remarked that it was very stable.
As time went by the tail would get light and I would ease back on the throttle, comfortably slowing then turning on the taxiway.
After repeated advisories against high speed taxi, (the 'non-Quickie' crowd) I decided to do a runway flight.
The next morning with my brother manning the camera, I did one more high-speed taxi. Everything was fine. I had been using 2000 RPM until now. This time I figured 2200 would allow me to struggle into the air when I would ease back on the throttle and settle back to the runway.
I didn't want to do a full flight yet because there were things I wanted to check a little closer. The tach seemed to indicate low, that morning the throttle kept slipping to idle (Mikuni carb). Engine roughness around 1700 RPM. But I'm only going to make a runway flight, right?
I set the throttle to 2200 RPM. QAC recommended full aft stick on take off so that's where I put it. Upon feeling things get light, I glanced down at the air speed indicator. My head was pulled down as the aircraft rapidly took to the air. Looking up, all I could see was cowling and sky.
I nosed it down a bit, got my bearings, and ate up too much runway to land. The throttle kept slipping back so the left hand had a full-time job. Flying the runway heading I was going to make slow turn and return, landing in the opposite direction. There was no wind and no traffic.
Noticing my airspeed was only 65 MPH, I thought I had one slow Quickie. Remembering an early QBA letter about another guy hanging on the prop, I lowered the nose, things started looking better. Boy, these things fly tail high.
I made my turn and aligned with the runway. It seemed I was too high, so I elected to go around. Thinking back that was my best shot.
Throttling up, I moved to the right of the runway, a downwind leg. At pattern altitude, I pulled the throttle back. The engine started running erratically, forward went the throttle. I'm starting to get nervous now. I tried various things, carb heat, different throttle positions, etc, still it ran poorly at less than full throttle. I was gaining altitude and didn't want to.
On second attempt at landing again I was too high, so another go around. Go arounds don't embarrass me, crashes do.
The down wind leg was very exciting (scary). The engine started running rougher. I was wanting out! Not knowing how this aircraft would glide, I opted for a short pattern. This put me on the deck but fast. We were eating up a lot of runway quickly. I eased it down to the pavement to get the benefit of tire friction. I bounced high. Again, forward went the throttle. At first it responded, then it bogged, then revved up again.
My thoughts were that it would really quit at 200 feet, leaving me with no choice but the trees.
Pull back on the throttle, nose her down, bounce, bounce and bounce. Finally on the ground but rapidly running out of runway, coming to rest about 100 ft beyond the end of the pavement. The squat of the canard was enough to break the prop. The engine stopped turning before the plane stopped rolling.
The carbon fiber reinforcement on the tail spring was delaminated. The rudder rivets to the horn were loose.
By the way, the engine, when running properly, was smooth, oil temp was 200 degrees, CHT was 300 degrees and oil pressure was 30 psi. My engine is modified for more power; the cooling system is considerably different than the factory system and has a remote full flow oil filter. It has dual ignition because I wanted the advantage of electronic ignition (variable timing, hefty spark) but the new system was complex (it didn't have my complete trust) so I had to keep the old system as well. After wasting a 20 horse head, checking for metal thickness, drilling and tapping many holes, head scratching (pun?), I drilled and tapped a new pair of heads for the second spark plug.
I took the airplane home the next day and couldn't even look at it for more than a week.
Finally I started searching for the problem. Thoughts of negative pressure on the fuel tank were high on the list for a while. I'm still going to put positive pressure vents on the tank (pitot style).
Then I pulled the pulse line to the fuel pump off. It was filled with oil. I'm using a Mikuni carb with a separate Mikuni fuel pump. The pulse line was routed as high under the cowling as it would go then down to the pump under the engine. A mistake. Thinking the oil would not make its way over high arc of the pulse line was wrong. I think Norm Howell had a similar problem.
The pump will be relocated behind the firewall, higher than the engine, so that the pulse line will have a constant downward run to the engine. An electric backup pump will be used.
I would like to obtain an original Cowley prop for my aircraft. I made spinner bulkheads, forward and rear, to fit the Cowley prop, anything else would mean a lot more work and money.
I was lucky to not get hurt on my unintentional first flight. I tried to take it step by step. Hopefully next time will be better. The Quickie will be!
ED. NOTE: Now here was a guy who was carefully reading Q-TALK. He taxi tested 4 hours and in steps. He decided on a careful runway flight and even knew the RPM he would use. I was proud ... all the way up to where he pulled full back stick intending to "struggle" into the air. That's not struggling, that's forcing the issue. There were a lot of things QAC told us that weren't exactly optimal. Several times I have written to leave the stick alone, just cradle it, and the thing will fly when it's ready.
But then there were other things that should've gotten Dennis' hair to stand up on the back of his neck. Did ANYbody ever hear how airplanes accidents are almost always a result of a chain of events? And that it could've been stopped at several points in the chain? Except, that is, for the ol' testosterone whispering "Hey, you're a hairy chested man, YOU can do it.
Bro was on the camera, ready to be entertained (pressure to perform), "the tach seemed to indicate low ... the throttle kept slipping to idle ... engine roughness around 1700 RPM." There is plenty of little messages here that were saying, "Maybe there will be a better day later." But they were perhaps too subtle to hear. Perhaps we are expecting a black cloud to form above us from which a deep, ponderous voice issues forth solemnly, "Fly today and your ass will be grass". That's what all those little messages added up to. Didn't they?
I'm awfully glad you were around for Oshkosh, Dennis, and I hope your experience will help some other hormone-stricken pilot to slow down to be caught in the grip of logic. It ain't flashy, and it don't look good on camera, it's just safe.
Dennis Clark's Ferocious Flyer
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