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Q-talk 46 - LETTERS

John S. Derr, 19 Escena Dr., Tijeras, NM 87059

September 26, 1994

Dear Jim,

It is with great sadness, and much pain! that I must report the passing of N500JD. The attached NTSB accident report, which I was fortunate enough to be able to write myself after 49 days in the hospital, gives the dry details. Fire damage, although limited to the cockpit, was so extensive that the plane is absolutely unrebuildable.

The following items are for sale: Rotorway RW100 engine and proven installation, firewall forward; Warnke prop, virgin; plans and templates; tail cone; various parts; and custom trailer. See details in the Classified Section.

The friends, the technical education, and the thrill of the first flight after 13 years building are invaluable. Were they worth being burned over 50% of my body? Ask me a year from now when my rehabilitation should be complete.

One parting piece of advice: get fireproof suits and wear them!

Sincerely, John Derr

P.S. That uncaptioned panel at the bottom of p. 7 of the May-June '94 Q-Talk was mine, before it melted.

Narrative History of Flight - NTSB Accident No. FTW94LA213

This was to have been a local test flight to check a modification to the intake manifold. (The modification was successful and had nothing to do with the accident.) Takeoff was at about 6:45 am, landing about 7:20 am. The nature of the flight itself is also irrelevant to the accident. There were no mechanical or weather-related problems.

The approach to runway 3 was a long, straight in. Flare was normal until a gust or thermal caused the plane to rise to perhaps 10 or 15 ft. about the runway. This led to a classic pilot-induced oscillation (PIO). After about 3 cycles attempting to regain control, full power was applied for a go-around. The aircraft moved abruptly left off the runway, hit the "4000 ft" remaining sign (with the left canard?), cart wheeled, and came to rest inverted.

The gas tank separated from the fuselage and fire was immediately visible along the seam. The pilot escaped unaided through a very small hole in the broken canopy. An axe, carried for escape purposes, was not needed. The fire extinguisher was not easily accessible owing to the inverted position of the aircraft and the resultant awkward position of the pilot. Several men from Executive Aviation arrived with a fire extinguisher as the pilot was stripping off his burning clothing. They put out the fire on the pilot and inside the plane, although the plane subsequently re-ignited as they checked to see if anyone else was trapped in the wreckage. (As required for the first 40 hours of flight, the pilot was the sole occupant.) The cockpit area of the plane was then completely consumed by fire.

A helicopter ambulance was summoned and the pilot flown the short distance to the University Hospital regional burn unit, the only facility capable of handling this trauma in the state of New Mexico. Although in shock, he was conscious through the entire accident and flight to the hospital, and retains full memory of what happened up to the point of sedation. While there were no broken bones or internal injuries, he suffered second and third degree burns over 50% of his body, mostly to the legs. After three major skin grafting surgeries and 49 days in the hospital, he is now recovering at home.

While the basic cause of the accident was the pilot's inability to recover from a PIO in ground effect, a number of design deficiencies contributed to the problem:

1. The pilot sits so low in the aircraft that he cannot see the runway straight ahead during landing. This lack of visual reference makes recovery from a PIO more difficult. (This is a tricycle gear plane!)

2. The Rotorway engine, while more powerful than the originally-specified VW conversion, is somewhat underpowered for this plane at 5000 ft altitude.

3. The rudder is too small to keep the plane over the runway when full power is applied for a go-around. Lack of forward visibility contributes to the problem of staying over the runway.

4. Sitting on the gas tank is a serious design deficiency. Any fire will inevitably cause serious, if not fatal burns. Pilots should wear fireproof suits, and install the fire extinguisher on the copilot armrest for the flight test period. This pilot is very lucky to be alive.

John S. Derr, August 21, 1994

ED. NOTE: John says it correctly; the basic cause was PILOT induced oscillation (PIO), not Q10 or A10 (aircraft induced). However the mere size of the final 4 points seem to finger "design deficiencies". And so I feel the need to balance the comments. Point 4: no argument, there is NO good place to put the tank in this design. Point 1: lots of sport planes AND spam cans with this characteristic (e.g. Pitts types) are handled routinely by pilots. Seems like a visual reference to the horizon not the runway is adequate to identify PIO in progress. Point 2: need input. Point 3: Here's that ol' rudder controversy again. We have a boatload of "opinion" but precious little test data to tell us we have too little rudder. There are a hundred of these babies flying around with plans-built rudders and I have not heard of an overwhelming desire to change them. Build per plans.

Point X: PIO is a pilot training issue. First, you must recognize it. You only have a split second to do so and then you have another split second to act. If it happens close to the ground and you have to think about it for the first time, you will be raising a cloud of dust and fiberglass splinters.


Thought that I had better get my dues paid, and let you know what's going on with Q-2 #2036. I bought the kit in a partial state of completion (meaning NOT MUCH DONE), in June of '93.

I have finished the main tank and have installed it, complete with electric fuel gauge. I have also built the header tank, and have made it removable.

I've installed the firewall, complete with Fiber Flax, and .032 aluminum (not found in kit), and have mounted the Revmaster 75 HP engine. I have fabricated the cowling flanges, mounted them and have fitted the top and bottom cowlings.

Didn't like the looks of the vertical stabilizer that the previous owner had built, so I built a new one with the Com antenna built in.

I ordered the Tri-Gear Kit, from Scott Swing, in Aug. '93. Have received part of the kit (wheels, tires, brakes and some misc. parts) but have not received any of the fiberglass or nose gear parts as of yet. Maybe someone has had this problem (if indeed it is a problem). I have the gear reduction starter on my 75HP Revmaster, but when I installed it, it doesn't seem to disengage from the flywheel. When I turn the engine over by hand, you can hear the starter turning too. Will the starter disengage from the flywheel, once the engine starts or not? If someone knows, let me know, before I try starting this engine.

By the way, I've never had a ride in a Q-2 or Tri-Q before, so if anyone is in my area and would like to take me for a little ride, I would be very appreciative.

Doyle Shinall, 511 Randle St., Valparaiso, IN 46383

(219) 462-5274


I would like to start by asking if anyone out there has plans for a belly board or vortex generators for the GU canard. If so, please call me collect at (404) 389-0733.

I have a tip for builders that want to install the t-tail. The plans called for the cables to be deflected with Nylaflow tubing at the base of the vertical stabilizer approx. 60 degrees. EA-AC 43.13 states no fairleads, guides or anti-abrasion strips should deflect cables more than 3 degrees. To solve the problem simply install 2 AN210-1A pulleys at the point where the cables turn from the vertical stabilizer to the fuselage. You will also need to make another pulley support pad and cable guards just as you did for the top of the vertical stabilizer. Install the pad as you did for the top and install AN3 bolt and AN960 washers as required to obtain proper clearances of the cables. The Nylaflow tubing is still used between top and bottom pulleys to prevent abrasion. You should also make an access plate so the pulleys can be inspected. You can do this with 2 BID just as you did for the cover plate at the top of the tail. Hollow out the foam to allow #10 nut plates to be installed and flox them in once they are riveted on. I also did this on the upper cover plate with #6 nut plates. Just be sure to coat the inside of the threads with petroleum jelly so the screws will go in.

If you have installed the vertical stabilizer without putting in the Nylaflow tubing for rudder cables, an extension drill bit or welding rod may be inserted in the tubing for rigidity then it can easily be poked through the hole.

Tom Fairchild

Dear Jim:

This was supposed to be a happy letter announcing that I had purchased Bob Noble's Tri-Q-200. Alas, that did not come to pass. As many of you have already heard we crashed on takeoff. Bob had placed 25 lbs of lead in the tail after he reweighed the aircraft and recomputed the C.G. With this weight, placed as far back in the tail as was physically possible, the aircraft was pitch unstable, and we impacted the ground about 10 degrees nose down in about 20 degrees of left bank. After the left canard broke off the left main gear hit the ground on the outside of the gear. This caused a left rolling moment and the aircraft turned over on its back. I can speak well about the structure of the fuselage. It held together or I wouldn't be here today! For those of you concerned about the strength of the firewall, we went in at about 130 mph with the engine running at full power. The left front engine cylinder and the prop were about the third and fourth parts of the aircraft to hit the ground, but the firewall held and the engine remained attached to the fuselage. Bob tells me he wrote a letter detailing the accident so I don't need to rehash it all.

The net result of this is that I still need to buy a Q-200 or Tri-Q-200. I have done a lot of research on purchasing one of these aircraft and most of the ones that sell seem to go for around ten thousand. I made up a table to compare aircraft and it is repeated below for those who would like to see what one buyer is willing to pay.

Airframe with Quickie instruments ........ $ 3000

O-200 Engine ............................. $ 5750

Less $1.50 per hour SMOH

Transponder with encoder ................. $ 1000

ELT ...................................... $ 200

Attitude, DG, and Turn Coord. ............ $ 1000

Nav/Comm with ILS ........................ $ 1500

Loran .................................... $ 500

GPS ...................................... $ 1000

Workmanship Award (trophy winner) ........ $ 1000

Aircraft cannot be flown before purchase .-$ 2000

Non-certified engine rebuild .............-$ 2500

So, for example Bob's Tri-Q-200:

Airframe ................................. $ 3000

O-200 with 150 hrs SMOH .................. $ 5525

Transponder with encoder ................. $ 1000

Attitude, DG, and Turn Coord. ............ $ 1000

Nav/Com with ILS ......................... $ 1500

GPS ...................................... $ 1000

Workmanship Award ........................ $ 1000

Total .................................... $14025

I offered Bob $14,000 and he accepted.

Bottom line. I need an airplane to commute to Wichita Falls from my new job as an instructor pilot at Hondo, TX in the USAF's new composite trainer. If you have one you're trying to get rid off, give me a call at (817) 767-2334.

Mark Schwendeman

Please enter my ad.

WANTED: Q-200 or Tri-Q-200. Prefer flying aircraft but will consider anything. Mark Schwendeman (817) 767-2335.

Dear Jim and Tom,

Thank you for your efforts in continuing Q-Talk. Enclosed is our '94 subscription.

The following is an update on our Q2, N32DK (SN 2453). My partner (Harold Dirks) and I only put on approximately equal to 40 hours in 1993, due to some more down time. The changes we made last year were the following: We changed from a 2-blade to a 3-blade Warp Drive propeller. It has much less vibration and so far has not developed any hub cracking like the 2-blade did. We may even be getting a little more speed. It is difficult to tell because we have not yet purchased a new spinner for it. We are getting approximately equal to 140 mph full throttle. We have the blades set for 13? pitch.

Another change my partner made was to change from the round tapered tail spring I made when I broke the fiberglass one to a flat leaf spring. We hoped it would have more torsional stiffness and improve the ground handling. It may have helped a little, but we have a little looseness in our bolted connections, which may be contributing to the slight instability in ground handling. The soft rubber tail wheel is so much better than the original hard rubber wheel!

During the summer I wanted to try to improve our cylinder head temperature with the cowl flap closed, to try to increase the airspeed. So I wrapped the crossover exhaust pipes in front of the oil cooler with some thin stainless steel sheet or foil. There was only slight improvement, we still need the cowl flap at least half open, depending on the OAT.

In October, we were beginning to do our Annual Condition Inspection and had a spark plug gall the threads during removal. We removed the head to helicoil the spark plug threads and noticed a crack between the other plug hole and the intake valve seat area. We decided to buy new heads from Great Plains Aircraft in Boys Town, Nebraska. We also decided to lower the compression ratio to 8.5:1 by placing a .060" shim under each cylinder. Steve Bennett (Great Plains) says the engine will last longer at 8.5:1 instead of 9.3:1. I hope so, $500+ for new heads in only approximately 90 hours on the engine is not acceptable life. The Revmaster heads physically looked cleaner and nicer than the VW heads from Brazil, but they sure did not last.

I was rather disappointed in the VW heads from Great Plains though. The casting flash between the cooling fins was much worse than on the Revmaster heads. It took many hours of filing to clean them up so air could flow efficiently between the bottoms of the fins. Also the second spark plug hole is machined differently on the Great Plains heads than on the Revmaster. The plug hole is between the pushrod tubes on the bottom of the engine, so we should not have to remove the valve cover and rocker arms to remove the spark plugs (like we had to on the Revmaster heads). On one of our heads this may be possible. On the other head though, the angle is wrong and we will have to remove the pushrod tube to fit a socket on the spark plug. I reported this problem to Steve Bennett. My advice to anyone ordering heads from Great Plains is to verify this fit before you complete your rebuild.

Another flaw in one of the old Revmaster heads was a crack under one of the head bolts. This was surprising because we had the original heads reworked by Revmaster. A sleeve is added in the head bolt hole to prevent crushing in this area which is weakened by their machining of the second spark plug hole. Something must have been mismachined by Revmaster. We never did leak oil, but this area should not have cracked.

The engine now has about 4 hours on it with the new heads and lower compression ratio. A thrust test on a 30?F day still demonstrated more than 210 lbs thrust. That is the same as the 3 blade prop and 9.3:1 compression ratio.

Charles Kuhlman - Marshalltown, IA

Dear Jim,

Thanks for keeping the Quickie forum open for another year. Here's my dues for 1994. It is always most informative, encouraging and entertaining to hear from fellow Q owners.

Some news from the Montreal (Quebec) area. After a brief peak period during which we had three Q-2's flying around here: Steve Kulszycky's C-GMBK, Dave Cyr's C-GMBO and mine, C-GQTU, there is only one left, for the time being. Last summer our friend Steve decided to relocate in a warmer (if not sunnier) area: British Columbia. I went along with him in my own machine. What a trip! 2500 nautical miles across the continent from Montreal to Port Huron, Mount Pleasant (Michigan), Ashland (Wisconsin), Devil Lake (N. Dakota), Swift Current (Saskatchewan), Cranbrook, Penticton and Abbotsford (B. Columbia) our final destination, to mention only the overnight stops. It was far from a record-breaking journey. We landed 17 times to refuel, clean the wings of the bugs (yes!) and wait for the weather to improve. Remember how wet the prairies got last summer? The exciting part was, of course, for us, "flat-terrain-fair-weather-Sunday-pilots", the crossing of the Rockies. Well! We survived. We followed the well marked VFR route from Lethbridge (Alberta) to Abbotsford, flew as high as possible (max. 9500 ft.) landed and stayed on the ground whenever the weather was threatening: a sure recipe.

Altogether 25 hours in the cockpit, 123 gallons of fuel burnt (per ship), 1 quart of oil each and a lot of fun. All along we received an extraordinary warm welcome everywhere. The people tried to help in all sort of ways: offering lifts, offering their own cars, sharing meals, letting us park inside. Is it because we were flying Q-2's or that the aviation community is made exclusively of genuinely good people?

The sad side of the story is that I ran out of vacation for 1993 (too much rain enroute) and I had to leave my plane in B.C. I am now anxiously waiting for the spring to fly back.

In the meantime, I have been giving a hand to Dave to finish off his restricted 25 hours. His bird flies nicely, he has had very few problems once his ground angle of incidence was adjusted. He also has too few hours to fully appreciate the pleasure of running a Revmaster: eroding valve seats, stuck valves, cracked heads ... All of which have been Steve's and my common lot.

We are missing our leader and friend Steve (359 furious Q-2 flying hours) and his beautiful yellow machine. For some unknown reasons composite construction is not too popular around here. There are no new Q's on the horizon. I only know of one Dragonfly and one Long-EZ. Not many people to compare notes with.

Michel Moreau

Great White Father:

The prospect of putting a three blade Warp Drive prop on my Q-bird seems to have some benefit. I stopped at their place yesterday and they still do not have a 10" spinner and don't know just how soon they can develop one.

I would much appreciate it if you could run a short query in the bulletin to solicit sources from others who seem to be flying that prop.

Warp Drive gave me the name of some guy in Canada who is making a 10" spinner but thought I'd like to see if a sources exists in the lower forty-eight.

Looking forward to a good year flying.

Keep up your great job.

Your Obedient Servant,


Dear Jim,

Getting close to 700 hours on my Q-200. I decided to annual it after Oshkosh this year. I was getting a very faint hairline crack between the cooling fins on the intake port near the upper spark plug hole. This is the third cylinder I've found with a crack on this engine. As a result, I missed the Ottawa Fly-In.

I bought the O-200 from an aircraft salvage yard in 1985, and had it majored by a Minneapolis firm. It came out of a C-150 and the logbooks say it had about 3500 hours since new and a couple of overhauls.

You should note that it isn't the best practice to keep reconditioning cylinders forever. The problem is that you just don't know the history (total hours) of a reconditioned cylinder. Remember that most O-200 engines installed on C-150's have been through many, many shock cooling cycles. This is rough treatment.

Right now you can buy complete Continental brand cylinder assemblies for about $585 (Trade-a-Plane price). This includes valves, piston, piston pin, the works and it's all brand new! For those of you preparing engines for the first flights I would really recommend starting with 4 brand new cylinder assemblies. It's much better to know the cylinder history from the beginning.

Another note: I teach carburetors and ignition systems at Southern Illinois University Aviation Technologies Aviation Maintenance Program. I have noticed that there is common misconception about experimental aircraft regarding Airworthiness Directives. If the FAA issues an AD on a component in your aircraft you must comply with it even though it's registered experimental! Of course there are quirks to this set of rules. For instance if you had Bendix magnetos that were the subject of an AD, you could theoretically skirt around it by installing a Briggs & Stratton lawn mower magneto in its place.

As you may know there is currently an Ad out on the Marvel-Schebler MA3-SPA and MA4-5 carburetors (the MA3-SPA is most commonly used on O-200's) to change the two-piece venturi to a one-piece venturi. Last week I was talking to a support engineer for Precision Airmotive (the company which currently owns and manufacturers the Marvel-Schebler line) and he said there was a serious problem with some of the carburetors which had the new venturi installed (on O-200's only). It seems that with the new venturi installed in some O-200's have very poor fuel distribution and they were going to release a new fuel nozzle to handle the problem. These engines were not developing full power at run-up and are not safe to fly.

So, if you have an O-200 you're getting ready, make sure you have the new venturi and the new nozzle.

Th-th-th-that's All Folks!

Samuel R. Hoskins, R.R. 6, Box 344 - Redbud Lane, Murphysboro, IL 62966-9236

(618) 687-1579

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