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QuickTalk 13 - Jan/Feb 1984 - index

JAN/FEB 1984



by Jim Masal

An interesting dilemma develops around a kit aircraft when builders of finished copies find the results don't match the dreams fueled by the promotional material. The question is simply, "Who's the culprit?" If it doesn't fly as advertised, the builder fingers the designer. But the designer points right back at the builder who "didn't build it right". The truth can only be arrived at on a case-by-case basis, and is often so tedious to unravel that it is often not done.

This was not always the case. In earlier years (pre-1975 or so), a determined tinkerer knocking out something like a Dyke Delta or T-18 from a set of plans might have some long and enlightened phone conversation with the designer himself as both tried to work out some bug.

But today, sport aviation is big business. An estimated 600 Quickie kits and 800 Q2's, at $5000 and $11,000, respectively, add up to $12 million dollars worth of business. It also adds up to an awful lot of long-distance phone calls to the factory. It is obvious that the telephone is a woefully inadequate method to effectively service the market that has been created. Ironically, the nearly 1500 builders of Quickie-type designs are assembling state-of-the-art aircraft with inadequate communication feedback. Just as the mass media made thousands of enthusiasts aware of the Quickie and Q2, so must QAC now use those techniques to support its builders. We can see plenty of room in the QAC newsletter for more real communication as opposed to promotion.

With the Quickie, for example, QBA has heard continuously over the last two years of problems with vibration, overheating, low power/overweight performance, flight in rain, electrical system reliability, etc. These are not isolated problems. A survey of flying Quickies that we are conducting is beginning to reveal that these aircraft are heavier and slower than we were led to expect. In addition, a surprisingly large number of these ships have experienced some damage during their lifetimes. These lifetimes frequently show only a few flight hours per year, which could indicate a lack of pilot confidence in the plane and an explanation as to why so few turn up on the Oshkosh flight line.

The Quickie appears only to have been an experiment which begat the Q2. As in other scientific endeavors, the research has moved on to more fertile areas of investigation. Thus, the Q2 has now become a predecessor for the Q-200, which by its very existence exposes weaknesses in the previous design. The number of people building each type is so varied in their expectations, that they feel more or less abandoned as the design focus shifts to the evolution of the next aircraft which will be better than the last.

As mentioned in the outset, it is nearly impossible to determine the culprit when a kit homebuilt design performs unsatisfactorily. Because we are using a kit and not just a set of plans, we tend to lay more blame on the supplier. For whatever reason, Quickie-type builders ARE experiencing significant real-life problems with their aircraft that the company did not expect. ALL of us (designers, builders and the interested peanut gallery) must put our pointing fingers back in our pockets a little more often and actively share our accumulated intelligence.


Other Articles In This Issue

LETTERS - by Jim Masal
Q-TIPS - by Jim Masal
BUILDING THE NEW Q2 CANARD - by Alan Schaffter, #2792
QUICKIE HINTS - (Part 3) - ONAN ENGINE MODIFICATIONS - by Ray Anderson and Harold Little
ACCIDENT REPORT - by Ron Gowan, #2421
ODDS and ENDS - by Jim Masal
CLASSIFIEDS - by Jim Masal
WE'VE GOT PICTURES! - by Jim Masal


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