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Q-talk 41 - Sep/Oct 1993 - index

SEP/OCT 1993



by Jim Masal

Ooooooooops, here's your Sept./Oct. issue #41 in case you were wondering why it hadn't arrived. An explanation is in order. Flushed with the success of our Labor Day fly-in, I decide to coast a wee bit. And then I GOT a wee bit ... bit by one of the bugs that we pass around during winter. This one had me coughing very hard and feeling puny for some 4 weeks. What I thought would go away in a couple days eventually took antibiotics. Then I passed it around to some of my key associates at work who got bit even harder. So, what with my lack of enthusiasm for life during my "sinusitis" and the pile of work I had to cover for, this is what you get. But, at last, here it is.

Don't forget, it's time to renew your subscription for 1994.

This issue is no doubt gonna get caught in the Christmas mail, but I hope you will have it for a cozy read, comfortably settled in a favorite chair with maybe a crackling fireplace warming you nicely. Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. JIM



It was a picture-perfect day in Ottawa, KS, the land of gently rolling farms, Holstein cows, red barns and ... the golden McDonald's arches, Wal-Mart and the Sonic drive-in.

A cold front flew through just recently and the flying and gawking couldn't have been better. It was COOL and DRY for those of you who just barely remember such times.

When I got back from my first Oshkosh in '73, what stuck in my mind even more than the profusion of planes was the cleanliness of the grounds. At Ottawa what stands out most was the teamwork. Airport operator Chuck LeMasters had his folks repaint our hangar meeting area a sanitary white and clip the green expanse of grass where we'd park. All the folks with cars made sure that everyone got delivered to the motels, Ottawa University for the banquet, and to the airport each morning. Best of all, the pilots were rarin' to ride, and anybody with even the least bit of gumption to ask could get one. In fact, I got the last Dragonfly ride of Saturday from Steve Larribee who had already put in several hours as chauffeur. I happened to be standing nearby on another mission when he taxied up, disgorged his latest passenger and asked "Who's next?" His line had suddenly dried up. Recognizing the knock of opportunity, I hopped up and down about 6 times shouting "Me, me, me." I got a fun ride behind Limbach power.

From the outside, our Q's have an obvious performance advantage, but when you're inside the Dragonfly on the climb out, it doesn't make a flip of a difference. They feel about as much alike as they look alike. Steve let me do tight turns, power on and off "stalls" and even a high-speed pass (to what I naturally imagined to be a cheering crowd, but which no doubt were actually busily stacking airplanes into the hangar at that moment). The landing approach is slower, 70ish, but it has the same feel and slight "goosiness" on the rollout. Landing critics didn't know it, but the runway had a bump about 100 yds from the north and that tended to "launch" our planes unexpectedly.

This was what the fabled "grass roots" fly-in should be. Lots of aircraft in the air except during the mid-afternoon hot spot, lots of hot laps in singles, doubles and triplets for the shutterbugs and an occasional grandstander to set the heart a-twitter ... nothing foolish, but a visual treat to take back home to the workshop.

There were upward of 60-70 people in our forums which covered flight-test tips, Q and D-fly tips and tricks in general, and an especially interesting one on VW and other non-aircraft power plants.

There was atypical diversity this year. Capturing a special rapt attention were the two Subaru powered Dragonflys. And these 2 aren't just in the tinkering around stage either. Reg Clarke "drove" his direct-drive Subaru in from Canada - 8+ hours - and took longest distance honors. Justin Mace brought his geared Subaru in from Tucson. It has a lean, mean look with his 5 bladed prop and features reminiscent of a P-51. Justin's not tickled with the weight of his installation (Clark's is 100 lbs lighter), but he's plied the skies in it for some 200 hours. It's not just a pipe dream. Here's a thumbnail comparison of the two aircraft:




Howard Hardy flew his Rotax 503 Quickie in from the Denver area, stopping in Grant, Nebraska to formate with Bob Bounds' "Mary Kay" (sissy pink) Quickie, also sporting a Rotax 503. They both were escorted to Kansas at 120 mph by Charlie Harris in his sporty Q-200 speedster. Charlie must've been flying at idle and 45 degrees nose up just to keep pace.

We had 13 airplanes on the field including 4 Tri-Q's, a pair of Q-2's and the usual crowd of Q-200's. And ... we had a ball.


Bounds Rotax Quickie N41RB Grant, NE
Hardy Rotax Quickie N7NH Broomfield, CO
McConahy Q-2 N6558M Bixby, OK
Crane Q-2 N83BJ Enid, OK
Adams Q-2 N14PA Marshalltown, IA
Harris Q-200 N275CH Littleton, CO
Fisher Q-200 N17PF Taylor Ridge, IL
Jewett Q-200 N2AM Louisville, KY
Watts Q-200 N81CQ Edna, TX
Conlin Tri-Q (C-85) N202AZ Conroe, TX
Windler Tri-Q-200 N6628K Ponca City, OK
Homsley Tri-Q-200 N827Q Little Rock, AR
Halloran Tri-Q-200 N4832L Rochester, MN


Lots of planes were in the air and lots of landings made ... safely, in spite of the mythology now developing that these planes are vicious swervers after touchdown. I noticed that unlike our Q's, the Dragonflys seem to do a lot of wheel landings, and quite a few takeoffs were done tailwheel up first. Closest calls on landing were made by 2 Tri-Q's whose pilots, in a wide display of airmanship, simple did go-arounds instead of trying to salvage a landing not going right. Remember this, OK? Give up and try again ... even if you are in front of a crowd.

I'm glad I witnessed these events because up until now I have heard about quite a number of bent nose gears without having an understanding of the possible causal factors. I got a good demonstration. One of the Tri-Q's came in with a nose high flare, nothing extreme, about what a good C-150 landing looks like. But man-o-man, the nose suddenly came alarming down followed by a short series of bounces before the go-around. Did this ever stimulate some discussion! I can now see EXACTLY how these nose gears can fold up. A couple of points came up later at our forum. Walt Halloran said his landing technique in his Tri-Q is to come in fairly flat such that his nose touches just an instant after his mains. He minimizes the flare. Another comment was that when the canard quits flying the nose would slam down, and remember that with the elevator down on landing you essentially have "flaps down" so if you remove elevator force you lose life too. Down will come the nose. Just like the taildragger, only instead of the canard bouncing, the nose gear will.

Some of the guys went out on the flightline later to yank/lift on the tails/noses of the Tri-Q's. They found noticeable differences in the nose heaviness among the Tri's. A heavy nose weight can put you out of c.g. range and prang your gear as well. Mention was made that somewhere one builder went so far as to move his mains forward, but the details of that were unknown. Moving the canard forward might work as well. However it always seems to me that good pilot training and technique is simpler and cheaper than significant engineering changes given that the design is pretty well worked out by now. This is similar to the problem of increased rudder area that a few keep saying they need when too many of these planes are operating just fine with original rudders. If you were trained in Pipers and Cessnas, now it's time to step your pilot training up a notch or two instead of re-engineering the plane to fit your present skill level. You got a problem with that?

Reports from some of the 82 folks at the banquet are that it was a hoot. I can't say, inasmuch as I was preoccupied with diligently exercising my M.C. duties with my customary intensity. And it was tough too, with all the guffawing and heckling going on. The rascals at the front end of table #1 were especially meddlesome. I have a good mind to print all their names before the next fly-in so my "friends" can bloody their noses. And that goes for Spud too who was egging them on (in case he thought I didn't notice).

The ladies of Ottawa University put on a wonderful feed (prime rib, baked potato, trimmings) and with good service. In spite of our last minute upping of attendance numbers they prepared plenty for all and even had some leftovers.

Instead of the after dinner cigar, for health reasons, we had awards instead.

Best Q-1 ........ Robert Bounds

Best Q-2 ........ Homsley (Fisher, runner-up)

Best Interior ... Fisher (Homsley, runner-up)

Longest Distance. Hardy (Q-1) and Harris (Q-200) - (we're sawing the plaque in half)


A good time was had as we awarded various trinkets and catalogs as door prizes. Paul Fisher had a bunch of gag gifts he made up: a nametag sized plastic placard saying "FRIENDS DON'T LET FRIENDS FLY METAL AIRPLANES". Truer words were never uttered.

Sunday morning I mistakenly had a second cup of coffee before leaving for the airport at 7:45 a.m. and nearly arrived at an abandoned aerodrome. Most guys had skeedaddled in advance of an approaching cold front that the weather channel promised (it eventually came sauntering through along about 6 p.m.). But nobody wanted to chance a repeat performance of last year even if they DID have an extra day to get home.

You want to compare Ottawa to Oshkosh from the fabled "grass roots" angle? Here it is:


Banquet Crowd
Forum Crowd
# Dflys
Fly Bys?


The thrilling circus atmosphere of Oshkosh is missing at Ottawa, but if your interest is building the plane and not entertainment, Ottawa, KS is for detailed conversations with successful builders and the inspiration that comes from riding and viewing these aircraft in flight.

And that brings me to a final point. This Labor Day date was of great concern to us. We wanted an extra day to outfox any wrinkles the weather gods might throw at us, but word on the street was that many wouldn't be able to come due to family commitments on this last long summer weekend. What to do? We took a chance. It worked out just fine. In fact, nearly half the planes that showed were ones that we hadn't seen out in the open before. Guess when we'll be holding this fly-in next year? Yep!



Other Articles In This Issue

LETTERS - by Jim Masal
CLASSIFIEDS - by Jim Masal
QUICKPIX - by Jim Masal


You can order a PDF or printed copy of Q-talk #41 by using the Q-talk Back Issue Order Page.