"Big Things Have Small Beginnings."
David, the robot.
I have not posted in a while. Many mundane (small) things are going on in the background, none of which are noteworthy in, and of themselves. So in the meantime, and for your entertainment, I posted a PowerPoint movie of a presentation I had the privilege to present to a local EAA chapter on the history and technical aspects of the Lazair (see previous post). I have also posted an instructional video on how to build Mark IV ribs. This video was developed to test the feasibility of using video media for construction rather than a written manual. It seems it might workout well, we'll see how the public responds before making a final decision on this format.
Mark IV Updates
We have finished the break-in runs on the first Evolution 7260 radial engine with 2 blade 32x12 Valley View prop. Everything is running as expected. The second engine is being fitted to the test stand for break-in now.
Below are current pictures of an aileron assembly with end caps, but no trailing edges. The covering material is Oracal. This is the same material used for graphic wrap on cars and boats. It is beautiful material, very easy to apply. But it does not shrink wrap tightly enough for use on the wing and it is too compliant, meaning it stretches too much. It is therefore not an acceptable candidate for a covering material by itself. However several ultralight manufacturers are laminating Oracal over Ceconite, Stits, Dacron, etc as an alternative to painting. This seems to work very well indeed, and so this system will be offered as a covering choice for anyone who may want a Lazair without the traditional see-thru covering. The Oracal will give a plethora of color and graphics options.
I have also finished the development work on the Black Max Brakes. These pictures show the new wheel and tire assembly. These are the same size as the original wheels, but use the Black Max master cylinders and calipers from the previous post. New axles are being machined right now and I will post pictures of the new wheels installed. We now have complete refit kits available for Lazair owners that want to replace those old cracked original wheels and/or want to upgrade to better brakes. Two wheel options are available, the 8" wheel you see below, and the 6" wheel in the previous post.
If anyone wants just wheels with no brakes I have 2 sets of 6" wheels available with axles for a very good price.
On a safety note:
I was committing an act of minimally regulated aviation by flying my Lazair a few days ago, and after landing and standing around chewing the cud with a fellow aviator friend of mine he made a safety suggestion that left me gobsmacked that it was so spectacularly obvious and that I hadn't thought of it myself.
He relayed a story of a friend of his who had an ultralight (not a Lazair) with a different engine (2 stroke, 2 cylinder by the same manufacturer as ours) that was installed with the cylinders upside down, i.e. the spark plugs pointed down instead of up with similar plug caps. He informed his friend he might want to safety wire his spark plug caps so they wouldn't fall off or wiggle loose. The friend dismissed the notion and subsequently destroyed his plane and nearly killed himself when a spark plug wire came off in flight causing partial power loss of the engine.
Now I have never heard of a Rotax 185 loosing a spark plug wire in flight. But after examining my plug caps (rubber screw on type with spring loaded clips) and taking into consideration the massive vibration these engines produce I thought his suggestion had enough merit and there was enough potential for failure of the cap to remain on the spark plug I got out my safety wire and devised a simple safety wrap on the plug cap that I am convinced the cap cannot come off until I cut the safety wrap.
I recommend all Lazair operators heed the same warning and safety wrap your plug caps to the spark plugs. It is very easy to do, costs nothing, takes only a minute or two, and is cheap insurance against this type of bad juju.
More Next Time,