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Thread: Aluminum Dragon

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    Aluminum Dragon

    As promised to Topaz....when I have completed a load to "limit" I will post.

    Limit load test of elevator. Per "Faa Basic Glider Criteria" 12 #/sq ft. = 92 Lb. Uniform distribution span wise. The weights sit at the centroid of the ribs. This includes the gust loads. Elevator is mounted as it would be in the aircraft, from the hinges and control horn. Result...no deformation, usable part. Elevator as you see it (no fabric) weighs 3.4 #. To learn more about the Carbon Dragon follow the link below.

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  2. #2
    Registered User proppastie's Avatar
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    Re: Aluminum Dragon

    Powered Aluminum Dragon

    There are many Turkey Vultures that soar near my home…the fantasy is to be able to soar at their speed with them. While I doubt I will be able to thermal safely at 100 ft altitude as they do, if there is a an aircraft that might be able to do that perhaps it is the Carbon Dragon.


    Initial conditions: The goal is to design and fabricate a Part 103 Ultralite Power Launched Micro Lift Glider using the platform and aerodynamics of the Carbon Dragon designed by Irv Culver and Jim Maupin.

    1: Empty Weight 150-170# Gross Weight 320-350#

    2: Converting the existing carbon reinforced/wood/ fabric Carbon Dragon to aluminum/steel/fabric. Steel tube fuselage

    3: Designer is familiar with and has a preference for riveted aluminum structure.

    4: Hangers cost $500+/mo. where Designer lives, so the aircraft will live outside at a tie down.

    5: Designer wants to get in turn the key and go…aircraft to stay assembled at tie-down rather than in a box.

    6: There are no glider operations near designer’s home, so powered launch is a requirement. Also because the Never Exceed speed is 60 mph a tow at a traditional glider operation is difficult. There are no ultralite hang glider tow operations near the designer’s home.


    The Aircraft will be proof loaded to limit of 5.33 G as per FAA Basic Glider Criteria. Theoretical design sizing is for yield strength at the ultimate load of 8 G. This approach will allow for limit testing with no deformation and hopefully result in a usable aircraft after testing.

    Hopefully none of the reported excellent flying qualities and aerodynamics of this Irv Culver/Jim Maupin designed aircraft will be changed. Every effort to minimize the drag of the engine and propeller will be examined, including cowl flaps and moving panels/curtains to cover the stationary propeller after engine shutdown.

    Taking a lesson from the RV organization I have decided to start building the tail feathers first.

  3. #3
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    Re: Aluminum Dragon

    Got my airspeed indicator today...Hall Wind Meter 0-80 MPH ....tested it with the car and it works pretty good.

    Figured I would use it as a sure thing for initial flights.....its hard to know if a standard indicator is good because of negative or poor static pressure issues. I would be interested to know what anyone else is using considering the stall is supposed to be 19 mph.

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    Re: Aluminum Dragon

    Was asked to day "what are you doing" so figured would mount this as perhaps a further explanation:

    Preliminary engine pod revision, as far as I have gone and needs much more work on this part of the design. See link below, and see other examples on that web site.

    that is two views of the engine in the pod only the RH with the prop is valid as regards the placement of the engine. That is drawn to scale, the engine is really small.

    Edit, just worked 1/2 hour and moved the wing down....love the stretch command.

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    Re: Aluminum Dragon

    working on horizontal stabilizer...I formed the leading edge using the vacuum method, works well. shown here is 1/2 LE. The size of the mandrel is 11/16 electrical conduit for a 3/4 small end radius. The large end opened up to fit well. Thank you CheapRacer.
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    Re: Aluminum Dragon

    Still plugging away.

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    Re: Aluminum Dragon

    Improved rib assembly fixture.

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    Re: Aluminum Dragon

    Horizontal stabilizer and elevator. Final finish of the ribs not drilled until line up at this step. That's why all the clamps.

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    Re: Aluminum Dragon

    Little drill guide, Dimpling with the pop rivet tool.

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    Re: Aluminum Dragon

    Horizontal Stabilizer done except for fabric. Weight of 4.7 lb. which when added to the weight of the elevator of 3.4 lb = 8.1 lb. The original wood horizontal tail weighed 8 lb. Stay tuned for the load test to limit of 12 #/sq ft.

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    Re: Aluminum Dragon

    Here is the load test, glad when it is done and nothing broke. 232 lb total which works out to 92.5 on the elevator, and 139.5 on the stabilizer. 12 #/sq foot per FAA Glider Criteria. It was mounted as would be in the aircraft, resting on the stab attach fittings and the horn blocked for the elevator. Had to add and do over the elevator to show that the rear spar of the Stabilizer is strong enough to support the fully loaded elevator.

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    I now have to go back to the computer and convert the vertical fin. It will not be much different in concept but there still are lots of parts to draw, along with 3D work to get the exact rib profiles for the middle ribs. End ribs are from the full size scale drawings off of the PDF drawings I have. They were paper scanned.

    It should be a while before I have anything to show next.

    If you have questions PM and I can answer them here or I will at least PM back.
    Last edited by proppastie; June 29th, 2016 at 08:10 PM. Reason: bad addition/numbers ....future posts

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    Re: Aluminum Dragon

    Cleared off the bench, plotting the flat patterns. Ready to start cutting metal for the Vertical Tail

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    Re: Aluminum Dragon

    Sorry for not logging every day.....I am cutting metal for the vertical tail. Getting close to assembly vertical tail

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    Re: Aluminum Dragon

    Used the "tape method" to form the conic leading edge of the rudder. (see post 5) Came out much better than the elevator, no dents. First time tried to slide the spar in after forming, but that did not work, had to tape it with the spar attached. Drilling done on my "flat surface angle" for no twist.

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    Re: Aluminum Dragon

    Try to do a rib a day,...Tractor has been getting in the way though.

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