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Thread: Thoughts on a new biplane design?

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    Re: Thoughts on a new biplane design?

    Good question. I can only answer for my reasons.
    1. Stall speed, particularly as it relates to landings. A real Pitts is a handfull for most. Even experienced TW pilots say they can’t consistently get them right. I’ve read over the years that a lot of Pitts don’t get flown much because the owners are afraid of them. Things will happen a lot slower in a Bitts. I don’t currently have a TW endorsement so for me a less twitchy slower landing plane will hopefully keep me out of the bean field.
    2. Fits into Light sport category. Might be important to some.
    3. Should be cheaper to build, at least comparing apples to apples as much as possible i.e. new lyc to O-100 or even verner radial.
    4. Fuel consumption should be lower. I will admit that in the big scheme of aircraft ownership fuel costs are almost in the noise.
    So to sum up, the Bitts is a more docile aircraft but still capable of gentleman’s aerobatics and will allow the use of some interesting non- lycoming engines.

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    Re: Thoughts on a new biplane design?

    Quote Originally Posted by GeeZee View Post
    Good question. I can only answer for my reasons.
    1. Stall speed, particularly as it relates to landings. A real Pitts is a handfull for most. Even experienced TW pilots say they canít consistently get them right. Iíve read over the years that a lot of Pitts donít get flown much because the owners are afraid of them. Things will happen a lot slower in a Bitts. I donít currently have a TW endorsement so for me a less twitchy slower landing plane will hopefully keep me out of the bean field.
    We tell people that to make them think that we are superior pilots.

    The reality is that a Pitts lands differently from a Champ or J-3, but if you learn the proper technique, they are straight forward to land. But yes, the round wing versions do land at a high speed compared to lots of other airplanes. Just keep the weight down; with a metal prop and an armstrong starter, an O-360 S-1S should be under 750 pounds. An S-1C / D will weigh less, land slower, climb and cruise faster.

    2. Fits into Light sport category. Might be important to some.
    By the time you build a Pitts, it, too will be covered by something similar to a LS category. Remember, too, Basic Med now is active.


    3. Should be cheaper to build, at least comparing apples to apples as much as possible i.e. new lyc to O-100 or even verner radial.
    I donít know about the cost of a set of wires for the Bitts, but a Pitts with any rebuilt or high time Lycoming over 135 HP has a lot more aerobatic capability, so the cost differential depends on the cost of wires plus your ability to find a good rebuilt Lycoming and prop verses a Rotax and prop. The Verner is not an aerobatic engine, but it looks good and sounds good.


    4. Fuel consumption should be lower. I will admit that in the big scheme of aircraft ownership fuel costs are almost in the noise.
    Yup, fuel cost is way down the list of costs of ownership. You can do lots of aerobatics for 5 to 7 gallons in an O-360.

    So to sum up, the Bitts is a more docile aircraft but still capable of gentlemanís aerobatics and will allow the use of some interesting non- lycoming engines.
    Definitely your choice. I have nothing against the Bitts, and Iím not trying to influence your decision; just trying to share some thoughts and experience with the Pitts.


    BJC

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    Re: Thoughts on a new biplane design?

    Thanks for the well thought out response. I figured Iíd hear from some Pitts drivers
    Iím a 600hr pilot with a grand total of 2.7hrs of TW instruction. Iím actually just looking for a neat little open cockpit bipe to cruise around in on summer evenings and hit the occasional pancake breakfast. That the Bitts is stressed for mild acro is just icing on the cake but at present I have no interest in that, well ok maybe Iíd try a aileron roll someday but aerobatics of any kind is way down the priority list.
    Also, I beleve the Bitts uses round wires to keep the cost down. Not sure what an O-100 kit will end up costing but it could provide the means to have a very economical build. Me, Iím still lusting for the Verner.....

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    Re: Thoughts on a new biplane design?

    Quote Originally Posted by GeeZee View Post
    ... Me, Iím still lusting for the Verner.....
    A unique scaled replica of a Pitts
    with a Verner.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    BJC

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    Re: Thoughts on a new biplane design?

    Quote Originally Posted by BJC View Post
    A unique scaled replica of a Pitts
    with a Verner.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	55148010-EE12-4303-A6B3-C2451ABBD1CB.jpg 
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ID:	78961


    BJC
    The Lil 'Bitts would just need the original Micro Mong straight wings
    Designing and Building WWII replica fighters. US Dealer for Verner Motor
    Learn more at www.ScaleBirds.com

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    Re: Thoughts on a new biplane design?

    Sweet! But almost seems criminal to cover up that Verner. Iím definitely leaving mine hanging out in the breeze...

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    Re: Thoughts on a new biplane design?

    I find that I am often attracted to the daintier, lighter biplanes rather than the powerful ones, which ought to make it easier to build a replica or just a look-alike as a U.S. LSA or European microlight. Those Verner engines have me thinking about radials, so here are few that I like.

    Leopoldoff Colibri (Salmson AD9)

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    DH Moth (Armstrong Siddeley Genet)

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    Kinner "Crackerbox" Airster (Lawrance?)

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    Vickers Vagabond (Blackburn Thrush)

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    Re: Thoughts on a new biplane design?

    Quote Originally Posted by addicted2climbing View Post
    The fuselage in Solidworks is done for the Skylite and I plan to start on the Lil Bitts soon. Currently both are sidelined a bit since I am working on a rib kit at the moment for the skylite. I will have the raw material for the ribs in a few weeks and will test my new rib jig to make sure its good. Once tested I plan to sell a rib kit with the raw material pre bent to shape as long blanks but the airfoil curve will be done by the builder. It will also come with a build on top plan that serves as the Jig and include a bunch of parts to build the jig.

    As for the Fuselage, if you feel like your cheating, I am also considering only having the tubes .50" and larger CNC fishmouthed. The small cross braces and such use .375" dia tubing and those are so small that the cnc fishmothing may not be necessary. For the small tubing they could be cut to size and fitted by the builder since they are the least position critical. A hybrid fuselage kit of sorts might end up being an option. As I make progress I will post in on HBA.
    It may be time to update the Wikipedia Lil Bitts website with plans and ownership info. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raceair_Lil_Bitts
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    Re: Thoughts on a new biplane design?

    Excellent idea and also to get it listed in Kitplanes buyers guide! The online version could be updated now.

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    Re: Thoughts on a new biplane design?

    Quote Originally Posted by GeeZee View Post
    Iím a 600hr pilot with a grand total of 2.7hrs of TW instruction. Iím actually just looking for a neat little open cockpit bipe to cruise around in on summer evenings and hit the occasional pancake breakfast. That the Bitts is stressed for mild acro is just icing on the cake but at present I have no interest in that, well ok maybe Iíd try a aileron roll someday but aerobatics of any kind is way down the priority list.
    Also, I beleve the Bitts uses round wires to keep the cost down. Not sure what an O-100 kit will end up costing but it could provide the means to have a very economical build. Me, Iím still lusting for the Verner.....
    In the same class are the "other" Fisher planes (Fisher Flying Products, designed my Mike Fisher, no relation to Ed). There's the single seat FP404, also originally designed as an ultralight but too heavy, the 2 seat "Classic" version, and some others. My 404, with a half VW engine, was underpowered (it was designed for 503), but extremely economical (2 GPH).
    Hatz CB-1 Biplane
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    Re: Thoughts on a new biplane design?

    I like the 404 and have looked long and hard at that option. I’ve done a fair amount of woodworking so I believe I could build one ,no problem. This may sound crazy but I’m deliberately picking a fabrication method I don’t have any experience with. I want to learn to weld and cut/fit tubing. I helped a friend cover/ribstitch his kitfox so have an inkling of that process.
    I’ve bought a TIG welder and have been running beads on scrap. I have recently discovered a local welding supplier that offers a 20hr “hobbyist” TIG class. I’m hoping 20 hrs of instruction will get me off to a good start.

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    Re: Thoughts on a new biplane design?

    You might want to try out a gas welding class to see if you like it, I did and was pleasantly surprised how much progress I made in couple of days. I wouldn't fly with my welds yet, but I can see that with practice I could do good work.
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    Re: Thoughts on a new biplane design?

    I would love to see a light, simple biplane along the lines of the strut-braced Fisher Classic with the side-by-side seating of the Javelin Wichawk and the cockpit arrangment (single stick, dual pedals) of the Evans VP-2.

    Designed and built light with generous wing area it should fly well enough for low and slow fun on a modest 4-stroke engine (big VW, 5-cylinder Verner, A-65, etc.), think 65 hp J-3 Cub on a lazy summer day. The side-by-side seating is better for taking kids for a ride and it would make a great single-seater for the big and tall crowd. I'd go with enough stagger and/or sweep to keep the cockpit clear for easy access, maybe even include doors on one or both sides. Welded steel tube fuselage and struts, wood wings, all fabric-covered.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by cluttonfred; March 10th, 2019 at 04:09 PM.
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    Re: Thoughts on a new biplane design?

    As usual, what is old is new again. Pitts S1C. Classic - check. Simple - check. Inexpensive- check. Reportedly the most pure form of personal flying yet invented by man - check. Proven - PLEASE!

    Projects are available at VERY reasonable prices, and the dirt cheap O-290G will drag them around capably as long as you don't expect hard core acro. A nice 290 powered "C" just sold on the Biplane forum for well under $10k. Mind you this was a TURN KEY airplane and sold for less money than the raw materials. Many complete "projects" can be had for ~$3,500 (which is less than the cost of new flying wires ALONE).

    So once again, the solution to cheap, classic, fun flying is out there in droves... Get off the computer and JUST DO IT!

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    Re: Thoughts on a new biplane design?

    Quote Originally Posted by jedi View Post
    It may be time to update the Wikipedia Lil Bitts website with plans and ownership info. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raceair_Lil_Bitts
    Good Idea... I will look into how that is done. Thanks Jedi
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