650 HP Rotary Time To Climb record attempt

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rv6ejguy

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I last posted that they were getting ready for the first full power run up. It didn't go as well as planned. They could only get about 4300 rpm, not near the power they were hoping for. Also found out the engine is not turbo compounded, What I thought was the turbo was a strange looking water pump. Anyway below is cut and pasted from the most recent news on the engine:



The 1.25" hole in the exhaust is a poor mans waste gate to make sure they don't over boost the engine.

attached below is a screen cap of the engine data monitor.

View attachment 52485
MoTec offers a course on how to tune their systems. A wise investment if you've already spent $4500+ on the hardware. The AFRs are all over the map here, they better understand how to program the system before they hurt something.

Anyway, you don't need the wastegate connected to the ECU, just connect the lower chamber to the intake manifold. Not sure why they're running it like this with a 1.25 inch hole, they'll learn nothing. The WG could be way too small or the turbine housing way too tight for the application. This is what happens when you really don't know what you're doing- you'll learn the hard, slow way and probably break some stuff. Seen way too many turbo projects end in failure when people have no experience in the field. #1 thing to do is the get the WG working properly.

I wouldn't draw too many conclusions about cooling capacity either until they can run the engine at full power for at least 5 minutes.

Early days, I'm sure they'll start to figure things out as time goes on. As I mentioned before, the FP prop will be a real liability for this application and mission.
 

Will Aldridge

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There have been several updates that I didn't post, but the big ones are that they had some damage to the turbo. They think it sucked down a piece of cast iron apex seal before they changed over to lannetti ceramic seals. Not sure if I got the name right on that. The turbo still put out a fair amount of compression even with a chunk of turbine blade gone, so it took them awhile to figure out why they weren't getting the numbers they expected . That set them back a little financially and timewise. Since I last posted they replaced the turbo and learned a little more about Motec they have been getting the numbers on their test runs they were hoping for.

Yesterday they finally did a test on a tow truck to see if things worked at the angle they'd be climbing at.

Here are Mr Lamar's own words on the subject:

We ran the TTC at 45 degrees today

This was to check fluid pump suction.

My van was used as an anchor.

Here are some pictures.

No video. I need to delegate a photographer :)

Next step is a hop skip and jump at SZP and then off
to Cal City for flight test.

Ran perfectly. Dan Gray, our UAL 777 captain, now can control the mixture
with a knob on the instrument panel between +20 and - 15 % of
stoichiometric
on methanol.

Paul Lamar
P1170186S [6586].jpg
 

rv6ejguy

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Making progress the hard way as I predicted but making progress at least which is good.

"...now can control the mixture with a knob on the instrument panel between +20 and - 15 % of stoichiometric on methanol." This statement is hard to figure out. This is not something you want to be playing with during a record attempt and you'd never want to run the engine leaner than stoich for any reason at high power and even 20% richer than stoich is probably too lean for an engine like this. This almost implies they are tuned to run at stoich with the mixture knob straight up (0%). If so, they won't need to wait long for the bang...

Thanks for posting the update Will. A cool project. Look forward to the flight testing and hope they are careful with a well laid out plan of action.
 

Toobuilder

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I just cant imagine what that cowl is going to look like...

But since they are apparently flying in my backyard, there's a pretty good chance I'll get to see it in person.
 

rv6ejguy

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Hope you can give us a report or have a closer look.

Yeah, PL is a firm believer in wedge diffusers. He was even nice enough to send me a couple of emails last year after my Kitplanes article, telling me I should switch out my ventral rad for one of these monstrosities because it would work better. Of course he had no flight data to back up his opinion as usual. He's got almost as much rad area and volume as a 2000hp Griffin Spitfire there. That'll be one nasty looking nose all right.
 
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radfordc

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"...now can control the mixture with a knob on the instrument panel between +20 and - 15 % of stoichiometric on methanol." This statement is hard to figure out. This is not something you want to be playing with during a record attempt and you'd never want to run the engine leaner than stoich for any reason at high power and even 20% richer than stoich is probably too lean for an engine like this. This almost implies they are tuned to run at stoich with the mixture knob straight up (0%). If so, they won't need to wait long for the bang...
Is your prediction of doom based on experience running methanol? I would assume alcohol is different from gasoline?
 

rv6ejguy

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Is your prediction of doom based on experience running methanol? I would assume alcohol is different from gasoline?
I've been on the money so far, I knew they'd break something with the bad tune and they did.

I have run methanol on lots of race engines and even street cars. It's a wonderful fuel for turbocharged engines but little more forgiving to an engine than gasoline if running lean. The words Stoichiometric and race/record attempt engine should never be used in the same sentence.

Yes, methanol has some quite different characteristics than gasoline, especially the AFR for best power/ safety.
 

Will Aldridge

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I've been on the money so far, I knew they'd break something with the bad tune and they did.
No you're not on the money at least in this instance. It's my understanding that they bought the engine and turbo from someone else and rebuilt the engine and replaced the apex seals at that time but didn't inspect the turbo for damage. But it should be noted that's a hazy memory of something I read awhile ago.

One caution I should throw out here. Although interested in this project I'm not interested enough to post every update and my technical knowledge is limited enough that my summaries should be taken with a whole shaker of salt. Just like the media but I don't get paid for it.

What's going on here has been akin to Monday morning quarter backing a game that you only have 1/6 of the video for. While you may be an expert in your field you don't have enough info to make completely informed judgements.
 

rv6ejguy

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No you're not on the money at least in this instance. It's my understanding that they bought the engine and turbo from someone else and rebuilt the engine and replaced the apex seals at that time but didn't inspect the turbo for damage. But it should be noted that's a hazy memory of something I read awhile ago.

One caution I should throw out here. Although interested in this project I'm not interested enough to post every update and my technical knowledge is limited enough that my summaries should be taken with a whole shaker of salt. Just like the media but I don't get paid for it.

What's going on here has been akin to Monday morning quarter backing a game that you only have 1/6 of the video for. While you may be an expert in your field you don't have enough info to make completely informed judgements.
Point taken but seriously, putting a turbo in an aircraft without inspecting it? If parts are broken and missing from inside an engine on the combustion side, there's a good chance they ended in the turbine wheel.

Secondly after looking at their data logging on their EMS, they could have already caused further damage running it that lean. The AFRs were all over the place.

Since you took Paul's quote directly, I'll stand by my comments about stoichiometric and tuning/ engines. Nobody with any reasonable knowledge in this field would make such a statement because it's nonsensical.
 

Will Aldridge

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They have the aircraft at SZP and crow hopped it twice 2 days ago. Mr Lamar is giddy with excitement.
TTC first take off. 650HP Mazda RX7 engine 700 pounds empty weight

It was off the ground in roughly 2 seconds. Way faster than anyone
of us expected. Less than 100 feet I estimated. The total was about one
third
of the 2500 feet SZP runway.

This was at 4500 RPM. Not far above the 2000 RPM idle.
Of course the gear box is 3:1 so the prop RPM was only 1500 RPM.

Max static RPM is 6700. Max power is 8000 RPM.
The prop is so big and the slip stream so strong the air plane
would probably hover if one could keep it stationary and from rolling
over due to prop torque.

I was unprepared being too far down the runway. Sorry. It won't happen
again. I will be where Dan first touches the throttle next time.

Dan reported when he reduced the engine RPM to 2000 it was almost
like hitting a brick wall. The airplane landed NOW. That big prop
at 666 RPM is a very powerful aerodynamic brake. Dan said it felt like a
helicopter.

The thing that gave me the most satisfaction was Dan was comfortable
enough to consider making a complete trip around the SZP landing pattern.
We talked him out of it :) Cal City out in the desert is next.

I am slowly making a rotor head out of him :) It has been an up hill
battle :)
He keeps saying it is going to blow up and I keep saying rotaries don't
blow up!

We are in a whole NEW REALM of aircraft power to weight ratio.

THIS IS A MAJOR AVIATION EVENT!!!!!!!!!!!!

Paul Lamar
 

rv6ejguy

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Congrats to Paul and his team on the first flight! Looking forward to some more numbers soon.

The empty weight is very impressive- 200 lbs. lighter than an RV4 and 500 lighter than a Rocket.

I might add that Wankels do indeed break, seen a few photos of engines in this hp league really disintegrate. Scott Emery broke his turbo 13B twice in his RV.

Let's hope Paul's holds together to see what this airplane can do.
 

narfi

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In one of his letters he says 900lbs empty and in one 700... im not sure which was a typo.
You say some have broken, do you have any links to info on them?
I would be interested in following the "bad" aswell as the "hype" in regards to these engines.
 

bmcj

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I'm glad I reread that. I thought he said he covered a third of the runway in 2 seconds from a standing start, but that would have meant an average of 13 g's and a final speed of 568 mph at the end of 2 seconds, assuming constant acceleration. It wasn't until my second time through that I saw the 100' and the word 'total'.
 

rv6ejguy

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In one of his letters he says 900lbs empty and in one 700... im not sure which was a typo.
You say some have broken, do you have any links to info on them?
I would be interested in following the "bad" aswell as the "hype" in regards to these engines.
Search Scott "Who didn't build their own engine" on VAF. This covers part of Scott Emery's experience. He eventually switched to Lycoming.

Any engine can break or be broken, doesn't matter what design it is or who makes it.
 

narfi

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I don't see anything I wouldn't expect from an alternative engine installation in that thread. Sounds like he started with a lemon as well...... Hard to search topics on that site without a membership, do you have a link to any discussion on his decision process in switching to a more traditional engine?
 

rv6ejguy

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I don't see anything I wouldn't expect from an alternative engine installation in that thread. Sounds like he started with a lemon as well...... Hard to search topics on that site without a membership, do you have a link to any discussion on his decision process in switching to a more traditional engine?

The decision process is pretty predictable usually. Like many others, he quickly tired of the development and scare factor from hurried/ forced landings after stuff broke. The process to switch to Lycoming is easy on an RV, bolt on the Lyc. mount, find a half time Lycoming, prop of choice, Van's baffle kit and you're up flying again in less than a month in most cases.

I believe there were a couple other threads but I couldn't locate them either after a few minutes of searching. VAF has thousands of threads.

Lots of Subaru guys have had the same experiences and switched to Lycomings too.
 

Lendo

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I'm going by memory but I thought Scott Emery's wife had pressured him into a Aircraft engine - could be wrong! Anyhow an alternative engine is not for the timid (faint hearted), as the accessorizing and modifications can be a challenge - where it's all done in traditional aircraft engine - and you pay (through the nose) for that convenience. However (for myself) I like the educational aspects of conversion of the Rotary as to me it's a great engine. I guess I'm lucky to be in contact with people who do solve issues (I won't say problems), I must also say I have been unceremoniously kicked-off Paul's site, but for the life of me I'm not sure why. Needless to say there are many who have suffered the same fate who wear it as a badge of honour - personally it doesn't worry me one way or another, but I still have many good friends from that period, some still on there for any possible developments/revelations.
I can say however as far as Aviation developments of the engine (for general Aviation use), my contacts seem to be well ahead of Paul attempts - but I wish him well for the record attempt.

Did everyone see Steve Beckham's video on the PP Rotary, idling to 1,100 engine RPM with approx. 40mm P-port. Defeats Paul's claim that the peripheral Ported engine can't idle below 2,000. It's all in the Port size (inlet velocity) and therefore the Volumetric Efficiency, for those unaware of the physics. The HP is very good even at this size and RPM kept to 6,000 rpm - not at liberty to disclose HP at this time, a slightly larger port is being considered for larger power requirements at a slightly higher RPM, however the consideration is always reliability with extend engine life.
George (down under)
 

plncraze

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Peter Garrison has a couple paragraphs on this project in his blog on Melmoth2.com
 

Will Aldridge

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Here is Peter Garrisons comments cut and pasted from his site:

[August 26, 2016]

On the 18th I went to Santa Paula to see the Harmon Rocket (something like an RV-4) equipped with a 650-hp rotary engine that is preparing to challenge some existing record for time to climb from a standstill to 10,000 feet. What that record is, I don't know. It may be 125 seconds to 3,000 meters, currently held by a Yak. I thought it was 65 seconds in a Bearcat, but both of those airplanes are much heavier than this one, and there are so many records in so many categories that I got bored tring to locate the relevant one on the FAI site and gave it up. Anyway, I figure the airplane, which will weigh less than 1,200 pounds with fuel and pilot, should get off the ground in less than 200 feet and climb at something more than 12,000 fpm. For some reason its wings have been clipped, which does not make sense to me; it must have been done to reduce weight, but I would have thought that in a climb the span would be worth more than the weight saving. The oddest thing about the airplane is that it has no cowling. The engine, with all of its plumbing, air and oil radiators and general clutter is left out in the breeze. The reasoning is that at 90 kias parasite drag will be a minor factor. Actually, this is not quite true; at best rate of climb speed, which is bound to be close to the best L/D speed, parasite drag is half the total drag. At any rate, I did some calculations, making various unfounded assumptions about the drag contribution of the engine, and found an impact of several hundred feet a minute. I did take into account the fact that a cowling would add weight at the same time as it reduced drag. The cooling drag, of course, would still be there. Anyway, the day after my visit the airplane made a couple of hops down Santa Paula's runway. The record attempt will be made at California City, near Mojave. Unfortunately, I will probably be on the east coast when it happens; we're leaving next Friday for an absence of three weeks or so.
 

bmcj

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Here is Peter Garrisons comments cut and pasted from his site:
The way I see it, if the anticipated climb rate is 12,000 fpm, then he should calculate the parasitic drag at a speed higher than 90 kts because 12,000 fpm nearly 120 kts by itself. If the climb is anything less than vertical, the total airspeed will be even higher.
 
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