Can a Challenger/Excalibur have folding wings?

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dragon2knight

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I've been told the wings are removable, but can they or have they ever incorporated a "swing wing" type of folding mechanism? I can share a hanger where I'm moving to and I'm looking into any type of lower cost aircraft that can do this. I have currently found quite a few Challengers I can get used as well. Without folding wings, though, this is not a viable option. Anyone know if it has been/could be done?
 

BigBen

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I've been told the wings are removable, but can they or have they ever incorporated a "swing wing" type of folding mechanism? I can share a hanger where I'm moving to and I'm looking into any type of lower cost aircraft that can do this. I have currently found quite a few Challengers I can get used as well. Without folding wings, though, this is not a viable option. Anyone know if it has been/could be done?
I asked the question to the Excaliber owner in Sebring just before the holidays because I have the same need to tow the aircraft home for storage. It does not presently have a wing fold feature and he responded back a couple of days before Christmas that he was moving ahead with plans to add the feature. I do not know what his time frame for having it accomplished.
 

dragon2knight

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I asked the question to the Excaliber owner in Sebring just before the holidays because I have the same need to tow the aircraft home for storage. It does not presently have a wing fold feature and he responded back a couple of days before Christmas that he was moving ahead with plans to add the feature. I do not know what his time frame for having it accomplished.
Great to hear,. Guess I'm calling Tom Kerr(Excaliburs owner) to discuss this further, thanks!
 

Daleandee

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I've been told the wings are removable, but can they or have they ever incorporated a "swing wing" type of folding mechanism? I can share a hanger where I'm moving to and I'm looking into any type of lower cost aircraft that can do this. I have currently found quite a few Challengers I can get used as well. Without folding wings, though, this is not a viable option. Anyone know if it has been/could be done?
There have been a couple of folding wing Challengers over the years. First one was a single place and I don't know where any info on that one can be found these days.

Recently a gentleman in West Virginia named Allen Sutphin, over on the Fly Challenger Group, did a wing fold design on his two place. He may have since sold it but there are a few photos on that group that give a view of what he did, albeit not in great detail but you can get the gist of it. You have to be a member to see the photos:

https://groups.io/g/FlyChallenger

By his own admission it worked but not as well as he had hoped. I believe I'd be looking at a folding wing Kolb or Kitfox as both of those have well thought out wing fold systems. The other option (if you have plenty of folding money) would be a Panther from SPA: o_O



Yeah ... I know ... to rich for my blood too!

Dale
N319WF
 

Riggerrob

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You might be able to retro-fit a wing-fold mechanism similar to that of Panther and Zodiac STOL. They both have a tubular jury strut that allows you to slide the wing outboard and then swing it aft to secure it to the tail/aft fuselage. A disadvantage with the Zodiac is that you still need to dis-connect all the control cables.
An ideal wing fold mechanism would automatically re-connect controls as you spread the wings. Glide and naval pilots can give you all kinds of ideas on how to build quick-fold mechancisms.
 

Victor Bravo

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Sorry to repeat myself ad nauseam...eam...eam..eam...

The Kolb has the best ultralight wing folding system available. You can put a Kolb ultralight in a single car garage... next to the car !

The stock Kolb can be folded by one person in less than 10 minutes. Several videos of this online.

The Kolb has a few design details that I don't like, but they are fix-able easily enough. They are known to be reasonably safe, have excellent performance, and there are many hundreds of them flying.

The one known issue with the design is that they have higher than appropriate stick force for the aileron (only). This is simply because they used the wrong hinge hardware for this purpose. It's a one-day fix to change out the piano hinges for pin/bolt/clevis/blade type hinges, which should solve this problem immediately.

No disrespect whatsoever to the Challenger, Excalibur, or Mr. Karr.
 
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dragon2knight

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Sorry to repeat myself ad nauseam...eam...eam..eam...

The Kolb has the best ultralight wing folding system available. You can put a Kolb ultralight in a single car garage... next to the car !

The stock Kolb can be folded by one person in less than 10 minutes. Several videos of this online.

The Kolb has a few design details that I don't like, but they are fix-able easily enough. They are known to be reasonably safe, have excellent performance, and there are many hundreds of them flying.

The one known issue with the design is that they have higher than appropriate stick force for the aileron (only). This is simply because they used the wrong hinge hardware for this purpose. It's a one-day fix to change out the piano hinges for pin/bolt/clevis/blade type hinges, which should solve this problem immediately.

No disrespect whatsoever to the Challenger, Excalibur, or Mr. Karr.
I have a bit of experience with the Challenger having a friend in Florida with one....I'll be honest, I didn't love it. It's not terrible, of course, but it's not my first choice either. The Excaliber, on the other hand, I got a chance to try out as a passenger last year while down there and I think it's an entirely different beast. Tom's done a terrific job of taming the Challengers devils while adding some nice innovations along the way. I've never even seem a Kolb in person yet, but I've read nothing but good about the man himself. The prices are a bit high for my taste, and having to learn to fly a taildragger (I only just got finished with learning a tricycle...) is not something I really want to do if it's possible. Personal preference that. I'll just keep on hoping for either a decent folding mechanism from Tom or just looking at something else entirely, like an older Kitfox or Avid converted to tri gear.
 

Victor Bravo

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Kolb has a tri-gear model now. As you said, personal preference is a totally valid parameter, because it's your money and time you are investing.

I know the Challengers and Excaliburs are good safe airplanes, but as a prehistoric old-school dinosaur, I've just never been able to get over the curved lower fuselage longerons.
 

dragon2knight

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olb has a tri-gear model now. As you said, personal preference is a totally valid parameter, because it's your money and time you are investing.

I know the Challengers and Excaliburs are good safe airplanes, but as a prehistoric old-school dinosaur, I've just never been able to get over the curved lower fuselage longerons.
Oh, I did not know they had a tri gear! That's truly how little I know about them. Now I'm heading on over to their site to price this out a bit more. Hopefully it's not too expensive. Thanks again!
 

Victor Bravo

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Call the factory and ask for Bryan Melborn. NICE GUY and treats his customers well. He built a new Kolb ultralight a few years ago with a tricycle gear and a little longer wingspan. Forgot the name, but it was a new version of the Firefly 103 if I remember. You might be able to buy the prototype from him at a good price, because when it is sold he can build another one and sell that one, then another one, etc.?

Even if he says that this prototype is not for sale, then ask him how much extra it would cost for the same nose gear option on a stock Firefly. I am 99.999% sure he will be happy to do that option for you.
 
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dragon2knight

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Call the factory and ask for Bryan Melborn. NICE GUY and treats his customers well. He built a new Kolb ultralight a few years ago with a tricycle gear and a little longer wingspan. Forgot the name, but it was a new version of the Firefly 103 if I remember. You might be able to buy the prototype from him at a good price, because when it is sold he can build another one and sell that one, then another one, etc.?

Even if he says that this prototype is not for sale, then ask him how much extra it wouuld cost for the same nose gear option on a stock Firefly. I am 99.999% sure he will be happy to do that option for you.
Sounds like a plan :beer:
 

danmoser

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Kolb has a tri-gear model now. As you said, personal preference is a totally valid parameter, because it's your money and time you are investing.

I know the Challengers and Excaliburs are good safe airplanes, but as a prehistoric old-school dinosaur, I've just never been able to get over the curved lower fuselage longerons.
Actually, the Excalibur does not have the curved longeron "boat tail" feature found in the original and current Challengers. I think the original intent of the boat tail feature was to prevent rocks from being kicked up into the prop, but I'm skeptical that it did what was intended, or was even necessary in the first place..

A wing folding feature would be nice, but Challengers and Excaliburs are nose wheel aircraft that sit low and level and have a very long chord, so the LE might touch the ground or the main gear wheels with the commonly used "U-joint" type hinge mechanism at the root trailing edge.
 
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