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Chotia Gypsy

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falcon5052

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Good afternoon! Been looking into the Chotia Gypsy ultralight to build. I really like how it looks, and I've heard nothing but good things about his airfames. Looking into 3 axis aircraft to build in general, and that one caught my eye.

Was just curious on what people thought of it, thoughts on how its built, issues with it, links to plans less expensive than VULA (never hurts to ask! lol)

I'm already a part of the Gypsy-UL yahoo group, and I'm having a hard time finding more info otherwise.

Thanks for letting me into the group!
 

bmcj

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Welcome to HBA Falcon.

I've heard nothing but good things about his airfames.
Then you must be talking to the wrong people. ;)

I've dealt briefly with John Chotia and his last design. His design work, his poor choice of hardware, and his arrogance are what got him killed -- right in front of a number of aviation magazine writers (that he invited out to see him fly his new design).
 
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choppergirl

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There is a Chotia Gypsy / Woodhopper that a guy offered to me for $100... in need of restoration.. with two Chotia engines. I'd buy it but I don't really have a convenient way to bring it home at the moment and don't want to spread myself across two planes.

I'm in GA... PM me if you'd like to get together with me and we could somehow get it... here are some pictures. I was looking actually to use it as ideas or a template to built a kit that might be somewhat similiar to it. It has a few broken wing ribs and the cables and pod seem missing. It might be a Woodhopper in which case there was never a pod at all. Otherwise I think they were very similiar planes. I think the Woodhopper though did not have ailerons/was only 2 axis controlled.

I'm about a two hour drive from him. What I really need is a car with a hitch on it... I could borrow my dad's truck but don't much want to ask him as I might get the evil eye for bringing a second ultralight plane project home :-/

Recently I posted some videos of a guy building one as an art project, and then destroying it on first test flight because they were clueless... PM me if you didn't see those videos and I'll send you links. Sad, because it looked like he did a bang up good job for his first aircraft build, and then ripped it apart by stupidly trying to tow it behind a truck with no engine on it an a rope tied to the wheel axle (very wrong place!).
 
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choppergirl

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Let's see if I can get him that plane.

Do two planes and two millenial pilots make an air force..? I think it does.... :) Muhahah... Choppergirl expands her influence ;-)

All ur clouds r belong to ch00pp3rgurl


...and he exclaims, 'Holy Cow Gypsy for $100(!)'

Until a better more flattering name is forthright, I dub thee, little Woodhopper... "Holy Cow(!)"

maxresdefault.jpg

I'm envisioning a splotchy black and white pattern paint scheme on the wings, and a paid endorsement from Ben & Jerry's on the tail.... that or "Eat more Chicken" from ChickFillet....

An endorsement from RedHat Linux on mine...

Now, what I really need, is an big, big abandoned factory somewhere...

Detroit... the Motor City? Ya'll keep your eyes peeled... for something... free... an industrial brown site... a city is bleeding to have somebody do something with, anything... involving a broom and a dustpan and some paint brushes... just take this crime ridden s*** hole off our hands...
 
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choppergirl

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falcon5052

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I mean, he sold tons of them, so that has to count for something! was featured in popular mechanics. He died doing what he loved. not a bad way to go out IMO.

@chopper lol maybe not cow print..... but I like where your going with it ;)
 
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falcon5052

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I am also looking into other frames to build as well. definitly not set on just chotia's work. Just that is what im gravitating at the moment, and for $100 cant beat that..... will see what comes of that in the future :) eventually depending on how that goes, I may start again and go ahead and do either a gypsy or other 3 axis flyer.
 

FritzW

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What specifically is wrong with the Gypsy: Flying qualities? Structural problems?

It sure is cute...
 

choppergirl

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He sold tons of Weedhoppers. 13,000 or so. Plenty out there still flying. Wish I could crank out that many planes.

Would have to design the plane from start to finish, how to make every single part, every station to make that part, then setup a factory to do it...

Lot of bumming things down to the fewest parts and stop watch timing everything, like nutcase micro managers did in the olden days on assembly lines. How fast can this part be made, where is the hang up, what takes the longest to make and slows it all down, what parts can I buy pre-made already, etc.

 

BJC

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Welcome to HBA Falcon.



Then you must be talking to the wrong people. ;)

I've dealt briefly with John Chotia and his last design. His design work, his poor choice of hardware, and his arrogance are what got him killed -- right in front of a number of aviation magazine writers (that he invited out to see him fly his new design).
One thing about Chotia: he designed and built the entire Weedhopper, including the engine. Very few, other that Chotia and the Wrights, can make that claim.


BJC
 

choppergirl

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IMG_3590b.jpg

RAF color scheme makes a squat little rudimentary primitive bird look like a smart little bird... kind of like some kind of behind the lines one man minimalist covert operations infiltration glider... something along the lines of a Welbike.

BJC, do you know the story on what the Chotia engine was made from? Did he like pull a stock cylinder head and clyinder off the shelves, and make a crankshaft and crankcase for it, and add other off the shelf parts to build an engine design from scratch? What did he use and from where? And what sucked about it? I've read somewhere I think long ago, they had a less than favorable reputation...
 
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FritzW

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Good stuff Starjar, thanks for the link.

...Don't fault the Chotia by today's standards. Instead look upon it as a major advance (IN IT'S DAY) to a robust, simple and reliable power plant as against the THEN available engines for ultralights.

I remember those days and what a remarkable advance the Chotia was. So was the Weedhopper design!

...As an aside, John donated one of his early "B" model Weedhoppers to a Fed aviation test facility and it was tested to destruction. It withstood "8" G's of stress before failure. A true wonder in the early days of ultralighting and design for sure!

...hummm, a Gypsy with V struts instead of cables, maybe update it with a few things we've learned over the last 30 years. Could be a simple, inexpensive fun little airplane ...again.
 

BJC

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BJC, do you know the story on what the Chotia engine was made from? Did he like pull a stock cylinder head and clyinder off the shelves, and make a crankshaft and crankcase for it, and add other off the shelf parts to build an engine design from scratch? What did he use and from where? And what sucked about it? I've read somewhere I think long ago, they had a less than favorable reputation...
Starjar's link tells the story as I remember it. Whether one deems the Weedhopper a POS or an evolutionary development (and that probably is a function where one's avaition roots are; ultralights or conventional airplanes) it was an achievement that should be acknowledged.


BJC
 

Dana

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The Gypsy looks like a nice, if dated, design, though I know nothing about its structural adequacy or flying characteristics.

The Weedhopper was a good design for its times, with a good safety record, considering the thousands of completely untrained pilots who bought them. Many are still flying today, most with better and more powerful engines. New Weedhoppers were still being sold as recently as 2004.

Dana
 
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falcon5052

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...hummm, a Gypsy with V struts instead of cables, maybe update it with a few things we've learned over the last 30 years. Could be a simple, inexpensive fun little airplane ...again.

thats a good idea! I may consider that, and speak with my local EAA group if/when I get the plans for it.
 

choppergirl

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Well, looks like Falcon left the forum as a guest, his account doesn't work anymore... bummer

so I went and brought it home... yesterday



Choppergirl's Antique Ultralight Rescue and Salvage...
(and yes, I used a red truck. don't call me red fox though.)

presents:

"Alice", Choppergirl's $99 1985 Chotia Woodhopper


http://alice.air-war.org

I'll make a proper forum thread for her shortly... :-/ Maybe. Depends on the weather 'round here...

The bad:

I demolished most of the wing ribs getting her home. And I've been beating myself up ever since about it. Stupid monkey! I knew better than that, wings are super fragile. I would of had to rebuild the wings anyway, but now I have to make 24 new wing ribs, instead of maybe 6... no biggie but still. I would of had to make the jig anyway, 6 or 24, right, so... :-/ still. The dead man who built this thing is cursing me from somewhere in the ethereal plane...

That's like 2 weeks of work I destroyed in the first 15 minutes of driving, because I just wanted to get home and wasn't thinking straight when I loaded up the wings, my GPS died on the way down there, and it was a harrowing drive through backcountry bumblef*ck nowhere with a folded map in front of my face :-/ So I was a bit disconcerted when I arrived, and the airplane guys I bought it from, though helpful, offered me no advice. I should of put stand off pieces of wood between the wings to separate them... One offered to seran wrap my entire wings, he had some huge roll of the stuff, which might of worked to spread the load out... probably should of done that. Too late now.

The good:

Two never before run before Chotia 460 engines with it, mint condition, with newspapers from December 1984... like a time capsule from 1984, from John Chotia and his factory, direct to me :) Smithsonian quality, not a scratch or bit of carbon on them.













Well, I always wanted to learn how to do this...

How to make Wing Ribs:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doR4cWXBrIs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bc3iIVpWQkM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4aJ8M3_5I0

https://www.homebuiltairplanes.com/forums/album.php?albumid=591
 
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choppergirl

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People be hating on my my method, and most days I question my own sanity, will I ever get to fly by buying this old junk before it hits the dumpster... but this is all I got to say about that...

"It's not a matter of enjoying it more or less (flying), it's about enjoying it... differently..." *just wait for it* :)


"...it's enjoying it through a... a different vision... through another lens..."

Chopergirl's a Renegade...

The designer of the Affordaplane has promised to send me his Woodhopper plans he never got around to building... so... that is cool. I believe he said he wanted to build a Woodhopper before he designed the Affordaplane and never got to it.


More pictures here, the uploader kind of scrambled them from the sequential order they were taken in...

https://www.homebuiltairplanes.com/forums/album.php?albumid=591

https://www.homebuiltairplanes.com/forums/album.php?albumid=581

The mast pole is included, but not the prop, gas tank, nor could we find the exhaust pipes. He sold the Bing 54 carbs but I can get new ones off of ebay from China cheap. Also got a box of little parts, and *score!* all the connecting wires. Shazam! On the Woodhopper, the rigging wires *are* half of the plane...

IMHO, the Woodhopper is kind of in Chuck Yeager territory. I'll probably finish the VJ-24W first because it looks a heck of a lot more docile to fly. But if you can fly a Woodhopper, you can probably fly d*mn near anything...
 
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