Chotia Gypsy

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choppergirl

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At some point you realize, maybe like I did, you can look at, read about, and watch airplanes on youtube until the cows come home, but unless you actually change your strategy and do something different like work on actually getting, restoring, or building an airplane, you'll never have your own airplane and fly. I could watch youtube videos and post on HBA forever, but it doesn't get me closer to actually being in the air. Only working directly on my plane does. It's a bitter pill to swallow. (I'm still guilty of goofing off and watching videos, posting, and playing in paint programs (dreaming), way more, than actually directly working on my plane... but I hope to change that the more the realization sinks in)

I bought the Woodhopper, kind of on the whim, folly, or fantasy that I could maybe someday (when I was smarter) produce a kit for a beginner airplane that was simple and cheap to build. I'm talking about a bottom end Model T type dreamer's "first airplane", the cheapest and easiest route to get a person out of the "daydreamer" category and into the "holy hell I've now got an airplane!" category.

Something simple, easy to build, but mainly cheap with very few components, and reasonably decent to fly.... like a Skycraft Scout, but not quite that sketchy or marginal. Your very first plane buy, that got you off and running. You could stick with it, or trade up to something better with more performance later on, once you got your sea legs and lost your water wings, and sell or otherwise pass on your first plane to another beginner (airplanes take up space, and you always have more "airplane" than you have "hanger space").

My thought was maybe come up with a way to mass produce the wing ribs on a machine, and simplify the wing build (I was actually thinking injection molded ABS plastic at the time). If I were to make such a kit, I'd start by looking at the Woodhopper. Actually having one in my hands, makes things a lot more tangible, and I can see... ah, that's how they did it and how it looks in real life, not just in a drawing on a flat piece of paper. It's the difference between night and day to me.

I got a copy of the Woodhopper Plans, if anyone has any Gypsy Plans out there, I'd love to get them as well. Because...

I prefer bolt and rivet aluminum over wood, simply because planes can get neglected when they are not loved any more (like stuffed into the corner of a barn), and aluminum is pretty much impervious to water damage, insects, and animals gnawing on it, versus wood. That and wood glue gets old and starts to fail probably. Bolts can get rusty, but if you knock the surface rust off them, they are usually good to go again.

That was a deciding factor in my clicking "buy" on the Volmer... even though it was sitting in the weather for gosh knows how long rotting behind someone's storage shed, aluminum just don't rust or rot in the same sense like steel or wood. It rusts by forming an aluminum oxide barrier on the surface, which is even harder (ruby hard - 9 on the mohs scale) than pure aluminum (2.0-2.9). It does degrade over time, but it's so slow, it won't be in my lifetime. All those big aluminum structural parts would still be A-ok. Not so much the steel parts though. Fortunately, the previous builder put so much paint on the steel it was most well protected. I say mostly... he didn't paint the inside of tubes.

I'm not sure why people would prefer a Weedhopper over a Gypsy... probably word of mouth recommendation. The Woodhopper and Gypsy do look kind of naked and intimidating. You can break them, and all those wires is probably one bouncy hot mess when you are taxing. And both planes seem to be rather lacking in the suspension department, you better take care to set them down on the ground as gently as possible, like a feather.
 
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FritzW

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Are those the brakes sticking out of the bottom on the fuselage?

P.S. CG your "page 44" link, links to page 43.
 

mcrae0104

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Are those the brakes sticking out of the bottom on the fuselage?

P.S. CG your "page 44" link, links to page 43.
Just type 44 in place of 43 in the address bar--it's there.
 

choppergirl

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Fixed. Actually, I'm curious about the steerable tailwheel. Looks like salvage off the front of a grocery cart, with maybe long springs attached to it or just solid supports. Harbor Freight sells swivels of various sizes, I'm going to take a look at them next time I'm there. Winchester on HBA use to own and fly a Gypsy, I asked him for some plans and feedback on how it flew. The tail is also different than the Woodhopper, which has a Volmer Jensen type tail instead. I always see the 460 engines mounted sideways, I wonder why.
 

Topaz

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Are those the brakes sticking out of the bottom on the fuselage?...
Joking aside, the Gypsy was developed just before Part 103 was introduced. Prior to 103, what made an ultralight an "ultralight" was the ability to be foot-launched, like the hang-gliders from which they developed. So towards the end, you ended up with all sorts of clearly not foot-launchable designs with "bomb bay door" hatches and other means to stick your feet out of the bottom, as a sop to making it look like they were meeting the (not really official anyway) rule. So long as you could stick your feet out, the FAA pretty much looked the other way.

But enough entrants in the industry were pushing the "foot launch rule" and also putting demonstrably unsafe designs into the market that the FAA finally stepped in and gave us the much-more-detailed Part 103.
 

Authmion

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Oct 24, 2016
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Leland, NC USA
I cant wait to see more of your progress on either the gypsy or the woodhopper. whichever you end up building. Ive been stuck in limbo for anything till i get some bills paid.... (life right?) hopefully in the coming months, i can look more into some used ultralights.
 

b7gwap

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Sep 1, 2014
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Unbeknownst to me, my Volmer VJ-11 friend Greg decided to paint his brand newly covered Woodhopper wings up in a color scheme I whipped up for mine. I would of made the clubs/clovers bigger, but still... looks sharp! :)



Looks pretty good. What does a Woodhopper wing look like underneath? How many spars? Truss ribs? Something else? No ailerons, right?
 

b7gwap

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Lolz@myself, this thread has lots of good pictures of what I just asked for.
 
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