# Duncan's got a Flea

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#### rotax618

##### Well-Known Member
I flew my flea very carefully, as I said I was never really comfortable with the inability to quickly pick up a wing displace by a gust. I did not enjoy the experience and only flew early in the morning when it was still. At that time I built a Drifter type of aircraft and flew it regularly. I had several ground loops landing the Flea, never damaged anything but my pride.
Once airborne and well away from the ground the Flea was stable but I never was confident in exploring the limits.

#### rtfm

##### Well-Known Member
Hi guys,
I'm busy putting together a Builder's Manual for my Rangi-Pou, which seems a better way to document the actual build of the plane than posting it here on HBA. Id=f anyone is interested, you can find the (evolving) document here:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/b7kz04ctcpiooq5/Build notes.docx?dl=0

Regards,
Duncan

#### nestofdragons

##### Well-Known Member
I love this type of build-up guide. But ...be sure to let see from time to time the overal view. Only details gets you lost. You have no idea which corner you see of the build up.

#### Victor Bravo

##### Well-Known Member
I was never really comfortable with the inability to quickly pick up a wing displace by a gust.

only flew early in the morning when it was still.
Does this opinion/experience/wisdom match the general consensus of the Pou community in Europe ? Do the majority of the established Pou pilots in Europe only fly in calm conditions? Or does this only become an issue in Australia because of more turbulent conditions, gusts, etc.?

Koen... Matthew... can either of you address whether the Europeans would agree with Rotax618's observations ???

#### rotax618

##### Well-Known Member
I doubt that geography has anything to do with the ability to feel comfortable flying a flea. Loosing an axis gives a very different flying experience. The Wright brothers realised the necessity for roll control, sure you can fly an aircraft using 2 axes, but why would you? For the addition of a couple of pedals, a couple of hinges and a few extra cables you can have full 3D control in 3D airspace. It is only the dogmatic Pou fundamentalist who would stifle progress.
I am not advocating changing the basic formula, the front wing pitch control and overall simple and compact construction, these features make the Flea a great candidate for amateur construction, but it could have greater appeal.

#### cluttonfred

##### Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
I certainly respect rotax618's opinion and I have only flown a Mignet type once, briefly. That said, after talking to pilots about the Pou-du-Ciel over many years including many people who have built and/or flown them, I can put the comments into four categories: 1) Hate them (never flew one); 2) Love them (never flew one); 3) Don't like them (flew one or more); 4) Like them (flew one or more). Disregarding 1 and 2 as not very informative, I can say that I have met dozens in category 4 and just a handful in category 3. Those in category 3 were almost always very experienced pilots of conventional aircraft, while those in category 4 were often, but not always, beginners. That suggests to me that, as Mignet intended, the Flea is great for novice pilots but can be disconcerting to more experienced pilots with thousands of hours of reflexes to unlearn.

#### rtfm

##### Well-Known Member
I love this type of build-up guide. But ...be sure to let see from time to time the overal view. Only details gets you lost. You have no idea which corner you see of the build up.
Hi. Thanks for the feedback. And I agree - I will try to incorporate your suggestion.

One feature of the build manual I find particularly useful though is the breaking down of the entire build into 40 tasks. It breaks the build up into manageable steps. I am currently working on Task # 9: The Main Gear (4 hrs, Total time: 25 hrs)

Duncan

#### rtfm

##### Well-Known Member
Hi,
Well, I've been doing a lot of work on the Build Manual - a huge amount, in fact. It is a little time consuming to have to constantly pause while building to take photos, and I've missed a few.

One thing I have come to realise, however, is that there is simply no substitute for T-88 epoxy. The stuff sticks like sh#t to a blanket. And I quite like working with it. Something about its thick syrupy consistency appeals to me.

I think I forgot to mention - I am building a second airframe - and using the initial one (now hanging from the "museum" ceiling) for reference and nostalgia. The reason is quite simple. I rushed in without thinking through the proper sequence of building the thing, and painted myself into a corner, as it were. The second airframe is far more accurate, has all the holes drilled in the correct places, and all the firewall cutouts already completed before I bonded everything together. And it is lighter by almost 1.5kg (up to the same build stage). And 1.5 kg difference is huge when you consider that the total airframe at this stage is only 5kg vs 6.5kg

And lest you think this has been an expensive re-working, not so. A total of $135. I'm currently on Task #12 (of 40) having spent 33 hours on Build #2 so far. But I've run out of epoxy so I went looking for some more. Locally:$102.25 for 473ml (!!?)

#### rtfm

##### Well-Known Member
Have you looked at Amazon for stuff like T-88? They often have an international shipping option that isn't too horrendous. I used it a few times from the UK. A quart of T-88 is ~$40 in Amazon. Hi, Interestingly, although I bought the T-88 from Aircraft Spruce, the receipt I received was from Amazon. My quart cost me$34; So good deal. (Although the air freight cost more than the epoxy). Oh well, still saved HEAPS over buying the stuff locally.

Duncan

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#### rtfm

##### Well-Known Member
The T-88 arrived today. Weirdly, although the bottles were sealed, one of them leaked a bit. But a quick bath in some white vinegar soon cleared that up. I'm off to the supplier tomorrow for some more wood to enable me to finish the keel, sand the longerons, fit the sides, fit the tailstock, make the fin and make the rudder. You can get quite a lot done with \$100. As soon as I start building again, I'll update the Build Manual and let you know.

Duncan

#### rtfm

##### Well-Known Member
I've been thinking about how to make my wings.
From the Build Manual:
Traditionally, [Flying Flea] wings were made from wood, with large numbers of closely spaced ribs which were covered with fabric of some kind. These wings were strong, light and fit for purpose. But they are extremely time consuming to make. I made a set of AeroMax wings, which took about a month of dedicated building. Each rib consisted on 40 separate pieces of timber and/or plywood (for gussets), each of which had to be bonded in place accurately. 24 ribs means nearly a thousand little bits of wood all held together with epoxy. Then the various cross braces, doublers and, of course, the wooden spars needed to be bonded in place also.

Because of the amount of work involved in building wooden wings, front and rear wings were usually of the same chord, so that one needed only one jig. The only concession was that the rear wing was a little shorter.

Finally, the wings had to be covered with fabric, and then painted.

The Rangi-Pou departs from this wing construction method entirely. Instead, it has fully composite wings, with the carbon fibre spar caps bonded directly into the wing skins. A small number of foam ribs are then bonded in place, and the top/bottom halves are bonded together. The result is perfectly smooth wing surfaces, optimised (different) planforms for both front and rear wings, and drastically reduced building time.
Following the tradition of forward-swept wing outer panels, here is my take on the planform:

I've tried to indicate with colours where the panels join, and what the double-folding wings will look like folded. (I hope you can make sense of my colour-coded diagrams). The main wing is just under 8ft wide. The central section is horisontal (ie no dihedral). Panel 2 angles upwards when fixed into position, panel 3 angles up again, and the wingtips (fixed) are angled upwards again. Like so:

Overall, this give a multi=panelled wing with an overall dihedral of about 6 degrees. At this stage I'm usure if 6 degrees dihedral is sufficient or if it is too much. I'll need to check.

As for the construction method:
1. Hotwire a panel (I have a CNC hotwire)
2. Line it with stretchalon (stretchy plastic film
3. Vacuum this (low vac) onto the bottom of the female mold. This bypasses any additional preparation as far as finishing, coating the foam, applying release agent etc)
4. Lay 1x layer of triax glass
5. Lay in graphlite spar caps
6. Lay in the second layer of triax cloth
7. Vacuum infuse
This will give me a wing panel with the spar cap completely embedded in the skin itself.

Repeat for the upper skin

The shear web will be a strip of 19mm x 19mm Hoop Pine bonded onto the top of the embedded spar caps, with a strip of 1.5mm Hoop Pine ply bonded to this.

Calculating the weight of the wing:
• Skins (whole wing) Using Triax cloth (189g/m^2): approx 4kg finished weight vac infused
• Hoop Pine base for shear web (5kg)
• Shear web (4.25kg)

Total weight: 13.25kg

This is without the hinges, and other hardware.

The rear wing will weigh approx 10kg

Duncan

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#### pictsidhe

##### Well-Known Member
Why a double fold?

#### rtfm

##### Well-Known Member
Much shorter when folded.

#### pictsidhe

##### Well-Known Member
looks similar to that achievable with a single fold.

HM380:

Balerit:

#### rtfm

##### Well-Known Member
Hi,
You might be right. But the Balerit has a weird folding mechanism on the front wing. My central section is a couple of inches short of 8 ft - legal on the roads. So I may just do a single fold.

Duncan