# Folding-wing biplane?

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#### IanJ

##### Well-Known Member
I've been pondering building a plane for a year or two now, and actually gave up on it half a year ago due to the huge ongoing costs of hangaring, insurance, etc. With the return of decent flying weather, I gave the idea another shot, and ran across the Sherwood Ranger, which is a wood and metal, fabric-covered biplane kit from England. The key thing that revived my interest, though, is the fact that it's designed with folding wings in mind. Not the "30 minutes' setup" folding wings, either, but actual "pull this pin and fold" type folding, without having to rerig or detach controls, etc. The Sherwood Ranger suffers from the fact that, as far as I can tell, only one has been built in the US.

There's also the all-metal FK12 Comet, which is less interesting to me, from the standpoint that I'd like to build a wooden (or mostly wooden, anyway) airplane. It's got quick-folding wings, but it's pricey and higher performance than I want. All of my flying these days is the "around the patch" type, with maybe the odd cross-country thrown in every year or two.

#### IanJ

##### Well-Known Member
I've thought about Harvey Field, since that's where I'd probably want to fly from anyway. It just doesn't feel right to fly a small biplane out of an asphalt strip.

I do recall looking for info on Harvey's hangers, and came away with the impression that they were about as pricey as anywhere else (read: hundreds of dollars per month). I'll check again, and see what I can see.  Harvey has open hangars for $105 and 155 (small and standard, whatever that means) and enclosed hangars for$250-400/mo.

At this point, I haven't bought a kit, and have nowhere to build until after I find my next house. I have some time to figure it out. However, my choice of what to build will be strongly influenced by ongoing costs, including hangar space.

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#### orion

##### Well-Known Member
Just FYI, Harvey has a grass strip paralleling the main runway to the West. Quite a few bipes out there already.

The small and standard are just dimensional terms reflecting the size of airplane you could get in. Most of the older covered spaces are probably the smaller of the two possibilities - the newer construction allows for larger aircraft including twins.

I think Harvey also has outside tie-down spaces although don't quote me on that.

#### IanJ

##### Well-Known Member
Just FYI, Harvey has a grass strip paralleling the main runway to the West. Quite a few bipes out there already.
Yep, that's why it would be my first choice. I should head out there some sunny Saturday and see if I can corner any biplane pilots.

The small and standard are just dimensional terms reflecting the size of airplane you could get in. Most of the older covered spaces are probably the smaller of the two possibilities - the newer construction allows for larger aircraft including twins.
That's what I figured. That question will also be answered if I go visit on some sunny Saturday.

I think Harvey also has outside tie-down spaces although don't quote me on that.
Indeed they do, and they're cheap, but uncovered storage seems like a poor choice for a ragwing wooden biplane. I even question whether an unenclosed covered parking spot is advisable vs. an enclosed hangar. I guess it depends a lot on whether the open end is north-facing or south-facing.

#### base363

##### Well-Known Member
I too started a project with one of the primary considerations being the ability to fold the wings.

http://www.blackhillsairsports.com/STOL_King_Intro2.html

Since I started, and really thought about the practicality of the design, I opted to abandon the folding wing, and attach the wings in the conventional manner.

I can hardly find time for someone else to change the oil in my car, let alone fold the wings on an airplane and trailer it around!

Colin

http://www.jumprunenterprises.com

#### IanJ

##### Well-Known Member
I've read a lot of your site before, very interesting stuff, Colin. Did you decide that the cost of hangarage was worth more than the hassle of folding/trailering? I can easily foresee myself getting frustrated with monthly costs well before I get frustrated with hooking a trailer up to a truck on the way to the airport (I have to drive there anyway...).

#### base363

##### Well-Known Member
There are several reasons, but the biggest one is practicality.

1. Folding the wings on most aircraft is a time consuming and involved task. Usually involves disconnecting flight controls, fuel lines, wiring or cannon plugs.

2. It probably takes a couple people to do it. So it eliminates the convenience of those spur of the moment evening flights.

3. Increases the probability of damage to the aircraft, both during the folding procedure and loading.

4. Greatly increases the complexity of building the airplane. And anytime you have a moving part, it gives you one more thing to go wrong. So to me, safety is an issue.

5. If I really need to move the airplane or trailer it, I still have the option of simply removing the wings.

For me, as with most things in life, it comes down to how bad you want it?

I will find a way to hangar the airplane and pay the expense. I just look at it as a part of the cost of aircraft ownership.

#### bmcj

##### Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
The main reason is simply because it does take quite abit of extra work to design, engineer and prototype the mechanism(s)
Though not as compact for towing or storing, I would think that you could create a lightweight biplane which simply allowed pulling 5 pins on each side (upper/lower fore/aft spar pins plus aileron linkage pin). The wings could then be removed fully braced and intact (picture two box kites - one on each side of the plane), leaving the fuselage and center section(s). This would require some additional engineering and reinforcements due to the fact that all flying and landing wires now tie into the detached portion of the spars rather than the fuselage. The two "box kite" sections could then be partially nested together to save on space.

Note: be careful on windy days!

Bruce

#### IanJ

##### Well-Known Member
For myself, there would also be lighting wires (quick-disconnect connectors aren't hard to deal with, though) and pitot air (again, not a show-stopper, but another complication).

What I really like about the Ranger design is that nothing has to be disconnected.

For what it's worth, it does appear that the Ranger is unavailable. I found a message board on the TLAC site, and the last real (non-spam) post there is from December 2006, about how the company is unexpectedly out of business or no longer owned by the same person or something. So it may all be a moot point anyway.

#### paulgy80

##### Well-Known Member
Dear All

Nice to see a link on the Sherwood Ranger, and yes it is back in production and for somebody who said they were 6'4" would they fit, well one of my employee's is the same height and fly's a Pitts S1, he recently got into the Sherwood and said he felt comfotable.

We took over the Sherwood project just over a year ago now and there has been a lot of sorting out to do and there is a little way to go yet. We are taking orders for the aircraft at this time and we have the first kit under production for Malta ( a little island off the bottom of Italy). I can confirm that the wings fold and do so very easily, just a one person job and from the trailer to pre flight 3 to 5 minutes. No cables to mess around with and no tubes or hoses, just 4 pins to pull.

We are currently looking for dealers in the US so if anybody is interested or knows somebody who might fit the bill then please feel free to give me a shout. Our new website is www.g-tlac.com and my e mail is paul(at)g-tlac.com.

Oh forgot to mention, she is available in both microlight and Cat A, both 450kg MTOW that is about 990 lbs, the ST has 26 foot span and we have the clip wing version, the XP with approx 22 foot span, the Jabi engine at 85hp works really well as does the Rotax 582.

Regards

Paul

#### plncraze

##### Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
How much are the plans in U.S dollars?