general forum thoughts on the Belite part 103??

Discussion in 'Hangar Flying' started by revkev6, Feb 10, 2015.

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  1. Feb 19, 2015 #41

    Victor Bravo

    Victor Bravo

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    Probably only because retracts ain't allowed in 103 !

    I think his efforts should be recognized... and I think that they gave him a major award once already if memory serves.
     
  2. Feb 19, 2015 #42

    pictsidhe

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    They aren't disallowed, so should be fine. Having the spare weight and inclination is another matter, though.
     
  3. Feb 19, 2015 #43

    revkev6

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    the standard airframe with no "options" and the 28hp motor supposedly makes the 254lb weight. the flaperons are a "trick" I suppose, to reduce the calculated stall speed, but they are utilized on the kitfox aircraft that this is designed after. I just read that the original kitfox lite weighed something like 290lbs when it was stripped of all non essential flight gear. I was including things like extra cost lightweight components as "tricks" to add things that make it a better "real" aircraft.... they give a spreadsheet on the website that lists extra components with cost and weight savings/addition. it's a nice way to do it I think.....
     
  4. Feb 19, 2015 #44

    Aviator168

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    IIRC, the flaperons let you use the maximum allowable Cl for lift calculation. Another trick you can probably use is larger HS with a small movable section.
     
  5. Feb 19, 2015 #45

    SVSUSteve

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    It's like someone tried to design a Cub and f***ed it up. That thing is ugly as sin and I hate to put it this way but I don't see how this is going to improve safety over your average ultralight unless you're defining the Breezy as the average. The sharp (basically 90 degree) angle at the front of the "cage" for the pilot is going to have the effect of a plow in a nose down impact. That's a good way to increase the loads on the already marginal frame and its occupant as it will decrease deceleration distance. The frame doesn't look like it would stand up to much of an impact either but then again, that's ultralight design for you (I keep joking that I need to try to do something about that but have no desire to wade back into ultralights). It's better than nothing or the "tent poles and fabric" in low end crashes but I wouldn't bet my butt on it in anything much above it's dirty stall speed.

    The only potential saving grace is how slow that thing will be with a low powered engine and those ridiculous tundra tires dangling out in the breeze.

    Right up until the additional body count from poor construction and non-existent training gives the FAA more blood with which to write further regulations...

    Quick and inexpensive in aviation tends to end up being just a polite way to say "cheap and dirty" with the dirt all too often being that from a grave.
     
  6. Feb 20, 2015 #46

    mcrae0104

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    I'm not aware that improvement of safety is the goal of this prototype. Did I miss something?

    That may be true, but it's not all that different from many (if not most) other homebuilt and production aircraft.

    You just did. Welcome!

    If I may read between the lines, it doesn't sound like you'd bet your butt on much of anything. Fair enough; we all have our risk tolerance.

    1) What exactly is the body count from Belite products? (Bear in mind that this is the owner's personal prototype, not a production kit.)
    2) What do you consider to be poorly constructed about this prototype? (Be specific; e.g. "black aluminum" may be inefficient engineering but it does not equate to poor construction.)
    3) As far as any of us know, the only person flying this plane is its owner. Do you have evidence that his flight training is non-existent?

    If you're speaking of ultralights in general and not this craft in particular, your criticisms may be better served in another thread. One named "Ultralights are Unsafe!" might be appropriate. Everybody can argue it out over there.

    I appreciate that you are safety-minded, but there is a difference between prudence and Unsafe at Any Speed-ism. If safety trumps everything else, why not just advise everyone to stay on the ground?
     
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  7. Feb 20, 2015 #47

    Turd Ferguson

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    I think it looks great!!!!

    speculative BS.

    Rutan was quite fond of saying his moldless foam core construction was nothing but a "cheap and dirty" method of getting a plane in the air as quickly as possible. To bad you weren't around to tell him how the dirt was from a grave......LMAO.
     
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  8. Feb 20, 2015 #48

    Autodidact

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  9. Feb 20, 2015 #49

    Victor Bravo

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    As it stands now, private personal aviation is dying off already. Anyone doing anything to stave off the death (or marginalization) of this sport is doing something worthwhile. Since you brought it up, I'd rather see the tragedy of a few graves for individual pilots than see the aviation world stand by while a much more tragic grave is dug for all of aviation.

    Considering that you pointed out some of the valid shortcomings and chalenges of designing a "real airplane" that meets the UL requirements, what would you do differently? Remember, the FAA's original approval of ultralight rules was based on creating a loophole or miche so that people could play with their powered hang gliders. BAck then, a 254 pound weight was plenty for that type of aircraft.

    The fact that people now want to have a full-size, 3-axis control, enclosed, comfortable, conventional configuration, higher performance aircraft... while still constrained to this weight... creates a much more complex and difficult problem to solve. The fact that Wiebe is trying to solve it, and is actually trying numerous different ways to solve it, is remarkable.

    Yes, it is as ugly as sin sitting there with no covering and all of the innards exposed. Have a look at a J-3 that's uncovered and it's not exactly the bell of the ball either. Look at a picture of a gorgeous movie actress... Angelina Jolie, or Amber Heard, or Raquel Welch if you're as old as me. Now what if you saw a phohto of her without her skin,a nd all you saw was muscle and blood vessels and bones. "Ugly as sin" in all likelihood.

    Not that ultralights and small single seat minimalist aircraft are that pretty with their skin on. When you shrink an airplane way down in size but the pilot size stays the same, you always get that "Down's Syndrome" and "severe birth defect" look.

    IMHO your criticism of this aircraft is not fair.
     
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  10. Feb 20, 2015 #50

    bmcj

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    Not to detract from the Belite, but I noticed two important points in the linked article...

    1. The pilot says he stalled it climbing out of ground effect. That tells me that his altitude may have been very, very low, with insufficient space to build up speed during the descent.

    2. This Belite's construction (aluminum angles) looks very different than the iterations discussed earlier in this thread (foam reinforcement). I'm not sure if the safety of one is indicative of the safety of the other.
     
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  11. Feb 20, 2015 #51

    StarJar

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    In defense of Belite, the pilot was not familiar with low powered, ultralight aircraft, and he, himself admits that that was the cause. (I took note of this, because I am planning for my first ultralight flight, and now realize there must a different 'feel' to these low powered, low wing loading airplanes.)
    And of course the ovbious; the spar bent from hitting the ground, not during flight, and so obviuosly would have no bearing on wings true integrity.
     
  12. Feb 20, 2015 #52

    radfordc

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    There is another episode concerning this aircraft. After the original accident the plane was rebuilt and flown again. On one flight the owner was not able to climb high enough to clear a set of power lines located about 1/2 mile south of the airport...he had to fly under them. A few days later he was climbing out on takeoff when the right wing suddenly stalled, the plane entered a spin, turned 90 degrees and flew into a tree. The owner was injured but survived the nose down vertical impact. The plane won't be rebuilt again. The owner now believes that 25 hp is not sufficient for this plane and that the stall characteristics are marginal.
     
  13. Feb 20, 2015 #53

    bmcj

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    Each is different. Whereas the Belite has a shallow climb (at least I assume that is the case from reading this story), the Quicksilver has a sprightly climb and the Quicksilver II climbs like a homesick angel. I attribute most of this difference to the engine sizes used.


    Although it might be unfair to judge a rebuilt Belite (who knows the weight of the pilot or how straight the rebuild was), I would tend to agree that 25 HP would call for a modest climb angle at best.

    As a side note, low power and shallow climbs is not a new thing. Many of the early general aviation planes in the 20's and 30's suffered from the same lack of power before better, more powerful engines were developed.
     
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  14. Feb 20, 2015 #54

    radfordc

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    The plane was rebuilt at the Belite factory. The pilot weighs in the 190-200 range.
     
  15. Feb 21, 2015 #55

    Turd Ferguson

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    Perhaps but I'm not aware of any constitutional right entitling one to have a full-size, 3-axis control, enclosed, comfortable, conventional configuration, higher performance aircraft that can be operated under Part 103. We might be a few yrs away from having the materials technology to get "what people now want."

    Completely agree. They are not beeoching about the Part 103 empty weight as being limiting. They are trying to solve problems while remaining within the existing regulatory framework. And one day, it will be achieved.
     
  16. Feb 22, 2015 #56

    Dana

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    I don't think so. Replacing sails after 500 hours is one thing, replacing a hard fuselage is another. With the labor involved, you have an aircraft that depreciates down to near nothing at the 500 hour point. And too many people will continue to fly them past the point of safety since any degradation is hidden under the covering, causing a whole other set of problems for the aviation world.

    The fact that there are a number of 103 legal aircraft out there with decent performance proves that you don't have to sacrifice durability. The problem is that they mostly use an engine that's no longer made. i.e. the 447. A good lightweight reliable modern engine is what we need. 25HP is OK for powered paragliders or very light weightshift trikes, but marginal for a 3 axis aircraft.

    Dana
     
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  17. Apr 18, 2016 #57

    pylon500

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    Hi guys, not been here for a while, busy with all that building and flying stuff!
    Was looking at images of wing fittings and stumbled on the shot below;
    Not sure if this is still the current method of attachment, but felt I had concerns...
    While this probably works OK, I'm worried about relying on a lot of rivets (instead of a couple of bolts) while not knowing if the rivets are alloy, steel or stainless?
    The fact they are riveted in below the 'mean' line, putting them partially in tension, not just shear.
    The hang-gliding people stopped putting bolts through structurally loaded tubes vertically back in the last century, thereby avoiding having holes in a stressed part of the tube.
    I also wonder how much localised stiffening the CNC'ed attach bracket causes to the flex rate of the tube?
     

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  18. Apr 18, 2016 #58

    PTAirco

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    That's plain horrible, in my opinion. Recommend designer reads some kind of engineering 101 textbook. And I'm even a fan of pop rivet construction in general, but this isn't the way to do it.
     
  19. Apr 18, 2016 #59

    BBerson

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    Looks like a typical strut attach fitting for the thousands of Avid/Kitfox types.
    Except they use steel which is tougher in my opinion.
     
  20. Apr 18, 2016 #60

    PW_Plack

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    What was a reasonable firewall-forward weight without prop for a 447? I know it must have been a few pounds less than a 503, but how heavy?

    It would be interesting to know what the target really is for those looking for four-stroke power.
     

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