HELP: two-seater aerobatic with removable wings?

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gouxin

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Dec 20, 2009
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Hi all,

I am looking for a two-seater design (perferably side by side) with sport aerobatic capability with two on board plus some fuel and it must have folding or easily movable wings. All building materials are OK. They say there are over 300 homebuilt airplane designs, but I just can't find such one that fits all my requirement!

Any suggestions? Or maybe I'll just bite the bullet and modify a current design or even design such a plane?

Thank you.
 

djschwartz

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Aerobatics and removable/foldable wings are a combination that don't go well together. Even a sport aerobatic aircraft needs extra structural margin and better than average ailerons. While this is theoretically possible with a folding wing, it will likely be either very expensive, heavy, or difficult to build, or possible all three. It would certainly require very thoughtful, careful design ( read this as expensive and time consuming) to come up with a good solution.

I suggest you decide which of these two requirements is really the important one for you and give up one the other. Then you will have a choice of several good designs available to you.
 

gouxin

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I agree. That's why there's no such design in exist: Most pilots in North America will trade folding or removable wings option for aerobatic capability because GA airports are no issue here. But on the other side of the earth being able to be trailored and stored in a safe place between flight is critical. Anyway my question is answered and I'll work something out.
 

gouxin

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MustangII, Sonex, RV4/6 alike are really not designed for aerobatics with two on board. Their aerobatic weight margin is quite small even just for two FAA-weighted people.
 

Dana

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How about the Sherwood Ranger?





I agree that wing folding aerobatic monoplanes are problematic (though any WWII carrier pilot might disagree), but it shouldn't be an issue for a strut braced monoplane or a biplane.

-Dana

But do you trust the _government_ with semi-automatic assault rifles?
 

Smutny

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The Thorp T-18 is aerobatic and can be built with a folding wing. The Sonerai II is another one that comes to mind.
 

dino

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How about the Messerschmitt Monsun(Bo 209). Road trailerable on its own wheels. Not available for home building but an excellent design one could copy or restore.



Dino
 

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gouxin

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How about the Messerschmitt Monsun(Bo 209). Road trailerable on its own wheels. Not available for home building but an excellent design one could copy or restore.



Dino
I found this Budd Davisson's pilot report on this plane: "Everything I had read about the Monsun during the period it was being introduced leaned heavily upon aerobatic capabilities. Art, however, said the airplane was really never truly approved for aerobatics and, even if it had, the aerobatic weight was such the Monsun could only carry one person and a few gallons of gas to stay under the aerobatic category weight limit. Keeping that fact in mind and knowing that we were well over the aerobatic limit, I made sure to avoid purposely doing any aerobatics."

So it seems that this plane is not suited for aerobatics with two people on board, although I can't find its operation manual online to confirm this. But it's definitely designed with trailoring in mind: look at the retractable nose gear--that's to facilitate the trailoring on main gears.
 

gouxin

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I really like the idea of clipped wing Cub/Taylorcraft for their low cost and two-seat aerobatic fun combo. I think they might be the only designs available now for low horsepower acro capability with two people on board. Citabra 7ECA is close, but it has bigger engine than stock Cub/Taylorcraft and is only +5G rated. I know a very respective 80 year old airshow pilot who was just inducted into the hall of frame of the international airshow council this month and he takes the wings off his J3 Cub for trailoring around the east coast to do airshows for years. I have helped him to put the wings back on the Cub and it's not a big hassle. Two people can do the work in an hour. So I am thinking to go this route: a clipped wing Cub/Taylorcraft type airplane that I can occasionlly take the wings off for trailoring.

However, my problem is: I would like to solo fly from the front seat in tandem configuration and would like to have a roomy cockpit in side by side configuration and unfortunately neither clipped Cub or Taylorcraft meets my demand. So does anyone know if I can mate a clipped Taylorcraft wings with any other Piper model that I can solo from the front seat or wider cockpit? I am thinking PA-11/12/14/18, or even Pacer, but question#1: does the clipped T' wing fit on the fuselage of any one of these models? Question#2: If the clipped wings and fuselage fit, do the clipped wings still have the acro strength with two people on board? Cub and Taylorcraft BC-12D's empty weight are both around 700lbs, but PA-12 is 950lbs, PA-14 is 1000lbs.
 

Smutny

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I don't think that 1250 is the "acro weight" for the T-18. That is the weight to which they calculated the G-Limits and Ultimate Loads. I'd talk to a few T-18 owners and get the real scoop before discounting it.

IIRC, one of the main reasons a J-3 is flown from the rear seat and a PA-11 from the front, is the location for the fuel tanks. You may want to look at a Wag Aero Sport Trainer with the fuel tanks in the wings.

Personally, I prefer soloing a Cub from the rear seat. (Guess it's from flying the Eagle...)

I was at the ICAS dinner where Charlie got the award, well deserved!
 

gouxin

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John, isn't the weight to which they calculated the G-Limits and Ultimate Loads supposed to be the legal aerobatic weight? T-18, if built properly, is rated at +6-3 at 1250lbs.

I will definitely look at the Wag Aero acro trainer kit and the tank location issue. Some people already converted the Wag Aero sport trainer to PA11/12 so I think it's doable.

Charlie is really a treasure here at the Flying Circus airshow. I love him. I volunteered at the show for a year and half and it's great fun. Come check it out when you are in Virginia.
 

bmcj

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Before you get too fixed on removable wings, study the FAA's new policy on Through-The-Fence (TTF) operations. They are denying TTF permits on any and all airports that receive any government money. This affects community airparks where the residents have taxiway access from their homes and it also affects your ability to tow your plane on and off the airport.
 

Tom Nalevanko

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I really wonder about pilot's dreams to tow their aircraft to an airport and go flying? I have been an airport bum for a lot of years and, other than gliders usually on glider fields, have NEVER seen an airplane towed in at an airport where it was being assembled to go flying for the day. Could all this effort to make aircraft towable be just dreams?

Having removable wings when you put down in a field somewhere and need your plane trucked back to a hangar is a good idea. But for a full size plane, I kind of wonder also if a single piece wing is that big of a disadvantage? With removable half-wings, you can get by with two smaller tow truck type flatbeds. I moved my Stallion from a warehouse to the airport like this. But one larger tractor-trailer can do both at the same time and can accommodate a single piece wing. The next plane I build will have a single piece wing.
 

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autoreply

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I really wonder about pilot's dreams to tow their aircraft to an airport and go flying? I have been an airport bum for a lot of years and, other than gliders usually on glider fields, have NEVER seen an airplane towed in at an airport where it was being assembled to go flying for the day. Could all this effort to make aircraft towable be just dreams?

Having removable wings when you put down in a field somewhere and need your plane trucked back to a hangar is a good idea. But for a full size plane, I kind of wonder also if a single piece wing is that big of a disadvantage? With removable half-wings, you can get by with two smaller tow truck type flatbeds. I moved my Stallion from a warehouse to the airport like this. But one larger tractor-trailer can do both at the same time and can accommodate a single piece wing. The next plane I build will have a single piece wing.
I think that mainly depends on the aircraft size. A two-seater can very well be designed to be trailerable while a six-seater is already too big to handle and fit behind a normal car. That's mainly in the shear size and mass of things, when you're not able to do it on your own it becomes pretty hard to take someone along for each flight.
When you have a [video=youtube;N31l-JiNO9Y]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N31l-JiNO9Y[/video] you can assemble aircraft wings up to 300 lbs or so without heavy lifting. As long as you're only flying from one airport, that's a 5-minute job to put your aircraft away and that can be very beneficial if hangar rent for a Lancair 360 is 300 Euro (450 US$) a month. It also saves you the trouble of those other owners trashing your aircraft and it's well protected.

For some more ideas; some trailers for UL aircraft.
 
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Tom Nalevanko

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Your glider video reinforces my claim about gliders-mostly... I have helped people put wings on a lot of different gliders and planes. If it takes two people, it does not matter if it is a single place or a 6 place, it still takes two people. And, for all practicality, it most always takes two people.

And I really doubt that anyone ever removes the wings on a Lancair 360 -- just to go flying for the day. This is not such a trivial task. For the summer in Europe maybe? But still a big job that puts it back into the really experimental category.
 

Mac790

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And I really doubt that anyone ever removes the wings on a Lancair 360 -- just to go flying for the day.
People who have money for Lancairs, usually have enough money for hangars, but seriously most planes can be keep outside, I don't think it's a big problem.

The next plane I build will have a single piece wing.
Did you decide what are you going to build next, Lancair?

Seb
 

autoreply

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Your glider video reinforces my claim about gliders-mostly... I have helped people put wings on a lot of different gliders and planes. If it takes two people, it does not matter if it is a single place or a 6 place, it still takes two people. And, for all practicality, it most always takes two people.

And I really doubt that anyone ever removes the wings on a Lancair 360 -- just to go flying for the day. This is not such a trivial task. For the summer in Europe maybe? But still a big job that puts it back into the really experimental category.
It can be done alone (easily) if you have the right tools, I did put together a Janus glider more than a couple of times and despite the 200 lbs (I'm 120lbs) wings it's an easy, 5-minute job.
It's mainly a matter of design, if you really design for it, it's easy, but that involves a lot of trade-offs (automatic flaps/aileron connection, fuel tanks?, electric connection, single bolt lock) and most of those trade-offs involve much more engineering and/or a (slightly) heavier structure. Most kit designers really don't design for it because of that and Seb has a very good point, indeed people who can afford a Lancair can also afford a hanger...in most countries.
I'll just say you're lucky to live in such a climate (I shiver when only looking outside) and in a country with reasonable opportunities for airports; over here most airfield are threatened and the rental for a typical homebuilt is more than someone with a basic job earns in total.
 

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