Interest in a modern incarnation of the Farman F.455 Moustique?

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PTAirco

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Thanks for the encouraging words PT, I think this could be adapted to wire bracing also, but who can afford the price of turnbuckles these days?
The cost of turnbuckles is one of my pet peeves, but on really lightweight structures their weight is not inconsiderable either, especially when you add all those nicopress fittings.

But I am pursuing an alternative that would work well with your idea: Custom spokes are available from a lot of sources; high strength, with rolled threads and they can even be had with swaged down diameters. Cost - anything from about $1.50 to 2.50 or so, less in quantity. Carbon or stainless. Now spokes lead a very hard life; constantly changing and high loads. Despite the apparent crudity of then bent over, swaged head, it has stood the test of time. Now picture your fittings with a lug extending for attaching a spoke, one in each corner of a fuselage bay. This is where the bent head of the spoke attaches, same as on a wheel hub. Bring the threaded ends towards the middle and join them using a ring cut from thick walled tubing, drilled to hold four regular spoke nipples. Super-light and efficient and even cheap.
 

Autodidact

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Now picture your fittings with a lug extending for attaching a spoke, one in each corner of a fuselage bay. This is where the bent head of the spoke attaches, same as on a wheel hub. Bring the threaded ends towards the middle and join them using a ring cut from thick walled tubing, drilled to hold four regular spoke nipples. Super-light and efficient and even cheap.
I like this idea a lot. I would much rather use wire bracing because I think the fittings themselves could be slightly smaller (two rivets through the lugs instead of three) and the whole structure could be lighter, and cheaper apparently. Excellent idea. I kept thinking about this in terms of the Flying & Glider Manual illustrations and just couldn't figure it out.

Is 42" too long?

Matthew, thanks for starting this thread!
 

cluttonfred

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First, let me say that yesterday I wrote a long message saying how much I loved Autodidact's interpretation of the single seat F.451 which seems to disappeared into the ether. I am in a bit of a rush so let me say....

1) Bravo! I actually like the lookof the F.451 better than the F.455, so perhaps I ought to use that one as my starting point. Maybe a 1+1 with a motorcycle-style second seat rather than a true two-seater? The key would be moving the pylon forward as far as possible, to be able to move the seats forward as far as possible, to minimize the rearward CG movement with a passenger.

2) The spar design is very interesting, especially if it can use a standard size of extruded C-channel, but I'd want to see a weight comparison with other designs of equal strength and how the spar roots and bracing wire attachments would be done.

3) Personally, I am not afraid of pulled rivets as long as the the design calculations are done with their strength in mind.

4) I also think that a mix of square tubes, angles and gussets would be much easier than swaging the tub ends for the old-style fittings. I do agree that they are pretty.

5) Was your design intended for Part 103 or microlight or experimental weight category? And what engine did you have in mind?

Cheers,

Matthew
 

PTAirco

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Is 42" too long?

Matthew, thanks for starting this thread!
The couple of companies I talked to about this, a few years ago, (one of them was http://www.buchananspokes.net said they could do any length, but they may be a little more expensive than the regular sizes. The all have to be hand-fed into the machine, so it does not make much difference. I was wary at first about mentioning "airplane", but they weren't worried - called themselves fellow gearheads. Still in dealing with others, it might be best to just say they are for something different.

Remember for a typical 2'x'2 fuselage bay, the spokes only need to span half the diagonal, where the are joined in the middle by the ring holding the spoke nipples, in this case under 17".
 

Autodidact

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I take it that you have other things to do than hang out at the forum? :rolleyes:

1. That's interesting - the Avro Baby had a seating arangement like this, as did some others including that little Farman biplane. But I like the 455 better for two seats, actually.

2. Yes, it would depend on strength and weight but I think the C-chanels could be bent in a homemade jig and they could be doubled or even tripled where the moments are greatest.

3. Me neither, I just love the look of the old stuff.

4. Take a look at the N3N biplane structure: http://www.sandersaircraft.com/restoration_n3n-sanders.asp, scroll to the bottom and click on the pics :)

5. I wasn't even going to try to hit 103 weight. The empty and gross weights should
closely parallel the original and according to Raymer's preliminary weight equations it
will, so any thing in the 35 to 40 hp class: A40, Aeronca/J.A.P., VW 1600, Teledyne
4a084, etc.

Thanks for replying, I thought I alienated you somehow and won't worry about it anymore!
 

Autodidact

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I was wary at first about mentioning "airplane", but they weren't worried - called themselves fellow gearheads.
Ha, they even have airplane spokes listed on the web page, though they might mean for wheels, still...
 

cluttonfred

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Autodidact, did anything ever come of your Farman Moustique project?

Mathew, you and I have similar ideas as to what's a good airplane; the following is a sketch I've had propped up next to my futon for the last month or so. It is not an active project, and it is the F.451 single seater not the F.455 so don't think someone else is doing this and there is no use for you to do it.

My concept is for a "lookalike". It has a Ribblet GA30-412 airfoil which is very similar to the Goettingen as well as the Clark Y and NACA 4412, larger wing area, larger vertical tail area, and it is 1 foot shorter that the original. It would be rivetted aluminum tube, but with solid rivets instead of pull type. The spar and fuselage fitting details are from the Flightglobal archive and are Vickers practice from the mid 1920's. The spar type is called the "wandering web" and I think I could make the web with a small brake and it looks like it would be an efficient and relatively light spar as well as using solid rivets:

View attachment 12143View attachment 12144View attachment 12145
 

Autodidact

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No, not yet anyway. I still think about it though. One version would be a two seater with a Corvair engine (the early 145ci one) and then there is the single seat one which would be perfect for a VW. Mostly I think about the structural concept. What do you think would be best, a WWI type wire braced wood with steel fittings, or an aluminum tube structure, similar to the wooden one but all aluminum with square tube longerons and simple plate fittings bolted together and wire braced, and for the wing a simple tube spar with one piece sheet ribs that slip over the tube and are attached with those L-shaped shear fittings (shear clips) riveted at the neutral axis? The fuselage could also dispense with the wire bracing and be N-truss or Warren truss. There are many ways to do it in either wood or aluminum so I guess I'm asking what would you prefer, wood or metal? Single place or two place?

I'm slowly putting my shop in order and hopefully can start on a project in the near future. It's been a long slog and will continue to be, I'm sure.
 
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cluttonfred

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Hmm, let's see... Much as I like working with wood, I think metal would have broader appeal.


  • How about a straightforward truss fuselage with no need for wire bracing, made up of square tubes or angles and flat gussets, all bolted or riveted with aircraft-quality pulled rivets?
  • Wood stringers over plywood formers for the turtledeck, and plywood for the seats and instrument panel, to retain a little of the old-fashioned vibe.
  • The cabane would be high enough for roll over protection, so a small triangular pylon behind the seats could anchor the seat harnesses.
  • Wings could be ordinary ultralight ladder-style, with tubular leading and trailing edge spars wire braced above and below, same for the horizontal and vertical stabilizers.
  • Flat aluminum sheet ribs formed with a rubber mallet over a plywood pattern.
  • The small stub wing roots of the Moustique could be deleted but the wing roots still reinforced as wing walks with a step on the lower longeron just behind the trailing edge.
  • Full-span ailerons and the rudder and elevators would all have wire trailing edges to give that lovely scalloped effect.
  • Oratex fabric over everything, or fabric cement/light Dacron/latex paint for those on a tight budget,
  • Landing gear could be "leading link" style with two arms hinged on the pylon holding the cross axle, or two vees coming down from the fuselage center holding stub axles, to allow brakes if desired.
  • A tailwheel would probably make more sense than the original skid.
  • Cockpit would, of course, be minimal, maybe a single center stick with a circular or triangular "shovel handle" grip, old-time instruments, single hand-operated brake lever on stick.
  • Individual windshields just because they are cool!
  • Staggered seats like a Tipsy would keep everything nice and narrow, if the passenger seat is the forward one that would help balance.
  • It might be worth considering just one set of controls for simplicity and light weight, which also makes it easier and safer to put bags in the passenger seat when solo.
  • With attention to weight and generous wing area you could get excellent takeoff and climb performance with two aboard on 65-80 hp as long as you aren't planning to go anywhere fast.
  • Largish VWs like Aerovee or Great Plains or Revmaster would work, Jabiru for those with deeper pockets, maybe a small radial if the Verners every makes it to market or Rotec comes up with a Rotax-fighting five-cylinder.

OK, let's get to it! ;-)
 
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Autodidact

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OK, let's get to it! ;-)
:) Thanks. It is good to brain storm with someone elses input because it gives perspective. You could make good turnbuckles from motorcycle spokes (for the fuselage), but not having them is simpler. I like the center stick because it makes dual control easy. How about a swing-axle type gear a la Sopwith Camel? I'd rather try to bury the wing spar tube at the 1/4 chord; it's just as easy as the UL ladder and the tube can have a larger diameter and greater strength for the same weight. The leading edge could be plywood covered or could have false ribs between the full ones like the original had. I guess the drag bracing inside the wing could be tubes as well, to reduce the turnbuckle count more. I like everything about it aside from it being a bit difficult to get in and out of, but some things are worth working for.

I don't see why it couldn't be designed to be built as either a two seater or a narrowed shorter winged version as a single seater (which might be mildly aerobatic) where the only difference would be the width of the fuselage and the length of the wings..
 

WBNH

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Attractive ideas and discussion in this thread. Have you looked in to Robert Baslee's Airdrome Aeroplanes replicas? I have no relation and have yet to try one of his kits (a plan once I have a house with a garage/shop), but this suggested project sounds like this could fit in well with that series of Pioneer / WWI era replicas with aluminum tube and gusset construction.
 

cluttonfred

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I like the idea of designing for single- and two-seat versions from the start. Perhaps morotcycle 1+1 seating would make more sense in that case? It should be possible to work out a scheme for using all the same components, even a modular rear fuselage, with only the forward fuselage changing. Maybe a single-seater with an 1600-1835cc VW and the two-seater with a 2180cc VW?

I wonder, too, if we are both too enamored with the original and something simpler would be better? A similar design, but braced with V-struts from the lower pylon, would still have much the same look but would be a little simpler. Some folks may also distrust cable bracing, struts are more familiar. Visibility and cockpit access would be easier without the pylon and landing wires and the wings could more easily be made to fold. The result would be a cross between a Super Moustique and a MiniMax.

minimax_1100.jpg Farman F455 Moustique III.jpg
 

fly2kads

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I wonder, too, if we are both too enamored with the original and something simpler would be better?
I rather like the vintage look you have been discussing. Not my project, but I would vote for continuing that line of thinking. :)
 

cluttonfred

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Here is a page with some nice recent photos of the F.455 since the reopening of Hall E at the French national Musée de l'Air et de l'Espace, including some shots of the cockpit and instrument panel.

Farman 455 n°1 F-AYOL
 

Autodidact

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I was thinking of a way of rigging the landing wires at the kingpost with a quick release so that the wings could fold, and with the wire bracing kept out of the interior structure the turnbuckles could be kept to a minimum. I like the wire braced wing better also, it's more like the original and could be pretty authentic looking which is a large part of the fun. My feeling is that if it could be almost as satisfying to own and fly as an original would be, then that is the goal.

I don't really want to go down the road of trying to make it all things to all people, but I don't see why it couldn't be designed to be built with either kingpost and wires or struts from the landing gear. But I would feel fine with the wires; biplanes have them...

A completely separate "cute" version, i.e., small single place with struts (or wires) and the Airdrome-like structure, for 1/2 VW power would be kinda neat, possibly even 103 legal...
 

cluttonfred

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I agree that the wires would be fun but as the editor of a web site for fans of a somewhat esoteric homebuilt design that does not appeal to most people, I am just thinking about broadening the appeal a bit. Structurally, it should not be difficult to come up with alternative wire- and strut-braced versions. The Part 103 idea is also neat, but I agree that it would have to be a separate design to get the weight down. The "regular" ones could fit in to the European microlight weight limits of 300 kg for a single-seater and 450 kg for a two-seater, +5% if a ballsitic parachute is installed (so the real gross is 315 kg or 472.5 kg). I can see a whole family of "Moustiques" for everything from a 1/2 VW up to an Aerovee. For the single-seater, I'd like one of these!

 
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M

Manticore

Mathew, you and I have similar ideas as to what's a good airplane; the following is a sketch I've had propped up next to my futon for the last month or so. It is not an active project, and it is the F.451 single seater not the F.455 so don't think someone else is doing this and there is no use for you to do it. My concept is for a "lookalike". It has a Ribblet GA30-412 airfoil which is very similar to the Goettingen as well as the Clark Y and NACA 4412, larger wing area, larger vertical tail area, and it is 1 foot shorter that the original. It would be rivetted aluminum tube, but with solid rivets instead of pull type. The spar and fuselage fitting details are from the Flightglobal archive and are Vickers practice from the mid 1920's. The spar type is called the "wandering web" and I think I could make the web with a small brake and it looks like it would be an efficient and relatively light spar as well as using solid rivets: View attachment 12143View attachment 12144View attachment 12145
That "wandering web" spar looks as if it could be really good in torsion. Have you got the URL for the original reference. Internet is so slow here at the moment that it could take me days to find it by going through the archives.
 

cluttonfred

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That NACA Technical Note in Manticore's link appears to be taken from contemporary FLIGHT magazine articles and mentions that some of the Vickers techniques are actually adapted from French Wibault designs which Vickers produced under license. A couple of iinteresting things about the "wandering web" construction technique:

1) Some versions of the Vickers spars use four plain angles for the spar caps, facing outwards to create a hollow "I" beam, which would be easier and cheaper to source than C-channels;

2) I don't see why it would need to be a continuous web--alternating individual "Z" or "A" shaped pieces ought to work just as well and would be much easier to produce in a small shop, for example by peudo-hydroforming (see EAA Video Player - Your Source for Aviation Videos) or by hammering over a precut form with pins matching holes in the blanks for exact alignment. The same technique could be used to produce separate nose, main and aileron ribs;

3) With the ever-lower cost of CNC equipment, this would be an excellent design for low-cost kit fabrication with gussets, ribs and the like CNC cut from flat sheet bar stock and the angles, square tubes, etc. predrilled for "matched hole" assembly by the builder and all lightening holes pre-cut.

Cheers,

Matthew
 

Autodidact

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The inference that you can maximize the strength to weight of the structure is very interesting to me, especially as a way to design a 103 legal craft that is more like a conventional airplane instead of the simplified structures that we usually (but not always) see. Part 103 makes possible a factory built or full kit built airplane utilizing the economies of scale that the machines that Matthew mentioned can create. But, if the end result were something that was beautiful and durable enough to still be around many years later and also be interesting enough that older retired pilots who may have lost their medicals would find it satisfying to fly (and own), then the extra complexity of scratch building something like that would be worth it to me, also.

One thing I was thinking was that the little half-circle shape in the part of the wandering web that attaches to the upper and lower channels could be changed to a simple angle and then the whole thing could be made with a bending brake as well as that small discrepancies in the location of the bends could be made up for by bending that little angle smaller or larger to adjust for the length so that the flutes would line up with the rib stations the way they should.
 
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