Looking for someone experienced to help me with my first "simple" airplane design

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Liras

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Hi,
I'm a high-school student just doing my finals next month. For a long time, I wanted to design and build airplanes, but had insufficient funds, time and workshop space. I did not waste my time though. Over the past year, I've been building model aircraft and studying aerodynamics. I've read many great books on the subject and, with a little bit of help, I think I just might be able to design and build a real aircraft. My interest in aviation primarily comes from thousands of hours in WWII combat sims and I just have maybe 1 hour of real flying time (being in control at least), but I guess building an airplane would take long enough for me to get all the licenses. :)

So, without any more ado: I'm an avid wilderness fan, one day I'd like to become hunter-gatherer with no dependence on civilization, etc... I thought I could very cleverly join my two passions by designing a special kind of bushplane, which could fly on very low power (cheap), have floats and basically serve as my portable home. :) My imagination started running wild. I came up with a unique configuration, a huuugee list of requirements and lots of cool ideas in general. Then I looked at it again and it struck me that I'm never gonna detail-design or build it. It's just too complicated for my skill level.

I decided that I need to build at least two planes. The first one would serve as a learning experience, so that I don't make so many costly mistakes on my intended project. I turned to the other end of the spectrum. I tried to come up with a plane so simple that even a child (like me) could build it. Obviously, such a plane doesn't exist. Every plane is complicated to design and build. I tried to even make it a glider to further reduce complexity, but now I'm realising that I'd limit its utility capabilities just way too much. So, I'll add a 28hp Hirth engine to it (design spreadsheet to be updated).

I've gone through all of the conceptual design, made some nice drawings and models and a nice design spreadsheet, but now I hit a brick wall. I lack experience to make any further decisions: e.g. about the powerplant, structural design, control system, etc. I'm having lots of trouble finding good resources on the net and even if I found something, I wouldn't risk so much money without consulting it with someone. I've asked at the local aeroclub, but these guys don't have much time for me... and they're not engineers (I live in Poland, so no EAA, btw).

So I thought I could maybe find someone here with sufficient experience and time who could review my work, help with critical decisions and then detail (structural) design. Remotely, of course, via Skype or something. I don't have many $$ to give in return, so consider it to be an act of charity. :) But, if we get my second (bush) design off the ground... a year long wilderness excursion for anyone who helps, for free. And these are very expensive normally. :)

Anyway, I attach my current design spreadsheet and a solid model of my "simple" plane. It's still in its glider state, I'll be redoing the design soon to account for the engine. The most similar plane to what I would like to build is miniMAX.

Thanks,
Liras
 

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Liras

Guest
OK, I thought people sometimes ask for this kind of help. If not, well it was worth a try. I'm out of options, have noone competent around here to talk to and I don't have thousands of $ to waste on a failed project. I'm sorry if parts of my post are "out of context", but these provide a broader picture of what I wanna be doing and what I need. I'm not designing for the sake of it (maybe a bit). I have a clear purpose. Thank you for understanding this.
 

BJC

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Oct 7, 2013
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97FL, Florida, USA
OK, I thought people sometimes ask for this kind of help. If not, well it was worth a try. I'm out of options, have noone competent around here to talk to and I don't have thousands of $ to waste on a failed project. I'm sorry if parts of my post are "out of context", but these provide a broader picture of what I wanna be doing and what I need. Thank you for understanding this.
There might be a language difficulty here. Out of context was not mentioned.

The reality is that living as a hunter-gatherer with no dependance on civilization would eliminate any possibility of designing, building, owning, operating or maintaining an airplane.

As others have mentioned, to get a meaningful response from HBA participants, you should ask a specific, narrowly focused question. No one is going to do design work for you, but many will point you toward appropriate resources.


BJC
 

blane.c

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Jun 27, 2015
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capital district NY
(1) Bush planes do not survive long on low power (it is counter intuitive).
(2) Float planes that operate in the Bush often have a larger engine upgrade.
(3) High Altitude lakes frequently are the lure of the adventuresome, again no substitute for cubic inches.
(4) Most initially try to design a clean looking airplane, Bush planes are not clean looking they have bumps and protuberances on them all over. Even say a Cessna 185 which is a very respectable bush plane, and one of the cleaner successful designs has struts you can tie things onto. Handles on the boot cowl will be welcome assists in mud, slime, ice, and snow also handles on the fuselage near the empennage will be welcome at times for the same reasons. Things will not fit inside the plane, you will be constantly looking for ways to carry external loads. having means and methods to carry external loads and knowing in advance the funnel envelope of the airplane will be of great aide.
(5) You will make mistakes, design an airplane that forgives you not kills you. If the wing gets dirty it should still fly, a little snow and ice in the nooks and cranny’s should not jamb anything up. Maybe a little snow/ice on the leading edge ... You want to fall out of the sky because of that? Or keep on trucking?
(6) Landing gear needs to be "ROBUST" a lot depends on it, wheels and tires should be of large diameter and have the ability to conform to odd shaped items in your path and roll over them.
(7) Everything gets compared to the Super Cub at some point, I would be rich if I had a dollar for every time someone said to me "it performs as good as a cub" Bull****, I would not suggest copying a cub but I would suggest at looking at it for things to copy, it has had much success.
(8) Fuel is the bane of the adventuresome, it is always about fuel logistics, put some ridiculously (to everyone else) sized fuel tanks on it. I had 7 hours worth of fuel capacity in my cub and I used it. You don't have to fill them when it is not necessary.
(9) Do not rely on fancy electronic gadgets, I have been many times without GPS signal in the bush. There is no substitute for knowing were you are and pilotage, Absolutely do not mix VFR with IFR, it is fine to be either one, people that cannot make up there minds one over the other end up dead. I like VOR's and ADF's you can cross signal direction lines on a map and pinpoint your location.
(10) Visibility is a clear advantage, make sure that you can see about, that is one reason most bush planes are high wing you generally are not trying to look up. Clean windscreens period.
(11 Vortex generators are most useful that they can improve aileron authority at lower airspeeds, they will also reduce the stall warning I.E. the stall will generally be more abrupt with them although at a lower airspeed. Be careful how much you want to trick the air, sometimes better brakes are better than a few knots slower. I found spoilers to be highly efficient and useful devices, for example "you cannot put the brakes on three feet in the air" a little spoiler and you are mashing the pedals. Once you are on the ground you want to stay on the ground engage the spoilers you stay planted.
(12) You are not going to design a plane that can fly slower than everyone else's without paying a lot of attention to the empennage I.E. the tail quits flying first. It is supposed to of course but if you want to fly slower the tail has to quit just barely before the wing does.
(13) Personal equipment like a helmet to keep you from getting a concussion landing in ruff terrain is a good idea, have good personal equipment and taking care of it is as essential as the plane itself.
(14) When friends talk you into taking them with you bring and eat lots of chili, in the morning you will have the cabin to yourself and they will be outside in tents.
 
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