Material for landing gear

Homebuilt Aircraft & Kit Plane Forum

Help Support Homebuilt Aircraft & Kit Plane Forum:


Mar 2, 2003
Western Washington
Well, you're not he first to suggest both of these subjects. I have taught specialized classes in several subjects, including composite applications however, as time consuming as that tends to be, I don't too often find the time to put together a really good course for those who wish to delve a bit deeper into their airplanes' makup.

Many years ago I actually did write a book, trying to summarize a lot of this information into one coherent package that is understandable by the engineer as well as the layman. I sold a few dozen copies but it was nothing I ever followed too seriously. Reading through it now, I realize it would need a complete rewrite. Part of this is due to the amount of new infomration we now have, and part of it is that this first copy just wasn't written all that well in the first place.

I have also learned a lot since that original version and so, to do it agian, would be a rather formidable task. I would guess that if I worked at it full time, it would probably take me about three to four months just to put out the first draft. With rewrites, data checking, and everything else that is part of writing a book, I would guess it would take me probably more than six months to finish, which of course is six months more than I now have.

As far as the kit is concerned, that is a more realistic possibility although I must say that I've started down the road now three times and each time some work comes in that takes up my time and shop. Since my customers' work comes first, the last three projects had to be either scrapped or sold - sigh!

I have actually now started (look at the last page of our web site) a fourth potential kit project but again other work may take me from it. It's nothing fancy but I think the approach is novel and as I envision it, it could make for a fun airplane and a relatively easy kit.

I've already started cutting out the tooling patterns for the sandwich panels, as well as finalizing some of the design details.

However, again I am running out of time. Looks like one of my major upcoming customers just got their funding for a rather major development, which my company will develop and help them put it into production. Given the scope of the project, it is unlikely that I'll again have the time to do the kit development - not for a couple of years anyway.

Actually, much of the design work is done, all I need is someone to take over the building of the prototype. I don't know how that would work, but it might be a mechanism to get it into the air. Anybody around the Seattle area interested?


I know of one experimental aircraft to have a posted life cycle to it; it's the PW5 sailplane, they claim to have a 8,000 hours for it's structure life span. I remember Burt Rutan issuing warnings about fatigue cracks in his Varieze design, he issued this warning through the EAA. I do not remember if it was the wing fittings them selves or where the fittings attached to the structure. But it was somthing to be concern about.

Orion....I wished Boeing hired me a few years ago, I would love to build that experimental design of yours. Too bad I live in Georgia.


Well-Known Member
Oct 20, 2003
Northern NSW Australia
I had a loook at your site, and you seem to have done a pretty good job of showing how to do composite stuff on there, those wings look perfect!
maybe you could expand on that a little?


Well-Known Member
Feb 18, 2004
The only warning Rutan issued for the variez that i am aware of was regarding the improper construction on one vari he got his hands on. Someone had done a layup on another layup and did not remove the peel ply.

I believe this is where he introduced the idea of a tap test.

Because a manufacturer states an item has a life of X, and not a single engineering text book can be found to suggest there is any reason for that limit, it suggests to me that the requirement is less and engineering decision and more a revenue enhancing/liability limiting decision.