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Model 17 Staggerwing 450-600Kg gross weight reply?

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Orsovolante

Active Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2016
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35
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Torre Pellice
Ok. I am at work away from home and from the pile of wooden slats that should become my airplane.
I have a lot of time to think and every now and then an idea comes up again.
Premise. In Europe the rules on ultralight planes are much more permissive, as far as I know, than in the USA. I think similar to Canada.
In Italy we have a maximum take-off weight for two-seaters, of 450kg (990lb) plus any parachute and equipment such as floats and life jackets. Elsewhere this weight has been brought to 600kg (1300lb) and in fact all the ULMs in production belong to this category.
In addition to these weights, variable pitch propellers and retractable landing gear are allowed.
On the other hand, some of the most beautiful and iconic planes have been born in the USA since man began to fly.
Among these, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful is the Beechcraft Model 17 Staggerwing.

Now here's the idea that sometimes keeps me awake at night. Build an aircraft that is as close as possible to the Model 17, but falls into the "European" ULM category (and possibly in the American sportplane).
The engine could be a Verner radial, 7 or 9 cylinders. I love wood but maybe a steel tube fuselage would be more suitable for such a project.
The seeds on a biplane are always a lot of stuff to build, but why not think of a solution similar to that of Avidflier and Kitfox? Plywood ribs threaded on an aluminum tube. Possible carbon fiber D-tube as leading edge. Wing cables and strus tubes should help a lot in making everything stiff. A manual or pneumatic retractable landing gear would make everything beautiful, not like the original, but enough to make you dream of being back in the 30s.
 

TFF

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2010
Messages
13,428
Location
Memphis, TN
Unless totally exotic airframe along with the cost, I think you could make one as a single seat plane at the 450 kg. It’s on the light side of most single seat standard biplanes out there but people have done it. Just hard. I know of a few planes forced into the 600kg category that were two seat biplanes but were built as single seat and lower than normal power. You would have to have a pretty exotic airframe, so it would be more about looks than performance because you would be spending weight allowance on gear and bigger engine. Inherent drag of a biplane eats horsepower even if clean compared to a monoplane.
 

Orsovolante

Active Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2016
Messages
35
Location
Torre Pellice
Yes, your observation is correct. But 450 kg single seat would not fall into the Italian ULM category.
Someone made Renegade Spirit and then simply gave up on the front seat. But in Italy they fly fischer Classic and Celebrity in the ULM category.
The radials then have an excellent weight / power ratio not far from a two stroke.
 
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