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New member from VT, workin on a Ridge Runner 3

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Cass256

Member
HBA Supporter
Joined
Aug 29, 2020
Messages
24
Location
Burlington, Vermont USA
Hi all, my name is Cassidy. I’m a 19 year old guy from VT training for my IR & CPL (currently am PPL TW, about 140ish hours last I remember), and currently I’m working on restoring a Ridge Runner model 3.

AFA25854-9C4B-4A2E-9598-0BB39A513C9C.jpeg

I bought the plane in Washington & shipped it here. It had been sitting in a trailer with the wings & tail off for a few years and was definitely showing neglect.

Note: I bought the plane unseen knowing it was a huuge risk. Earlier in the year I had bought a used Rotax 503 with plans to build a MiniMax, however my mission requires sub-150ft landings & the MMax’s roll is 200ft+ (Not a lot of margin, I know, but enough to matter for off-airport here - I’ll talk more about this in another thread or comment). When that didn’t work, I looked at a BeLite & the day I went to order a kit from them, they posted about the factory fire on Facebook. I now had a 503 and no ideas what plane to build around it.

After digging around on the internet for Avid Champions or Kitfox Lites, I came across the Sky Raider & Ridge Runner series, descendants of the KF Lite. Sure enough, the model 2 & 3 were designed with the 503 in mind, and fit my mission perfectly.

This was the only Ridge Runner for sale while I was looking, and I couldn’t fly out for a prebuy for a few reasons. I took the gamble & it paid off I think, the airframe has 14hr TT (still in phase 1) and is in mint condition. The wings were a little beat up & neglected though, and missing the tips, but all in all it’s been a great project.

DAB3C93B-B925-4E07-A93D-C852AC0987C6.jpeg

Here’s a couple pics from when I was taking it apart - the whole thing had been sloppily painted bright yellow with a brush & rattlecan, which looked hideous & probably weighed a lot. After seeing that as well as the dirt, dust, melted rubber, etc. I decided to reskin & restore the airplane. The RR came standard with the Dacron covering system, however I’m redoing it using Oratex 600UL.

Getting the fabric off was easy, getting the glue off was a different story. I used MEK on what I could clean up without harming, but after seeing damage to the powdercoat on the frame & rudder I decided to just blast & re-powder it. The frame, rudder, & control column are the only pieces done so far but it’s what I needed to start assembling the rest of the plane.

ACAFE211-31E9-4BAB-9022-67C38BC929B4.jpeg

Here you can see the frame before it went out for blasting, as well as the rest of the parts for the plane (wings are stacked against the wall). My next steps are to install the elevator pushrod, rudder pedals/cables, and anything else necessary before I begin covering the frame.

That’s it for now, I’ll be able to post more updated pictures next week hopefully. Thanks for reading, let me know if you have any questions or tips!
 

Victor Bravo

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Joined
Jul 30, 2014
Messages
8,031
Location
KWHP, Los Angeles CA, USA
Welcome ! I am working on a Ridge Runner 2 project, trying to get it back in the air safely, with zero concern for cosmetics at the present time. So on this project, I'm the guy with a sorry looking airplane and using a Rust-Oleum rattle-can.

A few things I have found so far on my Model 2 that MIGHT be the same on your Model 3:

BEFORE you do any covering or rigging, check the wing fold for interference between components. I have had to spend a huge amount of time screwing with this. The first time I folded the wings back, the root end of the flaps hit the rear cross tubes of the cabin, crunching the root ribs of both flaps. I literally had to shorten the length of both flaps.

There are two steel tabs on the upper longerons behind the wing, where the rear center wing root fairing is held in place with Camloc fasteners. On my airplane there was less than 1/16" clearance between the flap root ribs and those tabs, as you folded the wing back. Without the "up" spring holding the flps in the retracted position, the root ribs of the flaps will strike these tabs and damage the flap. I cut those steel tabs off of the longeron because I was tired of damaging the flaps if the spring was not tight enough.

Most of the Ridge Runners use strips of plywood for the trailing edge of the flaps, ailerons, and the "cove" at the rear of the wing above the controls. These plywood strips are WARPED on my airplane form fabric shrinkage, and the plywood is easily subject to damage. I strongly recommend using the Aircraft Spruce aluminum formed trailing edge instead of the plywood. I would use a curved piece of sheet metal for the "cove" as well, so you get the full aerodynamic effect of having a slotted flap/aileron.

My Ridge Runner 2 had huge spaces on the sides of the cowl where the cowling was held several inches away form the sidesof the firewall. On a traditional air cooled "airplane" engine this would be to let the cooling air out of the cowling. But my airplane has a Rotax 503 on it, and the cooling air comes out above the engine through louvers in the upper engine cowling. So all that air flowing out of the cowling on the sides is not getting to the fan and being blown through the engine. I closed up those spaces with sheet metal baffles and cowling seal strips. My advice is... whileyou have the airplane apart, figure out the cooling system now, and do the cowling in whatever way is required by THAT cooling system.
 

D_limiter

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jul 13, 2018
Messages
121
Location
Norcal
Welcome! Sounds like you have a great project going there! Good luck both with your plane and with your training!
 

Cass256

Member
HBA Supporter
Joined
Aug 29, 2020
Messages
24
Location
Burlington, Vermont USA
Welcome ! I am working on a Ridge Runner 2 project, trying to get it back in the air safely, with zero concern for cosmetics at the present time. So on this project, I'm the guy with a sorry looking airplane and using a Rust-Oleum rattle-can.

A few things I have found so far on my Model 2 that MIGHT be the same on your Model 3:

BEFORE you do any covering or rigging, check the wing fold for interference between components. I have had to spend a huge amount of time screwing with this. The first time I folded the wings back, the root end of the flaps hit the rear cross tubes of the cabin, crunching the root ribs of both flaps. I literally had to shorten the length of both flaps.

There are two steel tabs on the upper longerons behind the wing, where the rear center wing root fairing is held in place with Camloc fasteners. On my airplane there was less than 1/16" clearance between the flap root ribs and those tabs, as you folded the wing back. Without the "up" spring holding the flps in the retracted position, the root ribs of the flaps will strike these tabs and damage the flap. I cut those steel tabs off of the longeron because I was tired of damaging the flaps if the spring was not tight enough.

Most of the Ridge Runners use strips of plywood for the trailing edge of the flaps, ailerons, and the "cove" at the rear of the wing above the controls. These plywood strips are WARPED on my airplane form fabric shrinkage, and the plywood is easily subject to damage. I strongly recommend using the Aircraft Spruce aluminum formed trailing edge instead of the plywood. I would use a curved piece of sheet metal for the "cove" as well, so you get the full aerodynamic effect of having a slotted flap/aileron.

My Ridge Runner 2 had huge spaces on the sides of the cowl where the cowling was held several inches away form the sidesof the firewall. On a traditional air cooled "airplane" engine this would be to let the cooling air out of the cowling. But my airplane has a Rotax 503 on it, and the cooling air comes out above the engine through louvers in the upper engine cowling. So all that air flowing out of the cowling on the sides is not getting to the fan and being blown through the engine. I closed up those spaces with sheet metal baffles and cowling seal strips. My advice is... whileyou have the airplane apart, figure out the cooling system now, and do the cowling in whatever way is required by THAT cooling system.
Thanks for all the info! Sounds like you learned a lot of that the hard way, hopefully I can make my build go smoother with your experience. I have to order all new bolts & accessories since most of the ones that came with it were hardware store bolts, but once those arrive I’ll do a test fit with the wings & control surfaces.

My control surfaces are all straight currently, but you’re right about them being easily damaged. I cut an aileron open since it already had a hole in the fabric, and it has a fiberglass leading edge & plywood ribs, as well as the plywood trailing edge.
For the “cove”, are you talking about modifying the main wing’s trailing edge? My wings have a formed aluminum trailing edge that’s dinged in a couple places, however it’s not curved. Since I have to reform the dents anyway, should I make it concave?

When the airplane was together I noticed gaps between the sides of the plane & the cowling, so I’ll investigate making something to close that up. Thanks again for the tips!

I think, knowing all these potential small things to work out, that I’ll get rid of my finish date goal. Originally I had wanted to be flying before the new year, but I’ll be patient, do the best work I can, and it’ll be finished when I get there.
 

Jay Kempf

Curmudgeon in Training (CIT)
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Apr 13, 2009
Messages
4,130
Location
Warren, VT USA
Hey, welcome.

I am at the Warren Sugarbush Airport. Your build space looks huge, AND CLEAN!

Good Luck.
 

Victor Bravo

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Joined
Jul 30, 2014
Messages
8,031
Location
KWHP, Los Angeles CA, USA
For the “cove”, are you talking about modifying the main wing’s trailing edge? My wings have a formed aluminum trailing edge that’s dinged in a couple places, however it’s not curved. Since I have to reform the dents anyway, should I make it concave?
Modifying it may well benefit your wing performance, but I was not trying to send you down that path. If I took the fabric off of my wings I would certainly re-do that cove piece and make it curved, with the rear edge deflecting the air flow out of the slot downward. That is not somehting I am telling you to modify, especially if your wings are in good shape.

But my wing trailing edge (in front of the flap/aileron) is also warped like the control surfaces. I suspect it is wood, not metal, and several places rub against the leading edge of the flap/aileron. So what I have is an intermittent slot, as opposed to a proper slot. The shape of the slot I believe will affect how well the air flows over the flap/aileron at high deflection angles. If I remember right, this should in fact contribute significantly to keeping the airflow attached to the top surface of the flap/aileron.

So if there is no concave shape to this cove piece, it may or may not function as well as what you see in a textbook drawing of a slotted flap.
 

Cass256

Member
HBA Supporter
Joined
Aug 29, 2020
Messages
24
Location
Burlington, Vermont USA
Hey, welcome.

I am at the Warren Sugarbush Airport. Your build space looks huge, AND CLEAN!

Good Luck.
Thanks Jay! It was clean but now it’s more of a storage area haha, I still have enough room to put one wing on at a time though.

Do you know if the Sugarbush airport closes enitrely in the winter or can I come land if I have skis?

Modifying it may well benefit your wing performance, but I was not trying to send you down that path. If I took the fabric off of my wings I would certainly re-do that cove piece and make it curved, with the rear edge deflecting the air flow out of the slot downward. That is not somehting I am telling you to modify, especially if your wings are in good shape.
Ah ok, I’ll definitely take a look at it as the extra performance would be beneficial for my purposes. Thanks!
 

Jay Kempf

Curmudgeon in Training (CIT)
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Apr 13, 2009
Messages
4,130
Location
Warren, VT USA
Yeah, it closes down. Turns into a cross country center. Landing can be done by coordination if someone really needed to get in and out but it would require a lot of resources. Maybe one ski landing wouldn't be a big deal unless the cross country people were in a bad mood.

Covid shut the thing down this year anyway. Runway is open but the glider operation never opened this year. So minimal traffic other than our hangar sort of extended family of people that know my hangar owner and a couple others.

Where in Burlington are you? Beta Tech?
 

Cass256

Member
HBA Supporter
Joined
Aug 29, 2020
Messages
24
Location
Burlington, Vermont USA
Ah cool, good to know! Hopefully next season I’ll figure out how to fly up for a day of snowboarding.

I’m not currently on-airport, I’m working out of my parents’ workshop in Colchester. I’m super lucky they’re letting me use the space to assemble it, I couldn’t find hangar space at BTV. Unfortunately this only kicks the can down the road, since the fabric won’t hold up to being parked outside forever.

I hadn’t heard of Beta Tech until just recently, but I love their concepts. I might go apply for an internship if possible, but who knows.
 
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