Rutan Catbird

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bmcj

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View attachment 88864
Pond racer is still one of my adolescent dreams ;)
I liked the racer too, and thought it had potential, but I also look at it and see lots of opportunity for interference drag with three closely spaced fuselages.

I watched it fly a bunch of times at Mojave. I remember they were still working out bugs in the engine computer software, and they were pissed when Pond pulled it from their flight testing early in order to take it to Reno. They said that because the computers were not yet correct, Pond was going to stick someone in the plane and get them killed, and that is exactly what happened.
 

Hephaestus

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Anyone think Lucas was a Rutan fan? Star Wars seems to characterize their vehicles off Rutans planes.
Industrial light and magic has a scaled connection doesn't it? I thought I remembered reading about that once upon a time. Melville maybe?

Pond racer with some looser fitting cowls around some GM LS v8s would be sweet ;)
 

Rik-

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Industrial light and magic has a scaled connection doesn't it? I thought I remembered reading about that once upon a time. Melville maybe?

Pond racer with some looser fitting cowls around some GM LS v8s would be sweet ;)
ILM used to be about a mile from my office in San Rafael. They moved to the Presidio once Disney purchased them.

The plane was running over 400 mph with twin 3-400 hp V6 engines. Imagine a reliable LS V8 in the thing would be insane.
 

Hephaestus

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I liked the racer too, and thought it had potential, but I also look at it and see lots of opportunity for interference drag with three closely spaced fuselages.
Follows the p38 form, and the booms are largely underslung in a low pressure zone behind the cowls (? cooling)

Fuselage pod is largely in the wake of the center section shouldn't be much there...

My (albeit limited) understanding of aero says it's pretty limited for opportunity for interference drag?
 

Speedboat100

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ILM used to be about a mile from my office in San Rafael. They moved to the Presidio once Disney purchased them.

The plane was running over 400 mph with twin 3-400 hp V6 engines. Imagine a reliable LS V8 in the thing would be insane.

How about the 780 what Mike has tested ?
 

Rik-

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How about the 780 what Mike has tested ?
Are the 780's reliable? Only thing I know of them are they came in the Piper Comanche 400's. I see he made a modified valve cover that holds the cylinders in alignment and it made over 700 hp naturally aspirated??? Seems hard to believe without a turbo it made that kind of power?? I could be wrong there.
 

Topaz

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You know... Looking for the pond racer picture.

Anyone remember this rutan paper design?
View attachment 88865

The "popular mechanics scorpion" ?
Yes. I still have the article. It was commissioned by Popular Mechanics for purposes of the article. They got a small panel of "experts" together, including Rutan, and that was the result. If you read the article, the avionics package is something we still dream about, and can probably have now with augmented-reality goggles.
 

Topaz

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I liked the racer too, and thought it had potential, but I also look at it and see lots of opportunity for interference drag with three closely spaced fuselages.

I watched it fly a bunch of times at Mojave. I remember they were still working out bugs in the engine computer software, and they were pissed when Pond pulled it from their flight testing early in order to take it to Reno. They said that because the computers were not yet correct, Pond was going to stick someone in the plane and get them killed, and that is exactly what happened.
I saw it fly at Reno '92. It participated, a little, but spent most of the time in the pits with at least one cowling off. The engines, with their associated tubing and electronics, completely filled the cowlings. When the cowl came off, the shape of the engine area didn't change - the shape was just made of tubes, wires, and engine parts instead of composites. :eek:

I would've put the cockpit in the left-hand boom, and saved a bunch of interference drag, as you say. But Bob Pond dictated the configuration, and that was that. Interesting airplane. It's a shame that they forced it into racing without really sufficient testing and development.
 
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BJC

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It was far ahead of its time. Had they not insisted upon the V6 Nissian motors it would have succeeded I feel.

Of course today unlimited racers are a static display as it’s priced itself out of reality with the limited engine parts available and the limited aircraft supply they simply can’t afford to risk a 2mil plane at a under paying race event.
Well, I guess that we can agree to disagree about the Pond Racer. Too bad that it never got fully developed so that we could find out. I find it difficult to believe that a twin engine and twin propeller configuration could beat a single.

For the past 5 or 6 years, the top Sport class airplanes at Reno would have easily made it to the Unlimited Gold Race.


BJC
 

Hephaestus

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Yes. I still have the article. It was commissioned by Popular Mechanics for purposes of the article. They got a small panel of "experts" together, including Rutan, and that was the result. If you read the article, the avionics package is something we still dream about, and can probably have now with augmented-reality goggles.
I'd ditch the fancy FBW... I'm an electronics geek and I'm trusting enough to use a homebuilt autopilot, that's about the limit of my willingness to let a computer kill me :confused:

The twin pusher might not be a terrible homebuilt in a more conventional sense.
 

Topaz

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I'd ditch the fancy FBW... I'm an electronics geek and I'm trusting enough to use a homebuilt autopilot, that's about the limit of my willingness to let a computer kill me :confused:
I actually meant the "flight instrument" display - an augmented-reality overlay laser-projected on the canopy, showing a "highway in the sky", positions of conflicting traffic, etc.. We'd be able to do that with AR goggles these days (and I'm amazed that only the R/C crowd has done it), but for the early '80's when the article was written, the entire concept was amazingly ahead of its time for light-airplane usage.

The twin pusher might not be a terrible homebuilt in a more conventional sense.
The overall airplane was a neat design. The staggered seating needs more attention and use, and the centerline buried gear is light and low-drag. I question the usefulness of a canard in the stated primary flight training role for the airplane - you want the student to be able to learn stalls and at least incipient spins (I believe in full spin training, but that's a topic for another thread) - but the Scorpion would've made for a nice cross-country touring airplane. The twin engines enable the overall configuration, but our current rating system means a multi-engine rating is required. That would be hard to justify, commercially.
 

Hephaestus

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I actually meant the "flight instrument" display - an augmented-reality overlay laser-projected on the canopy, showing a "highway in the sky", positions of conflicting traffic, etc.. We'd be able to do that with AR goggles these days (and I'm amazed that only the R/C crowd has done it), but for the early '80's when the article was written, the entire concept was amazingly ahead of its time for light-airplane usage.
That parts easy... Yeah it's probably the aviation lawsuit / liability world that keeps it away from us. Surprised Garmin hasn't moved that way however.


The overall airplane was a neat design. The staggered seating needs more attention and use, and the centerline buried gear is light and low-drag. I question the usefulness of a canard in the stated primary flight training role for the airplane - you want the student to be able to learn stalls and at least incipient spins (I believe in full spin training, but that's a topic for another thread) - but the Scorpion would've made for a nice cross-country touring airplane. The twin engines enable the overall configuration, but our current rating system means a multi-engine rating is required. That would be hard to justify, commercially.
No different than the modern trainers, many aren't spin rated. No different than the ercoupe really, you do a couple spins in a 150 and move on with training. This is where that hybrid 2 electric motors and a primary hybrid power generator could work nicely. Who knows what FAA/Transport Canada would say about that.
 

Victor Bravo

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Anyone notice the cooling air seems to enter from below and exit above the cylinders?
Oh yes... I noticed... and (more importantly) Garrison noticed... and several other people noticed. Garrison's M2 has a fabulous cooling system I would copy in a heartbeat. Cowl flaps on the up per engine cowl to throttle the air flowing out, directly above the cylinders, and at the very lowest pressure on the forward fuselage. And the inlet at the highest pressure.
 

TFF

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The Pond engines were variants of the IMSA Prototype V-6s that Elecromotive was running, and waxing everyone. In car race trim they were good for a race reliable 800 hp. The race cars were pretty unstoppable. 400 hp was loafing for the potential.
 

Rik-

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The Pond engines were variants of the IMSA Prototype V-6s that Elecromotive was running, and waxing everyone. In car race trim they were good for a race reliable 800 hp. The race cars were pretty unstoppable. 400 hp was loafing for the potential.
Yea. BUT.. a race car is not under constant load and as previously noted heating and oil were the problems.
 

Rik-

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Oh yes... I noticed... and (more importantly) Garrison noticed... and several other people noticed. Garrison's M2 has a fabulous cooling system I would copy in a heartbeat. Cowl flaps on the up per engine cowl to throttle the air flowing out, directly above the cylinders, and at the very lowest pressure on the forward fuselage. And the inlet at the highest pressure.
Everyone keeps saying “M2” but there’s very little info on it. Wiki says it’s a 200 mph long range plane with a 210 hp motor.

What’s everyones fascination with this plane? Where’s the information on it?
 

Topaz

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