Skylite Ultralight - RaceAir

Discussion in 'Hangar Flying' started by Little Scrapper, Dec 16, 2017.

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  1. Dec 16, 2017 #1

    Little Scrapper

    Little Scrapper

    Little Scrapper

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    Our own Ed Fisher designed a neat looking airplane that happens to be an ultralight. Maybe Ed can tell us more about it because, dang, that's a beautiful little airplane.

    Ed, how are the wings made? This looks like a rather clever design to hit the legal ultralight weight on a fully covered airplane.

    Screenshot_20171216-050338~2.jpg

    Screenshot_20171216-050427~2.jpg

    Screenshot_20171216-050356~2.jpg

    Screenshot_20171216-050417~2.jpg

    Pretty cool video showing the airplane.

    [video=youtube_share;yb-KeMy16Es]https://youtu.be/yb-KeMy16Es[/video]
     
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  2. Dec 16, 2017 #2

    erkki67

    erkki67

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    I love the overall design of this critter, just to sad that the tail is like a sharkfin.
     
  3. Dec 16, 2017 #3

    Raceair

    Raceair

    Raceair

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    The Skylite wings are Tube/ladder type construction. Front spars are 2 1/4" 6061 tubing, rear spars are 1 3/4" tube, and the ribs are rib angles and Widgets. Fuse is welded 4130 tubing. The prototype weighed 249 pounds, and many of the 100 or so built were legal ultralights, and of course many were overweight with the bigger engines, hydraulic brakes, full panels, etc, that people seem to want. The only engines I have tested that keep it a legal 103 are the Rotax 277, and the Hirth F-33. I am sure there are other choices in engines out there, but that is what I tested. I used to build up and sell partial kits for the Skylite, and have welded up 22 fuselages for customers over the years.
    This prototype won the grand champion award at OSH in 1994. I would be willing to sell the design and whatever left over parts/tooling I have. When I sold the original a few years ago, It had 600 hours on it, trouble free.
     
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  4. Dec 16, 2017 #4

    Little Scrapper

    Little Scrapper

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    The landing gear is nice and clean. Are those just aluminum tubes?
     
  5. Dec 16, 2017 #5

    skier

    skier

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    Beautiful aircraft. Probably the nicest looking ultralight I've ever seen.
     
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  6. Dec 16, 2017 #6

    Little Scrapper

    Little Scrapper

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    I agree, it really is a nice looking ultralight. There's a couple videos on YouTube.

    It's amazing the kind of performance he got out of a rotax 277 single cylinder.

    There's no reason why someone couldn't afford to build something like this.
     
  7. Dec 16, 2017 #7

    rbrochey

    rbrochey

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    Looks like a great opportunity Scrapper.... ;) (If I were a little younger...)
     
  8. Dec 16, 2017 #8

    Little Scrapper

    Little Scrapper

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    That's a good airplane for you to build. Perfect in fact.

    I'm still not out of the woods with my health, if I don't get my health squared away the meds are not approved which crushes my Cassutt dreams.

    I'd have no problem flying an ultralight again, I miss them.
     
  9. Dec 16, 2017 #9

    Little Scrapper

    Little Scrapper

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    Check out the tail, all flying rudder. Pretty smart.

    See the wing rib sitting on top? Check out the nose piece. What's with that?
    Screenshot_20171216-082132~3.jpg
     
  10. Dec 16, 2017 #10

    Raceair

    Raceair

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    The gear leg is two tubes, one full length 30" piece, with a 15" piece tapped into it. the gear bolts into a socket in the fuselage, and the axle is welded to a socket that slides over the gear tube...If you bend a gear leg, you can switch to a new one in about a half hour.
    There are photos on the internet somewhere which show the rib construction and 'widgets' clearly. The Widgets are wing rib attach cups which are made of injection moulded glass reinforced nylon. Oscar Zuniga of Rogue Air Parts now owns my molds, and sells the parts to builders of my designs.
    A used, overhauled Rotax 277 can be had for a grand to fifteen hundred bucks, I have seen. This Ultralight can be built and flown for less than ten grand if you can get good deals on materials and engine....
    The Rotax 277 uses a 2.58 to 1 reduction, and swings a 60 by 28 Tennessee propeller. I was routinely getting 185 to 190 pounds of thrust, which flew me nicely. At the time I weighed 210 pounds...
     
  11. Dec 16, 2017 #11

    Raceair

    Raceair

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    The Skylite flys nothing like a Quicksilver or similar generation one Ultralight. The Skylite flies like a Cub or a Champ, but lighter in feel.....I have flown it in 15/20 mph direct crosswinds. the full span ailerons really work well. It is very stable. While flying, I lean forward, the nose drops, lean backwards hard against the seat back, and the nose rises. Throw your hand / arm out the side, it will yaw, then roll that direction....Truly stable in all axis....
     
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  12. Dec 16, 2017 #12

    rbrochey

    rbrochey

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    For some reason I imagined you in perfect health.... I too deal with issues but it's the price of being mortal I guess.... but you're right about the plane...here's an idea, lets get a group of us all to each purchase plans and build one, like a contest kind of thing, work together and build a small fleet, then meet up one a year for an ultralight picnic? I'd be willing
     
  13. Dec 16, 2017 #13

    cluttonfred

    cluttonfred

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    I, too, have always found the Skylite to be a very elegant little plane. Ed, if meeting Part 103 were not a consideration, what's the design max gross weight? Would it work a a single-seat LSA with a minimalist VW?
     
  14. Dec 16, 2017 #14

    Little Scrapper

    Little Scrapper

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    I just ordered plans. What concerns me is the proprietary nose pice and that someone else owns the molds that may or may not be able to produce them. That strikes me as a bit odd.

    Ed, can the nose pieces be built from aluminum scratch?
     
  15. Dec 16, 2017 #15

    Raceair

    Raceair

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    No Problem getting the Widgets from Oscar. He's a stand up guy, and has them in stock. I did a development program to do aluminum Widgets, and it was an expensive lesson in hydroforming.....The 43% nylon Widget has been used on hundreds of airplanes for decades.
    If the Skylite was not needed to conform to part 103, then yes, with some beef up it could be built LSA... I know of one Skylite that was built with a 1200c.c. VW, and I warned him about his gross weights, and warned him again and again. It flew for 100 hrs or so, against my wishes, then got dismantled as far as I heard..
    I would have to look at some numbers and load path stuff, but right off the bat, to increase the gross weight, I would probably increase the upper and lower longeron diameter one size in the cockpit area, increase the diameter of the cabane tubes, landing gear wall thickness, and use a heavier wall main and rear spar. That's just for starters......If you added 50 pounds of beef up and 50 pounds more for a heavier engine, It may be doable...Problem is, when you add weight, you need bigger structure, which adds more weight.....vicious cycle where there are diminishing returns.....
    Several Skylites have been built with VW Twins, and with big cylinders, you can get 30-40 h.p. out of a twin VW....Then theres a Skylite flying (overweight) with a V twin, either Generac or Kohler...can't remember. Valley Engineering has a nice conversion for the V-twin....
     
  16. Dec 16, 2017 #16

    rbrochey

    rbrochey

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    Sounds more like fun all the time! I'll buy a set next week... how long to build it do you think?
     
  17. Dec 16, 2017 #17

    Little Scrapper

    Little Scrapper

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    I say leave it as is, it's perfect. Although folding wings would be a total game changer in the ultralight world it's pretty cool as is.

    I like the 2 stroke powerplant too. A little single cylinder flown correctly and managed well can be very reliable.

    Kept light how quickly can it get off the ground. There's a video on YouTube of a yellow skylite taking off and man did he need runway.
     
  18. Dec 16, 2017 #18

    Little Scrapper

    Little Scrapper

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    Few hundred maybe? Wings gotta go pretty quick I'm guessing?
     
  19. Dec 16, 2017 #19

    Raceair

    Raceair

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    I have had builders build a flyable example in 700 hours, and many have spent 1200 hours....Guess its what a builder considers 'building time'.....Sitting around with the buddies , drinking' beer and talking about building is not building. I have been guilty of that on many occasions. For me it does not matter that it takes 900 or 1200 or 1500 hours to build....I like to build...
    From time to time partially built, or beat up old Skylites come available on the net. Sometimes there are real bargains....
    I better get a few more plans sets printed up!!
     
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  20. Dec 16, 2017 #20

    Tiger Tim

    Tiger Tim

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    I always thought those rib widgets were neat but wondered how you make the rest of the rib. What's used for cap material and how does it get consistently shaped?
     
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