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kelmann

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Aug 8, 2012
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6
Location
Houston, TX
Hello everyone!

In case you haven't read my introduction my name is Kelly Mann.
I am a coop at NASA Johnson in Houston TX, and I am currently putting together a plan to fly around the world.

In my introduction I mentioned that I was planning a flight around the world with some interesting aspects.

I will explain what those are here:

There are two separate parts of this project.

The first is to build the plane that I will fly around the world from a kit. I want to do more than just build it though. I plan on making the most thorough and detailed construction blogs I possibly can. This will include more than the tricky things I find in the build. It will also included some of my engineering knowledge in the blog, explaining why certain things in the kit were made that way and why what ever else I think is interesting.

The second part of this project is to take this airplane that I built and fly it around the world with a friend of mine.
The trip will last a little under a year. This flight will be more than just a flight around the world though. My videographer and I will put together a weekly video on my website during the flight. These videos will show the journey in a condensed form so that people all around the world can see the adventure from our eyes. I also plan on including an interactive forum where website members can ask me questions during the flight and have a location on the site where people can suggest places to visit. At the end of the flight my videographer plans on putting together a documentary of the trip to show at film festivals. The main idea for this project is to take as much of the world as I can through the internet on this journey with me.

So my first question to you all is what kit would you recommend I use on this trip? Right now I am leaning towards the Glasair Sportsman.
Here are my flight requirements:
Good visibility of the ground - this is a big one
Ability to fly low and slow to check out interesting things on the ground
Enough capacity for 2 people, cargo, and fuel to reach 2200 Nautical Miles
Decent cruise speeds
Decent fuel efficiency

Let me know what you think of my plane choice and project!

Kelly
 

litespeed

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I had a quick glance at the specs for the Sportsman- as can be seen below.

It only has a 1000lb load including pilot/s, luggage and fuel. Your range needs will never be meet with this design, range is about 1/3 of what you are after. Sorry but a different design will be needed. Or you can leave out luggage and the passenger and cram in 1000lbs of fuel- but that would mean no weight left for the pilot.

What you are after in your mission goals does not meet any design I know, esp as a kit.

Others may know of something better, but I really doubt you will find a suitable kit for anything like your mission goals.

1000nm might be possible but not 2200nm.

Rear door width26 in
Rear door height31 in
50 gals.

[TD="bgcolor: silver"] [/TD]
Lycoming engine (rigged for flight) 23 ft. Lycoming engine (wings folded) 24 ft. 8 in Wing Span [TD="bgcolor: silver"] [/TD]
Rigged for flight 35.0 ft. Wings folded & tail removed 8.5 ft. Other Wing Data [TD="bgcolor: silver"] [/TD]
Area 131 sq. ft. Aspect ratio 9.1 Wing loading (at max. gross) 17.5 lbs. per sq. ft. Structural limit loads (at max. gross) +3.8 / -1.5 Gs Maximum Height [TD="bgcolor: silver"] [/TD]
Tricycle (on gear) 9 ft. 4 in Tricycle (wings folded) 7ft. 1 in Taildragger 6 ft. 11 in Cabin Dimensions [TD="bgcolor: silver"] [/TD]
Width (at hips) 44.0 in. Width (at shoulders) 46 in. Door width 37.0 in. Door height 31.5 in. Baggage space / Rear passenger area 37.0 cu. ft. Weights [TD="bgcolor: silver"] [/TD]
Maximum gross weight (on wheels) 2,350 lbs. Maximum gross weight (on floats) 2,500 lbs. Empty weight (typical)* 1,350 lbs. Useful load (typical)* 1000 lbs. Full-fuel payload (standard tanks) 700 lbs. Maximum baggage capacity 300 lbs. Fuel Capacity (usable)** [TD="bgcolor: silver"] [/TD]
Standard tanks
 

litespeed

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Rear dor width
26 in
Rear door height
31 in






Sorry can't get the figures to stay in the post.

 

Marc Bourget

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Feb 28, 2011
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427
Location
Stockton, California
Don Taylor did it in a T-18 in 1976 - but that was single pilot.

Range needs may be lessened now that the demise of Soviet Russia has (relatively?) opened the East coast of the continent.
 

autoreply

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2200 NM is far too much range. Except for the Hawaii-LA (or Japan-Alaska) leg, there is nowhere near that range required, even 600 NM (plus reserves) is enough.

For that single leg you can overload the airframe, 10-20% over MTOW is typical. That's almost another 100 gallons.

As for round-the-world flights, this is my personal favorite:
SouthToSouth
 

aviast

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Jun 4, 2011
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Brisbane, Australia
Jon Johanson did it in an RV-4. Twice.

Amazon.com: Aiming High: The Little Australian Built to Fly the World (9781862544246): Jon Johanson: Books

I'm a conservative fellow so if it were me I'd probably follow his lead. Since you're talking about two people, though, I'd get a bigger aircraft - say an RV-10.

Instead of a Lycoming I'd put a Jet-A-burning diesel engine in it, like the SMA SR305-230, which was recently announced as being offered on the Cessna 182:

SMA SR305-230 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

Nickathome

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2200 NM is far too much range. Except for the Hawaii-LA (or Japan-Alaska) leg, there is nowhere near that range required, even 600 NM (plus reserves) is enough.

For that single leg you can overload the airframe, 10-20% over MTOW is typical. That's almost another 100 gallons.

As for round-the-world flights, this is my personal favorite:
SouthToSouth

Interesting. I forwarded the "South to South" link to an acquaintance of mine at work who is big into trikes. He'll appreciate this.
 

Dave Prizio

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Tustin, CA / USA
The Sportsman is a great plane. If you and your friend can keep your personal gear to a minimum you can get 100 gallons of fuel in the back plus 50 in the wings. That would give you an absolute range of over 1900 nm, assuming 130 knots @ 10 gph. If you go with the carbon fiber fuselage, the new gross weight upgrades (now 2500 lbs.) , and a parallel valve IO-360 engine you could probably add a little more fuel and make your numbers. The trick will be to build the plane light. Talk to the people at Glasair. I'm sure they would be glad to help you figure out how to reach your goal. It is definitely within reach.

Dave Prizio
 

bmcj

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I think the Stallion and Super Stallion are supposed to have long range (2,000+ miles) and high cruise, and as a 4-seater (I think the Super seats 6), you can use the extra payload capacity for fuel. It might miss the mark for slow speed though... I believe the stall is somewhere around 60 knots (70 mph).

Forum member Tom Nalevanko flies one. I'm sure he'll be glad to confirm (or refute) this.

Bruce :)
 

PTAirco

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If your budget stretches to an SMA diesel, it will probably pay for itself on such a trip. If I were doing this, it would be Diesel engine or nothing. Recently Cessna organized a flight across the Atlantic using two 182s; one gasoline powered and a SMA Diesel engined one. The Diesel engined one used literally half the fuel. Identical flight plans, distances, weather etc. You could not get a better real-world comparison.

But the real benefit will come when you're stuck in some African or Asian backwater and there isn't a drop of Avgas to be had for hundreds of miles.

As for the aircraft itself I don't know any that would fit your bill, though with the extra range a Diesel will give you you might close with some. you really only need it if you're set on doing the Hawaii-California leg. You could just head north and get across the Pacific that way with less than half the fuel required. That would open the field of aircraft choice quite a bit. The Glastar certainly would be high on my list too.
The RVs would not not suit your requirement for good ground visibilty, though owners of such (and any other low wing designs) will vehemently deny that the wing causes any obstruction whatsoever!
 

PTAirco

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P.S. if your videographer drops out, sign me up! One of those once in a lifetime things everybody ought to do, but few ever get the chance. I'm envious....
 

kelmann

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Houston, TX
Thank you everyone for all of the great responses!
I first want to address the range issue. On my current rout plan I do not plan on having to fly anymore than 1300 Nautical miles. The 2200 value was really an extreme ideal, since it would give me tons of flexibility in my flight plans. You never know what might happen on a trip like this. I really should have made that clear, I apologize for that :).

Autoreply - Thanks for pointing out the possibility of overloading the frame for the long trips, I will keep this in mind in the future.

NZ_Flyer- I will check that airplane out, thanks for the link!

aviast & Jan Carlsson - The RV-10 is definitely on my short list, I am just concerned about my loss in visibility due to the wing and my ability to fly slow when I want. These are both pretty big priorities for me. What do you think about these for the RV-10?

Dave Prizio - Awesome, It’s good to know that if I really needed to push it, I could work with the sportsman to get my range at least close to 2000 nm. I am planning on giving Glasair a call in a week or so, just to hear what they have to say.

Bruce - I saw the Stallion, but I think those kits would be pushing cost too high for me, even though they look like awesome aircraft.

PTAirco - I have also seen some of the stuff on Diesel. You are absolutely right about gas availability in some of these countries. I have seen that a lot of people that have flown around the world have had tons of trouble trying to find AvGas. Do you know how safe these engines are compared to some of the more common gasoline engines? If my videographer drops out, I know I have a volunteer, thanks PT!

Some other things that I forgot to mention:
I am going to need funding support for this project, and I plan on raising the funds for the airplane through Kickstarter. I will be launching my campaign in about a week and a half. Since the airplane will be funded primarily through Kickstarter the budget is a concern, but not necessarily a limitation. The more the kit costs the more I will have to raise.

I also don’t want the build to take too long. Ideally less than 1000 hrs advertised. I know the Glasair is 1500, but with their jump start options it comes down to 700.

Let me know what other questions you have and please keep the input coming!
Thanks!

Kelly
 

kelmann

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Just wanted to make clear that I am open to aircraft taking upto 2000 hrs even, just my ideal is something around 1000.
 

autoreply

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I am going to need funding support for this project, and I plan on raising the funds for the airplane through Kickstarter. I will be launching my campaign in about a week and a half. Since the airplane will be funded primarily through Kickstarter the budget is a concern, but not necessarily a limitation. The more the kit costs the more I will have to raise.
Realize that you're basically just asking people to donate money for your aircraft. Unless they get something in return, they won't contribute and nope, seeing you fly around the world, "inspirational thingies" etc won't work for most people either.

Ask what you can offer to people or companies in return for sponsoring. The only worthwhile idea I see is sponsoring from an engine manufacturer. You could try the successor of the SMA or ULpower and maybe they'll sell you an engine for half it's worth.


Forget certain countries. China, Russia, Pakistan are simply not an option. You can't go in there and if you do, you're either shot down, or imprisoned for a while.
 

litespeed

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And do not forget that Around the World includes the stuff south of the equator- So include that little island called Australia- Ok we are a Continent, we just have the population of a small island.
 

PTAirco

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Forget certain countries. China, Russia, Pakistan are simply not an option. You can't go in there and if you do, you're either shot down, or imprisoned for a while.

Has anyone personal experience with trying to fly in these countries? I did not think Russia was quite as bad as all that. Pakistan? Hm, maybe not my first choice along the route, but China - it depends on your preparation. Since they are venturing into the whole GA thing now, maybe you could use that your advantage by making it for you and them, by publicizing the new Chinese "Glasnost" ! I would be far more worried about the middle Eastern countries, not least because of their outrageous handling fees. They are only used to dealing with airliners and charge accordingly.

I would perhaps try to find a much more unconventional route, but there are unavoidable bottlenecks on a trip like this. How about jumping off the edge of Brazil for the coast of Africa and heading for South Africa, Madagascar and India - avoiding a lot of dubious hotspots.
 

Aircar

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There is an association for those who have flown around the Earth or plan to and quite a few books by those who have done it --invaluable information for planning . I think it might actually be "Earthrounders" or something like it .
 

Aircar

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Sure enough - Earthrounders - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - membership and other info. You might get the idea that flying around the world has become almost routine (in small aircraft) --certainly England to Australia and trans pacific ferry flights are no longer the publicity magnets that they once were (even the non stop round the world flight has little media or public interest and probably sponsors as well --unless you can do it while juggling operating chainsaws or with a cockpit full of venomous snakes (remember "snakes on a plane"?) , or blindfolded and in a straightjacket perhaps I think you might have to plan on funding it yourself... sad to say.

The round the world balloon flight is accomplished and the solar powered round the world flight is soon upcoming so it is hard to think of some other means to increase the degree of difficulty sufficient to attract television executive's interest.
 
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