Third homebuilt, Fleet model 7

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Sonny Furman

Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2011
Messages
14
Location
Punta Gorda FL
I am currently building full scale replica of the 1930's Fleet model seven. While most were powered with radials, some model 7's were inline inverted Gypsy engines of 90 HP. As both radials and Gypsy majors are hard to find and expensive, I custom built a Honda 1.6 all aluminum Civic, utilizing a homebuilt reduction drive having a standard 3" belt & cogged pulleys from a Harley Davidson. Photos avail very soon. Yes, lots of machine work, but with a drive ration of 1.7 should work out well and not too heavy, with the original Honda engine rated at 120 HP more than adequate for the Fleet biplane. This is now my third and likely my last homebuilt, let's just say bucket list
Sonny Furman, Col, USAF ret.
 

Sonny Furman

Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2011
Messages
14
Location
Punta Gorda FL
As seen by the last photo, which I believe is the H series with enclosed cowl, the finished plane will incorporate a few more modern features such as better brakes, updated nav equipment etc. Other than that, the concept is to keep it looking as original as possible. Getting good drawings and photos has not been easy, but things are moving along with the engine ready to go on the test stand. I will have photos soon. My last homebuilt was no less complicated, a Spacewalker ll powered by a Corvair. I am not 100% convinced that Corvairs are all that reliable despite having years of experience with them, hence the Honda choice.
Sonny
 

plncraze

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May 11, 2006
Messages
1,776
The reduction sort of reminds me of Raven's. Is yours an original or derived from another drive?
 

Sonny Furman

Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2011
Messages
14
Location
Punta Gorda FL
The reduction sort of reminds me of Raven's. Is yours an original or derived from another drive?
While it does resemble a Raven, I really had to design from scratch, with the major consideration that like a Gypsy major, the thrust line is very near the top of the cowl, simulating an inverted engine. the unit has triple roller bearings that are well supported, much stronger than the usual VW versions, albeit a bit heavier and a HD belt tension device. Who cares about six extra lbs. in a full size biplane?
 

Sonny Furman

Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2011
Messages
14
Location
Punta Gorda FL
Nice. Have you run it with a prop yet? Airframe parts pics?
Have not run it with a prop as yet, that will be determined later after I calculate several factors. Of note: The original Honda ignitions are designed to operate with an ECU, something that I did not want. I then mated a VW Bosch 009 electronic conversion distributor to the base dizzy housing machined off, and machined custom coupling. At least my new lathe is earning its keep. While I am used to flying C-130E's this should be real fun for pancake breakfasts and my wife can be back seat driver from the front.
Sonny
 

dodgedartgt

Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2010
Messages
12
Location
PNW
Gosh Sonny,

This is going to be amazing to watch, from a distance, instead of close up. Of course you post this AFTER we moved from North Port back to OR (we were 13 yrs there).

I'm guessing we probably met at some point. Though I never joined the PG chapter, I stopped in for the meetings on occasion, and of course time there during the air shows.

I'll be watching this one. Full speed ahead!

Just read that PG is the 3rd fastest growing airport in the country.

Mike(y) Bynum, back in God's country
 

103

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Joined
May 2, 2015
Messages
213
Location
Wauwatosa WI
While it does resemble a Raven, I really had to design from scratch, with the major consideration that like a Gypsy major, the thrust line is very near the top of the cowl, simulating an inverted engine. the unit has triple roller bearings that are well supported, much stronger than the usual VW versions, albeit a bit heavier and a HD belt tension device. Who cares about six extra lbs. in a full size biplane?
Sonny what a great way to make a re drive. Keep us posted. More details on you 009 adaption please.. What is the engine re drive dry weight?
 

cdlwingnut

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May 25, 2015
Messages
492
Location
Iowa
love it. keep posting your progress, sounds like a fun project and a very fun airplante
 

Sonny Furman

Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2011
Messages
14
Location
Punta Gorda FL
With regard to the redrive weight, it comes in right around 26 lbs. just a tad heavier that a few I have seen, but much more robust. The drive belt itself is a stock Harley 3" wide belt, more than capable of handling the torque, and the belt cogged gears are also stock Harley replacements giving a ratio of 1:1.9 Bearings are roller taper and off the shelf Timken. The dizzy conversion is actually not too complicated , but takes a bit of careful machining in order to keep things concentric. The stock Honda dizzy base is machine off, then the electronic 009 distributor is shortened and carefully fitted so that it extends into the cam drive the same depth as the original Honda but with the Honda drive lug substituted for the VW. Same rotation as Honda, no ECU or complicated hookups and with mechanical advance only. I will try to get a photo available. It has been checked out by my quality control officer, my 85 lb Greyhound, "Ernie"
 

Lendo

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Joined
Feb 6, 2013
Messages
483
Location
Brisbane
I have ridden plenty of Harley's and lost my fair share of belts. I've been told belts are reliable up to 100 hp after that chains and then gears. However I will say that's a very nicely build PSRU, I can see plenty of work went into that - hope it works for you, please keep us informed!
George
 
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