# Thoughts on a new biplane design?

Discussion in 'Hangar Flying' started by cluttonfred, Sep 3, 2018.

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1. Mar 10, 2019

### GeeZee

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Sweet! But almost seems criminal to cover up that Verner. I’m definitely leaving mine hanging out in the breeze...

2. Mar 10, 2019

### cluttonfred

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I find that I am often attracted to the daintier, lighter biplanes rather than the powerful ones, which ought to make it easier to build a replica or just a look-alike as a U.S. LSA or European microlight. Those Verner engines have me thinking about radials, so here are few that I like.

DH Moth (Armstrong Siddeley Genet)

Kinner "Crackerbox" Airster (Lawrance?)

Vickers Vagabond (Blackburn Thrush)

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3. Mar 10, 2019

### jedi

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It may be time to update the Wikipedia Lil Bitts website with plans and ownership info. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raceair_Lil_Bitts

4. Mar 10, 2019

### GeeZee

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Excellent idea and also to get it listed in Kitplanes buyers guide! The online version could be updated now.

5. Mar 10, 2019

### Dana

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In the same class are the "other" Fisher planes (Fisher Flying Products, designed my Mike Fisher, no relation to Ed). There's the single seat FP404, also originally designed as an ultralight but too heavy, the 2 seat "Classic" version, and some others. My 404, with a half VW engine, was underpowered (it was designed for 503), but extremely economical (2 GPH).

6. Mar 10, 2019

### GeeZee

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I like the 404 and have looked long and hard at that option. I’ve done a fair amount of woodworking so I believe I could build one ,no problem. This may sound crazy but I’m deliberately picking a fabrication method I don’t have any experience with. I want to learn to weld and cut/fit tubing. I helped a friend cover/ribstitch his kitfox so have an inkling of that process.
I’ve bought a TIG welder and have been running beads on scrap. I have recently discovered a local welding supplier that offers a 20hr “hobbyist” TIG class. I’m hoping 20 hrs of instruction will get me off to a good start.

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7. Mar 10, 2019

### cluttonfred

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You might want to try out a gas welding class to see if you like it, I did and was pleasantly surprised how much progress I made in couple of days. I wouldn't fly with my welds yet, but I can see that with practice I could do good work.

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8. Mar 10, 2019

### cluttonfred

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I would love to see a light, simple biplane along the lines of the strut-braced Fisher Classic with the side-by-side seating of the Javelin Wichawk and the cockpit arrangment (single stick, dual pedals) of the Evans VP-2.

Designed and built light with generous wing area it should fly well enough for low and slow fun on a modest 4-stroke engine (big VW, 5-cylinder Verner, A-65, etc.), think 65 hp J-3 Cub on a lazy summer day. The side-by-side seating is better for taking kids for a ride and it would make a great single-seater for the big and tall crowd. I'd go with enough stagger and/or sweep to keep the cockpit clear for easy access, maybe even include doors on one or both sides. Welded steel tube fuselage and struts, wood wings, all fabric-covered.

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9. Mar 10, 2019

### Toobuilder

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As usual, what is old is new again. Pitts S1C. Classic - check. Simple - check. Inexpensive- check. Reportedly the most pure form of personal flying yet invented by man - check. Proven - PLEASE!

Projects are available at VERY reasonable prices, and the dirt cheap O-290G will drag them around capably as long as you don't expect hard core acro. A nice 290 powered "C" just sold on the Biplane forum for well under $10k. Mind you this was a TURN KEY airplane and sold for less money than the raw materials. Many complete "projects" can be had for ~$3,500 (which is less than the cost of new flying wires ALONE).

So once again, the solution to cheap, classic, fun flying is out there in droves... Get off the computer and JUST DO IT!

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10. Mar 10, 2019

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11. Mar 10, 2019

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I am doing the same. I found a welding related makerspace where the owner gives all sorts of classes. I have a Gas welding set and the mini torch that the buttercup builders recommend, but my welds leave a lot to be desired. Albeit I am trying to learn on my own. I plan to also take the TIG class and see how I do. I may also take a gas class with this guy then make the decision on what I go with. The plus with gas is the tubes / welds normalize since they heat a large area and cool slowly. Tig is more concentrated and many say its best to heat the joint with a gas weld kit to get the same normalization. Yet many dont bother and seem to do just fine. Even Stinsons, Kitfox and I think Cubcrafters as well Mig weld which according to most is a no no...

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12. Mar 10, 2019

### Joe Fisher

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Last edited: Mar 10, 2019
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13. Mar 10, 2019

### Himat

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When there is a large number of old designs, why make yet another “old” design?

As Toobuilder states, there are working proved designs that fit the request. They can be had finished or part finished at a fraction of the cost of designing and building yet another.

14. Mar 10, 2019

### GeeZee

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I’ve got a little oxy set (the genrac brand in the blow molded carrying case) and took a gas welding sportair workshop when it came to town. The skill set for both Gas and TIG is somewhat similar so I’m thinking if I learn TIG I’ll be 3/4 the way to being able to gas weld. I know the debate about normalizing or not will go on forever but after my own research I don’t think it matters for what we do with tube aircraft frames. From what I’ve read true normalizing involves putting the welded assy into a heat treat oven to a certain temp then stepping it down over the course of about 8 hours. And after all that it only increases the ductility of the joint around 6% ( working from memory here so the numbers might not be quite correct). I guess the takeaway for me was that heating a cluster to cherry red then allowing it to cool over the course of several minutes does virtually nothing. As you said several certificated aircraft have been MIG welding tubes for a long time and have had no problems. I think MIG results in about a 6-8% more brittle weld than gas welding.

15. Mar 11, 2019

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If you have not seen the videos by tinmantech than have a look here: https://www.tinmantech.com/products/dvds/aircraft-aviation/

I rented the 4130 videos and they were very helpful. He recommends the meco midget torch and I found one on ebay and its quite nice. Would work well on the small tubes of the Lil Bitts. Here is link to torch on his site: https://www.tinmantech.com/products/welding/meco-torch-accessories/meco-midget-torch.php

Marc

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16. Mar 11, 2019

### GeeZee

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Thanks, those look very interesting. I’ll be renting them as well. I’ve heard of the midget and would consider one if I could also find a deal. Right now I’m still planning to TIG weld everything I can and use the torch to heat/bend tubing (like the lower longerons).

Edit: Well after checking out that site some more I think there’s definitely a place in my workshop for a meco midget! You can’t have too many tools, right?
Our sportair gas welding instructor found some aluminum flux and a couple of scraps of aluminum sheet so demonstrated aluminum welding for the class. It turned out beautifully but man you have to move quickly. He welded about a 12” long butt joint in about 3 seconds.

Last edited: Mar 11, 2019
17. Mar 11, 2019

### Little Scrapper

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Speaking from many years of experience.

Practice. There's just no way around it. Welding, regardless of type, is an art form. Every single day you should be welding even if it's only for 5 minutes. There's just no substitute, ya gotta suit up and lay bead.

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18. Mar 11, 2019

### cluttonfred

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Honestly, the pickings are slim in the size/weight/power range that interests me, meaning two seats, ~1000 lb gross, 60-80 hp. Fisher Classic is too light, Celebrity too heavy, Sherwood Ranger quite expensive, not many other options out there.

19. Mar 11, 2019

### Toobuilder

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There is a reason the pickings are slim. A 2 place Biplane with 80 HP is going to be a dog with a capital "D".

20. Mar 11, 2019

### cluttonfred

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That depends on the kind of flying you do. If you’re used to a 65 hp J-3 Cub then an 80 hp biplane weighing substantially less than the Cub might seem pretty sporty.