V - Witt / Witts V

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Little Scrapper

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I was reading some old articles online and this airplane comes up periodically. It seems it never took off or had the success the Sonerai did. I read Steve was real hesitant to push plans because he was trying to perfect a few things.

The wing mounting is odd but clearly successful because it's based on his old racers. Anyone here remember when Steve put the wing tips on or know anything about the decision to do that? Looks similar to the buttercup tips.

The VW. Anyone know anything about that crazy prop extension? Was it machined out of billet or cast and spun?

The landing gear is another bold move. I can post some photos for those how haven't seen it.

It's really an odd airplane and there's just so little information available on it because it never had much success.

Someone here must have been around in the early 70's and looked it over at the shows he went to. Hard to believe it came in at 430 pounds but if it's true Steve would definitely be the guy to do it.
 

tailwind

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Prop drive was welded aluminium sheet with a shaft and bearing line the v8 conversion. GreatPlanes sold a cast housing and shaft with rubber damper. The wing tips lowered the flutter speed on the v-witt. Madr the wings more limber.
 

Little Scrapper

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Here's some plans photos for those who haven't seen it. It's really a departure from the "norm" used on most airplanes.

Wing root.
IMG_20190528_085145071.jpg

IMG_20190528_085940546.jpg

IMG_20190528_085253595.jpg
 

wsimpso1

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The V-Witt has always seemed like a hot ticket for Formula VW, which never took off as a class. His prop bearing and extension does some a bit out of hand, but he got good air for the prop that way. His structures have all proven sturdy in the real world.

Billski
 

fly2kads

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I sure did a double-take the first time I saw photos of the V-Witt's wing root! What, no hardware at the wing root? Just the brace wires holding it on? Steve proved it works: he raced the plane hard, and did aerobatic demonstrations with it. I have been curious if the little plug on the butt end of the spar would get sloppy over time, but I haven't heard anything about that.

I bought the plans for the prop extension just out of curiosity. My conclusion is that it requires a pretty capable machine shop to make it. The housing can be either a casting, or built from plate. Building it up requires rolling pretty thick aluminum (0.125, IIRC) into a cone shape, and welding on the front and rear plates. The front and rear plates need to be parallel to each other and perpendicular to the shaft. The whole assembly needs to be line bored for the front bearing. The shaft is a long steel rod with a flange on the engine end, and a taper on the prop end to accept a Continental tapered hub. The shaft flange bolts to a stock VW flywheel that has been cut down in diameter, and drilled/tapped for the flange bolts, similar to other flywheel-drive VW conversions.
 

TFF

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Because I don’t have to be completely minimalistic or box a plane up for races, I would add regular straps to the spars. Feel good add another set of wires. He was not intimidated by airplanes in any shape or form. Most people are not that way. Wires pulling is how most WW1 planes were, like Sopwiths. No bolts hold them together. He went for straight line speed with thin airfoils, maybe to thin to put a bolt in. Most today want good turning too. Once he figured out the tips. He retrofitted on each design. V-witt, Tailwind, Buttercup, O&O. My first Sport Aviation I have was him cutting into his Buttercup adding the tip. It’s a good way to get let’s say 80% benefit without redesigning the wing. He was always about what works, not pretty.
 

BJC

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I saw it and talked to Steve about it the first time that he brought it across the runway at Oshkosh.

Clearly, Steve designed and built a strong and light structure. My recollection about the LG design is that he wanted the most favorable angle between the gear leg and the wheel fairing for minimum drag. I have previously commented on the spar connection to the fuselage.

Why did it not catch on? Among other things, it was a 500 foot airplane. It looked good until you got within 500 feet of it. Steve used flat wrap aluminum where most people were using molded fiberglass. Steve used a wire braced wing when most were using a cantilever wing. Steve built in an unsightly hump into the fuselage behind the cockpit. With all due respect to Steve, and I do respect his designing, building and piloting accomplishments, the V-Witt looked crude and out-of-date from day one.


BJC
 

Pops

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I have a signed information packet from Steve for the Tailwind from many years ago. I always wanted to build one. One of the best looking homebuilts out there.
Kept a picture of a Tailwind at my work space at work that I took at OSH for many years. People would ask about the picture and I would tell them that it was my dream airplane.
Being a VW engine nut, I would like to know more about his engine. All I know is that it had to be 1600 cc.

 
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Little Scrapper

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I saw it and talked to Steve about it the first time that he brought it across the runway at Oshkosh.

Clearly, Steve designed and built a strong and light structure. My recollection about the LG design is that he wanted the most favorable angle between the gear leg and the wheel fairing for minimum drag. I have previously commented on the spar connection to the fuselage.

Why did it not catch on? Among other things, it was a 500 foot airplane. It looked good until you got within 500 feet of it. Steve used flat wrap aluminum where most people were using molded fiberglass. Steve used a wire braced wing when most were using a cantilever wing. Steve built in an unsightly hump into the fuselage behind the cockpit. With all due respect to Steve, and I do respect his designing, building and piloting accomplishments, the V-Witt looked crude and out-of-date from day one.


BJC
I would tend to agree. Even by 1970 standards it was crude. The Sonerai really did look better, Cassutt as well.

Next year will mark 50 years since its first flight. I'm not sure how many were built but seems like only a handful?

That landing gear is a trip. You'd think the wheels would twist that type of connection right off the ends.
 

Little Scrapper

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Flying characteristics? If light that's pretty low wing loading. That airfoil though, man that's thin. Ya wonder what that would fly like
 

Mcmark

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Here is a YT link to his 90th birthday and he flys the VWitt.
Jim Vliet built and raced one and had a website with all FV including a bunch of info on Steve. Not sure it’s still active.
 

Little Scrapper

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Here is a YT link to his 90th birthday and he flys the VWitt.
Jim Vliet built and raced one and had a website with all FV including a bunch of info on Steve. Not sure it’s still active.
What Jim up to these days? His #33 was a nice looking airplane.
 

TFF

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I believe a group from the Yahoo Tailwind group bought all the forms for the V-Witt. About 4 or 5 molds to make extension and some other stuff. I have only seen the Tailwind Olds up close and essentially he makes a drive shaft that has a prop flange at the end. I’m sure the V-Witt is the same. Cast bell housing to hold the output bearing. They tried to offer it to the EAA but they were not interested. What is nice about the V-Witt is it is as close to a Bonzo you can make. For the most part it was a revamped version of the racers he had raced for forty years. Unlike the early days, he was removing horsepower instead of trying to find more.
 
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