WA 1.2 or SpitSairWulfStang

Discussion in 'Member Project Logs' started by Will Aldridge, Oct 28, 2013.

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  1. Oct 28, 2013 #1

    Will Aldridge

    Will Aldridge

    Will Aldridge

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    I decided it was time to come out of the closet with this project.

    History:

    The idea for this plane has been around for several years predating the start of my Corsair/Spitfire hybrid thread. The general idea has remained constant since I came up with it. A small composite aircraft with inverted elliptical gull wings and h-stab with a mustang-esque vertical tail. Version 1.0 had a 200+ hp Subaru conversion with retractable gear that I hoped would go 300+ mph. Eventually common sense won out and I knew I'd never be able to afford the $30,000 engine and it was more airplane than I am capable of piloting. The above linked thread begins after I enlarged the wing and tail and swapped the Subi for a Corvair but I left the retracts. So that was version 1.1. Common sense again won out and the retracts went away and a Mazda Rotary was introduced along with the final profiling of the fuselage that added a touch of Fw-190 to the cowl and canopy and took advantage of the ability of composites to created a compound curved fuselage. Below is a screen cap of the 3d model with the paintjob that I anticipate will be applied to the finished aircraft. For other details on the design see the thread.
    tan and grey paintjob.jpg

    Construction:

    I started building about a year and a half ago and progress has been very slow due to my working out of town and only being home for 1 or 2 weekends a month. And I'm very slow otherwise, so don't expect frequent progress reports.

    The fuselage shell is made up of .5 inch thick divinycell using 2" wide strips. My laptop with pictures for the first year of the project was stolen in February so you will only see a few of the shots taken since then.

    I cut fuselage cross sections out of blue foam and placed them at 1 ft intervals and then planked the 2" wide strips of foam onto the forms. When I first started applying the micro to glue the strips together I would remove a strip and butter the edges with the micro and replace it. Didn't work to well so I ended up using Duncans stitching method.

    The following pics show the fuselage from the longerons down sitting upside down on the table with a hardshell of micro applied and joggles cut into the foam with a planer. I set it too deep in some spots so i will have to go back and fill in the trenches I cut in some spots. The firewall is 3/16" baltic birch ply. What you see here is roughly 14.5 feet long.

    IMG_0602.jpg IMG_0603.jpg IMG_0596.jpg

    Winter is coming here in Idaho and it is too cold to work with epoxy in an unheated shop. I do have another space that I can build some of the smaller parts in but the fuselage will be hibernating till late spring.
     

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  2. Oct 28, 2013 #2

    Will Aldridge

    Will Aldridge

    Will Aldridge

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    I have also started building the spars for the center section. The design is a modified version of the WAR replica Corsair. The Spar caps for the main spar are made up of 10 2" wide strips of 3/16" thick Doug Fir. The aft spar is made up of strips of 1/4" Doug Fir.

    I printed out the pattern full size for both center spars and then cut out blocks for the curves and screwed those blocks to the pattern,

    IMG_0588.jpg
    then epoxied the strips together and clamped them in the jigs. Below is the lower spar cap for the main spar.
    IMG_0590.jpg



    I have glued up the top and bottom main spar caps and the aft spar. I have also started fitting the filler blocks of wood in between the spar caps. Winter is also putting this part of the project on hold.
    IMG_0614.jpg IMG_0615.jpg

    I couldn't resist placing the lower spar cap on the fuselage just to visualize what it's going to look like when done.
    IMG_0593.jpg IMG_0592.jpg
     
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  3. Nov 17, 2013 #3

    Will Aldridge

    Will Aldridge

    Will Aldridge

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    H-stab spars

    I have started working on the h-stab. It has 2 wood spars made out of 3/4" Doug Fir which tapers to 1/4" thick at the tips. There will be 4, 1/16" ply ribs joining the 2 spars with 2 lb blue foam filling the rest of the space and finally laminated with fiberglass. Attached is a screen grab of the 3d model showing the spars (tan) and ribs (maroon) along with the elevator hinges.

    h-stab structure.jpg

    I have rough cut the H-stab spars out of 1" x 6" thick Doug Fir. Plans were printed out full sized and glued to the board then cut on the band saw. IMG_0634.jpg IMG_0635.jpg

    The spars must now be planed down to 3/4" thick in the middle and tapered to 1/4" at the tips. The WAR Corsair spars are similar except they are only 2" wide and thus could easily be trimmed using a table saw with the appropriate jig. Mine spars are 4 1/4" wide at the widest point and my table saw won't cut the depth so I'm going to be using a hand planer (powered of course) taper my spars. But that will have to wait for another night.

    I rough cut the hinges out a couple months ago. Material is 2" x 2" 6061 T6 aluminum angle. And I couldn't resist setting the hinges in place on the aft spar.

    IMG_0637.jpg IMG_0636.jpg
     
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  4. Mar 27, 2014 #4

    Will Aldridge

    Will Aldridge

    Will Aldridge

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    I've had the last 2 weeks off work and although I am lamenting not using the time more productively on this project I have made more progress than in the last couple months. But that's not saying much.

    The 2 accomplishments of today are the construction of a jig to install the bulkheads in the fuselage and the construction of a scarfing jig. I'll let you follow the link to the scarfing jig.

    To make the jig for the bulkheads I screwed 2 6" wide 12 foot long LVL's together in a T shape and screwed 2x4's down where the bulkheads will be. The bulkheads will screw to these 2x4's. It should allow me to keep the fuselage straight and true while installing the bulkheads and while glassing it.
    IMG_0716.jpg (picture should be rotated 90 degrees clockwise)
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2014
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  5. Mar 28, 2014 #5

    Will Aldridge

    Will Aldridge

    Will Aldridge

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    I cut out the three bulkheads between the seat back ( not shown) and the h-stab and installed them on the jig.

    image.jpg
     
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  6. Apr 16, 2014 #6

    Will Aldridge

    Will Aldridge

    Will Aldridge

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    I mounted the fuselage onto the jig and cut into sections to go between the bulkheads. Still waiting on warmer weather to work with epoxy.

    image.jpg image.jpg

    I also also built a jig to hold the h-stab spars in place while I bond the ribs in place.


    image.jpg
     
  7. Apr 17, 2014 #7

    Will Aldridge

    Will Aldridge

    Will Aldridge

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    Jay Kempf sent a pm about this project and I felt it was appropriate to share some of it here:

    Last summer I tried skinning the exterior of the shell and long story short I really made a mess of it so I stripped it all off(you can see some of the evidence on the firewall in the picture above). I'm not very social and prefer to work alone and it was just too big a job for one guy. So I've spent the winter thinking about how to make the job a little easier. The plan I came up with was what you see here. By building the jig with the bulkheads I would ensure that I didn't get a twist in the fuselage while skinning it, the bulkheads would be precisely placed, and it would slice the job of skinning it up into smaller much more manageable chunks(at least the inside). One additional benefit is that I won't need any tapes on the bulkheads and that will save a little weight.

    bulkhead interface.jpg

    The diagram shows what I plan to build. The inner skin will run right up onto the bulkhead so there will be no need for tapes.

    Right now I've tacked the sections between the bulkheads with hot glue and will skin between them on the inside and then flip the whole thing to do the outside. I will cut away the foam in a v shaped notch from the bulkhead fill that with flox and then skin over it.

    One thing I haven't decided on is whether or not to bond in the wing spars now. It would stiffen the forward section considerably and I won't have to worry about jigging the fuselage again to do it. The downside is it will substantially increase the weight and size of the plane and moving it around will no longer be a one man job.
     
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  8. Apr 18, 2014 #8

    Will Aldridge

    Will Aldridge

    Will Aldridge

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    I never get as much done in a day as I would like but this tiny little bit felt very satisfying. I can finally see a flying surface taking shape.

    IMG_0747.jpg
     
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  9. Apr 20, 2014 #9

    Will Aldridge

    Will Aldridge

    Will Aldridge

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    image.jpg Spent quite a few hours today working on the h-stab. The lower sections that don't have foam yet need nut plates for the hinge brackets. And I need to put the plywood pads for the nut plates in place as well.
     
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  10. Apr 22, 2014 #10

    Will Aldridge

    Will Aldridge

    Will Aldridge

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    Got a little more done today. This will be the last progress report for a couple of weeks since I'm going out of town for work. I added in the plywood plate and nutplates on the forward side of the spar and screwed them in place with #4 stainless steel wood screws. I was surprised they worked, since i thought I would have to ream the holes out slightly on the nutplates.

    IMG_0749.jpg

    On the aft side of the spar is the 3/16" thick ply hinge plate. I made it that thick since I could only easily find 2.5" aluminum angle for my hinges and it would have been too short without the thick ply. The bolts are just some cheap grade 5 just to hold pressure on everything while the glue sets up.
    IMG_0750.jpg

    You might notice that there are 2 nutplates missing on the center hinge in this last photo. Either ACS counted wrong or I lost 2 of them. Not a huge deal since I'm leaving for awhile and I put in a order today for all the hardware I'll need to build the elevator and rudder and it should be here by the time I get home. I must admit to being a little apprehensive about getting the hinge line straight.
    IMG_0752.jpg
     
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  11. May 6, 2014 #11

    Will Aldridge

    Will Aldridge

    Will Aldridge

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    I'm normally pretty reserved and don't show much emotion but I just had to jump up and yell YEEEHAAAA!!!! a few minutes ago. I finally got all the elevator hinge brackets shaped and drilled (but not deburred) and decided to bolt the elevator spar to the stab just to see if it worked or not. And it did! I was kinda worried about it but I managed to get it on the first try! No binding!

    Now I can start filling in the rest of the foam on the stab and building the elevator (but I still need some hardware from ACS for that).

    IMG_0782.jpg IMG_0784.jpg IMG_0783.jpg


    Onward and upward.
     
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  12. May 8, 2014 #12

    Will Aldridge

    Will Aldridge

    Will Aldridge

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    Finally got all the foam in place and shaped. The tips are the only portion that have compound curves.

    First I sanded the foam to a strait taper all the way to the tip.
    IMG_0785.jpg
    Then I layed a template over it that i had printed out (Rhino 3D can unroll flat wrapped surfaces).
    IMG_0787.jpg
    And traced it then sanded to the lines. You can see the template below that I had sanded to.

    IMG_0788.jpg
    Then I hand sanded it till it looked right
    IMG_0790.jpg

    Still some more work before it's ready to glass but it's getting close. The weather however doesn't want to cooperate. It snowed a little this morning. Still too cold for an unheated shop.
     
  13. May 11, 2014 #13

    Will Aldridge

    Will Aldridge

    Will Aldridge

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    I'm 2 for 2 now. The picture is the aft spar for the V-stab and the rudder spar with the hinges bolted on and once again it works as desired with no adjustment needed. I attribute my success to printing out all the parts full size with all the holes for the hinges accurately placed with center marks instead of using dimensions to draw it out by hand.

    I did one boneheaded thing though. Both spars shown are tapered slightly following the contours of the fuselage and fin. I accidently reversed the rudderspar. The aft face of it is facing forward. Not a huge deal I'll just have to sand down the taper and add some filler or something else to get the contour right (the ply plates for the rod end bearings and nut plates are already glued on).

    rudder hinge.jpg

    Also visible is the rudder control horn. Can't go much further with the rudder or v-stab at the moment since I haven't decided if I'm going to put a position light in the tail. Also I ordered a antenna kit from RST Engineering about a week ago that also needs to go in the tail and it's not here yet. I'm going to give them a call Monday and see if it's on its way.
     
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  14. May 20, 2014 #14

    Will Aldridge

    Will Aldridge

    Will Aldridge

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    I finally managed to do some epoxying a few days ago. I bonded the scarf joints of the shear webs for the center section spars together. It was still a little cool when I started but my work area is a tin shed and it got warm enough in the subsequent days to cure the epoxy. While I was at it I also bonded all the main wing spar components together.

    Today I used spray adhesive and glued the full size templates to the shear webs and rough cut them to shape.

    I also built a jig for my hand planer so I could true up the faces of the main spar. Doesn't look too pretty but it did the job. Tomorrow I will bond one shear web to the face of each of the center section spars.
    image.jpg

    Below is the main spar looking pretty and ready for the shear webs.

    image.jpg

    And here are both center section spars. It's great to see the table without the jigs for bending the spar caps screwed onto it. They were there for almost a year. I think I'm speeding up. I've learned quite a bit and it's starting to show in how much quicker things get done (still abysmally slow though).

    image.jpg
     
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  15. May 24, 2014 #15

    Will Aldridge

    Will Aldridge

    Will Aldridge

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    Not really part of the plane but I have been working on a website that will be mostly devoted to the design and construction of my plane. Thewilltofly.com
     
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  16. Oct 18, 2015 #16

    Will Aldridge

    Will Aldridge

    Will Aldridge

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    A lot has happened since I last posted in this thread. Someone posted a question to my profile page asking if the project was still going or not so I decided I had better post a status update here.

    I started A&P school at Idaho State University about a year ago. And long story short my dad met the owner of a air medical Transport Corporation on a commercial flight who was interested when he heard I wanted to be an A&P and move to Alaska. So I dropped out of school and moved to Anchorage and accepted a position in facilities maintenance with the promise that I can move into an apprenticeship as an A&P. I thought that was preferable to adding anymore Student debt.

    Currently I am living in a 315 square foot apartment. The project is it mostly hibernating though not quite dead. I have managed to do a very little amount of work on it the pictures show just how cramped and how innovative I have been in my use of space. Obviously I'm not in a big hurry to use epoxy in such a small space that I have to sleep in, and as should be obvious if the living space is this cramped the budget is even more so.

    Although I have learned an awful lot from what I have done and seen here, I'm less than impressed with the corporation I'm working for and looking for something else and even considering moving back to the lower 48 although I really do love Alaska. The local EAA chapter, number 42 is really exceptional and there is a lot of activity, a lot of people building their own aircraft and even a couple of guys namely me and one other guy designing their own.

    A couple of the pictures below are from a flight one of the members took me on in his husky. Alaska has some stunningly gorgeous scenery if you couldn't tell. I also got to see the stol competition in Valdez.

    As far as building progress on my own plane, about the only work I have done is to glue a couple of foam blocks to the elevator spar and do some rough shaping. You can see the center section spars on top of the cabinets. And obviously my mattress is on top of my workbench. I can't get too jiggy with everything since the neighbors get real upset if I make any noise.

    So mostly design work is being accomplished at a fairly slow pace. I just found onshape (onshape.com) and am impressed with its capabilities particularly the ability to add material properties that can calculate the weight of the entire aircraft. Obviously this will give me a very good idea what the weight and balance will be. There is a steep learning curve and I don't have internet at my apartment. So even that may take some time to accomplish.
     

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    Last edited: Oct 18, 2015
  17. Nov 7, 2015 #17

    Will Aldridge

    Will Aldridge

    Will Aldridge

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    A few years ago I built my design in Xplane, obviously a lot of time and modifications have passed since then and I thought it was time to do an updated version. It's a very rough and unrefined model but I am pleased that it has confirmed that I'm not way out in left field with my expectations and the numbers that I have run.

    20151107_121115.jpg

    Here are a few numbers from the "flight testing". Stall speed 50 knots, top speed in level flight 220 knots, climb rate 2500 ft/min. one thing that did surprise me was the ineffectiveness of the flaps. 30 degrees of flaps as originally designed was totally inadequate to slow the plane down enough for landing so I increased that to 50 degrees. It's been a little sobering flying this. I've never flown anything in real life that could do better than 130 kts in level flight. It's given me a small inkling of what to expect and prepare for as the time approaches when the plane is almost ready to fly.
     
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  18. Mar 5, 2016 #18

    Will Aldridge

    Will Aldridge

    Will Aldridge

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    Time for an update. Nothing really to report build our design wise but I and the pieces of plane will be relocating back to the lower 48. For the next 6 months or so I will be working in Utah, come September I'll be going back to school in Idaho.

    I dropped out of A&P school to come up here and become an apprentice A&P for an air medical transport company. Seemed like a good idea at the time but for multiple reasons not least of which is the company itself I've decided to bail out and go back to school. You know the company has issues when about 40% of your coworkers congratulate you on getting out of the company. I won't air all the companies dirty laundry but in the first 6 months of last year half the pilots and medical personnel quit. I don't have specific figures for the rest of the positions in the company but turnover all across the board is really high corporate wide. On the surface the company looks good, must also look good financially to the banks because they are building 12 new hangars across the US but I've talked to pilots who haven't been to their assigned base for almost a year because of personnel shortages. The company can't keep the bases they've got staffed and they're building more? I'll end there and not mention the company name cause I don't want this social media thing to bite me in the future when I start applying for jobs, but if you're looking for a job with an air medical transport company pm me. I won't say stay away because they do have some good things going for them but I was in a position that I got to see how corporate worked and it worried me.

    So anyway now I get to stuff all those parts back in a trailer drive them almost 3000 miles and beat them up even more than they are already, and put them in storage for who knows how long. But I do think I'll have more opportunity to work on it than I've had here.
     
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  19. May 1, 2016 #19

    Will Aldridge

    Will Aldridge

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    As expected things got beat up quite a bit. But I'll press onward. As usual I had almost 2 full days and squandered quite a bit of it. I'll do better next time.

    One design change occurred while I was in Alaska that changes the way the forward fuselage is built. The long and the short of it is I changed the lower fuselage between the center section spars in order to have a little more room for the control system under the pilots seat. It also allows the construction of a jig that will allow me to more accurately mount the spars to the fuselage. The picture gives a tiny bit of the idea. The piece of OSB is one side of a box that I will build that the firewall will be mounted to on the front and the seat on the aft end. The ring frame in the middle will be bonded onto the main spar and the aft spar will also be mounted. Not visible is a slot in the side that will allow me to accurately position the instrument panel. Then the foam will be pieced in around the bulkheads and at least one layer of glass will be applied then the jig will be removed. We'll see if it all works.

    Not shown is the result of another change that I think was made before the move to Alaska. I moved the main spar forward 6 inches and angled the gear legs back so they could bolt directly to the spar and save the ridiculous cantilever design I was trying to make work. I found out after Mike Arnold released all his videos to YouTube that angling the gear leg back is actually better from an aerodynamic perspective, and now that I've done it I think it looks better. Win Win situation, except it makes the pilots seating position slightly uncomfortable. But it's not a long range cross country plane so that's no biggie.

    The result of all this is that the spar lost about 1/4 inch off the top and the bottom, so I printed the profile out full size glued it to the spar and am working on cutting/sanding the spar down to the new profile.
     

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  20. May 28, 2016 #20

    Will Aldridge

    Will Aldridge

    Will Aldridge

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    Have a 5 day weekend and actually got to the plane on day 2. Maybe there's hope this will actually fly one day. I got the jig mentioned in the previous post mostly put together, at least enough to show how it works. The firewall is screwed to the front (sitting on the ground in the pic) and a ring frame that will be epoxied to the main spar is just sitting in place right now.
    jig.jpg


    Also rough cut out the seat back. It's 2 pieces of 1/8 ply that will be laminated together. As you can see on the jig the bottom of the seat back is curved so I'm doing this to make it a little easier to get that curve in it. Also has the benefit that the access panel for the luggage bay is in the seat back and the front piece of plywood has the cutout about 3 inches larger than the rear. That way I can carefully cut the access plate out and glue the 2 pieces together and set them back in place when needed.
    seat back.jpg
     
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