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larr

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2012
Messages
157
Location
markham, ontario, canada
Well, I thought I would introduce myself by writing about what I'vebeen working on.


First, some background -
My father was in his university's gliding club, just after the warand they used war-surplus Tiger Moth's as tow planes. I had twouncles with pilot's licences, and one of them actually worked atDeHavilland Canada. I had another uncle who was in the RCAF.
You would think that would have been a good background for a lifelong interest or career in aviation.
Nope.
I couldn't have cared less.
Now, of course, with DHC long gone I am truly disappointed that Ididn't take a greater interest.


Then, a couple of years ago, it all sort of came back. I was walkingaround the local Home Depot wood section and I thought, you know,maybe I could build a small plane out of this stuff. Later, forFathers' Day my wife arranged for us to go to a vintage warbirdsairshow. It was awesome (although, I think she's beginning to regretit). There is nothing like standing behind a Lancaster as itrev's it's engines.
And then, over in a corner of the hanger, was a lovely little SopwithPup replica someone had made. And of course I thought – 'I could dothat!'


But I wanted to build a sort of S.E.5A, and I wanted it to be a 2seater.
So it got shelved again until I accidentally came across a picture ofa two seat trainer version.
At last!
Now all I had to do was figure out how to make one.
I didn't know anything about making an airplane except that there wassome kind of difference between 'aircraft' wood and regular wood. Iread that somewhere.
It seemed to me that there should be some books on aircraft designfrom that era, and of course the math would be simple. Because, well,they didn't have computers. Or calculators.
I did find that book – Ottorino Pomilio's Airplane Design andConstruction – and, as they say – I couldn't have been morewrong. The math was intense, which was a complete surprise ( Isuppose I should be looking for 'Differential equations for CompleteIdiots). I'd read, repeatedly, that early aircraft construction was'experimental' – as if you would walk through the local GeneralStore randomly collecting bailing wire and barrel staves untilpresto! An airship.
Of course, the fact that bridges and buildings had been thoroughlyengineered for centuries didn't come into the wholebuild-it-and-it-might-fly historical version of early flight.


So my intention – if there is any interest (and maybe even if thereisn't) is to apply Pomilio's book and others from that era and do aseries in Wood Construction as I try to design and build my sort-ofS.E.5A trainer replica.
 

bmcj

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Joined
Apr 10, 2007
Messages
13,308
Location
Fresno, California
Your post started me wondering if Airdrome Aeroplanes (Airdrome Aeroplanes ~ Holden, MO) had an SE-5. Alas, they don't, but if anyone could put together an easy-to-build kit for the SE-5 (even a two-seater), it would be them. They don't build with the original construction materials (wood)... they typically use aluminum tube construction with pop-riveted gussets for attachment.
 

Dana

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 3, 2007
Messages
9,133
Location
CT, USA
Just because they didn't have computers doesn't mean the math wasn't intense... it just meant the math took a lot longer! Actually, a lot of planes back on the old days weren't designed with lots of calculations... which is one reason flying was dangerous in those days.

Rather that use an old text as in introduction to aircraft design, I suggest a modern book aimed at homebuilders. You can search; this subject has been frequently discussed here. Raymer's Simplified Aircraft Design is well spoken of, though I've never seen a copy myself.

The SE5 is actually not a bad choice. The shapes are simple to construct, and it was one of the better flying designs of that era.

-Dana

As a pilot, only two bad things can happen to you and one of them will.
a. One day you will walk out to the aircraft knowing that it is your last flight.
b. One day you will walk out to the aircraft not knowing that it is your last flight.
 

fly2kads

Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Joined
Jan 2, 2010
Messages
1,574
Location
Justin, TX
Modern books are great, but for the most part they don't deal with biplane design much, if at all. Two that do to some extent are Hiscock's "Design of Light Aircraft" and Stinton's "Design of the Aeroplane." If those don't whet your appetite and you want to get really serious, go to their source: Walter S. Diehl. There are a couple of good NACA papers he wrote that are freely available. His textbook, though, "Engineering Aerodynamics," is by far the best source for biplane design (that I have seen). I'm not familiar with Pamilio's book, but Diehl was familiar with and/or directly involved in NACA's biplane research all the way up to WWII. On the structures side, Peery and Bruhn cover this type of construction well.
 

skeeter_ca

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2005
Messages
1,027
Location
Yucaipa, Ca
You might have your heart set on a S.E. 5A, but maybe you should start looking around at all the different plans availible for aircraft. It would be alot simplier route with out all the math. There are lots of aircraft that have plans already designed and that would give you a big leap in possibly even finnishing it. I would bet that there are hundreds of plans out there and probably quite a few of them are WW1 designs.

skeeter
 

Kevin123#

New Member
Joined
Sep 5, 2012
Messages
2
Location
johannesburg south africa
Hi all, I am new to this site and was trying to get some advice and direction on building my own plane. I am moderatley skilled with my hands and have the facilities to build a plane. I have done some research and have come avast array of options. I have a guy in my estate that is busy building a RV 10 and 7. The planes are fantastic but the price is out of my league at the moment ( got two kids to educate). I have also bought the plans for the affordaplane but the above mentioned builder has raised doubts in my mind about safety.

I would appreciate any advice on this matter
 

snaildrake

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2010
Messages
247
Location
Albuquerque, NM USA
Hi Kevin-
Welcome to the forums. You'll probably get more suggestions if you start your own thread with this question. It always helps if you can include what you're most interested in building, what you want to do with the plane (the "mission"), and what your exposure to flying has been thus far. -Dan
 

larr

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2012
Messages
157
Location
markham, ontario, canada
Thanks guys for all the good thoughts and advice.
The goal here is to use brainpower (if I can actually come up with some) to keep costs and construction time down. For me, writing stuff down helps me understand it - which is why I want to turn the R&D aspects into a thread. The general principles aren't any different now than then, and I think it might be a good background for others that want to design their own (regardless if it's a biplane or not)
 
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