Wood X................

Discussion in 'Wood Construction' started by KitaruSapien, Oct 22, 2006.

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  1. Oct 22, 2006 #1

    KitaruSapien

    KitaruSapien

    KitaruSapien

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    LOL! Yes, folks, another 'wack-o' seeking to ply the skies with his own wooden core/composite skinned creation is upon you. My ship has been tested by glider, R/C, rocket, rocket-glider versions and extensively in the X-Plane simulator program(I can't afford a proper CFD testing regimen.) I would test-fly her as a RPV if I could afford it for safety-sake, but I can't afford to, so that's that. I do, however, have a back-pack/belly reserve parachute for myself & I've her rigged with a 62' cargo parachute on a ballistic spreader gun/rocket-propelled drogue for those nasty "Murphy" scenarios out there that don't give a crap how good a builder you are, how good your ship is, how proven the design is, how good your DAR is, how good the weather is, how good a pilot you are, how good the controllers are, ect.

    SO, anyhew....what I'd like is CONSTRUCTIVE criticism/questions/comments/suggestions/thoughts on my work thus far. PLEASE, if you are one of those folks who simply can't be CONSTRUCTIVE in your thoughts, then keep it to yourself. I'm not going to just chuck 4 years of my hard work into the nearest dump. I will fly this ship, it's only a matter of when and how. GOOD, solid input is always invaluable, and I will be as safe as I can(hence, the parachute on both ship and pilot.) Thanks ya'll, I look forward to hearing from you.

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Incom_SkunkWorks/

    PS: GREAT FORUM!!!!!
     
  2. Nov 3, 2006 #2

    Falco Rob

    Falco Rob

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    Checked your link but couldn't find any photos of your progress.
     
  3. Nov 4, 2006 #3

    KitaruSapien

    KitaruSapien

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    I'm sorry, the link is a Yahoo Group, and you'd need to join in order to see the pics. My bad. I'm working on getting the newest images on a different directory so ya'll don't have to join the Group in order to see them.
     
  4. Nov 5, 2006 #4

    Nilsen

    Nilsen

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    Hello Kitaru,

    Nice job! I created a Yahoo account and looked at your work. Very impressive!

    As far as constructive criticism: I think it would be great to see your engineering drawings if you have those and your stability calculations. It seems you relied very heavily on computer simulation for your proof of concept. There have been a number of discussions on this site about the validity of of those sorts of simulations to get to the heart of the real issues of airplane design.


    All in all your work is very inspiring to see.
    If you don't mind I'm going to attach a photo from your site. I think a lot of people in this group would like to see it but not everyone has a yahoo account.
     

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  5. Nov 5, 2006 #5

    KitaruSapien

    KitaruSapien

    KitaruSapien

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    Nice entry into the maneuver......you may now commence your bombing run....LOL!

    I thank you for your tempered reply. I know it's tough to do when looking at such an outrageous project. I've spent countless hours in the X-Plane comp sim(HIGHLY regarded by private/commercial pilots as very accurate flight modeling), but I've also made five flying models from rockets with R/C controls to gliders and finally the latest 1/4 scale R/C bird which will fly all the sim maneuvers as 'proof of theory.' Basically, I'm doing all I can to work out the bugs sans a true CFD routine(too expensive.)

    I've gotten tremendous support from several local EAA'ers, and their vast knowledge has allowed me to pursue not only odd wood construction, but also figure out sandwiched, multi-layered foam/glass skins, carbon fiber/Zylon cloth reinforcements, a quad landing gear system(yes, I feared the old "Dragonfly" effect as well, you betcha), Matco triple caliper brakes on the dual 15" mains, Linak heavy-duty electrical actuators and the all-important 62' ballistic /drogue parachute.

    As to the engineering, I have no drawings(drop bombs here.) I have the original CG calculations, and will post those asap once I locate/scan them. What I do have is the first 8' wing(a much weaker version of those on the ship now)which supported 5,500lbs of gravel, bending over 6" but not breaking(only minimal ply, no glass skins or even closures on the leading/trailing edges), and the first series of tapered 4'x6"x4", 3/4" thick-walled boxspars which picked up the backend of my Dodge 3500 dually without shattering(I would point out that the two 1/2" AN bolts holding the unit onto my pintle hitchbase did not fare so well, as they had to be hammered clear of the solid boxspar root sectional; the two 1/2" thick T6 aluminum L channel support angles had their own set of nastily enlongated holes!!!) It was really quite a sight to see that 4' long boxspar arch over 2" vertically, creaking harmoniously with each heft of the 5T cherry-picker; even my trucks' suspension chirped in unison....LOL! We had made a test spar(same dimensions)of foam, quad vertical glass plies and twenty crosswraps of heavy glass with a solid root sectional, but it only lasted until the suspension slack came off the duallies, then it catastrophically failed at it's midpoint(those bolts got off easy on that one!) Now, the boxspars have throughbolted sandwich sideplates of 1/8" T6 strengthening them as they enter the root support blocks( neither of those assemblies were present during the first actual 'lift.')

    I've also gone to great lengths to establish a CG just 6" afront the wing leading edge, and repositioned the parachute pack topside to make room for the solo fuel tank(26gal)directly on CG centered in the fuselage. The ship MUST be physically weighed and balanced before every flight, as per it's preflight checklist, and that includes with the pilot onboard. The CG was established with the flying models, not the sim, although the sim concurs. The ventral/dorsal fins(not pictured except in the sim pics)were designed in for increased yaw control and faster recovery, again from the models. I have plans for a 'pop-bottle' deployed emergency high aspect canard just aft of the nosecap in case of engine failure, but have not finalized it's design, or that of the air-brakes just forward of the elevators' hingeline, which the sim says will decrease the landing speed by 20%. We'll see.......scale versions of both those systems will be on the final R/C model when it tests in the spring.

    I am inwork on the quad-elevator control arm right now, and the aero counterweighting system for them. I also am hashing out a main battery rail system that is hardmounted to the main landing gears' actuator, moving it as one to maintain the CG as the main gear retracts/extends. I know my 'open-rib' wingform causes great dismay at first sight, but those old pics do not show the foam core blocks installed, nor have any pics been taken of the wingskins which consist of dual layered glass topside, a 1/2" foam center and quad layered glass interior which has a final wrap of carbon fiber around all. I may sacrifice one of the finished wings to test it to destruction with all components installed just to make sure of the final strength(if I can find a jig strong enough not to break before the wing fails!) :eek::D

    I've also done a couple of other nasty tests like loading up the cockpit with 250lbs of sandbags, and dropping the nose on it's gear from 5ft in the air; quite the bounce, that. While I was in the Marines, I saw the Navy purposely drop an F14 on it's gear, and said HEY....even I can test that way! The twin 2"x6" frame rails that run the length of the ship seem adequate, and the 3/4" thick birchply bulkheads every 16" have been noted numerous times as being 'overkill.'

    Heavy? Yes, but the models all say she likes it that way. I had the luxury of having experienced R/Cer's properly calculate the correct scale weight of the glider model before it flew. It has proven to be very nice to be able to just settle steadily onto the runway, rather than be tossed about like a leaf in a 'cane.....:gig: The R/C glider 'sticks' really liked her, although they noted that the 11% NASA/Langley supercritical symmetrical wings made her fly more like a missle than a plane, stating that a higher minimal airspeed would have to be maintained or she tended to "sit on her butt"; again, the sim reflected that very fact. I've had the same glider R/Cers fly her in the sim, and they noted very little flight characteristic differences between the glider model and the glider sim-bird. It should also be noted that kit/custom R/C powered versions of X-Wings with canards have been successfully flying since the late 70's, and Cox even came out with an .049 wire-flyer which was quite popular. The key to my ship is the symmetrical foils. She simply will not fly with cambered foils unless there is a canard to stabilize the pitching moments of any type of cambered wings.

    Anyhew, on the real ship, needless to say every bolt will be AN, every cable it's proper specs, every connector safety-wired. Once the engine is completed, the PSRU will be wrung out and the electric pitch control of the prop tuned; videos will be taken of all that work. So......any other thoughts? THANKS!
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2006
  6. Nov 5, 2006 #6

    Topaz

    Topaz

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    Just please be careful. Your design methods are unconventional, to say the least, but you're doing a lot of testing, which is comforting. Take the same care in the flight-test phase - don't go for broke, but just take it one small step at a time.

    FWIW, the general opinon of the experienced engineers around here is that X-Plane is not accurate enough for engineering/design work, which is still another reason to take things slow once you get ready to put your friend's fragile body on the line.

    Still, an ambitious and exciting project.

    Am I correct in assuming that all the pitch/roll control surfaces are on the trailing edges of the wings?
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2006
  7. Nov 6, 2006 #7

    Falco Rob

    Falco Rob

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    An impressive achievement.

    I sometimes struggle with the effort and not inconsiderable expense associated with building the Falco, but at least I have the comfort of knowing that others have gone before me and its performance is well documented.

    It is difficult to comprehend the imagination, determination and just plain BALLS :D required to undertake the design and construction of such a radical aircraft as the X wing.

    Good luck and please keep us updated as you progress.

    Rob
     
  8. Nov 6, 2006 #8

    KitaruSapien

    KitaruSapien

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    Safety first.........

    Yes, all control surfaces are on the trailing edge of the wings. They are comprised(root to tip)of the four elevators working as one, the port ailerons paired working as one, the starboard ailerons paired working as one in opposition, and the drag rudders outboard paired similarly. I may place vertical stabs on both the ventral and dorsal fins as well. Take heart, I will be as safe as I can. Before the real ship takes to the air, the final quarter scale R/C bird will be mightily tested in adverse conditions; and probably busted up many times in the process...:wail:

    Thanks for the best wishes. Yes, it's been quite the learning curve, and still is!!!!

    I'd also like to take the time to humbly ask ya'll to consider something. I know you are quality pilots, I know your ships are sound and your methods tried and true, but as we all are human, we all err, or worse, Mother Nature and/or our machinations fail us despite our diligent efforts. I BESEECH YOU; please put parachutes on yourselves, if not your ships. We recently lost an outstanding DAR & pilot due to an unforeseen catastrophic event in northern Colorado, and parachutes may have saved them both; truly tragic. Your spirits are far too special to take even the smallest chance of losing to MURPHY! As a twelve year parachute rigger, I've felt the handshakes and hugs of tearful pilots whom my parachutes saved. I've seen the enlightened smiles of pilots coming home to tell their tales and teach all after such MURPHIES; and when I saw them take to the skies again it made my heart soar with them. I question not your skills, I question nothing; I speak only from the heart.

    Thanks for hearing me out. Anybody else need the soapbox?

    :D
     
  9. Nov 7, 2006 #9

    Peter V

    Peter V

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    Now I'm not a qualified aeronautical engineer, but (isn't that a great way to start a comment :D ) The last time I played darts at the pub, I couldn't help noticing that the thrust came from the front, with fins in the rear to stabilize. With the propulsion of your aircraft and your wing so very aft, are there any forms of stabilization in the nose that arn't apparent in the photo? Wouldn't the aircraft be inclided to squirm like a V8 with cheap tires?

    Also, I like the idea of parachutes, but with most incidents happening during take-off and landing, and the time it takes to clear your aircaft and deploy the chute... would it be any benefit under 500ft? and how quickly can a aircraft parachute deploy?
     
  10. Nov 7, 2006 #10

    Topaz

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    So basically this is a biplane flying plank with a very loooonnnng nose.

    I'm not sure, but this might be the first biplane flying plank I've come across. Stabilization will be provided by the wings themselves, like any plank. With the symmetrical airfoil, if the CG is in the right place the thing will fly best with the trailing edge control surfaces rigged slightly trailing-edge up, simulating a proper reflexed airfoil. Not the most efficient way of doing it, but it's been done before.

    You'll want to warn your test pilot not to use any abrupt pitch control motions near the ground - flying planks have a tendency to settle a little with pitch-up control inputs, which can be disconcerting near the ground and can result in bouncing the gear during the flare. And takeoff is likely to be rather long for the wing area for the same basic reasons.

    High angle-of-attack ops might get a little odd once the air starts flowing around that long nose from the bottom up. Seems like it'd move the neutral point forward quite a bit at high-alpha.

    Keep us posted!
     
  11. Nov 7, 2006 #11

    Rom

    Rom

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    This seems an interesting project. with practicly very little moment arm for the elevator, allowable CG range near zilch, the retracting the front landing gear is going to move the CG aft. Have you looked at differential elevators top and bottom, to use the vertical distance between the wings for moment force for controls? I'd like to see this thing fly, good luck.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2006
  12. Nov 8, 2006 #12

    Norman

    Norman

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    René Arnoux built a biplane plank in the 1920s but the wings were paralel so the X does seam to be unique.


    Yep. A long fuselage moves the NP forward
     
  13. Nov 8, 2006 #13

    Topaz

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    Interesting! I hadn't heard about that one. Thanks, Norm!
     
  14. Nov 9, 2006 #14

    orion

    orion

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    One of the perils of giving “constructive” criticism is that it may be taken the wrong way, especially by someone who has already invested a significant portion of his life into the endeavor in question. Four years is a long time to invest into something, especially something that realistically, may end your life. At this point I’m not saying it will or wont – all I’m saying is that given the uncertainties of such an ambitious project, without extensive and/or experienced analysis and/or responsible modeling, it may actually be advisable to cut one’s losses rather than end one’s life.

    But all that aside for now, let’s face it, you’re doing something that I’m sure many of us have dreamed of since the mid seventies. I know I personally wanted one of these ever since I first saw the movie – and wanted it more as I kept going to the theater for the next dozen times or more. As a result, I tended to keep my ear to the ground over the years, in order to see if anyone was taking the time to actually get one of these flying for real. Having always been interested in aircraft (my wife would say “nuts about”) and now being in the business of designing airplanes, I have been fortunate to have seen several attempts at an “X-wing” development, all of which unfortunately failed.

    All total I’ve seen three of these over the years (not counting yours), including one in Northern California (about 1979) where the engineer was also getting professional help from a couple of retired engineers from NASA’s Moffet Field, one in the Southwest and if I recall right, the last one was in Oregon. The last two were more backyard projects and despite both being done by competent aero types, both eventually faded away. Part of this was due to the real costs associated with this type of endeavor but part was also technical – and that is the real problem with this particular configuration.

    Out of the three, the Californian project was the most realistic since it did seem to have sufficient technical expertise, as well as funding. But the last I heard, it too was halted (in the early eighties - prototype was about half done) after the analysis finally came to the conclusion that there was no reasonable way to deliver at least a bit of a guarantee of stability and sufficient control.

    So, to the specifics. As was mentioned above, X-plane has been discussed herein a number of times – just use the search function above and you should be able to get to the specific threads. In short though, for practical design, X-plane has significant limitations that make it no better than a good simulation video game. It is probably OK for operations well within the aircraft’s flight envelope but due to realistic programming and user limitations, it has no ability to tell you what’s going on at the extremes – and this is specifically where this particular configuration can get into trouble.

    So, without getting into an overly long dissertation, based on the experience of those who came before you, as well as my own, I think the problems you might see will come from a number of control associated variables, all of which will have a common denominator: The long nose.

    As Topaz correctly pointed out, this is essentially a biplane flying plank design. So far so good, as a number of bi-wing and mono-wing planks have been designed, built and successfully flown. But all those have a number of commonalities that are important to take heed of since they do differ significantly from your goals. The first and foremost issue is one of control – a plank has very little control authority (and no, the extra wing set will not help all that much) and as such the craft’s trim characteristics have to be very carefully controlled. This is true from the standpoint of both, the static and the dynamic stability criteria. This lack of authority drives two design guidelines.

    First, the airplane is essentially a point design. It has no flexibility beyond the optimum point since any changes could dramatically affect the control envelope. One aspect of this is that once you establish your control Neutral Point and your forward CG limit, you’ll probably find a very narrow allowable CG envelope. (This is very important and if you don’t understand these terms and how to derive them I’d strongly suggest you stop now.) I’d be willing to bet that the allowable envelope will be on the order of an inch or so, possibly less (what established the 6” CG dimension you’re shooting for?).

    The second issue is one also connected to control but this time more from a dynamic standpoint – simply said the airplane will not have sufficient damping characteristics in its controls and layout to account for any significant masses located far from the CG. The momentum characteristics of this type of weight distribution may get the airplane into trouble when flying in gusty air of just simply due to an accidental abrupt control input. As I mentioned above, notice all the other plank designs: They’re all relatively short beyond the wing’s leading and trailing edges. No long bodies, no significantly displaced engines or other masses. All to keep things in a relatively tight envelope.

    And the third issue, also nose related, has to do with the lifting characteristics of a long streamlined body. Essentially what you have is a missile in front of your wings. But to further complicate matters, the shape of the nose will generate very strong shifts in pressure distribution and magnitude. Essentially the lifting characteristics of a body of revolution (close enough for this discussion) are far from linear and are very influenced by the angle of attack. Furthermore, unlike airfoils, the pitching moment characteristics of this type of body also changes with angle of attack resulting in a very difficult trim condition. Combine that with a very influential nose and you might find the trim solution to be very difficult, if not impossible.

    But the trim and control authority problem is compounded by another factor: Vortex lift. This particular shape will most likely be able to generate a pretty strong vortex flow off the nose, even at small angles of attack. This flow can generate powerful lift vectors, even on a small body such as you have here. And the problem is that since that phenomenon is strongly a function of Reynold’s Number (scaling), it is highly unlikely that the models you have flown or are planning on building, will be able to demonstrate any of these characteristics. Not until you reach full scale. There is a chance that a very large model might be of use but I would not recommend anything below about fifty to sixty percent.

    Regarding models, you can use the search function above for that also since scale testing has been discussed here in detail several times. In short, if I were to hazard a guess, I’d say that the models will not be able to provide you with any of the critical information you’ll need for the full size craft. Everything from the behavior of the airfoils to transitions in the boundary layer is controlled by the scaling factor – models will provide you with basic qualitative information but not any numerical stuff or hard data or flight characteristics that you could fully depend on. As such, just because a model works will be no assurance that the full scale craft will, especially at small scale

    Regarding the airfoil sections, unless it’s too late, you’ll most likely want to look at using reflexed sections rather than just symmetrical ones. They’ll be more efficient and will provide you with better control and trim authority. But do make sure to cover your based when it comes to the stability analysis. Don’t depend on models nor on the sims in X-plane – this is one area where cutting corners is not worth it.

    And a final not on parachutes: They’re great if they have time to work. But keep in mind that even an rocket propelled airframe chute needs 500 to 700 feet to deploy. Any lower and you’ll hit the ground just as hard as without one. If a stability problem should bear its ugly head, it will do so shortly after take-off. At that point the only function of the chute (especially the one you might be carrying) will be to act as an airbag.

    Yes I am somewhat critical but it is for a reason: I’ve seen quite a few of these types of programs over the years end with expensive noises all over the runway and yes, a fatality or severe injury in some cases. That’s not good for the families involved, the friends, nor for any of us or our industry. So in short, be careful or even better, be paranoid. Make sure to live after your mistake – you can’t learn anything if it kills you.
     
  15. Nov 9, 2006 #15

    wally

    wally

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    Since one of the discussion points was CG, I thought I would put my 2 cents in for fun.

    I happen to be in the middle of doing weight and balance on my Pitts S-1 biplane. This is a very conventional biplane aircraft designed back in 1945 and copied several times since. I must say it is kinda short at 16 feet but has a nice large horizontal tail with good size elevators.

    The allowable CG range is only 4 inches (64 to 67 inches) when it is not at max gross weight.

    At max gross weight of 1150lbs. it can only be from 65 to 66 inches. Only 2 inches range. I will probably have a min and max pilot weight to be aware of and I can forget about taking the golf clubs in the (tiny) baggage area.
    Wally
     
  16. Nov 9, 2006 #16

    Peter V

    Peter V

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    What :confused:
    no mention of canards yet?? :eek: :p:

    A couple of the little buggers on the nose,
    plus a smattering of those decorative
    vortex generators - CG problems all gone!

    (and yes, this reply was just to make Pepsi come out of Orion's nose):D
     
  17. Nov 9, 2006 #17

    orion

    orion

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    Well, in all honesty, I was thinking of it. Putting a canard on the nose and shifting the CG forward would do a lot toward fixing the unpredictable characteristic problems of this particular configuration.

    None of the three previous attempts looked at canards and I am assuming that this individual would be against their use also since that would dramatically detract from what he was trying to do. Without taking a closer look at the configuration I of course can't tell at this point whether it will work or not - all I'm saying is that given the history and his less than technical approach, the chips might be stacked against him.

    However I would love to be there to see it fly.
     
  18. Nov 9, 2006 #18

    Nilsen

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    Well, he did say...

    Perhapse if the emergency canard was deployed for the test phases and always during landing and take-off Kataru could really make this thing happen.
     
  19. Nov 9, 2006 #19

    orion

    orion

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    The problem is that you have to design for the condition. If the aircraft is balanced and trimmed for the plank configuration, all the canard would do is severly destabilize the airplane, guaranteeing a crash. A practical example of this was on the Beech Starship when at one point during flight test the canard accidentaly swept forward without the flaps being deflected. The variable sweep canard geometry was incoporated in order to counter the additional pitching moment of flap deployment (the Starship deployed flaps only about 10 deg).

    When the canard swept forward without the flap deflection, the aircraft nearly lost all control - only the quick reaction by the test pilot saved the situation. Subsequent analysis showed that a few more seconds of that configuration would have resulted in an uncontrolled descent and a big hole in the ground.
     
  20. Nov 9, 2006 #20

    Nilsen

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    ...Hmm, I was trying to ease into the canard speak...

    I understand that the canard would have to be loaded properly to function as a stabilizing surface, I just wanted to add ( if Kitaru is still interested in constructive feedback) that a possible canard is already in the designers mind. My hope is that if that feature was made 'non emergency' then the designed CG placement could be tweeked (move batteries, etc. toward the nose so you don't have to redesign your cockpit (it's probably not that easy but someone more qualified can help)) and voila, "I'm going in Red 2, Luke you got my tail?"
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2006

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