December 2013

Experimenter is a magazine created by EAA for people who build airplanes. We will report on amateur-built aircraft as well as ultralights and other light aircraft.

Issue link: http://experimenter.epubxp.com/i/234576

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Page 20 of 40

Quad City Aircraf took a diferent approach than many other manufacturers. It stuck to one design for three decades but constantly made improvements, many of them signifcant. arts, designed the trim scheme, which included the use of graphite cloth both as a glare shield and as a trim element. She had an accurate image of her grandfather's bomber reproduced on the tail. The leather seats were carefully styled to match the seats of a B-24 Liberator. The most obvious modification to the airframe was a lowering of the side rails to facilitate entry into the cockpit for David. Sheet metal and bridging was added to reinforce the lower fuselage. New, larger doors cover the now wider opening. A folding rudder pedal and folding control stick reduced the knee-bending requirement. The fuselage closure below the engine was also refined. Cabin heat, sourced from engine coolant, was installed, and the list of modifications goes on and on. George has a popular website of building tips that catalogs the many customizations possible on the Challenger. See www.Challengers101.com. David made his first flight in the Challenger at Erie Airpark with George in the front seat, and he said the performance and visibility were impressive. The Patriot Is Coming? The Patriot is a tandem low wing built and flown by Quad City Aircraft in 1992 that was never produced as a kit. Only one aircraft was built. A big step up from the Challenger, it offered speed, a bubble canopy, and a roll rate of 180 degrees per second. Construction was square aluminum tube and angle, fastened with gussets and blind rivets and covered with fabric. The wing uses a built-up aluminum spar and D-cell. Challenger dealer Don Zank (from Zanklites of Bloomer, Wisconsin) liked it from the start, but for a variety of reasons the Patriot was never developed and marketed. He finally talked Dave Goulet into selling the airplane to him in 2002. Don upgraded the engine from a Hirth to a Rotax 912 and changed the tail to what he called an "RV style." The new tail lowered stall speed and increased top speed. It falls within the light-sport aircraft limits and can cruise at 120 mph and stall at 35 mph with two on board. Don's website indicates he hopes to offer kits for the Patriot, but a Quad City spokesman said there would be no kits. Some of the other aircraft at Erie included a U.S. Light Aircraft Hornet, Greg Sutter's Titan Tornado, a rare Capella XS sideby-side two-place, a Zenith CH 750, a Van's RV-8A, a Van's RV-4 from Elwood, Wisconsin, and a few contemporary and classic general aviation airplanes. Frank Beagle's two-place Challenger was ferried over from Kankakee, Illinois, and it has been sold. Frank was a 30-year volunteer at AirVenture and long-time ultralight announcer who passed away this spring. He was the 2013 EAA Ultralight Hall of Fame inductee. Erie Airpark features a pavilion at the far end of the runway and provisions for an evening bonfire, which is a standard feature at their fly-ins. The friendly social nature of the Challenger community continues into the evening, with hot dogs and marshmallows accompanied by homegrown music. It is at these moments that you see Jim Robinson doing what he does all day from sunrise to sunset. He visits and talks with people, making sure they are having a good time and know they are welcome guests. There is little doubt that he and others like him are what make sport aviation work. I ended my visit to Erie with a delightful early Sunday morning dawn flight over ground fog along the Rock River in the front seat of Jim's Challenger. With more than 2,000 hours on the airframe, Jim said he has more time in the backseat than the front. We flew with the doors off. It was fabulous. Dan Grunloh, EAA 173888, is a retired scientist who began flying ultralights and light planes in 1982. He won the 2002 and 2004 U.S. National Microlight Championships in a trike and flew with the U.S. World Team in two FAI World Microlight Championships. Please send your comments and suggestions to dgrunloh@illicom.net. Challenger XL-65 Data Sheet Engine: 65-hp Rotax 582 Wingspan: 29.5 feet Gross weight: 1,060 pounds Max zero fuel weight: 960 pounds Empty weight wheels/skis: 475 pounds Empty weight amphib floats: 585 pounds Payload wheels/skis: 585 pounds Payload amphib floats: 475 pounds Stall speed: 32 mph Max cruise: 90 mph Vne: 100 mph Endurance: 5 to 7 hours Range with wing tanks: 400 to 500 miles Baggage compartment capacity: 100 pounds Price: Quickbuild kits range from $10,000 to $16,000 depending on model. EAA Experimenter 21

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