October 2012

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/84816

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Page 22 of 47

important contributor to his results. For a decade now, he has been building composite go-fast parts for Lancairs and other "glass" birds; his modifications and parts are found on virtually every Lancair at Reno, including that of Darryl Greenamyer, for whom Andy also served as crew chief. Andy wanted to build his own air- plane, and Darryl, who knows ev- erybody and has flown pretty much everything with wings, was a great mentor, from the early stages right through the current test regime. Darryl's influence is there, but the design is all Andy's. "And the wing is Greg Cole's," Andy reminded me. The design was to have been simple and inexpensive to manufac- ture, to build, and to fly. "Keep it light. Keep it simple. Keep it inexpensive," Andy said, "and it will be easy to build." As many of Andy's crew have noticed, keeping it light (about 500 pounds) makes it easy to maneuver on the ground and in the hangar. "One hand is all it takes to bring it out of the han- gar," he noted. Andy spends a lot of time in the shop, so he knows what takes the builder's time, and he en- gineered the LT-1 kit to have a minimum of shop time while still complying with the 51 percent rule. "The molding is mostly done," he said. "The builder needs to do just a few small layups." These small parts are easy to handle and pro- vide skill in composite work, which will be useful down the road when the builder is repairing or modifying his machine. "Look at the website; you can see the wing, the spars, fore and aft," Andy said. "They're in the wing when you get the kit. The builder can literally start in- stalling hardware." The fuselage is split horizontally, the easier to install the controls. "It's easy to work on at waist level [the shipping fixture is great for this], before bonding the top half on," he added. Fuselage assembly itself is simple. Andy said, "You use structural ad- hesive, clecos to hold it until it sets. Then you pull the clecos, patch the holes, and it's done." Andy likes to make things out of composite materials, and since his days as a hardcore skimboarder, his craſt smanship has been an important contributor to his results. The firewall-forward setup is easy. HKS supplies a very ef- fective (and big) muffler; Andy's single-carb intake may remain and become refined, or he may opt to have the builder tune the stock two-carburetor setup. The noticeable black bumps on each side, near the rear and under the cowl, are cooling air exits. "I'm still optimizing the shape," Andy said.. "Right now, we have at least all the cooling we need—and our tests are being flown at Ther- mal, California!" For now, they just screw on, as Andy tests various configurations. Sure, there's work. Andy said, "As a manufacturer, we can't close out everything; we have to comply with the 51 percent rule. Still, this is a kit plane, not a scratchbuilt. Don't get me wrong; there's still work to do, once you get the kit." Andy figures that a highly expe- rienced builder who had never built an airplane—but who has a dedicated garage or hangar and the ability to concentrate on building— could build an LT-1 in three months. For others, he thinks "up to a year for an enthusiastic amateur." The design is simple and inex- pensive. There are no machined hinges, for instance; everything's hinged with piano hinges. Another simple, cheap, light trick: The tubu- lar gear legs are housed in simple carbon-fiber sheaths. Pricing Andy is planning to complete the airframe kit for around $30,000, with deliveries to regular custom- ers (he's already building No. 2 and No. 3) starting around Oshkosh time in 2013. Although the spinner and plate are included, the kit does not include the HKS engine, prop, paint, and instruments. Yes, the 60-hp HKS gives plenty of performance, but there is room for the turbocharged version. Other engines will likely find their way into the spacious, round cowl. Summing up, Andy told me, "My philosophy was to make an easy airplane to build and to fly; safe, af- fordable, and comfortable." It looks like he did it. » For more information, visit www.Aerochia-LT1.com. Tim Kern is a private pilot who lives near Indianapolis, Indiana. He has written for more than 40 different aviation magazines and also provides writing and marketing services to the aviation industry. He was key builder on two aircraft and has earned the title of Certifi ed Aviation Manager from the NBAA. EAA EXPERIMENTER 23

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