Experimenter

FEB 2015

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.

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24 Vol.4 No.2 / Februar y 2015 ENGINES FOR HOMEBUILDERS ON A BUDGET Some people will not fl y with a two-stroke engine because it is not felt to be as reliable as a four-stroke, and/or they do not like how it sounds. The half VW and 1/3 Corvair engines mentioned earlier are established choices. There has been work done, mostly by the fl oppy wing fl iers and some fi xed-wing designers such as Leeon Davis for his DA-11, to convert industrial engines to power their fl ying machines. The websites www.SDplanes. com/new and http://Luciole.co.uk/index.html have some "real" aircraft examples. The goal is to have enough power to fl y well with an engine that burns less than 2 gallons an hour, weighs less than 100 pounds, and costs well under $5,000 ready to fl y. This is a development that deserves more attention. Valley Engineering is one example. www.CulverProps.com/ Engines.html Solo Flight's package is based on a 627-cc Briggs & Stratton engine. www.SoloFlightLtd.com/SOLO%20ENGINE.html Leeon Davis' "Mower Power to the People" DA-11 is shown at this link. www.YouTube.com/watch?v=HpDgeNcQWh0 ELECTRIC AND HYBRID POWER There are interesting developments happening with electric and hybrid electric power. One company to watch is Pipistrel. www.Pipistrel-USA.com/index.html , www.Pipistrel.si We will have more to report after the Electric Aircraft Sym- posium IX this coming spring. http://CafeFoundation.org/v2/ ea_eas_2014_main.php V-6S AND MORE At the opposite end of the homebuilding spectrum are the bigger automotive-based conversions. Many V-6 engines are more than 300 hp, but the engines with real star potential are the LS series from GM. The LS 3 is available as a crate engine of 430 hp for $6,500. It is not quite ready to run as it needs an ECU and some accessories, and to turn a prop, a reduction unit of some kind. The volume of such conversions is so small that they are virtually custom built. Jack Kane's website is a great place to start if you are inter- ested in high-power auto conversions as there is a wealth of information there. www.EPI-Eng.com Stewart Davis is carrying on Bud Warren's gear drive develop- ment. He has an in-line compound reduction box for Subaru and others and an of set up gearbox for V-8s. They feature a centrifu- gal clutch to avoid torsional resonance. www.AutoPSRUs.com Robinson made quite a splash at Oshkosh a few years back with a polished, air-conditioned Seabee with LS V-8 power. Its PSRU is the only one I know that is currently available using Morse Hy-Vo internal-toothed chain pioneered by the late Fred Geschwender. Robinson of ers complete engine packages. www.V8Seabee.com Guy Marcotte has developed gearboxes similar to that used on the early Allison V-1710. They have a pinion meshing with an in- ternally toothed ring gear. That makes for a compact, lightweight gearbox with only two gears, and it has the engine and prop turning in the same direction. The small of set between the input and prop shafts make it especially suitable for rotary and Subaru conversions. www.GlasairProject.com/Marcotte/Page2.html Ben Haas has a successful Zenair 801 conversion and will help others interested in doing auto conversions. www.HaasPowerAir.com/Home.html Jess Myers is one of the pioneers of toothed belt drives. www.BeltedAir.com Richard Finch's book on auto engine conversions, Convert- ing AutoEngines for Experimental Aircraft, is out of print but is available. It is worth having. Used copies are available on Amazon.com. Toothed belt drives have proven to work well, although they get quite large when used on higher horsepower applications. Poly-V belts are used at the lower end of the horsepower spec- trum and are even more suitable for an amateur to construct. Aircraft engines have gotten too expensive for airboat use, and auto engine conversions have taken over. An example is found at www.CenturyDriveSystemsInc.com . Airboat drives may be on the heavy side for aircraft use. http://WhirlwindPro- pellers.com/airboats This is just a taste of the fascinating subject of aircraft engine options. Auto engine conversions display the "time versus money trade-of ." If you expect someone to provide a developed pack- age, it is likely to cost as much as a "real" aircraft engine. If you know or are willing to learn about engines, low-cost powerplants can be made by taking advantage of mass-produced core engines. After many years of reporting on this subject, I tell people this: "If you want to fl y, put in the aircraft engine that the de- signer intended for your airplane. If you are still interested in an alternative engine, make a test stand and develop your new engine, and when the weather permits, go fl y your airplane with that engine. When you are happy after running the hell out of your new engine on the ground, you can sell your old aircraft en- gine and recover a good portion of your costs. Then put your new engine on your aircraft. Developing an engine conversion is a big project; ask Jeron Smith and the other developers. Building an aircraft is a big project. Do you have time for two?" If you really want to, go for it. You will learn a lot. That is what experimental is about. Because of EAA, I was able to meet William Besler at Osh- kosh. Bill, a longtime EAAer, had designed, built, and had fl own the only documented successful steam-powered, man-carrying airplane in 1933. I told him that someday I would like to build the second successful steam-powered airplane. He replied, "Well, good for you." That is a challenge. That is the Experimental Air- craft Association. www.YouTube.com/watch?v=yvQsvfa2N_c In 2015, the homebuilder has more choices of powerplants than ever: from ones you can strap to your back, up to fi re-breath- ing turbo V-8s for Sport Class racers to outrun Unlimiteds; jets; and almost silent electrics. If you can't fi nd an engine you like, you can always fl y gliders. www.SSA.org , www.ESoaring.com Murry I. Rozansky, EAA 48039 Lifetime, is president of the Experimen- tal Soaring Association.

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