Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: Introduction: my Dragonfly project

  1. #1
    bwilson4web's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Huntsville, AL
    Posts
    120

    Introduction: my Dragonfly project

    Hi,

    I recently started a thread asking about towing a Dragonfly project home and was convienced for good reason to go with a trailer or U-haul. But some folks questioned the wisdom of buying a used Dragonfly, an entirely different subject.

    Please understand I have a set of plans and license in the closet; the collected newsletters; and visited the Ottawa KS fly-in. In the 1984, I looked at but passed on a Dragonfly that had a prop-hub separation in flight and dead-stick into a field that sheared the landing gear. I passed on that project.

    Buying a used Dragonfly makes as much sense as in 1976 when I bought a used Cherokee 140 and hired a flight instructor to teach me to fly. I bought a motorcycle so I could reach the airfield (if it is unsafe to fly, the motorcycle ride would be unnecessary.) I sold that plane in 1980 when I had to choose between wife, plane, and financial stability . . . I still have the wife. The motorcycle was sold a year or so later. But I decided when I sold that plane that if I could not afford to fly frequently enough to be proficient, at least every three weeks, I would not fly.

    This particular plane is on its third owner. The second operated the plane and later hangered it after buying a Moony. But he passed on and the family has the help of an A&P who is my point of contact for the sale.

    This plane has not flown since 1992-3 so there will be at least a year of hard work. I have rejoined the EAA, contacted my local EAA chapter and spoken with the technical officers at both my local chapter and the EAA chapter closest to the plane. The deal is not yet sealed as a number of things have to throughly inspected by me and hopefully a 3d party familiar with foam and fiberglass construction.

    I plan to drive up there over the weekend, assuming our schedules work out, and spend a good part of Sunday looking at the plane and documentation. I will do my 'tap test' to see if there is any evidence of delamination of the fiber glass from the foam core and spar. This means both sides of the canard, wing, and of course rudder. I'll have my plans and check every major load bearing structure to the best of my knowledge. Note, I did buy and practice making foam-and-fiber glass parts using Rutan's kit in the 1990s.

    The photos show 'stains' on the pilot side rudder area which may be brake fluid. To the best of my limits, I will try to inspect this area closely to see if there is any evidence of damage, delamination or epoxy weakening. I will also look closely inspect and photograph the firewall bulkhead and engine mounts.

    I won't spend much time on the engine as the photos already show evidence of corrosion on the cooling fins, ring of rust on the oil filter, and the nuts look . . . 'funny.' As far as I'm concerned, the engine will go through a complete tear-down and rebuild including a through inspection (dye penetration) of the crankshaft, rods and prop hub. I notice Great Planes offers everything from replacement to overhaul support. I'll work with my local chapter, A&P and FAA to make a sensible plan. BTW, I rebuilt a 1500 cc VW engine in 1973 and got many more years of service before selling that VW MicroBus.

    The instruments will be removed, packed in foam boxes, and after consulting with my local chapter, sent for refurbishment or Ebay. There is a high probability the 1980/90s nav/com will be replaced with something more current.

    I know the elevator anti-lift, tabs, 'sparrow strainers' were removed. I will work with the FAA inspector to investigate repair options and/or build a replacement elevator. I need to check the control surface bushings anyway.

    The wiring will be throughly checked for insulation aging, chaffing, and any wiring harness tie-wraps and anchors checked and/or replaced. Each connector will be taken apart, cleaned and reassembled. The fuses will be replaced with aviation grade circuit breakers.

    The wheels and brakes will be disassembled, cleaned, repacked, and rebuilt. The old brake fluid drained and the brake cylinders inspected, cleaned, and rebuilt with new seals. Did I mention checking all bushings including the rudder pedals.

    Every control surface bushing will be inspected and if evidence of wear, replaced. All control cables and rods will be throughly inspected and repaired as necessary.

    The photos show evidence of paint loss so the surfaces will be stripped; the foam-and-fiber glass get one more through inspection and then; off to the paint shop.

    About the only thing I won't be doing is 'hopefully' building a new wing, canard and fuselage. Everything else will be as throughly reworked as if I were building the plane from scratch. Only when the plane is being reassembled and ready for engine testing and signoff will I take time to address flight training.

    The local airstrip where the EAA chapter meets has tail draggers and instructors. After the 3d class medical, I will pay lump sums in 5-8 hour increments to re-certify. Special emphasis will be on conventional gear operation and hood work with turn-and-bank. I may not have to take the written again but there are self-study courses.

    I have studied the aerodynamics of canard airplanes for years and am fully aware of the risks and benefits. We might as well discuss sex, politics and religion than go down that 'rabbit hole' and I'm not here to defend or advocate canards. So let's live and let live. You fly what you like and I'll fly mine. <grins>

    Yes, there are somethings I could speculate about. Adding landing lights and beacon for night VFR. Replacing the seat cusions with 'val pack,' dual usage luggage and seat cusions. Possibly a plane recovery parachute. After a year or so, if I catch the building bug, see if I can build a new canard and wing and reuse the fuselage and engine to meet the 51% rule. It is a lot easier to build while still having the plane to fly. <grins>

    Well hopefully this is a better introduction than my first, limited posting about trailering the plane home. Before I met Mike N., one of the handful of best engineers I've ever had the pleasure of working with, I was told,"You'll like Mike, he is as anal-retentive as you are." . . . the highest praise I've ever received. I'm glad to be back in aviation.

    Thanks,
    Bob Wilson

  2. #2
    rosiejerryrosie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Carlisle, PA
    Posts
    392
    And welcome back, Bob. Good luck with your project!!
    Cheers,
    Jerry

    NC22375
    65LA out of 07N Pennsylvania

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Clarklake, MI
    Posts
    1,268
    Sounds like a fun project Bob!

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    1,549
    Bob, obviously you took my posting about cautions of buying a used non flying homebuilt with an unusual design in a different manner than I intended which was to be helpful and just raise a couple of issues to think about.

    In looking on Google later under Viking Dragonfly I saw a lot of info, including a long topic by Dave Morse who is a test pilot with quite a bit of experience in a number of airplane types. I have actually flown with Dave.

    My post was not primarily about canards. I am neither an opponent or an advocate as you seem to be. Just offhand I can't think of a single current airplane that is being designed and built by any major company with a mid canard and no tail. But who knows, maybe that is the secret that all the others are missing. Or maybe that is just your cup of tea. Maybe the next great pro quarterback will be a guy who throws underhanded, and people will say, "Why didn't we think of that. There are new ideas that come alone all the time, some of them actually work.

    Your spirit to put in a lot of rebuilding work and make it go are one of the things that gave EAA its start and still make part of it. Me, I admire good work, actually went through mechanic school in the A F, but I am not that good at it and am more of a pilot than a builder. I co built a Starlite which was a fun little project, but my partner did most of the work and I did the test flying. I don't have the workshop or room to work on something either, now.

    I am a little suspicious of out of the norm designs. Some might work, look what Steve Jobs did with his vision.
    But, airplanes may have to follow some proven principals of aerodynamics. It's not like selling a new dress or shoe style. A friend here, years ago built one the the early Rutan designs, spent 3 years on it. I think it was a Quickie, not sure, but I know it had a front canard and was kind of small. He finished it and it really would not get off the ground. We are at 8000 feet altitude here, so pretty thin air. I never saw it fly, am not sure what happened to it, he has passed away and the plane hasn't been here in years. He did get the satisfaction out of building something and did it on his own.

    As for the instruments, I assume they are made well enough to withstand some hard landings and bounces, as well as turbulence, so I can't see why they would need to be removed to tow the plane. I had my Rose Parakeet on a trailer once in a July 4 parade and the instruments worked fine afterward.

    Good luck. Hope you get to fly one day and that it is a safe one. I have some info and a little experience and some thoughts on first flights, but if you get to that point I'll try to remember not to offer them to you.

  5. #5
    Pat_Panzera's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Hanford CA
    Posts
    21
    As one who has moved several aircraft across this country, including two Dragonflys, I would highly recommend using a Penske truck as they have wooden floors that are easy to drive screws for anchorage. Additionally, if the Dragonfly has an engine in place, be sure to support it from the truck floor as the fuselage section over the canard area is not strong enough to support the cantilevered engine once the canard is removed. Also get the longest truck you can, as the 22' wingspan is difficult to deal with and the longer trucks don't cost much more than one you'd have to fight with.

  6. #6
    bwilson4web's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Huntsville, AL
    Posts
    120
    Quote Originally Posted by Pat_Panzera View Post
    As one who has moved several aircraft across this country, including two Dragonflys, I would highly recommend using a Penske truck as they have wooden floors that are easy to drive screws for anchorage. Additionally, if the Dragonfly has an engine in place, be sure to support it from the truck floor as the fuselage section over the canard area is not strong enough to support the cantilevered engine once the canard is removed. Also get the longest truck you can, as the 22' wingspan is difficult to deal with and the longer trucks don't cost much more than one you'd have to fight with.
    Thanks!

    I plan to remove the prop followed by the engine and put the engine on a pallet before doing any other work. This will help move the CG aft so when I take the wing off, there won't be any 'surprises.' Then I'll raise the fuselage and remove the canard which has the landing wheels. I may elect to remove the landing gear first before removing the canard. Then I'll lower the fuselage on the 'dolly', its new home for the next year.

    U-haul has two trucks that can handle everything and for a few bucks more, I can lay the wings flat, inside, versus trying to lean them up in the over-the-cab space. I'll head over and inspect the trucks and IF I can suspend the wings, the overhead space becomes practical. Otherwise, just go with the big truck and don't worry about it.

    I haven't gone through the Penske site yet. I'm also looking around for a big 'horse trailer' I might borrow. We have options and mostly I wanted folks to know Good, Fast, Cheap, I pick GOOD and CHEAP so this project will go at a sedate and careful pace.

    FYI, I kinda wonder about my major overhaul plans . . . a bad thing because it means I might have decided to buy it already. Still it is a dream of nearly 25 years.

    Bob Wilson
    Last edited by bwilson4web; 10-06-2011 at 08:43 PM.

  7. #7
    bwilson4web's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Huntsville, AL
    Posts
    120
    Hi Bill,
    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Greenwood View Post
    . . . As for the instruments, I assume they are made well enough to withstand some hard landings and bounces, as well as turbulence, so I can't see why they would need to be removed to tow the plane. . . .
    The plane hasn't flown since 1992-93 and this is going to be a major overhaul. The boxes will be the shipping containers to an overhaul center with the possible exception of the radio. We have so much better technology today that it makes sense to step back and see if the 20-30 year old instruments have reached the end of their practical life versus something more modern. It also depends upon what the FAA inspector decides. Ultimately this will become a day/night VFR plane with enough instrumentation to handle marginal VFR.

    Bob Wilson
    Last edited by bwilson4web; 10-06-2011 at 08:38 PM.

  8. #8
    Neil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Monroe, LA
    Posts
    87
    Back in 1987 Rex Taylor and I flew down to Lakeland together. He in his Dragonfly and me in my Sonerai II. It was a pleasant trip and we had a lot of fun along the way. Hope you get to enjoy yours in similar fashion.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •