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Thread: No chapter within 175 miles

  1. #1

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    No chapter within 175 miles

    All,
    i am about to pull the trigger on an Airdrome N17, this would be my first foray into building. I don't fear the construction, but I would love to have the access to others who have the knowledge and experience to keep me out of trouble. I am in Livingston, MT. I am looking for suggestions on how to substitute the lack of a central knowledge base.
    Thanks
    Rick
    p.s. If this thread should be somewhere else, please let me know and I will move it.

  2. #2
    Read Frank Giger and Bookmaker, both here

  3. #3

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    I have followed each one from day one. They are to a large part my inspiration to buil an Airdrome airplane. Reading about their experiences convinced me I could do it.
    Rick

  4. #4

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    Well, until it got to electrical, I relied on other tube and gusset builders over at The Aerodrome website and calling Robert. As much as I like to bag on the plans, none of this is rocket science.

    I will say that a couple days of builder's assist at Robert's place will give one not just the skills required, but an insight into the thought process of design.

    I knew zip about building airplanes, metal working, or fabric covering. The first time I worked a rivet gun was in Robert's shop. Lots of "we need to anneal the end," followed by "okay, what's that?" At one point we were talking about airplane parts and Robert casually asked "you are a pilot, right?" with a worried look. I think referring to the gauges on the dash threw him for a loop.

    Anyhow, the Stewart System DVD's are worth it. True enough, my covering job won't win any awards, but it's okay enough.

    On the engine and prop stuff, the answer is Valley Engineering and Firewall Forward. Tell them what you're building and they'll recommend an engine and prop that will be right for it. And it won't kill you.

    As dumb as it sounds, apart from the four days of initial builder's assist, I asked for zero help from my EAA chapter until it came time to wire the engine and gauges. I asked some questions, but I was the only one that had attempted tube and gusset construction and so was a bit on my own.

    [edit] A lot has to do with what your goals are with the aircraft. Dale and I started pretty close to the same time, but mine's been up in the air, flipped, repaired, and back up again while his is still a lot of exposed tubing...though it's coming together quickly now.

    Why? Because while I think the WWI thing is a bonus to an aircraft design, Dale is building something that looks more replica than representation.

    His Nieuport 17 is going to look (and sound) a lot better than my Nieuport 11, thanks to the attention to detail and extra features he's putting into it. My plane has less than 20 hours on it and already has dents and patches, some of which were installed new.

    His aircraft is going to be trailer friendly; I cringe at the thought of having to trailer my Bebe. As by the plans, it's a PITA to mount the wings...or the tail feathers.
    Last edited by Frank Giger; 11-08-2017 at 07:22 PM.
    The opinions and statements of this poster are largely based on facts and portray a possible version of the actual events.

  5. #5
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    I agree a lot with Frank. He pretty much followed the designed plans - me, not so much. That's why I am in the 6th year of a 3 year project. Not being near a local EAA club may or may not be a hindrance. The club I belong to is about 70 miles away. But I have A & P friends here at our local airport to bounce ideas off. Are you near an airport that has A & P mechanics that might be interested in answering questions of other input? Also Robert is great about answering questions. Which is good as you will have many.

    All that said, it is a significant commitment of time and money. If you can, try to go to Robert's "factory" or some other location where the AIrdrome planes are gathering to get first hand information.

    ps: having several years building radio control model planes helps a lot.

    Dale
    Dale Cavin
    Florida Panhandle
    Current Project: Airdrome Aeroplanes Full Size Nieuport 17

  6. #6

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    House of Pain is a definite for me. I am very much where Frank was regarding construction of a plane. My aviation mechanical experience is limited to removing inspection plates and annoying the mechanics with questions, you would think with 35 years of ownership I would have absorbed a little more. I will have to start bumming at the local airports ( oh darn it ) to increase my knowledge base.
    Dale did I read that you are using a Rotec? If so what was the cost? Lead Time?
    Frank.... Same question as above with the VW engine.
    I will say that I am leaning more toward the "representation" rather than replica. For me it is about having an airplane that when I stand back and look at, is satisfying and fun. Kudos to you Dale on taking that extra step (or hundreds) to go farther. I believe if I had another a/c to putter around in I would do the same as you Dale. Right now for my first build a solid plane would be more than acceptable.
    thanks again for the info
    Rick

  7. #7

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    Dale went the Rotec route, but my direct drive 1915cc VW went 5K, FWF with prop. As he wrote, I may have the only Airdrome Aeroplanes that is actually built to plans!

    For the full sized N17, I'd put a redrive on it and a larger prop, so add a grand or 1500 bucks. The 1915cc would probably be enough. There's a point of diminishing returns on engines and props. The aircraft is a clinic on how to induce the most drag in design and still fly...more engine will increase rate of climb, but cruise speeds are going to be about the same.

    I can't talk good enough about Valley Engineering/Culver Props. Pay half up front, half when ready. I ordered it in June when I saw them at Gardner, telling them no rush, as I wouldn't need it until October or November. Part of it was I wasn't ready for the engine, but the other part was saving up my pennies. Shipping was around 200 bucks.
    The opinions and statements of this poster are largely based on facts and portray a possible version of the actual events.

  8. #8

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    Is there a clear cut advantage to use the Rotec vs the VW? (Removing the cost difference and the aesthetics?) with a redrive that would allow similar props so is/would there be a significant performance difference?

  9. #9
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    Rick, I bought the Rotec several years ago. The lead time then was long due to some labor issues. What I paid will be irrelevant but you can be sure it is over $20,000.

    There are 2 advantages to the Rotec. Weight and cool factor. There are now other radials on the market however.

    Dale
    Dale Cavin
    Florida Panhandle
    Current Project: Airdrome Aeroplanes Full Size Nieuport 17

  10. #10

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    Dale,
    I agree the cool factor is way way off the scale. I assumed ( through research ) that the cost was substantially more than the VW route. I have seen some thrust comparisons between the two engines and they are close se in output. ( using the reduction drive on the LARGE VW )
    The choice seems to come down to a totally cool power plant or a heck of a lot of flying with the VW from the cost savings.
    Thanks to all for the information
    Rick

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