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Thread: Air bike Tandem- getting started

  1. #1

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    Mar 2018
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    Air bike Tandem- getting started

    I recently received my plans for an air bike tandem. I plan on scratch building but this is my first endeavor. I would love to connect with people that have experience with them, or building in general. Iíll be registering it experimental. Iím in North San Diego county. Anyone local. I plan to head down to Brown field next Sat for EAA breakfast, hoping to connect with someone.

    Carl

  2. #2

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    Sep 2011
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    I have not built an air bike but I am finishing up a Zenith 701 and previously built and still fly a Pulsar XP out of Big Bear airport. Am always open for visitors.
    Bob H

  3. #3

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    I have a single-place Air Bike that I'm flying out of Ramona Airport. I'd be happy to show you the aircraft and help you any way I can.

    David

  4. #4

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    Dec 2018
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    Another Biker in SoCA

    Hey Carl-
    Congratulations on the Air Bike choice! Me, too! I got my plans late spring and have been getting ready ever since. I am building a single seater, also as experimental. I live in Hollywood and my home field is at Whiteman. We are not "local" enough as I would want, but I would like to come and see your progress and compare notes, as things move along.
    Dan
    medicalgasdan@gmail.com

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by DAB677 View Post
    I have a single-place Air Bike that I'm flying out of Ramona Airport. I'd be happy to show you the aircraft and help you any way I can.

    David
    I have also kicked around the idea of going "ultralight". But I have heard conflicting reports regarding the reliability of 2-stroke aircraft engines. I would like to get your opinion also, especially regarding the Hirth engines.

  6. #6
    Norman Langlois's Avatar
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    The 2 stroke reputation is from and earlier time when experimentation was without data.That Data gathered from all the bad experience and good , has its roots in today's engines and range of performance. I respect the past and would use the tried and rated . I have been flying with one of the lightest weight to power ratios a 440 Kawasaki . there are many of them out there still in use. If I were going to fly and use a new engine it would be the new F33 Hirth 50 HP electric start and the total weight is only a few lbs over my hand pull Kawasaki system.
    There are very few Ultra light engine failures these days. The news is far more disturbing for GA and LSA engine failure , This year has me wondering why.
    Last edited by Norman Langlois; 12-28-2018 at 04:29 PM.

  7. #7

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    Thanks, Norm. I have considerable experience with (older) 2-stroke motorcycle engines (Suzuki and Kawasaki), and was perplexed by anecdotes of seizures and in-flight failures of those designed for aircraft. It's nice to hear from someone with actual experience.

  8. #8
    rwanttaja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Norman Langlois View Post
    The 2 stroke reputation is from and earlier time when experimentation was without data.That Data gathered from all the bad experience and good , has its roots in today's engines and range of performance. I respect the past and would use the tried and rated.
    Your comment made me curious, Norm: HAS two-stroke reliability increased with time?

    One way to look at the issue is to examine the accidents involving homebuilt aircraft with two-stroke engines, and determine what percentage of the accidents were due to engine issue.

    I split my database into two groups: 1998 through 2006 (nine years), and 2007 through 2016 (ten years). The slight difference in number of years doesn't make a difference, since we're look at the percentages rather than the raw numbers.

    During the earlier period, 31.6% of accidents involving EAB aircraft with two-stroke engines were due to engine issues.
    During the later period, that dropped to 21.4%! So, indeed, the homebuilt world got better at producing reliable two-stroke engine installations.

    Here's the figures for several engine classes.
    1998-2006
    2007-2016
    Traditional Engines
    14.2%
    14.6%
    Auto Engines
    32.3%
    32.2%
    Non-Cert Four Strokes
    20.2%
    15.5%
    Two-Strokes
    31.6%
    21.4%
    "Non Cert Four Strokes" are engines like the Rotax 912 and the Jabiru. The Rotax 912 itself, in fact, dropped from 15% in the first period to 10% in the more-recent period...better than traditional engines, in fact.

    Ron Wanttaja

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by rwanttaja View Post
    The Rotax 912 itself, in fact, dropped from 15% in the first period to 10% in the more-recent period...better than traditional engines, in fact.
    Ron,

    How granular is that data, can you give a breakdown by engine? (I'm particularly curious about the Rotax 582, Rotax 503 and the HKS 700e)

  10. #10
    rwanttaja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thisadviceisworthles View Post
    Ron,

    How granular is that data, can you give a breakdown by engine? (I'm particularly curious about the Rotax 582, Rotax 503 and the HKS 700e)
    It really depends on the thoroughness and accuracy of the NTSB reports. Often the engine just states "Rotax" with no model number; I don't count these on either the two-stroke or the non-certified four-stroke categories. My full database (1998-2016) shows 456 accidents involving aircraft with two-stroke engines (out of about 3800). The last ten years show only 168. These *are* just EAB-registered aircraft; I don't track Part 103 accidents.

    For the full 19-year period, 106 EAB accidents had Rotax 503 variants, and 214 had Rotax 582. 21% of the 503 accidents were due to power issue, vs. 33% of the Rotax 582 cases. There are only four cases involving EAB aircraft with HKS engines. The power system wasn't cited in any of these, but that's just too low of a sample set. According to the FAA database as of a year ago, there were 198 aircraft registered with HKS engines. There were 13,508 listed as having Rotax engines. 1861 were listed as having 503s, 3226 as 582s, but the FAA registry lists just a bunch of generic "Rotax" or "Bombardier" engines with no model number.

    Ron Wanttaja

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