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Go Back   The Aerodrome Forum > WWI Aviation > Aircraft > Replica Aircraft


Replica Aircraft Topics related to the construction of WWI replica aircraft

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Old 24 November 2005, 11:07 AM   #801 (permalink)
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Fuselage Jig lines

Here is the latest on my build project. After drawing the lines on the Fuselage Jig Table with the assistance of a laser, I cut 2 inch wide longeron blocks from a piece of 2 x 4. Then I cut blocks at half the radius of the tubing to assist in aligning the tube on the centerline of each Station. Tubing, sheet metal, & hardware should arrive sometime next week.

C'ya
Joepilot
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File Type: jpg Laser Line for Fuselage_small.jpg (49.8 KB, 59 views)
File Type: jpg Fuselage Lines Drawn_small.jpg (49.8 KB, 65 views)
File Type: jpg Fuselage Longeron Blocks_small.jpg (49.7 KB, 80 views)
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Old 24 November 2005, 11:32 AM   #802 (permalink)
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Here is a secret to building I found out from an old master; when building the blocks for welding jigs, use pressed particle board rather than solid wood. The participle board is almost impossible to catch on fire with welding heat and it does not SMOKE OUT, spoiling your weld environment. It makes a big difference.
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Old 24 November 2005, 12:08 PM   #803 (permalink)
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Jeff Brooks,
Wish I could say that I own any CNC gear but I do have occassional access...

Here are the attachment point pieces I have made...


I did these on the CNC lathe but it might be just as easy to do manually, just the radius and necked down portion made me think twice. As far as price, the round stock cost me about $25.00 for enough material to make the set...I have no idea what a pro machine shop might charge but I suspect most of the cost would come from the fact that each piece must be set up twice, once for the front and again for the rear. For CNC, I had to write a separate program toolpath for each end.....a little time consuming for me ( I'm strictly amateur ) but since I was making eight of them, I wanted to ensure they were identical. I'm sure someone with more manual machining experience than me could do a similar job and for less money.
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Old 25 November 2005, 06:47 AM   #804 (permalink)
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Here is a story for all you guys’ worried about you’re first flight. Thought it might make you feel better. The plane is not a Dr1 its a 3/4 Fokker DVIII from Aerodrome Airplanes, Still it will make you think. The builder is some one who I believe to be more than competent enough to build the plane but something still went wrong.

It had to take more guts to tell this story than it did to get in the aircraft that morning... So hears one to courage.


The story of the first flight of my 3/4 scale Fokker D-VIII follows. I hope you enjoy it. For a long time I could not talk about this, and it is still hard. I think this story needs to be told, with the hope that future idiots like me will not throw caution to the wind as I did. Share it with your pilot friends, the beginning of my story was published in Sport Aviation in mid 2002 (I can't remember the month!).

After five and a half years and 2500 hours of construction the day had finally come. It was September 8, 2002 and I was driving in my Mazda RX-7 convertible to the airport at 6 am. It was about 40 degrees that morning, but true to my nature I was driving "open cockpit" wearing my leather jacket and "O.J." knit hat and gloves. The sun was just beginning to rise and I had Sly and the Family Stone blaring as I hustled down Route 80 to the airport. I was nervous, but also excited and truly ignorant of what I was about to face....

I hadn't flown much in the past five years. I had spent all of my spare time building my plane. I had a fair amount of time in a Piper Cub, and had been checked out in a PT-17 Stearman. I actually hadn't flown a "nose dragger" in about 6 years and I had just had a recent biennial flight review with Legendary Doug Stewart in his Piper PA-12 Super Cruiser. Doug gave me a glowing review, which boosted my confidence a great deal. I had even flown as "test pilot" in Legendary Joe Gauthier's Thorp T-18 (he was with me, but let me act as test pilot). I felt I had the skills to fly my Little Bird and truly expected a glorious day. As the old saying says, "Fools rush in where Angels fear to tread".....

I arrived at the Chester airport, the wind was dead calm. Known to all local pilots as one of the most difficult airports to fly out of, this was a rare day indeed. The sky was sparkling blue, and the air was still cold enough that I could see my breath. I pre-flighted the plane while I waited for the "crew" to arrive: my father; my mother; my brother; and Joe Gauthier.

The previous week I had spent time increasing the cockpit opening so that I could get in and out with my parachute on. With the helmet and parachute on I could barely move in the tiny cockpit. I could barely turn my head! Even small arm movements were nearly impossible but I practiced and I learned ways to operate everything. It was like wearing a wetsuit, and just as uncomfortable...

Everyone arrived, and I could see trepidation in the eyes of a couple of them. Most nervous was my brother, who even as of this writing has never flown with me. Joe was stoic and quiet as he always seems to be. I gave a stern speech to everyone about what to do if things went wrong though I really expected to be a hero at the end of the day. I rolled the tiny craft out, and squeezed myself into the cockpit knowing well that my chances of being able to bail out of it were greatly lessened by the very tight fit. It would take eight to ten seconds for me to be able to get out. Joe gave me a look that chilled me before I started the engine and I could see in his eyes that he was concerned and this worried me.

The might HKS fired right up, its familiar motorcycle sound eased my tensions. I had put all I had into firewall forward, and truly believed that I had the best possible power plant up front. I felt confident that no matter what it would keep running, and that as long as it was running I would be okay. I gave it a good long warm up, which seemed to make everyone anxious except Joe. I think he really didn't want me to go....

I taxied down along the half mile of hangers at Chester, weaving back and forth like a drunken sailor to see the 'road ahead'. I was suddenly feeling confident and excited and ready to complete my long journey. I checked for traffic, and oddly enough there was a Piper Vagabond up in the air at that early hour. He landed and I taxied onto the runway, ready for anything, ready for glory....

Forward went the throttle, and I experienced acceleration like that of a motorcycle! With 350 pounds of thrust and a gross weight of 600 pounds, I had expected to be launched and was not disappointed. The tail was up in 20 feet, and I held it on as long as I could but we were airborne in 150 feet. It keyed the push-to-talk and said "Yahoo!" as we left the runway and for one brief moment in time everything was perfect.

Climbing at 1200 feet per minute I could still see well over the nose and was amazed at how quickly we rose. At 1000 feet I moved the stick to the left to make the crosswind turn and to my surprise the nose went right! With a one inch left deflection of the stick, the nose went 20° to the right and the wing rolled maybe 5° to the left. Big-time adverse yaw, and I quickly pressed harder on the rudder which gave a weird sliding turn to the left.
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Old 25 November 2005, 06:48 AM   #805 (permalink)
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The rest of the Story

At this point I knew I was in trouble. Turning to downwind was much the same, and this "flat turn" made me very uneasy. A quick check of the instruments said that all was well, but the guy in the cockpit was already wishing he was still on the ground! The mighty HKS went on singing its wonderful song and we departed the pattern to the south. The plane felt stable at full throttle in a straight line so I still had hope. I then began to pull the power back and things got very spooky....

At 75% power, the plane began to "hunt". I was constantly chasing it and felt like I was trying to stand on a beach ball. I let the stick go and the plane would drift right, or left, or up, or down. It seemed to have no natural stability whatsoever. I began to think my day would end badly, and wondered what the plane would be like when it got slow enough to land.

I did a few turns at 75% power, and though it felt strange I could get it to go pretty much where I wanted it to. I gained enough confidence to reduce power, and as I did the plane became very unstable. Control movements became greater to keep it on heading, and it was giving me indications that is was about to quit flying altogether. The rudder was totally ineffective and the ailerons only yawed the airplane as we got slower. The only axis that had authority at low power was the elevator. With trepidation, I decided to try feeling out the stall. I was still determined to bring home my little jewel, and to not be a fool and die that day.

Pointed east, I gently reduced power and tried to maintain altitude. I had been told that the stall speed would be under 40 mph, so I was a little unready for what happened at 55. I felt a little shake at 55, then at 50 the left wing dropped 45° and the nose dropped 45° quicker than you can say any expletive in the book. It also began to rotate to the left rather quickly. All of that pilot training came in and without hesitation I performed a perfect spin recovery in half a turn. I looked at the altimeter and I had lost 800 feet! I thought to myself "if that happens on final I am a dead man"....

With foolish courage I did several more. Usually the left wing would drop, but once the right did. Fortunately, each time it would break right at 50-55 so at least I had an airspeed that I could watch for. Somewhere in there I did consider pointing the bird towards Long Island Sound and bailing out, but again pride and the love for that airplane made me at least try to take her home. I worried also that without my weight in the airplane it might not make it to the water and hurt someone. I actually thought about what the accident would do to general aviation. Nowhere in there was a thought of my life. I am truly "broken" that way.

Heading back to the airport at cruise power, it felt okay. It seemed to like to go straight, so I flew straight as much as I could. As I entered the pattern, there was a 172 doing pattern work and I warned him to stay out of my way. I remember being angry at the guy for being there, and thinking a few expletives for why he didn't have another cup of coffee that morning.

I entered the pattern, and made a nice approach. I kept the speed at 65 over the fence with about 60% power descending at 500 feet per minute. When I got down to 25 feet, I reduced the power slightly and raised the nose maybe 3 degrees.... The airplane fell from under me, and pulling the stick all the way back reduced the decent enough that we bounced 10 feet into the air instead of splatting on the runway. I quickly hit the throttle and thankfully the HKS didn't hiccup and off we went again. The hit was hard enough that I was sure I had bent the gear pretty bad, or broken it altogether. Now I was very nervous.

My dear friend Joe had forgotten his radio that day. I gave him a receiver so he could hear me, and we had worked out how he would give yes/no answers by what direction he walked but I had forgotten which was which in all the excitement. I radioed to him that I would make a low pass so he could look at the gear, but I never did learn the answer to the question.

People on the ground were enjoying the show. Joe was far away from everyone else so they did not hear me on the radio worried about the gear. They thought I was showing off when I made the low pass, and my mother captured the miracle photo on that flyby. It is my one treasured photo from that entire experience. A nearly flawless photo taken by a true amateur at the one moment in the entire flight where it was possible. Nearly a true miracle. Without it that day would have been a lot more painful for me than it was.

I made the final approach. I was determined to 'fly it on' this time, to not cut power until my wheels were on the ground. I eased the mains on, and pushed hard on the stick to keep it on. I raised the tail too much, but I was determined to not get back into the air. I pulled the power to idle. I was right on centerline, straight as an arrow, and for 100 feet everything was perfect again.....

Then the plane started to yaw to the left. I stood on the right rudder pedal. It kept yawing more to the left. The rudder moved the right way, and at the right time, but it did nothing. The turn sharpened, the airplane got up on the right wheel, and the right wingtip struck the ground. Then the right wheel departed the aircraft. We came to a stop in the grass facing the covered hangers, propeller still turning. The mighty HKS burbled along like nothing happened, and I shut her down. At that moment I was surrounded by my crew, all asking how I was but I could barely talk. Someone keyed over the radio (I STILL don't know who that was) "Are you okay?" and I replied "I'm fine". My limbs were limp and I needed a few minutes before I could haul myself out of the cockpit. Everyone felt terrible, and all I could say was that I was glad to be on the ground again. Never had standing on the ground felt so good to me. As my friend Joe once said to me:

"It is better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air, than in the air wishing you were on the ground."

Amen Joe. Amen.
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Old 25 November 2005, 09:15 AM   #806 (permalink)
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Wow

Fritz, a gripping story, but I gather it is someone else's that you have passed to us. With the benefit of the retrospectiscope, there might have been a few more tricks available to this pilot. A quick burst of power at the right moment and use of that terrible adverse yaw to steer the aircraft just might have made the difference, but who really knows? I gather differential braking was not available?
Probably a good story to read just before you test fly your little beauty for the first time. At least you'll be mentally prepared.
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Old 25 November 2005, 02:55 PM   #807 (permalink)
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Landing gear pictures

I am unfamilure with the type of landing gear machinework you posted Fokker210, I was looking for something like the one Achim has posted on his FTS project (page29, 18 jun 04 post) how does yours attach? can you post it for me? Jeff
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Old 25 November 2005, 07:33 PM   #808 (permalink)
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Amazing

Fritz,

That is an amazing story. I have learn much from reading and I appreciate your wisdom. You know what they say about old and bold pilots. Thank you very much for the lessons learned.

Joepilot
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Old 26 November 2005, 12:55 PM   #809 (permalink)
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Thankfully, this story is not about me - it is about a friend of Jim B.'s and mine. He is currently rebuilding his plane and a little bit apprehensive about flying it again. One thing the story leaves out is that he is 6' 3" trying to fit into a 3/4 scale plane. Jim and I have both wondered if maybe part of the problem was his own body blocking the rudder air flow. But he's certainly a competent builder and pilot - he will figure out the issues .....
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Old 28 November 2005, 01:20 PM   #810 (permalink)
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Fokker210,

Excellent posts, keep them coming.

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