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Replica Aircraft Topics related to the construction of WWI replica aircraft

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Old 23 August 2011, 06:25 AM   #1
RAF56_Ball
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Life with a Replica Sopwith Pup

There was a stronger positive response to the poll question re: doing "an ongoing thread about a plane AFTER it is built" than I expected, with interesting comments on the "Life with my Pup" thread, as well as some very nice PM's. So let's start the thread, adding the first flights originally posted on the Airdrome Airplanes Sopwith Pup thread.

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Here are a couple of video's. I didn't use Youtube because they require auto-updates to their upload program; can’t allow that on my office network (HIPPA). Second one is a bit rough; son was having trouble keeping it in frame. Seems he was a bit excited!

Engine Start - 23 Megs

First Flight - 26 Megs

The flight was a challenge. My plan was to check taxi speed and control one more time. If all was well and I had used more than a thousand feet of this 5200’ runway, I was going to back taxi before trying to take-off. I was really comfortable with plenty of pavement, I would allow it to fly on that run. I taxied to the end of RW 12. Keith Kocourek (very cool pilot and car dealer) was out to practice with his brand new Waco Y7UPF (or some such – I am bad with these civilian designations ) was holding on 12 grass. ”Go ahead, I’ll watch from here”, he calls.
Wound it up to 25-2600 RPM, then eased to 3000 and lifted the tail. The Pup broke ground somewhere around 35-40kts so gently, I at first didn’t realize it was really airborne. It felt stable, so I decided to continue. Speed got up to 50 kts quickly with only 3000 RPM (2000 prop), the nose came up a bit so added forward stick and gave it 3400 RPM. I reached the “stop” and it still wanted to come up, so throttled back and considered landing straight ahead. There was plenty of room, even a crossing runway that I could easily switch over to with my present position and height, even if I was higher.
But I didn’t know why I had no authority. Was something loose? Looked back and could see it move. Was my W&B completely wrong? Unlikely considering the program I used, as well as hand calculations, but, this was no time to make assumptions. Was the there an engine angle issue? It had at least 2 degrees down thrust, so unlikely. Seemed the faster I went, the more it pitched up, and did not drop off quickly with throttle reduction, so the best thought was lift issues. Best to fly a little and CAREFULLY explore this for control. Giving it throttle to climb out, though, brought the nose up uncomfortably, so I again reduced throttle and decided to limp around the pattern at 7-800’ (where I was at the time) instead of 1000’. Making gentle, wide (for a Pup) turns, turned to cross wind, eased another 90 and called downwind, then base, using reduced throttle to lower the nose as needed, along with delicate use of slip to slow it. On final I gradually brought the throttle to idle, had the PAPI’s 1 red over three white, and flew to just short of the 1000 foot marks. Thought of doing a three-point, but still didn’t know the cause, and so opted to just fly it to the ground with a little round-out to a wheel landing. I was able to land safely, just had to use full forward stick all the way around the pattern, keep throttle below 2000 and use reducing the throttle for forward pitch control. Touched at ~ 45 kts, let the plane settle on its own, and then taxied to the turn out.

I coolly taxied to the hangar, stepped out calmly, and asked for a cup of coffee. And I have washed my shorts, so no one can prove any different. :P
For those that were worried, yes, W&B were good, and have since been rechecked. Discussed this with a chosen few, until I could reach Robert, and he noted that reducing the angle of incidence by ~ 1 degree should take care of the issue. It only took about 2 hours to accomplish the fix (would have been shorted, but the bolts to the support struts were a pain to get to, heheheh). Now I am waiting for another calm morning (at least with less than 5 kts) before trying it again.
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in Honor of Albert Ball. A valiant pilot, but a man of God first and last.
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Old 23 August 2011, 06:27 AM   #2
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Here is the report of my second flight.
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Dateline Wausau, WI, July second, 1916 (or 2011 for you purists):

It's oh-nine-thirty. The mechanic has been busy finishing mounting the air box with bolts rather than with rivets. Silly manufacturer mounted it that way thinking it would never need to be removed; or at least almost never. (Helpful legalese: referring to me, not Robert – he is the kit designer. Any building flaws or ancillary changes are strictly mine, and so is the accountability!) Thank God for savvy field mechanics. When he got the plane buttoned up, completed his post maintenance checks, he notified operations and the pilot was sent over to do his preflight for the big “First Testing” mission. After finishing this, with a carefull prop pull through, he mounts up.

Skies were nearly clear with a few small ‘puffies’ at 5,000', winds light and variable. Perfect for this.
Routine start up as follows:
Fuel - on.
Master - on.
Aux power - on.
Aux fuel pump - on.
Primer – pull for 5 seconds.
“Clear” prop, then turn over 3-4 blades.
“Contact!” then mashes the starter again. 2 blades and she fires right up. Suddenly the left inspection door comes into view. Switches off, exit the plane, latches it this time, sheepishly glad the crew didn’t see that one. Well, at least the ‘glitch is behind us, right? So he taxies out to the runway. Normal run up, controls clear and all the rest of that “CIGGARS” check. Calls the runway, takes 30 and gives it the throttle. Cripes a’mighty, what thrust! And no problem controlling it with just a touch of rudder. She is tail up in no more than 100’ and 30 kts, airborne in 300 or less (was hard to tell when is was so gently lifting) at about 45 kts. Level off to check elevator authority, and it is just fine. Pressures good, so he starts to climb. Getting to pattern well before mid down wind without any effort, our intrepid test pilot heads out to the nearby testing area with a private airport and is full of grass fields in case not all goes to plan (a plan based completely on FAA AC 90-89a). The climb to 4500’ is uneventful, with the engine smoothing out nicely. He notes that some leaning is good at pattern, but very little needed here with full power, else RPM drops off. He mentally notes this for later. Now we go to the pilot.
I started my control tests and they went just fine. It was a tiny bit right wing heavy, and needs a little right rudder always, but that is a minor trim issue. So once I know it will fly, I relax and fly around, like the book said. Check of the oil pressure now that all of it is warm shows it isnow~40 PSI.
While doing some gentle turns I was looking for the “Flying-O” airfield, about 20 minutes into the flight, when my nose picked up something. Warm oil. Hmm, Russ had noted this, but early, not at this point in the flight. Oil pressure Oh-oh, what is that, some smoke? Yeppers, there is a stream of it behind me. But oil pressure is still 40 PSI, and smoke clears when I throttle back. Okay, lets lad. Where-in-‘ell did Terry’s go? Okay, oil pressure is still 40, soI am heading back toward home. As things progress, though, the oil pressure drops to ‘0’. Well, this un-mowed field right beside me, right next to the one with the hay-bales in it, looks good. CHT is normal, so I leave the engine running.
I have to side slip a bit to get down, then make a good landing (as in I walked away), coasted to a stop, and shut down ASAP. I called the FBO on my hand-held so he knows I am safely down. I see plenty of oil inside the cowl … and on the belly. A couple of hose clamps could use tightening for some minor drips, some of the valve cover gaskets have a drip or two, but no oil gushing, plane drenching pilot pooping … er … pilot perspiring leaks, and the rest of the engine looks fine. There is some oil on the pressure sensor. Wonder if that did in the gauge?
So the farmer shows up, we call the ground crew and they get there within 20 minutes. WOW! In short order the prop and cowl are off. Again, nothing obvious. Pressure lines are fine. So after a bit of a wipe-down, dipstick of the tank (lost about 3 of 12 quarts) we test start the engine. It fires right up, the oil pressure stayss good, but there is a drip. With increased RPM, there is a leak! Shutting down, we find the sump overflow return line has a hole in it – about 3/8” hole. Seems the line is too soft a material, was rubbing on another line when it flexed more and, well you know the rest.
There is enough hose to reroute and reattach so I do. I run the engine again, my ground crew (which includes 3 engine guys) gives it the thumbs up. After a discussion of safest way to take-off for the return, I get in, start up, back taxi, check oil pressure, run up, check oil pressure and give it throttle. Even in the tall grass it is up in ~600’, with a little scare when the grass tugs at my gear. Now I know first hand why a soft filed take-off and landing really are different.
The return is uneventful, normal pattern to 3 point on the grass strip, and taxi back to the hangar. I get out after shutdown, and the airport manager (who is also my tail-wheel instructor) comes up asking how everything is. He grins when he sees the grass on the tail wheel and cross bar. Not 5 minutes later the rest of the guys show up. We get it tucked away, discuss what to do next (changing out the hoses is second right after cleaning with mineral spirits), and then agree that regardless, the next several flights will be right over the airport, with the manager’s approval (hell, he damn near insisted!).
Now comes the expensive part. I have to buy steaks for the gang, and we cooked them up for dinner. We all agree, fine end to an “interesting” day. And I am here to tell about it, which is what this is all about, right?
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in Honor of Albert Ball. A valiant pilot, but a man of God first and last.
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Old 23 August 2011, 06:49 AM   #3
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Glad you started this thread Chip. It will be a great one to follow.

Stay out of the bean fields though.

Dale
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Old 23 August 2011, 07:01 AM   #4
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On the third flight I did 3 take-offs and three landings. Uneventful, a touch fast but easily controlled wheel landings. *whew*. Ah but not boring. As I was landing we had a cumulus go nuts and build into a shower with some gusts and I just got the "Judy L." put up when it hit.

Log shows that I did some over the ‘drome time, test of stall and climb, repeated it the same day.

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Originally Posted by RAF56_Ball View Post
I made some brake pedal changes that are on the "Controls" page.

I also added an inflight movie. It is in MP4, 'cuz it was made with my cell phone.
Shades of Harvey! (but I got high first - as in altitude-). Been up to 6,000' so far. Will make some valve cover gaskets for the leakers, then put the cowl back on.

Total time so far 6.5 hours.
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Glenn 'Chip' Burt
Integrity-DOing the right thing, regardless of me.
Honor-SEEing the right thing in others, regarding them.

in Honor of Albert Ball. A valiant pilot, but a man of God first and last.
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Old 23 August 2011, 07:11 AM   #5
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Next flight I flew over to the "Flying 'O' Airfield", the center of my flying area. Landed, taxied up to a grinning Terry Ostriech and casually said "howdy". He is a real fan of WW-1, hosts a fly-in every September for the EAA chapters, and has some interesting "stuff" in his hangar. Then flew back to KAUW, more engine settings testing on the way. Landed near full stall, as was stopping did a little ground loop to the right at about 5 MPH.
Didn't think much of this then. Went up a few days later to do some stalls, test the engine feel, and on landing didn't use enough aileron on roll out (you can't just use the tailwheel Glenn) and did another low speed G/L and touched the wing. Saw the cloth of the very tip slacken, nothing bent.
A “thorough” inspection seemed okay, only a small rub on a rivet of the tip of the aileron (the grass was soft,, ground moist from a rain), careful check of the spars and internal wires was good, just had to clean the grass smudge.
So next day I went out and took off. I notice a slightly loose left side cabane wire as I was climbing up to 2000 AGL to begin a climb test. Just then the engine coughed and sputtered, and soon quit, sounding fuel starved. I had 3 gallons in the front, had selected “transfer” on the pump taxiing out, heard the pump, so was unsure what happened. Ah, hadn’t selected the transfer setting on the fuel selector! So as I glide down to the pattern, set this and wait. Made a couple of attempts to start as I made position to land, then landed on the pavement. I noticed the site gauge was not easy to read. I also noticed that the wing heaviness was a bit less.
Once down and off the runway, try again to restart (it was not transferring fast enough in the air) and it soon fired right up. Waited for the gauge to come up some more, then went to the grass runway to go again. I looked forward, looking over the wires.
Huh? slack wire on the cabane center wires. Okay, I get it, back to the hangar.

The learning point here is that I did not check ALL the wires on my preflight. I had missed the cabane center wires. Check ALL wires for tension. It turns out that the cross wires have a soft metal “single tang” that was made with the bend too far away from the bolt hole and this allowed the tab to straighten in one place while bending near the hole, thus elongating the wire by ~1/2”. Sunday afternoon I took off the wires, (had to remove panels, then support the engine before I could do it). And discovered the bolt holding this tang was bent. Glad I went the extra! I redid the tangs after talking with Robert, then remounted them. I spent the rest of yesterday going over everything and re-doing the wing alignment and tensioning. Much happier with it now.
If I can fix the wire exit on hte sheet metal, may be able to fly later today or tomorrow. If not, it will be next Tuesday before I get a chance.
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Integrity-DOing the right thing, regardless of me.
Honor-SEEing the right thing in others, regarding them.

in Honor of Albert Ball. A valiant pilot, but a man of God first and last.
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Old 23 August 2011, 09:39 AM   #6
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Chip,

Although reading about the exciting exploits of landing in fields, engine outs, ground loops and lose wires is thrilling, it really isn't necessary to do these things for our entertainment.

Just reading about flying along with everything going fine is sufficient for my enjoyment. I do however appreciate the heads up for things to be careful about.

Stay safe my friend.

Dale
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Old 23 August 2011, 10:27 AM   #7
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Yeah, I know what you mean Dale. I would rather skip any of that, but if it happens, want to make sure it is shared, so that it may help someone else from the same. The old saying "learn from others because I don't know if I can live through enough mistakes to learn it on my own <G>

Besides, is more fun to read.
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Honor-SEEing the right thing in others, regarding them.

in Honor of Albert Ball. A valiant pilot, but a man of God first and last.
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Old 23 August 2011, 10:53 AM   #8
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Interesting stuff. Thanks for posting.
I'd like to see more pictures of your kite.
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Old 24 August 2011, 01:16 AM   #9
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Quote:
I do however appreciate the heads up for things to be careful about.
Yep!

This is the thread I was hoping for!

It may well keep my own from ending after three posts "and then we put the rolled up ball of aluminum tubing in the back of a pickup."
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Old 24 August 2011, 08:39 AM   #10
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Here is an interesting finding from several flights ago.
I installed a windscreen of the design like was put on the field modified Pups of RNAS 3. This is a basic semicircular screen without a frame, curved to fit the decking, with a notch cut out for the gun. No measurements were available to me, so I just made one up of 1/16th lexan as a test.

That thickness is not strong enough with out a frame, so the screen folded over part about a third of the way down. While flying, I reached up and straightend the screen to see how much wind deflection I was losing.
Oddly, the nose of the plane began to rise. I let off, and it dropped again. I repeated this several times with same results. I also noted that when I did this, the airflow that comes off of the cutout of the center section decreased as the screen went up, and increased again as I let it bend.

The screen was modified by lowering the height by ~ 1/3rd. Next flight, no folding, and I could feel more down flow off the centersection. Since it hits at the top/back of my head, not the face, I can live with that. And I am ready tol make a heat curved 1/8" one so that when I do to cut out for the gun it will be able to stand the airloads. May not have to, but I was going to make the first one with 1/8th that I bought until I found it would not make the curve easily.
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in Honor of Albert Ball. A valiant pilot, but a man of God first and last.
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