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QuickTalk 22 - QUICKIE HINTS

From Jerry Homsley

When replacing head gaskets on the Onan, you will need to drill out the holes slightly so the heads will pull down snugly. If not drilled for proper fit, head gaskets could blow prematurely.


From Harry Buskey

Quickie #0203 N37674 was built by my partner Vestal Fulp and myself over a 22 month period with approximately 2300 man hours expended. It has over 320 flight hours and is now down for an engine major. Ves is a high time Private Pilot and I am a 230 hr. Private Pilot. Neither of us had ever built an aircraft nor worked with fiberglass before. According to QBA's survey ours is in the top 10% of high time Quickies and we have picked up the "Best Composite Aircraft Award" for 2 years running at a local East coast EAA fly-in.

It's folly to build a homebuilt without a partner. As partners, each of us acted as inspectors of the other's work. No part was constructed or installed unless both of us agreed that it was correct. Many discussions (read: arguments) led us back to the plans only to find that we were both wrong.

The aircraft is built strictly according to the plans (with a few additional bits of fiberglass here and there so that we could feel that we had "improved" things). The plans were great! We had absolutely no problems. We had the usual dealing with the MOJAVE MARAUDERS, so we came to expect little help from that direction and were not disappointed. We added NACA flush air vents to the canopy and added an exhaust scoop under the fuselage. In a tight little cockpit with various openings to the outside world of pressure gradients, an external static port is mandatory. I learned that one doesn't just stick it anyplace. If it weren't for Burt's genius and Ves' flying skills, the first (inadvertent) flight would have been a disaster. The airspeed was reading 15 mph high. We did beef up the canard to wheelpants area with additional glass and foam. Since the early learning process was ground loop city, this seemed to do the job as we have had no problems in keeping the wheels on.

In the THINGS WE WISH WE HAD DONE department, the large wheel pants plans are clearly incorrect. The wheels wouldn't fit. We hogged the foam out to clear the tire. We should have cut the pants down the centerline, added about an inch of foam and glassed a patch inside and out. We should have cut the fuselage for trailering. We should have added an inch to the upper seatback bulkhead for more headroom

In the THINGS WE DID WRONG area, we had a warp develop in the vertical stabilizer during glassing. We thought we had post cured it out but it returned after a few months. Now we are living with a large trim tab. We should have built a new stabilizer. We used resistor spark plus wire. Vibration caused the center conductor to open (Ho-hum, just another forced landing). The classic screw up was building two left elevators. They look symmetrical, so we turned one over and used it on the other side. WRONG; there is a twist built in. Don't do it. Being an electronic type, I hate to admit to this goof, but I carefully measured the electrical length of an aluminum welding rod and installed it in the fin then later discovered that foam changes the effective length of the antenna and the small diameter causes a very limited band width. Radio Systems Technology wins again. Do it their way. Have you ever tried picking an antenna out of a finished, painted fin?

We had all the classic problems with the engine: overheating, head gaskets failing every 5 hrs or so, etc. We made the mods as presented in QUICKTALK and most of the problems went away. The CHT and oil temps are still less in static run-up with the cowl off; that means the pressure cowl is still not working. The thing that helped the most was an oil cooler. We have one of the early Onans with an oil filter. There is an Onan part that allows a remote full-flow filter. We used the adaptor and installed an oil cooler from Aircraft Spruce (cheap, light and effective). We hung it from the firewall an inch or so below the oil pan. It does require a "chin" in the lower cowl that also allowed us to install a cockpit operated cowl flap.

TAXIING. Our low speed taxi tests showed that a Quickie will want to ground loop at a fast walk. This is not a classic loop but a slow turn that nothing seems to stop. A burst of power seems to help quite a bit. If the Quickie gets about 20 degrees off track, it will slowly go around. This usually exhibits itself at a fly-in when you taxi out at a good speed and turn on the active, then slowly turn around twice while the children ask, "Daddy, why did the man do that?"

After a few hours of rather interesting flight tests involving 2 broken lower motor mount bolts (we put them in the wrong way), a dinged elevator, a damaged wheel pant and two busted runway lights, we concluded that there was something wrong. We decided to do exactly what Quickie Aircraft said not to do. We spent 10 hrs or so taxiing with the tailwheel UP. We use full power and full forward stick until the tail comes up, then reduce power to 1800 rpm or so and try to stay absolutely down the centerline. This will teach you what rudder pedals are for. There are a few times when the Quickie will GET you. There is a brief moment where you run out of rudder power but you are still too fast to plant the tail wheel without causing the canard to fly again. Once you can get past this pucker-time, suddenly the tiger becomes a pussycat. It's unpredictable. After 20 or so perfect landings, and just when you feel that you finally know how to land this little airplane, it will GET you again: after touchdown, for no apparent reason it will depart from the runway in one way or another. Full power, full rudder, and full aileron will usually get us back onto the runway or into the air for another try. I feel that any side load on the wheel causes the tire to deflect and to bind against the inside of the wheel pants.

This is how WE fly OUR Quickie: with plenty of runway, we let the tail come up at about 40 mph. We hold it on the runway to about 70 then ease it on up. The prop wash helps the rudder quite a bit. The best altitude over (or around) trees is gained by taking off exactly as Quickie Aircraft says. It does take a fine touch to hold it a foot or so in the air in ground effect while it accelerates to climb speed. The Quickie will lift off in ground effect below the stall speed. If you hold full back stick you WILL settle back down, bounce a few times and finally get to the business of flying. Once up there, flying it is the most fun one can have in the air. The controls are very, very light in roll and rather stiff and springy in pitch. That's Ok so you fly with pitch trim most of the time (so build a good pitch trim system). We feel that the controls are not overly sensitive. The thing responds so well to the slightest control input that you would think that you were on tracks. You can put it and hold it in any reasonable attitude with pressure, not motion, on the stick. At slow speeds the roll control is limited. Occasionally a gust will require full roll input and a lot of time. At 100 mph or so things tighten up considerably. So...if you must do low altitude nonsense, do it fast!

When landing, we slow to 70 mph on downwind and hold it to touchdown. With rudder, the thing will slip like a dream and come down like a white rock. The Onan being what it is, we like to come in a little hot and high, go into a maximum slip, add a little power to help the rudder, HOLD slip until a few feet from touchdown, correct for crosswind in the normal taildragger way and align ABSOLUTELY straight down the runway. Fly the mains on (it's fun to be able to see your own landing gear), and the instant the mains touch, release a SMALL amount of backpressure on the stick. If the little monster is going to do anything nasty, it will do it about now. Remember you still have flying speed and a bit of power on. Once everything is under control, slowly reduce power and slowly, very slowly, search for the ground with the tailwheel. Once the tailwheel is planted, use full aft stick and full brakes and taxi off to the applause of thousands.


ACCIDENT REPORT from TRANSPORT CANADA files:

Quickie; private pilot, 221 hrs, 0 in type; scattered clouds at 3200', daylight. C-GQFE

During take-off, the engine was not developing sufficient rpm to obtain its marginal or 20 hp rating. The pilot made a forced landing in an unsuitable area and the aircraft was destroyed.

Reportedly, engine rpm decreased as the aircraft accelerated and became airborne. This is contrary to what should occur when the load on the propeller is lessened with airflow...

It is probable that the propeller pitch was too coarse for the engine to reach the rated rpm and horsepower. It is also quite possible that the pressure cowling on this particular aircraft interfered with the induction air supply following hook-up of the carburetor heat system. Another Quickie crashed on its fourth flight under similar circumstances. Minor injuries.


Quickie C-GDUD; Private pilot, 279 hrs., 1 in type; 5500 Sct cloud, 15 mi. viz.

After liftoff, the aircraft failed to climb due to lack of acceleration. As it turned back toward the departure runway, it stalled and crashed in a rough plowed field.

The engine provided only marginal power and the maximum gross weight was slightly exceeded. The aileron droop was increased in an attempt to correct a tail-down flight attitude. Minor injury.

(Another source reported that this aircraft was heavy at around the 320 lb. mark, and using the small hp Onan.)


From Jim Masal N44QC

After surviving a whirlwind 40 hrs. test flying in preparation of a trip to OSH, I thought I'd pass on some fight test observations while they are still fresh.

1. One of our worst enemies is the curious onlooker asking "When is it gonna fly?" This continual question applies very subtle pressure either to press you to move faster than you should or depresses you as you set deadlines you likely won't meet (get you thinking you're a failure). When close to flight, it may make you feel obligated to "perform" for the crowd. Toward the end, I developed my own answer to the question that stopped it pretty effectively: "When I'm goddam good and ready." There are more cordial responses. Only a few people knew when I began taxi testing prior to flight and nobody save my wife knew when or where I would be in the plane next. Only my wife and a line boy saw first flight and it didn't sneak up on me...I was g.d. good and ready.

2. TAXI TESTING. I have 3-400 hrs. taildragger time and a fourth of that was towing gliders where I made a landing every 8 minutes. Still I did what I would recommend to you. Taxi your bird at low speeds (20 mph or so) until you are about ready to vomit because you can't stand it anymore. I did mine in a confined area that kept me slow and required frequent turning. I did many 180 and 360 degree turns and figure 8's. I discovered my turns weren't tight enough and had to file my rudder stops. I also found that only the balls of my feet touched the rudder pedal at full travel and that it put a strain on my calf. I scooched down in the seat a bit more. Mike Conlin made pedal extensions for his Quickie and I've seen extension blocks on Swanningson's plane and others.

After everything was right at low speed, I made many runway runs below 40 mph (where the airspeed indicator started to come alive), then with stick neutral I eased on up to 45 where I could feel the tailwheel start to get light and the squirreliness increase. I repeated the run with stick back against the stops and knew just about where it was going to fly. Do the above in calm winds first and later in stronger ones.

Quickie control response is RAPID. If you're a low time pilot, if you're determined to be the first to fly it and if you won't get adequate taildragger time due to finances, cockiness or lack of interest, then taxiing your plane until you can't stand it anymore should help (along with crossing your fingers!).

3. RUNWAY FLIGHTS. There are two opposite opinions on this. A: Once the plane is in the air, grab for the altitude as too many dangerous things could happen close to the ground. B: Experience your control responses in a brief runway flight before you commit to the real thing and get an unpleasant surprise. I did runway flights, but I now know why some avoid them. Things happen so fast as to be unnerving for the low time or low confidence pilot. Visual cues, depth perception and mind set all have to change suddenly from take-off mode to landing mode. A tall order even if operating from a 150' x 5,000' runway like I had. In addition, my Quickie likes to try and abruptly depart the centerline for the bushes at the higher speeds just following touchdown. Compared to a Quickie, Cessna and Piper rudder response is sluggish. You won't believe it until you feel it. So...TAXI, TAXI, TAXI and get your feet ready to work fast.

4. BRAKES. After all the bellyaching I did about the poor brakes, I now find them adequate. I taxi very slowly in a crowd. Wise idea: apply a short pull of brake immediately out of the chocks and just after touchdown to be sure you have them if you need them.


From Mike Conlin N60JW

1. One of my brake cables inside the canard rusted and separated. Important pre-flight item.

2. On checking the geometry of my actual tire with the scrubber brake against the plans, I found the brake pivot point had to be moved 3/8 of an inch to allow full contact of the face of the brake with the tire. It made a big difference in braking action.

3. The plastic fuel gauge tube will cloud up pretty quickly with time. You can use something else, like glass, to start with or cut the old one out about an inch from each end and hose clamp a section of clear flexible tubing from the hardware store.


From John Hicks N401JH

1. N401JH has the big wheels - plastic and joined in halves. After exactly 210 landing I experienced a sudden left flat tire just after landing. Examination showed that where the halves join there is a sharp, if not rough area. The tube was not pinched, but chafed sufficiently to cut a groove in the tube at the joint. I beveled the point of contact about the wheel halves and smoothed them carefully. I used electrician's plastic tape on the tube around where the tubes had been damaged before. PORCRASTINATION CAN BITE YOU! I only did the one tube and would you believe that the next time I went to the hangar the right tire was flat!

2. RE: Battery and electrical system articles in QUICKTALK #2 and #3. After over 2 years, I installed a new Fusa battery, model 12N 53B just because of its age. I always trickle charged it with a motorcycle battery charger if I hadn't flown for 4-5 days - usually for 30 to 45 min. - and took it home to charge overnight before the next flight if I was away longer than a week. Thanks to the QUICKTALK articles I have had NO electrical problems.

[ED. NOTE: New Quickie fliers should remember that ANY disconnection between the battery and coil will shut the fan down. Pre-flight the wires for vibration breaks and solid connections. Hicks welcomes calls from other Quickie builders: (904) 581-0296.]


From Norm Sanwell (I think)

Instead of the wooden dowel as the top part of your fuel float, you might consider a piece of fiberglass rod from a fishing pole or a kid's bike flag.


GLOBAL QUICKIE FLIES

Fresh from my 40 hr FAA sign-off of my Quickie, I was given the opportunity to test fly Bob Giles' 35 hp Global powered Quickie on Saturday, July 13. Bob had flattened the left tire the day before during a taxi test ground loop, which he said, scared the hell out of him. So, the first order of business was to verify the airframe construction and then move on to the engine. Weight and Balance were in limits so I taxied for about 40 minutes and found taxi response to be typical Quickie: very small forces needed (his GREAT drum differential brakes only needed small forces as well).

I proceeded to faster runs down the runway after lunch. Bob has large tires (about like the large tire option) which are go-kart 3.0x5" racing slicks on his own modified 5" wheels. The axles are mounted lower in the pant and this with an engine mounted higher on the firewall permits him to swing a 54" Ed Sterba fan of 36" pitch with about 9" ground clearance. With 330 lbs E. Wt., the high stance, a wider front end and that big baby out front ticking over at 600 rpm idle, one gets the impression that he has strapped on a more substantial aircraft than a Quickie. High-speed taxi runs were typical Quickie - it started to get light about 50 mph and eventually flew off at 55 to 60. I did 3 runway flights on the 9,000' x 150' (!!!) Grayson Co. Airport near Sherman, TX and stick forces, braking and aerodynamics felt ok. The airframe was fine. I shut her down to think things over for a night.

I was fairly calm during the flights probably because Bob was taking all the anxiety off me by proxy. Don Ort and his sidekick John Pellman in the "crash" truck said he was bobbing up and around like a hyperthyroid jack-in-the-box. Don calmed everyone down nicely by breaking out the beer back in the hangar (including a lost student pilot who had just been recovered short of his home base). Ort goes out of his way to assure a safe, minimal hassle, first fight experience. Thank goodness we have such guys. But I digress.

Sunday afternoon I taxied some more then headed for the runway with Pellman's chase plane in trail to do at least a runway flight. Things felt good so I elected to go around once. Climb was poor at 70 mph but I was playing with the throttle to modify the vibration level. Landing was typical and I lined up to go again. This time the climb was MUCH better, about 3 tires as good as my Quickie and better than my Cherokee 140 chase. In the climb to 1500', the vibration was attention getting between 60 to 80mph at full power. At 90 it went away, but so did climb rate. Three times at about 75 mph I noticed the canard doing a high frequency "shiver" that blurred the line of the leading edge (just like the instruments). Didn't like that even a little bit, and don't know what's causing it. I tried full power level flight and got 100 IAS (but only tried it for a mile). Pitch bucking started at 55 and had a bit more wing rocking than I'm used to but controllable.

I stabilized just west of the runway and called for chase to make a photo pass, but suddenly the engine started a mild surging and I took the next elevator DOWN. Idle on the way down was fine and landing uneventful (the extra weight seems to help me). On climbing out I saw oil streaming over the right canard root and dripping off the belly all along the length.

Giles called the company (Nostalgair, (704) 692-8566), and they were ready to help. They said they would send a different carb venturi and advised him how to drill out a needle valve to prevent the surging (they'd seen it before). The engine blows a bit more oil out the breather than some others but Bob found a leak around a cam plug in the case, which the company told him how to seal. For the canard jitters they are sending less stiff engine mount rubbers. I had noticed on pre-flight that the engine feels like it is welded to the fuselage compared to how we mount the Onans.

This is a very preliminary speculation but I feel that IF this engine proves reliable it will perform much like the Konig's did - very good increases in climb rate but only minimal increase in cruise and top end. Stay tuned.



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