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Q-talk 82 - LETTERS, ETC.


July 2, 2000

Unfortunately the first flight was much too brief. Q2 Revmaster. Weather: clear, no wind and 85F. First problem, I screwed up and did not abort the takeoff with the tach showing only 2700 rpm. Wishful thinking won the mental debate. Second problem, heavy left wing with roll trim at neutral. I needed about 1/4 throw on the stick at 100 mph to compensate. Roll control at this offset was very disconcerting. Climb was poor and a couple of subtle engine power fluctuations were also felt. At 450' AGL and turning right crosswind I radioed the tower I have a "minor" engine problem. They graciously offered a down wind landing. With no wind and no traffic, I made a 270 to the left (left turn no problem), stayed fast at 100 mph over the numbers and survived a clean two bouncer. Ground control and braking were no problem. Pitch trim seemed good also.

Ed MacLeod, Chelmsford, MA

July 13, 2000

Today my bird took to the air for the first time. Weather clear, winds calm down the runway, temperature 73 degrees F. Checked fuel pump on, 5.5 gallons in header - 8 gallons in main. No added weight to passenger seat. 60/68 Warnke Prop.


Aircraft departed runway 25R at 0700 PST straight down the runway, rotated at 75 mph, 2300 rpm. Once off the ground noticed left wing heavy. Engine instruments normal, oil pressure 60 psi and oil temp 200 degrees, 2500 rpm. Trimmed elevator for 120 mph climbing left turn to downwind. Climbed to 3500 ft. Climb was positive at 800-1000 fpm. Holding right stick but trimable to neutral. Engine instruments, normal, except for slight oil temperature increase. 3500 ft. level off, increased speed to 130 mph.

Commence series of flight card parameters: Yaw 5 degrees right, and 5 degrees left - Pitch 3 degrees up and 3 degrees down - Bank 10 degrees right and left, bank 15 degrees right and left - Note oil temp at 235 degrees and oil pressure 30 psi, cylinder head temperature 325 degrees, exhaust gas temperature 1200 degrees, 2600 RPM, speed 150 mph, aircraft vibration free! Advised by chase pilot to slow to 130 mph for flight card maneuvers. 2600 rpm and began climb to 5500 ft at 140 mph, commence series of flight card parameters: Same as above at 130-75 mph. Deployed belly board at 130 mph. Trimmed aircraft for level flight checked airspeed, vertical speed and altimeter - check normal. Flew straight and level at 140 mph for photo shoot and enjoy the ride! Power back to 1400 rpm, reduced speed to 130 mph, deployed speed brake, trimmed aircraft to 95 mph, descended to 3000 ft. and called tower for entry into top of pattern altitude at 1400 ft.


Left down wind to 25R, cleared to land 25R, wind 7k at 270 degrees. Approach to final at 100 mph, header tank full, engine and flight instruments - normal al. Configure aircraft for three point landing, hold stick slightly back, over the numbers at 10 ft and 95 mph, slow to 85 mph, hold stick slightly back and flare. Runway contact (no squeak). Power off, reflexor back, stick forward, brake as required, short straight down the runway roll.

Jim Patillo, Livermore, CA

To Oshkosh 2000 and Back - Reflections

This year I was late getting to Oshkosh and when I finally got going mid-morning Thursday, I was worried about the T-storms around Illinois. What would they be like and how would I get around them. Since the cumulous bumpus were starting to rear their ugly heads I decided to climb up on top and coast above the ruckus. This also served another purpose, to get above Atlanta Class B airspace and not have to go around. So I was cruising at 12,500' and just listening to the tunes on the radio. After about five hours with a tail wind, I looked at the gas and the distance to go. I thought to myself, "Self, this is the year I get to Oshkosh nonstop (830NM)". I was approaching Chicago and off in the distance was the line to T-storms I had been worrying about. Climbing to 13,500 ' would let me top the lowest clouds and it would be an easy coast down into Fly-In land. Well after climbing up to 13,500', I checked all my gauges and the ammeter was showing a discharge! Dang and other select words. I cycled some switches, all to no avail. So down I go to Kankakee, Illinois for gas and a weather check. Alternator works fine on the ground??? So after a weather check in a REAL flight service station, off I go, low and slow avoiding the rain areas. I stopped at Fond du Lac to wait for the Oshkosh field to open. Man was that place loaded with planes. It was easy to get in and out by airplane though. So, if you don't want to do the Oshkosh arrival dance in your plane, Fond du Lac would be the place to go. There are buses back and forth to Oshkosh all the time. After letting all the eager beavers go first, I took off for Oshkosh skirting the rain showers that were all around. It was an easy flight and uneventful pattern and landing. 7.5 hours on the HOBBS.

When Friday dawned, it was chilly and bleak looking out the tent window. After a COLD shower, it was off to the forums. I met up with some of the Q guys and found out the real location of the Brat Roast. There are two RED barns! I had stumbled around the wrong red barn in the ultralight area Thursday night looking for the Q group.

Seems Burt Rutan and the VFR only Boomerang couldn't make it into Oshkosh on Thursday because of the weather and he left the plane in Northern Wisconsin and drove in to make his forum on Friday. The weather didn't clear much all day so I was glad I had made it to Oshkosh on Thursday, but they did manage to get in an airshow. Then it was off to the Brat Roast. When I got to the real BIG RED BARN I remembered I forgot the "You can't miss it" instructions and spent a half-hour looking for the Q-group. Nevertheless, the group get-together was worth it. Seven brats were downed (I think I had the record) and plenty of good Q conversation made it a good evening.

Saturday weather was a little better, but it was still chilly and windy.

The blimp with wings, the Super Guppy, was there. I had to check out its wing/fuselage fairing after listening to Barnaby Wainfan's talk on drag reduction. The Guppy's transition was a doozy and really hard to describe.

I think there is a lot of drag at the canard/fuselage intersection and will be trying some of Barnaby's techniques on my Q-200, hopefully before Ottawa. Sunday was a little warmer and sunny. I hit the forums and went to the "Drag is our Enemy" forum by Roy Lopresti. I was thinking wow, another good lecture on drag reduction by the Man himself. All I got was a rundown of his career, which was interesting, but no helpful tips on how to reduce drag on MY airplane. Such a shame. He had an interesting talk, he just didn't give away any of his secrets. I visited the museum in the afternoon. Ever see the Voyager mockup? Nine days, two people in a space smaller than the Q-2 cockpit and two engines vibrating away on both ends. No wonder they don't like each other anymore!

I came up with a way to make my Q-200 go faster. Attach a jet engine! If it can be done on a big biplane, it could be done on a Quickie. I found the engines in front of the NASA building. They were as small as a thermos bottle and put out 100 pounds of thrust. These were not toys. I found out several companies are making these small jet engines as a guy came up to my plane as I was eating breakfast that morning. I was sitting in my plane and had just popped the canopy (it was chilly and windy) to get out when a man walked up and started asking me about my plane. Then he said he was GOING to build a BD-5 type plane with twin engines on the back --- Yea, right! Well it turns out he was the CEO of a company that makes these small jet engines. And he had a friend whose business was next door that made high tech carbon parts for formula racecars. He plopped his loose-leaf folder open with a picture of his design. He even said Burt Rutan had looked at his drawings and commented on the design. So, you never know who you will meet!

Sunday evening the weather guesser said, "If you don't get out Monday, you probably aren't getting out for a while". I guess that was my wake up call to scram on Monday.

Monday morning I could sleep in until 6:30. There was nobody left to jam up the showers. I packed up and carried my stuff to the breakfast tent and met Bob Last (Q-200) again. He said he tried to get out Sunday, hit a rain shower 60 miles away and came back. It didn't look good for him today going to West Virginia. Big area of clouds and rain showers over the east center US. I checked in with the weather guesser, got a US rain shower map, and now had a plan. Take off, fly low, run out of gas (only had about 15 gallons), land, and check the weather. While getting ready to go I had a man walk up to me and say, "The rain is coming! I just drove up here and got pounded by rain". So I hurried up, got the plane pulled out, started and pulled up behind the "Lionheart" (Beech Staggerwing replica in glass). I took off right after the Lionheart and expected to lose him in the clouds (he is bright yellow) and it was REAL dark on our departure path. But turning out of traffic we missed all the rain and I headed off to the Southwest low (1000').

After bypassing Eastern Wisconsin, I headed South and kept low and slow avoiding most of the showers and the dark spooky areas. They hide the bad things! When the main tank ran dry I was in Southern Illinois and landed. The airport looked deserted, but at least it had gas and weather. I had gotten myself between two lines of showers in the direction I wanted to go and there was a nasty cell right on my path towards home. I would be forced to go NE or SW both directions perpendicular to the direction I wanted to go. I started NE but quickly turned to the SW, as the clouds appeared lighter. As I headed SW, I was wondering how far to go out of my way before turning toward home. Then the blue sky opened up in front of me. Was this the infamous "sucker hole" in reverse? Well, I took the bait, jammed the throttle to the wall and up I went. I got the oxygen ready and started looking for my hole to the SE and home. I found it about 10,000' and was snaking my way through the canyons of clouds, turning and climbing. At one point, I got down to 84 MPH and could see the tufts of cotton I use to visualize airflow on the elevator start to move inboard and lift slightly. I knew any slower and the airflow on the elevator would separate. I finally got clear sailing at 12,500. I had climbed around the one big nasty cell in my path. That didn't last long as clouds built up and thin layers always seemed to materialize at my altitude. I moved to 13,500' near Nashville, 14,500 south of Chattanooga, 15,000' abeam Atlanta. At 16,500' I passed Atlanta and found a clear path down. I could often see the ground and wondered if it would be better to go down where I had more power. The higher I went the slower I got - even with the tailwind. The advantage of being high is it's cool and you can see where you are going to avoid the BIG cells! Down low without weather radar you can't always tell if you are going to stumble into a heavy rain shower or lightning.

Letting down I finally found my headwind! The last hour was slow as I slogged into the wind avoiding most of the showers. Then it was an uneventful landing. (I like those!) 15.3 hours, 1822 nm and 70 gallons of gas. My Oshkosh 2000 Adventure, in the bag.

Larry Koutz, Valdosta, GA

Jon Finley and Bob Farnam had a discussion at OSH with a well-known EZ builder, Gary Hertzler. Gary has set some CAFE records and is well known for his knowledge on efficiency and drag reduction. They walked around Bob's plane and discussed different areas Gary thought could be improved on. The following are notes of that discussion from Bob and Jon.

1. Cooling drag. The exhaust pipes are four straight headers, which exit two on each side, aligned one behind the other. There is a (too wide) fairing, which deflects air around the pipes. Gary suggests extensions on the pipes, which will keep them inside the cowl and let them exit parallel to the airflow in the center of the fuselage. Take off the fairings and make the cowl flush. If necessary to make room, he thinks it would be better to deepen the tunnel which accommodates the carb heat box and carb. Zerbach, in his forum, says the same thing. He further suggests that the cooling air and the exhaust be carried back in a tunnel to either the point where the fuselage begins to reduce in cross-section, or to a point 10% behind the thickest part of the airfoil of the wind (canard). This is a low-pressure area and will help extract the air. The exhaust can also act as an educator to help extract the cooling air. Wainfan says that this kind of thing can reduce the air inlet area required as much as 50%. Gary also likes the idea of a fitted air plenum mounted to the engine for cooling. Dave Anders RV4, which holds the Triaviathon record, uses this and so do most Reno formula airplanes. It prevents leakage of air, especially forward past the prop extension. Barry Weber has put this on his new RV4. I will get pictures of Barry's installation and put them up here.

2. Canard/fuselage root fairing. Gary thinks this is pretty draggy. He suggests a vertical flat filler piece since most of us have the inboard end of the elevator too close to the fuse for a proper fairing. The Super Guppy had that type of fairing and I took a picture of it. The flat fillet is then gently faired back into the fuselage. Another option might be to make a larger fairing by making part of it mounted to the elevator, but removable so the elevator can be removed. Incidentally, my flight to and from OSH gave me a chance to experiment with a suggestion from Bob Malechek. If I reflex the elevator up during cruise, then retrim with the reflexor; my airplane picks up 3-4 kts and also a noticeable amount of rpm. I don't know what is optimum, since my spring trim system will only allow about 1/4 inch up at the trailing edge before it runs out of motion. Any new fairing ought to align with this best setting.

3. Wheel pants. Gary says that the pressure recovery shape is best, although he doesn't think the existing pants are a big offender. I think that the top curve is too steep as it moves aft. Gary showed me an oil streak on his VariEZ wheel pant indicating that his are not optimum since the streak did not go straight back. I have a pressure recovery shape on AutoCAD, which was given to me by a sailplane designer which was suggested for wheelpant shape. It is a shape which might not require too much change of contour.

4. Wing tips: Gary says they are draggy, Wainfan says that exposed nav/strobe lights are each equivalent in drag to 2.75 square feet of wing area. Gary suggests at least a Plexiglas cover, which is smooth. The best, he thinks, is to use a sheared tip (like the new Lancair Legacy and the Rutan Catbird) with a slight upturn at the trailing edge. The idea is to get the vortex to shed as far out as possible. My wingtips are old Mooney style flat, with the lights mounted on the ends.

5. Tailwheel. The tailwheel is a full swiveling tail wheel with taildragger springs. He suggests that at least I move the springs inside the tailcone. He also showed me his cable ends on his rudder. He uses a small, clean swaged clevis fitting which is cleaner than the Swagelok and thimble.

6. Tailcone non-flush screws. Don't worry about it as they are lower in height than the boundary layer at that point.

7. Spinner. Make the fit around the prop as tight as possible. Mine is not tight since I changed props and the current prop has less thickness where it exits the spinner.

8. Prop. He says that if you feel comfortable with prop work, thinning out the last 10" or so would help. Not something I am comfortable with.

9. Sparrow strainers. Gary thinks these have a lot of trim drag. He suggests taking up as much trim force as possible in the springs. Tom Moore has his strainers mounted below the wing instead of above and they look to be a much lower angle of attack that the per plans strainers. May be some big drag reduction here. Several other airplanes have moved their strainers below the wings and it seems to me intuitively that below is a better place for them. Also maybe they should be moved outboard some so that they aren't in the prop blast. That might reduce trim change with power change. That requires some more thought.

10. Bottom Line. Don't make the air molecules change direction any more than necessary. As John ten Have said, moving the air sideways takes energy which equals drag.

11. Wainfan suggests foam temporary fillets covered with duct tape to try out shapes. Also he liked 3M 191 tape which is widely used by the sailplane guys to tape seams etc.

12. Gary suggests moving the cockpit air vents from under the wing to the bottom of the fuselage as far aft as possible. He mentions that the air that these vents disturb remains disturbed the length of the fuselage. It is better to locate them as far aft as possible so the disturbed air comes into contact with as little fuselage as possible.

Don Johnson, the Quickie dealer in the UK, sent me this picture. He didn't mention the owner of the plane. I'm sure we can worry about the plane's owner some other time. Right now, we can just enjoy the plane.

Ed. Note: After this picture was printed in the newsletter, I was informed by Paul Wright that he is involved with both of these beautiful ladies.


If you'd checked the registration of the Q1 against the database, you'd have worked out that the beautiful girl is mine and the girlfriend. The picture was taken in 1994. Don took it from a 'Pilots Pals' calendar, Nov 1994. The picture was taken by Joe Merchant in 1993, outside the south hangar at Biggin Hill. The last remaining hangar that was used by Hurricanes and Spitfires during the Battle of Britain, 60 years ago this week.

The girls are called 'Vickie G' and Nickey Storey. Guess which one I like to get into every day and take to heaven? The advertising phrase "you can't have any more fun in the daytime with your clothes on" is pretty accurate. Both are fine and well. Eight years later now and Nickey has a pilots license herself. She will be flying Vickie-G next summer (after I teach her how to use her feet properly - i.e. they're not just for getting from the bedroom to the kitchen).

I'm chasing Don to organize another Quickie fly-in at Coventry - missed the last one due to business and paperwork, but will be there this time. One of these days I'm going to get to Ottawa to meet you all, but not this year.

Paul Wright, G-BMVG ('Vickie-G'), Waldringfield, England

Ed. Note: Paul has also written an article about his latest work on 'Vickie-G' that will appear in a following issue.

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