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Bob builds an aircraft carrier

Discussion in 'Fred's House of Pancakes' started by bwilson4web, Nov 28, 2011.

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  1. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web 03 and 10 Prius

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    Hi,

    I just got back home in Huntsville because I needed to bring this airplane over 500 ground miles from Canton Il to Huntsville AL:
    [​IMG]

    So my options:

    1. Uhaul van - easily $1,000 not counting fuel and 'extras' for a one-time, one-way trip. UGH! After refurbishment, the plane has to go to an airport for initial flight testing.
    2. Overhanging, small utility trailer - UGH! Expensive wings and fuselage hanging over the edges waiting for entropy to convert it to crumpled, useless parts. Even worse going to the airport when the plane is ready for final assembly and testing.
    3. "Free" boat trailer - the photo showed the weeds had grown up obscuring the frame and the well weather beaten wing frames. I can't afford that kind of 'free'.
    4. Order a custom trailer - three requests for quote and nothing.
    5. Pontoon boat trailer - lots of them in Minnesota and Michigan. The nearest new, Lebanon MO. <YIKES> One used Ebay trailer in Kentucky in a lovely shade of dull red . . . the rust was free . . . some work required including tires. Asking $900 . . . HUH!
    6. Baggett's Trailers, Piedmont, AL - $1,650 new 24 ft pontoon boat trailer build in a week with new tires including a spare. Houston, we have a solution:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    With a few mods, we should be good to go so:
    [​IMG]
    The carpet covered boards are 20 ft but pressure treated lumber comes in 2x8x16 ft. So I needed an 8 ft board cut in half and joined to the 16 ft boards. Then flip over so the joint sections stay in tension under load.

    [​IMG]
    So the base-boards cover the gap between the carpet covered boards. Some 1x1 shims were added to prevent them from lifting off at speed and vibrating.

    I tested with both the 1.5L and 1.8L Prius and the 1.8L Prius won:
    [​IMG]

    So driving to Canton Il, there was a hit to the MPG:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Testing with the 1.5L Prius verified there was no problem with MG1 and MG2 heating even under extended periods of high load. But the 1.5L engine does not handle high-power as efficiently as the 1.8L engine. The 1.8L engine has exhaust gas recirculation that cools peak power temperatures without forcing a rich mixture. In contrast, the 1.5L engine uses mixture enrichment to cool the exhaust gas to protect the catalytic converter (and valves.)

    So this is what it looked like loaded:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    The original engine was carried in the rear passenger area of the Prius for a better center of gravity and to avoid overloading the ball and receiver. Also the props, about 50 lbs of papers, exhaust manifolds, and various parts left over. FYI, I am leaning towards buying a purpose-built VW engine that is tested before shipping.

    As for ZVW30 towing, the bottom line:

    • ~28 MPG @52-53 mph in the rain
    The alternative was an 8 MPG, Coachman, whose performance is similar to the Uhaul van. So the 500 miles, the ZVW30 tow vehicle, ~20 gallons, $3/gal -> $60. With the Uhaul van, ~65 gallons, $3/gal -> $195.

    For a car that can not tow anything, the 1.8L Prius did an impressive job of moving my 700 lb airplane on a 24 ft pontoon trailer and 50+ lbs of documentation from Canton Il to Huntsville Al. Yeap, towing with a Prius is impossible . . . can't happen . . . never happened. Next thing you know, someone will claim man can fly!

    On a serious note, the 1.5L Prius engine can not handle high power settings efficiently. The 1.8L Prius engine can which explains why the same engine is used in the Prius V (aka., Prius wagon.) As for the transmission, I can not find any evidence of a thermal problem but I was testing in 40-45 F, November weather.

    The only part in mechanical stress would be the torque limiter, a type of clutch plate on the flywheel. It is possible but not proven that this part might suffer slippage and early wear under extensive, tow operation. Effectively it is handling high power operation over an extended period of time. But those driving in mountains would be doing the same thing and I am not aware of mountain operation limitations.

    Bob Wilson

    ps. It may be a while before I revisit this thread or messages. Email works better as I'm probably in the shed working on my airplane.
  2. spiderman

    spiderman wretched

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    Dude, welcome back! Hey, that is very impressive pull. Suppose you will be changing the trans-axle fluid more often eh? :)
  3. ualdriver

    ualdriver Member

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    Was the plane not flyable?
  4. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

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  5. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    Obviously it needs a streamlined transport fairing to cover that blunt nose. :)
  6. daniel

    daniel Cat Lovers Against the Bomb

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    Well, good luck, and safe flying.
  7. KK6PD

    KK6PD _ . _ . / _ _ . _

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    Nice to hear from you again Bob! Your solution to aircraft hauling is great, nice piece of Yankee ingenuity. I am assuming this is a kit plane you have constructed, due to the lack of a N number, and need to get FAA Certification before you can fly it. If so, the plane looks great. I am assuming the dual wing is an anti-stall configuration, like the Rutan EZ aircraft.
    Don't be a stranger!

    P.S. I don't see a Hybrid sticker on the airframe either........what no battery assist?
  8. airportkid

    airportkid Will Fly For Food

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    Without arresting wires or meatball I don't see this aircraft carrier being much use for landings - you'll have to use runways like everybody else. Doesn't look like it'd float very well anyway.

    So, what do those baseboards do? You went to a lot of work to put them on but I don't see their function. They close the gap, but it doesn't appear that it needed closing with the wings secured to the carpeted rails. The pontoon trailer IS an elegant solution for towing a disassembled biplane.

    KK - its N number is painted on the fin. I think it's paint. With the science of composites getting more advanced it'd be no surprise if those numbers were molded right into the skin.

    Did you ever determine what the issue was with the brake cylinders?
  9. xs650

    xs650 Senior Member

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    The N number is on the tail
    N19WT USA Aircraft Registration Details - RegoSearch
  10. KK6PD

    KK6PD _ . _ . / _ _ . _

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    N19WT, your right, I looked at the first pic, at that point I was looking at the trailer.....it's Monday!
    Thanks for pointing it out!
  11. xs650

    xs650 Senior Member

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    Did I point out that it was Monday?:D
  12. KK6PD

    KK6PD _ . _ . / _ _ . _

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    Wellll, ....yes, you pointed the tail thing out too... My attention span at 5AM Monday is slim to none.
    Glad I got out of that Nuclear Weapons Gig, pay was great, Mondays were a blast! :eek:
  13. hyo silver

    hyo silver Awaaaaay

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    Don't be silly. I'm sure Bob has that all worked out. As long as the Prius driver can match the plane's speed, Bob can land pretty much anywhere he wants. And as soon as flotation is added to the trailer, and he gets the ski boat tuned up, water landings won't be any problem, either. :p


    btw, awesome job, Mr Wilson. :)
  14. amm0bob

    amm0bob Permanently Junior...

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    Just another reason for me to think Bob is the man...

    Great thinking on the trailer to haul the Dragonfly... which IS one of my favorite kitplanes... it isn't aerobatic like the Pitts I rent time in...



    Ummmm... Bob... make sure to check the fuel levels before you leave terra firma and go over water... cause we all don't want to hear another "Denver" moment has happened... even though this plane ain't the same as the Long EZ... it is a kit built... so the gauges may not be as reliable as a manufacturers panel has to be.


    Still though... a Dragonfly is such a sweet little airplane... and it's a tail-dragger... sweet...
  15. Pinto Girl

    Pinto Girl New Member

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    Great looking plane, nice idea for transport too.
  16. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web 03 and 10 Prius

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    Hi,

    A couple of details:

    • trailer weight: 1,000 lbs estimated
    • aircraft weight: 695 lbs + a spare prop + 50 lbs of documentation
    • foam and fiberglass construction - it floats (or the pieces do)
    • deck boards between carpet boards hold the folded, pink insulating foam that absorbs road shock . . . more or less . . . some flex in the deck boards too
    • the 'stain' appears to be a darker epoxy, not brake fluid . . . aircraft uses a vegetable oil that does not attack structures . . . however I may move the rudders to the other side of the canard lift bulkhead for more leg room
    • original plan was to fabricate a canardly with wheels so fuselage would be over the center bars where the wing and canard would go but the helpers suggested and I agreed to put the fuselage on the cross pieces and wing and canard on the carpeted boards and deck boards . . . we plan to get the resources ready but keep our eyes and ears open for opportunities to improve the plan
    • tow was in rain and traction control worked perfectly with full control even under load and hitting pavement puddles
    • ABS worked great when slowly passing an accident on I-24 I was motioned to STOP . . . and we did right THEN!
    • testing with 1.5L Prius verified no MG1/MG2 temperature problems BUT this was in 43-45F weather
    Still resting up from a long, holiday weekend. We're waiting on the low pressure rain system to move on and Friday will move the plane into the work shed. I'll add a 'crane' to the trailer with a block and tackle to lower it to the ground. Then everything in the shed . . . another adventure having nothing to do with the Prius except . . . the shed has no power. So my 1 kW inverter in the 1.5L Prius will power (and heat?) the shed.

    Bob Wilson
    minkus, engerysaver and dave77 like this.
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