View Full Version : Helicycle Hatchery
01-29-2008, 03:56 PM
I FINALLY received word today that my first shipment of my Helicycle is now crated and will be on the truck this Thursday. Due to the company moving to a new building...and all the logistics involved with such....builders group #5 has been delayed.
After my first R22 lesson last Saturday.....it will be worth the wait. That experience has me mellowed out as I know that I want to pursue this even more.
I have received many PM's from helicopter guys...all assuring me I will love it...and it will never get boring.
As soon as the truck arrives in a week or so....I will have a steady flow of build pictures. This build will take over a year...just due to the fact thats how long all the shipments take to get to me. The last shipment is that kerosene burning turbine.
Life is so fun....
01-29-2008, 04:07 PM
I get to benefit too! A years worth of entertainment! A bit of consolation for the delay of my project, caused by dental work that is almost exactly the price of a Helicycle. But health comes first, so I'll be content to enjoy Stan's experience for now.
01-29-2008, 04:11 PM
You're definitely making me jealous!
Still, it's fun to watch your project come together :)
01-29-2008, 04:35 PM
:party: Congrats again Stan,:party:
Once again I am impressed with your desire to share with the rest of the forum.
I, personally, am looking forward to your build.
:party: :party: :party: :party: :party: :party:
01-29-2008, 04:48 PM
Looking forward to it Stan, I am sure your Build pics will greatly out number my Falcon Build pics... more parts..lol
can't wait to see how that bird goes together.
01-29-2008, 05:05 PM
Congratulations...to quote Obi Wan Kenobi, you have taken your first step into a much larger world.
It only gets more fun from here...enjoy it!
01-30-2008, 01:11 AM
That's great to hear Stan!
We all can't wait to get your project started !!!
01-30-2008, 02:55 AM
I'm excited for you. Your enthusiasm is catching! I'm looking forward to watching your build. Maybe, once I get my gyro flying again, I'll fly down there and take a look in person.
01-30-2008, 04:24 AM
That's great news. I can only imagine the excitement.
I'm still researching loan possibilities and the logistics of somewhere to build. I already have a 95% completed project sitting in the garage (66 Mustang).
As I've been obsessively thinking about the Helicycle, I was wondering why you chose to powdercoat the frame prior to initial assembly. I figured I would completely assemble the ship to be sure everything is where is needs to be and then disassemble for paint.
Perhaps that's more work than necessary, but I'd hate to have to grind away some of the powdercoating to weld on a bracket or move a tab.
Anyway, don't want to steal your thunder! Make sure you post a bunch of pictures for us!
Oh, once you receive that first shipment, could you give the dimensions of the "big" box. Thanks.
01-30-2008, 05:39 AM
So you've chosen white for the frame. What color(s) for the pod?
01-30-2008, 06:24 AM
Yes, inquiring minds want to know!!!
01-30-2008, 07:00 AM
My guess is you will buy a used R22 to fly during the build.
01-30-2008, 07:13 AM
Bob- I will say even though I love red- I will change to my favorite color. It wont be one color , but I will have the cabin and tail with my one main color with some interesting contrasting colors. I am sketching out simple designs now and wont make my decision until I have the cabin itself to try out my ideas on. I want it one of a kind- nice not wild. I will be a little honery again like I was with my SparrowHawk and wait till its painted to show what colors I use. I am no painter and I am having the guy that does all of Tom Meents monster truck paint jobs. Tom has won the National Monster Truck championship 3 or 4 times. He lives in my hometown of Paxton. Just google his name and you will see some of my painters work on his trucks. Mark Stevenson is the painter who also lives in my hometown. I will google his name when I get on the computer tonight. Stan
02-06-2008, 02:09 PM
My first Helicycle shipment arrived today. I was very impressed with how neat and carefully everything was packed. One box was 18 foot long and held the chassis and msc. stuff. The other box held the cabin...instrument pod....doors......landing gear....and msc.
I am in no hurry on this kit....the next shipment wont be here for four months. So..I am just going to slowly gnaw away at it. I am very impressed with the quality of each component.
02-06-2008, 02:12 PM
Moving my two crates around in the stairshop.
02-06-2008, 02:17 PM
Heres a peak in the big crate. That white powder coated frame was protected on every spot touching. it ..and was bolted in place.
02-06-2008, 02:22 PM
Heres the big crate opened up....and the smaller crate as well.
02-06-2008, 02:30 PM
Looking Good Stan. Gee's what a crate. I bet that was fun to unload.
now the Fun begins.
02-06-2008, 03:28 PM
Your having way to much fun now Stan! I bet your REAL EXCITED with this new arrival. Keep us posted on your progress.:party:
02-06-2008, 04:34 PM
02-06-2008, 06:14 PM
Putting the chassis on the workbench.
Rick: I am real excited....then I was looking at this fun project and felt I shouldnt be having this much fun......then I said...Yes I should!
02-06-2008, 06:19 PM
Sitting in that chassis felt kind of uncomfortable without the seatpan and cushion.
Some of the bags of parts....and the welded cyclic controls
02-06-2008, 06:23 PM
more parts......fuel tanks...instrument pod
02-06-2008, 06:28 PM
some more shots
02-06-2008, 06:33 PM
Some shots of the seat pan...and the seat cushion. I was able to pick my colors and was well pleased with their work.
02-06-2008, 06:42 PM
Final pictures for tonight. The last one is the chassis sitting in its stall. That stairway next to it is being shipped out next Monday. I have to build another curved stairway right where its at. Got to pay for this habit somehow!!
02-06-2008, 07:12 PM
Stan you can't fool us...you will have that thing on the gears by the weekend..lol
02-07-2008, 02:13 PM
Tim: Actually....I am going to prove you right! I had a one day delay on my stair delivery...so I just worked on the Helicycle today. Its on its landing gear now...and I have the transport wheels on it so I can roll it all around my shop.
I started off by steel wooling down to 4 oooo wool the landing skids. I then mounted the yokes to them.
02-07-2008, 02:17 PM
more pictures of the skids getting fit to the frame.
02-07-2008, 02:24 PM
This is my way of making sure the skids are parallel with the frame....and that the frame is level when the skids are.
This wasnt in the instructions but you can see the shims under my skids getting them perfectly level. I then dropped a plumb bob down. I used my laser beam to split the frame down the middle so to speak. The beam was dead center at the tail bearing holder...and cut the chassis in to at the front. I then could adjust the frame to the skids before I permanently fixed them.
02-07-2008, 02:29 PM
I have the gear on, aligned, and secured. Its easy to put the chassis up on my workbench by myself. Its a lot handier working at that height.
02-07-2008, 02:33 PM
Last shots for today. The last two pictures show the ground transport wheels. Makes it handy to manuever it around my shop.
02-08-2008, 05:44 AM
HeHeHe told ya he would have it on the gears by week end..lol
02-08-2008, 06:07 AM
I'm really looking forward to seeing the build here. Thanks for posting it for us.
By the way what is the lead time for the helicycle kit?
02-08-2008, 06:58 AM
Thanks Stan I was wondering if their website was correct, You seemed to get the kit quicker than advertised, and that explains it. Enjoy the R22 training, Im goin to be sitting in one for most of Sunday, the joys of PIO...!
02-08-2008, 11:19 AM
Stan, quick change of topic.
Will we be seeing you at the Safety Seminar on Feb 23rd?
02-08-2008, 11:36 AM
Chuck- I was going but now that my helicopter kit is here, I probably will be working on it. Stan
Oh well, I'll see you another time. :)
02-10-2008, 07:21 AM
Outstanding Stan. I look forward to following your thread as you make more progress. Good luck and have fun.
02-10-2008, 02:41 PM
A little more progress today. I fitted the floor/seat pan to the frame...and then filed all the edges down. Lots of scribing....fitting...scribing..
02-10-2008, 02:44 PM
After the floor pan...the instument pod is being fit to the floor. There is a lot of piddle work...but I am in no hurry!
02-10-2008, 02:49 PM
More polishing and fitting. The last picture is one half of the cabin. I have to make a lot of frame notches....so I put shop vac hose to work while I ground out the notches.
02-10-2008, 02:53 PM
Getting the left half of the cabin on. Lots of critical alignment holes to assure the cabin will mate to the other half...and have the right aerodynamic angle of attack for its efficient design.
02-10-2008, 02:57 PM
The right half mated up well....but I had some serious head scratching on the first half so as it would mate up right. All in all....I am very pleased with the kit so far. There are however no written instructions....just shop drawings and videos to watch. Makes me think a lot more.....:eek:
02-10-2008, 03:04 PM
Last pictures for tonight.
The last two are the airfoil sections for the tail feathers. They will have a rake back angle to them. I will incorporate the tail skid tube inside the vertical stabilizer and there will be a lot of rivet nuts to install....and lots of alignment procedures. My laser is going to get another workout.
02-10-2008, 05:07 PM
The way that thing is going together I'd swear Kandace is building a Helicycle.... :)
I couldn't resist that one Stan (and Kandace). Nice progress both of you. Thanks for the ride.
Mostly I wanted to comment Stan that you are exactly right in putting your shop vac where the action is when you are grinding fiberglass. If a person can eliminate the dust and itch factor from fiberglass work it can be enjoyable .
Will you have much fiberglass bonding and laminating to do ? Do they provide enough instructions ? Need any pointers ?
I have considered posting some everyday pointers and tips on working with fiberglass for the average homebuilder and wonder if there is any need out there ?
I have found that people either love or hate fiberglass work. I learned to love it after getting all the irritants out of the way.
I would also add that I spent much of my career in the automotive refinish trade , I recognize good work when I see it , and I am absolutely amazed at the finishing and paint quality on homebuilt aircraft. Especially on this forum . I often wonder how everybody does it ...... ? I'm impressed ..... !!!
02-11-2008, 11:30 AM
So far so good. It's starting to resemble a real flying machine. I can't wait to see that one in the air.
Keep it up my friend!!
02-11-2008, 03:51 PM
Ed: Thank you sir for that site! I will check it out when my dial up isnt so slow.
I removed that one straight/flared oak stairway today...and now my Helicycle has more room. Trouble is I have to build a mirror image curved stairway to the one to the right. It will "stack" on top of that one making for a 23 foot tall dual curved stairway. Those kind of jobs keep me spinning rotors..;)
I went in extra early and got my stairwork done by mid afternoon then did a little more piddle work.
Here are some shots of the instrument console inside the cabin.
Also...I sat in it for the first time and was amazed at the room. My cabin is 28 inches wide whereas my SparrowHawk was 44 inches....but that was for two people. I have all kinds of elbow room and the cabin is designed for up to a 6ft. 6 in. pilot. I have plenty of headroom.
The last shot was taken with the camera right where my eyes would be. It will be a good view out both sides and in the front. I also can look directly overhead and back at the rotor. It will be nice to check to see if my rotor is still turning while I am flying should the rotor tach quit...:p
02-12-2008, 02:45 AM
It looks fantastic. You're in for a GREAT adventure.
02-12-2008, 04:47 AM
Looking good Stan. see how ya are, I get sick over the weekend and don't get any reading done and I check back and you already have the cab assembled and looking good.
keep up the good work it's looking good.
02-12-2008, 05:43 AM
Bob and Tim- Thanks! I am going to enjoy the over a year of gnawing I have ahead. I never will forget the emptiness my shop had after I finished my SparrowHawk build. I missed having it in there to work on. I wont mind a year instead of the 5 months the SH took, with all the other R22 training and chopper room add on- but I know I will be anxious to bolt that turbine into the ship next year. Stan
02-12-2008, 06:29 AM
Stan, That is looking fantastic! I'm so jealous:D ! I can't wait to see the updated photos as you go along. I'm living vicariously through you.
I was looking at the Helicycle website and was surprised that it wasn't more expensive. Not that it is inexpensive. But in the overall helicopter scheme of things, it isn't at all out of line. I guess I just assumed it would be more.
I anxiously await more progress photo's while I fly my Flight Sim R22.
Would you like to see photos of my Heli controls for FS?
Again, I'm green with envy!
02-12-2008, 07:38 AM
Kandace- Hey, glad you like the build pictures, I enjoy seeing your Bee coming together as well . Please post the controls you mentioned. I plan on posting every detail of this build, not every rivet and bolt, but every different section. I will then burn some Helicycle Build CD's . I am sure others will see better methods, but these will be methods I have observed and some I have improvised on the fly. Hang in there, I plan on posting hundreds of pictures till it hatches out next year! Then it will turn into a fledgling thread. Stan
02-12-2008, 03:47 PM
After I got my stair assignments done today...I knocked off and started working on the tail feathers.
There are no full scale plans...so I took the information off the small set of plans...and drew me out a full scale mockup for the airfoil sections.
The rake back on the top stabilizer is 28 degrees.and the bottom one is 30 degrees.....so a little trig punched into my calculator gave me the dimensions I needed.
The 4130 tail skid is prebent and is riveted inside the tail feathers. It looks like a very simple yet strong design. I am making sure my angles are all correct as the rivets will be centerlined on that tail skid.
02-12-2008, 03:55 PM
I layed the airfoil sections directly over my full scale plane...and made the cutlines. I then cut them out on my miterbox. I still cringe cutting metal in that...but it cuts it like butter.
I then cut out the horizontal stabilizer....and scribed the cope that will mate it to the airfoil shape of the vertical stabilizer. These will get backing plates riveted internally to keep the sides of the airfoil sections flush with each other. I will bondo a nice radius at the intersection before it gets painted.
02-13-2008, 03:23 AM
What makes this build so handy is the helicopter sitting there in that back room can be rolled through that opening...around my workbench by that green chair and to safety in another room while I am in its nest building another stairway. Too many chances of something getting dropped and bouncing onto the build...especially after the cabin is on and painted.
My SparrowHawk had to stay in that back room constantly because of the mast much higher than the 8 foot opening.
Tim: Sorry to hear about your illness....but I had to keep building last weekend without you!:boink: Glad you are better, now we can team up this weekend and both get something done.
02-13-2008, 04:45 AM
As always, you and your work are amazing...
So with the engine delay, when do you think you will be done?
Keep up the good work.
By the way, I started my Sparrowhawk build, Lower Mast, foward and rear keels with the cheek plates are drilled and cleco'd, be riviting very soon!
02-13-2008, 05:08 AM
I am happy to see you begin your new project... I have been unplugedd from the Internet for some time due to some work related issues... I am still in Iraq so I let figure why....***BOOOOMMM***.... lol... our internet servie got blew up...
Anyway... I have 18 days left here and I am heading home in Maryland then in June 1st to my new house in Killeen, Texas... So some time between the last week of June and the first week of July I will place the order of my either Gyro or Heli... All depends how much money the wife let me use... But I am open for suggestions.... I am seeing you so entusiastic about your heli and at the same time about gyros... I like boths... I have the chance to fly on a Aircommand 2 seater in Kwuait city few weeks ago ...plus I have been flying here on Blackhawks UH-60 for almost a year every other day... hard to decide now....
Well... enjoy and I want to hear how you doing in your R-22 classes....I bet you having ton of fun...
02-13-2008, 07:59 AM
Heath- Thanks for the kind comment. You will love your SH build as well as flying it. I would love to see your build pics posted. My build will be paused as I wait on the next shipment. For now, I have plenty to chew on. - Jose, Thanks for your sacrifice serving our country. God bless your safety. I cant tell you which way to go with either a SH or a heli. It boils down how bad you want to haul passengerr versus how bad you want the capabilitie to land most anywhere. If you do decide on a SH, I would like to work with you on the deal. We have talked about this several times and I know you would love one. -Arnie, I would like to ask you about lightweight bondo- dos and donts. Stan
02-13-2008, 10:15 AM
Using Bondo type fillers....
Most auto body type fillers are very strong and permanent for repairs. Buy commercial brands from your local auto body supply. They are often labled "for industrial use only" . Stay away from products at the household hardware store. They are designed to be mild , tame and weak so the housewife doesnt hurt herself fixing her flower planter.
The lightweight fillers are great. They replace some of the solids with microscopic "air balloons" to reduce the weight.
Your fiberglass components will have a remnant of release agent on the surface. This silicone based agent enables parts to be removed from the mold at manufacture. This has to be removed or the fillers , primers and paints you are using will not stick properly.
Again ,body shop supply will have a solvent for removing wax and grease . Use clean rags or buy disposable body shop wipes. I preferred the solvent which uses a water rinse. The rinse is the important part. If you use water , add a bit of soap at the end to cut any remaining solvent .
Good old yellow sunlight dish soap is best. It rinses clean with no residue. Stay away from "soft hands" type soaps , they contain oil.
Scotch brite automotive scrub pads are good for sanding and cleaning around contours and edges.
Areas to be repaired should be lightly sanded with aprox 180 grit sandpaper. The idea is to remove the gloss of the fiberglass gelcoat and give the filler some tooth. Usually a couple of thin layers works better than a lot at once, It is not a lot different than filling wood or using drywall compounds.
Usually the frustrating part is the filler starts to harden before you get it all on. Thus the advantage of mixing smaller amounts. Try to keep the can of filler in a cool place gives you more time to work with it. Pick up an extra tube of the cream hardner, you will use more than comes with the quart.
In a few minutes I will send another post with a few questions for you to see if they apply to what you are doing. I want to look back at a couple of your pictures first.
02-13-2008, 12:01 PM
Arnie- Thanks for the tips, thats one big reason I like to post projects. I learn from people like you. The instrument pod will be bolted in. The cabin halves will be bolted together. I have only rough fit the cabin halves and will be cleaning up all the edges soon. Stan
02-13-2008, 01:58 PM
Here is the horizontal stabilizer being coped to fit the vertical stabilizer.
I put it in my shopmate...and then duct taped it to prevent wild vibrations.
That disc sander hogged it out fast...then I finished with a Dremel tool and finally with a file.
02-13-2008, 04:35 PM
Looking good Stan!
I can tell people that I stood in that very shop.
I make mistakes a lot faster with power tools.
I am a file enthusiast.
I love the pictures, especially the ones with the fingers.
Thank you, Vance
02-13-2008, 06:06 PM
Vance: And I can tell everyone that is was an honor to have you in my shop! You even top Norm Abram who was in there!
02-14-2008, 02:15 AM
First of all, your build is really coming along...and looks GREAT!! I'm beginning to think Helicycle after I finish rebuilding the RAF. You just never know!
Secondly, Norm Abrams was in your shop? You gotta tell us that story!!!
02-14-2008, 02:51 AM
Bob: Norm loves curved stairways and was nearby at a trade show. I talked to him and next thing I know theres his autograph on my wall. Very nice guy....but he is like all of us...puts his pants on one leg at a time!
02-14-2008, 03:47 AM
While Norm Abram is a good carpenter. But when it comes to woodworking he can't hold a candle to David Marks the host of "Wood Works" on the DIY network.
02-14-2008, 04:01 AM
Bob- I am NOT a master carpenter - I have so much to learn to fit my definition of what I feel is one . Thanks for your kind comment though. Stan
02-14-2008, 07:39 AM
You're a MASTER CARPENTER in my book! SO THERE!!!
02-14-2008, 06:01 PM
Thursday night is my shop night for the helicopter. I am fitting the spar inside the airfoil sections. The angles have to be dead on...as the rivets should be top dead center on the spar. I layed out the centerlines and drilled top and bottom rivet holes...then clecoed them together while fitting the bottom piece. This tail will take a little while.
02-14-2008, 06:31 PM
Keep the pictures coming!!!
02-15-2008, 03:34 AM
Bob- I was too disgusted with myself to post this last night. I was meticulously fitting the upper vertical stab to the spar and had it fitting nice and clecoed in. I was tired and was slipping the lower stab over the hook shaped tail skid. It became stuck and I dont normally use force instead of brains, but I did ! I put a crease on the thin 0.025 skin. What an idiotic move on my part! I should name this thread Helicycle Hackery instead of Hatchery! I do tell the whole story so please remove that master craftsman title - I aint one. I will learn from this and not work on it when the brain is asleep. I will order a new lower tail feather today. I even unriveted it to try to iron out the crease, but I am concerned with the internal score mark causing a future cosmetic unsightly crack. I am not going to bandaid my first mistake by making a second mistake doing so! Stan
02-15-2008, 03:59 AM
I feel that the lesson here is to stop when something doesn’t go well and learn how to make it go well.
I think you are doing a great job and you inspire me to be better.
It is nearly impossible to take a wrinkle out of sheet aluminum without work hardening it. Your approach is best practice.
In my opinion you are a true master craftsman because of your philosophical perspective. People become masters by making mistakes and learning to do better. I have never met a true craftsman that did not have a lot of things in the trash bins. Talent is the smallest part of the mix.
Thank you, Vance
02-15-2008, 06:11 AM
You have once again proved your mastery in that you will not accept such a mistake. Instead of shrugging it off and going forward you have ordered a replacment part.
But you know, everyone one of us has done the same thing. We get frustrated with something and, in our frustration, do a bit of damage. You handled it well my friend. I'm sure your Helicycle will be a showpiece.
02-15-2008, 07:21 AM
Bob- My moronic move only cost me 75 bucks, its in stock and will be here tomorrow! Maybe this will prevent a stupider mistake down the road. Its kind of weird, I am actually kind of glad it happened now- I have been slapped out of complacency. I am just shaking my head and laughing at myself. Stan
02-15-2008, 08:05 AM
That's a GREAT attitude my friend!
02-15-2008, 08:35 AM
That mistake just increased my already high respect for you....
02-16-2008, 11:31 AM
I got out at 6 a.m. today and got a full 8 hours in. I took the cabin off....and filed and sanded all the edges.....I then started installing the rivnuts on the seat pan. These are what the cabin bolts anchor to.
02-16-2008, 11:40 AM
some of the cabin shots. I am just now getting ready to start putting rivnuts bolting the two cabin halves together. They st rt at the bottom of the windshield and go all along the belly and up the back of the cabin. Lots of fussy alignment to get these all to marry together.
02-16-2008, 05:14 PM
I had to wait to load these last pictures. My dial up is s-l-o-w!!:focus:
The one picture is the clecos holding the top seam together....I have to take the cabin off to rivet the rivnuts on. I also have to backcut the overlapping seam a tad more so its flush when bolted together.
02-17-2008, 11:12 AM
Looking good Stan,:first:
But I think you need a few more wood clamps hanging on the wall behind the helo!!!:lol: :lol: :lol:
02-17-2008, 11:23 AM
Arnie- Pinholes, whats the best method to prevent these little gremlins in the fiberglass finish? Also, I am amazed how thin and lightweight the cabin is. They really took some care when it was made. The seat/floorpan fit the frame with minimal fuss- and the cabin halves have 4 indexed holes that align with 4 holes in the seat/floorpan making this part of the build lots of fun. I have never had so much enjoyment working on something. I am ecstatic about the year + build I have ahead and the flying right from my stairshop after that. Stan
02-18-2008, 03:33 PM
I like to go in at 6 a.m. most mornings and sneak an hour in on the helicopter before going to my stairways. Slow and steady will see this project through.
The first picture is my new lower vertical stab that doesnt have a crease in it....:D
I am fitting them together over that spar. I learned to unrivet the bottom 1/3 of that so the spar wouldnt get stuck again. I am learning....:party:
02-18-2008, 03:46 PM
I am fitting some rivet backing plates here with the clecos. I am indexing the rivet holes....then these plates will go on the inside of the airfoil section....and once riveted...both lower and upper halves will be nice and flush and secure.
I have a lot of fitting left to the spar before I get the rivets out.
02-18-2008, 03:48 PM
Last picture. I was ahead of schedule today...I loaded another curved stairway for installation tomorrow. I was rewarded with another 2 hours of helicopter work.:D
02-18-2008, 05:23 PM
Looking good as always. Just curious. Was that an auctual plan lying on the table? I thought you had not plans or instructions, maybe I read it wrong.
02-18-2008, 06:03 PM
Moving right along, Stan! Thanks for all the photos....
02-18-2008, 06:04 PM
Scott: Thanks for the epoxy tip...I will check into that further.
02-18-2008, 06:08 PM
Heath: My first shipment came without plans. I called them and they overnighted them. My SparrowHawk came with a nice thick book with check off boxes. This has drawings and a bunch of videos to watch.
By the way....I was talking to Glen Cobb today and he mentioned saying something to you about my experience on my SparrowHawk build with the only piece of wood in it....its kind of funny.
02-18-2008, 06:15 PM
Mike: Glad you like the photos. I am overwhelmed with the number of hits already on this thread! Its over 3600 and its only been 12 days since my first shipment arrived. I will keep posting every step because I want to make a Helicycle build CD......I know many of my steps wont be the smoothest or the best way...but they will be my way of doing it. I will gladly burn some for any future builder and they can decide for themselves if they say....."I like the way he did that" or they may say..." I siure would have dont that different!"
02-19-2008, 09:38 AM
Factory layup of fiberglass sometimes leaves small air pockets trapped that show up as pinholes. When you sand the gelcoat surface they often show up.
Usually filling them with a bit of body filler works best. Try to squeeze it down into the cavity and then sand it level again. Smaller imperfections and your sanding marks will be taken care of by the painter who will apply a good coat or two of epoxy primer which he will then sand "perfectly smooth" as part of his prep work.
I'm really enjoying your build Stan. Many thanks.
02-19-2008, 10:31 AM
Yes I also fought that block of wood in the lower mast! What a bugger that was. Thought I had it just right till about 1/2 way in it was STUCK!
Three hours later I finally got it just right and that process is done.
I dread the day when I have to start working on the fiberglass. I am good with metal, ok with wood, but have never touched fiberglass. Guess I will learn it soon!
02-19-2008, 01:46 PM
I got back early from setting a stairway and worked a couple more hours on my tail feathers.
You can see the rivet backing plate now clecoed inside the airfoil. I have to put some external plates on the rear flat fins to hold them together and to also serve as an anchor point so the tail can have a set incidence angle.
The last picture is the horizontal section just slipped on over the spar. I have to have the tail mounted on the ship...with the mast level...then the horizonal has to be set at 5+ degrees.
02-20-2008, 01:59 AM
If you use a glazing putty do not use the polyester stuff, use only 2 part products.
the air dry polyesters will shrink and peel over time.
the thing about rolling on the epoxy primer, when you roll it on it forces it into the pinhole, and fills the pinhole, rather than covering it.
Anyhow, good luck!
02-20-2008, 02:53 AM
Scott and Arnie: I appreciate the advice! I am a long ways from this yet...but I had a few very minor pinholes in my SparrowHawk tail which was composite......you had to look real close.....none on the fiberglass cabin.
I am going down to the shop now and sneak in hour before my real "work" starts...I mean occupation....:D
02-20-2008, 03:11 AM
Pros use a body "glaze" thin set putty like product that you apply with a single wipe using a rubber squeege.
These glazing putty products have been used sucessfully for many years but because they are an air-dry system should not be used under , above or between epoxy systems.
Especially if the cavity being filled is deep it will not dry properly and can cause a blister later as the solvents continue to evaporate. Thus it is best to use a 2 part (body filler) that chemically cures in a few minutes.
Also Stan if I expose a larger air pocket or pin hole when preparing fiberglass I will sometimes "pick it out" a bit to allow fillers to get inside.
The next time I have a fiberglass project on the go I am going to take a series of pictures and post them as a fiberglass 101 thread for the homebuilder. A few pointers can make all the difference. I sure wish I was building something right now THAT WOULD FLY when I was done ....:)
02-20-2008, 08:55 AM
Arnie- That would be a good thread idea about proper fiberglass prep. Thanks again, all these little tips will add up in the end. I will post some more tail feather pics tonight. I have it mounted on the frame now and will have to break out the torch on some 4130 tubing to make some tail braces. Coaster- Thanks for the tip on sanding before its fully cured . Stan
02-20-2008, 03:28 PM
These are the outside doubler plates that had to be riveted on. There is a bolt that sets the yaw angle incidence through these plates.
I am fitting the feathers to the tail ...and getting ready to start aligning it.
02-20-2008, 03:34 PM
More pictures of the feathers on
02-20-2008, 03:43 PM
Heres where it gets fun. I set my laser beam up on that stairway...and aligned it with the centerline of the tail rotor shaft bearing holes. The horizontal stab is to have a positive 5 degrees pitch.
The second picture...if you look close...the laser beam is centered on the tail rotor shaft bearing. I split the bearing centerlines with the laser and then marked my cabin for the reference to get 5 degrees from.
The bottom blue tape is the tail rotor shaft centerline. The top blue line is the 5 degree line. I layed the 5 degrees out by measuring up the vertical blue line which is 144 inches from my tail reference point. Take the tangent of 5 degrees...which is 0.087488663 and multiply it by 144 inches...and thats how high the vertical leg of a right triangle needs to be to be at 5 degrees. This is 12.59 inches up the blue tape...or just a little over 12 9/16 inches.
The last pictures are zoomed in on the laser beam going through the bearing centerlines....and that one actually zapped my camera.
02-20-2008, 03:51 PM
The first picture is looking at the back of the laser as it visually lays down a red plane of light centered on the tail rotor shaft bearing centerlines. This laser is so handy with my stairwork and this kind of stuff.
The second picture is visually eye balling the mean chordl line of the tail feather with the 5 degree blue tape mark on the cabin.
The third pictures is eyeballing with the use of a square centered on the chord line and sighting in with the 5 degree blue tape mark.
The fourth picture is yet another way....a stretched string centered on the mean chord line and going to the 5 degree mark.
Anyway....they all vote unanimously.....my tail is set at 5 degrees!
I love having control over stuff and hate it when it controls me.
02-20-2008, 04:26 PM
You are so skilled with your tricks and tips, it scares me.
Not because your that good, but makes me feel a bit....well....stupid.
What an impressive project. Keep up the good work.
02-20-2008, 06:14 PM
Heath: Hey..thanks for the kind comment.....but the way I am building this is my way...and it may not be the best or the right way.....just so it gets the job done.
02-20-2008, 07:12 PM
Heath- You cant feel as stupid as I did win I got that wooden block stuck in my SH mast! That took Stupid with honors! Hows your build coming along? Stan
02-20-2008, 07:25 PM
My build is slow but steady...balancing the honey doos with the build...very delicate.
My block was stuck too, three hours till I found the right 2/4 to knock it free.
Keep it up!
02-21-2008, 10:43 AM
Heath: I had fit that wood block,..had it indexed to go in the right way...then I mixed the epoxy up. I tapped it in...then it became stuck! :rant:
I had my index mark backwards and it was just a tad tight. I didnt know how long the epoxy would take to set up...and I had no way of getting to it from the other side. I ended up hollowing it out with paddle bits making sure I stayed away from the inside of the mast. I worked frantically...finally got the core out...then got the shell that was left of the block out. The epoxy was still uncured. I made another block...and epoxied it in and went home.
I had to laugh at myself as this was the only freakin piece of wood in the SparrowHawk and here I am a so called woodworker....and it got me.:lol:
02-21-2008, 05:30 PM
I set the vertical stabilizer incidence angle today. The mean chord line is supposed to be pointed 15 to 17 inches right of the rotorshaft.
I clamped a stick projecting to the right and placed some marks at 15 and 17 inches. I then sighted the chordline...and placed a blue tape where the chordline intersects the stick.
I had 6.5 inches more to go to the right. I like to figure out with math instead of just guess and by golly. So I measured the pivot point on the stab to its stop that I have to grind to adjust it. This measured exactly 5.75 inches. The pivot point was 134 inches from the rotorshaft...so I set up a ratio..... 5.75/134 = X/6.5 Cross multiplying 5.75 times 6.5 gives me 37.375 inches. I divided that by the distance to the rotor shaft of 134 inches and came up with the amount to grind off...this was 0.2789 inches to get carried away here with the decimals. For all practical purposes....I marked .25 inches on the spacer and thats where my red felt tip marked it.
I hack sawed to this....and checked it. Sure enough, I needed to still go a little more to that 0.2789 figure. I slowly ground it and then sighted my mean chordline.
You can see picture #121 has a blue tape between my 15 and 17 inch red marks. The left blue tape is the original sight line. You can see that the chordline is right in the middle of the red marks...and now my tail is all set.
02-21-2008, 05:35 PM
I stretched a string right between the 15 and 17 inch marks...and it shows it is right over the mean chordline of the vertical stabilizer. I love setting this rigging and knowing with confidence it is right. It will be handy for me to come back to this thread as these are my building notes for future reference.
The last two pictures show the tail set with 5 degrees positive on the horizontal stabilizer...and the required amoung of vertical offset angle.
02-22-2008, 02:41 AM
Heath: That is a real good question....and let me elaborate on it!
The instructions say to set the horizontal tail at a positive 5 degrees pitch.....leading edge up....with the rotor shaft vertical. Well....I dont have a rotorshaft and I went off the bearing supports for the tail rotor drive shaft.
Now.....before I get all lathered up and go drilling....I dont want to rely on any of my assumptions. I am "assuming" that the tail rotor drive shaft is indeed perpendicular to the rotor drive shaft....and I am assuming that the bearing supports center bolt holes are indeed the center of the tail rotor driveshaft. I called Blake at the factory and asked him if my assumptions were correct....and he verified they were.
So.....your question about the wheels changing the levelness of the tail rotor driveshaft is a good one...and if I were to level the tail rotor driveshaft...then yes ...I would have to shim the skids to do so. In fact...if those wheels were off....the main rotor shaft is tilted forward a few degrees...and likewise...the tail rotor driveshaft is tilted up at the rear.
What I ended up doing was going by the fact that that all I have to do is make sure my tail is set 5 degrees positive with the tail rotor driveshaft....so that when this drive shaft is level...also making the main rotor shaft vertical....that the tail has 5 degrees positive attack.
Heath.....it was just another way of doing the same job. I could have leveled the tail rotor driveshaft....then put a little level on the tail for the 5 degrees....and it would have been close enough. But there is nothing like setting an angle more accurately by doing so with a long distance. In this case it was 144 inches for the first setting....and my calculator can feed me numbers real quick to set that angle real precisely.
Next...I have to take some 4130 tubing and fashion some angle braces for the tail. Time to break out the torch!
02-22-2008, 09:30 AM
Justin- I really appreciate your nice comments, especially coming from someone with such an awesome background. I knew I would enjoy this build, but I way underestimated how much so! I am coming in extra early to my stairshop almost everyday and slowly but steadily chipping away at it. At the end of each day, I lay out my project- sneak some time on it, then leave my stuff out for my early morning session. This lets me go home and think about what I want to accomplish in that hour or so. I feel this maximizes my work session. TOP PRIORITY however is my stair business. It is 100% of our income, and I dont dare let my helicopter project interfere with it. I never thought I would find something as enjoyable as curved stairway work, but this Helicycle project is even more fun. Stan
02-22-2008, 09:43 AM
Math has always kicked my tail. You are a real wiz.
I would like to see a book on how to figure it pure genius.
You are a brilliant man !
02-22-2008, 10:28 AM
Jonathon- Thanks, but you are way overating my math skills. My curved stairways and what little math I do know is nothing more than high school level trig, geometry, and algebra. There are many people on this forum with much higher levels of math, and then there are geniuses like Chuck B. that post stuff that is way over my head. I will modestly say I make very good use of what little I do know. Stan
02-22-2008, 11:07 AM
Thanks for the reply...I was just curious. Great explanation as always. Ultimatly, I guess if my question raised enough interest/concern for you to call the factory to verify, it was worth me asking.
Keep up the GREAT work.
02-23-2008, 03:28 AM
Nothing too exciting here.....just some wooden endplugs that go in the top and bottom of the vertical stabilizer....and one on the lone horizontal fin.
I roughened the interior aluminum skin, then epoxied these into place. I later will put a little bondo to blend in the edge of the aluminum skin.
Those sharp acute angles on the rear of the air foil will be softened and rounded with a file.
Arnie...or anyone... Any problems foreseen with the bondo not sticking to some residual epoxy on these blocks? I figure I better ask now.:help: Otherwise....I thought maybe using some more epoxy and sanding it down smooth. Do you see any problem or any special thing done to this epoxy for good paint adhesion? Thanks for any suggestions.....or any answers from anyone else.
I will be breaking out my little mapp torch to bend some 4130 braces for this tail.
To be continued.......................................:D
02-23-2008, 04:01 AM
Should not be a problem if the epoxy has dried hard (no sticky residue) . A light sanding of the wood and epoxy will give tooth for fillers or paint. During the sanding I like to see dry dust indicating a good (dry) surface .... ie: no gumming up of the sandpaper etc.
02-23-2008, 02:40 PM
Arnie: Thanks....I have the blocks all epoxied in...and a little bit of bondo is on. They came out nice.
Today I had to get my little mapp torch out and fashion some tail feather braces out of 4130 3/8 tubing.
I heated the ends cherry red...and then place 3/4 inch of it in my vise and did a squeeze play on it to make a tab. It took two heatings to do this.
Then I heated it again and bent it to match the angle needed. I had a sample made to copy the bend to.
It was a few reheats...but I wanted the tabs parallel to its mating surface of course. This involved compound bends as the braces ran at angles both ways.
You can see my hand holding the first brace up...and the lower tab is unsatisfactory...but the next picture shows it after a reheat and it is flush on both ends. This took several minute adjustments till I was happy with it.
02-23-2008, 03:15 PM
The second brace holds the vertical stabilizer...well....vertical!
I leveled the chassis with that long level laying on the skids.
I place my laser beam in the vertical mode...and adjusted the vertical stab until its trailing edge split the laser beam both top and bottom.
My finger points to the top and bottom trailing edge with the laser beam being split.
I wasted sometime by getting out my bubble level to see if it would vote yes as well....it did.
More pictures later...my dial up is too slow right now.
02-23-2008, 03:54 PM
Now that the tail is locked in to vertical...a third brace stabilizes the top. More cutting...heating...bending......heating...bending ...heating..bending...
This is fun trying to make steel bend into submission. Maybe I will try my torch on the next piece of wood I want to bend...:D
02-25-2008, 02:13 PM
I have to get the fuel tanks in place....secured...and all the fittings installed in the tanks. It will take some time....lots of internal o-ring fittings that have to be snaked inside the tank and out their appropriate holes.
02-26-2008, 02:50 AM
This is the top tank that has to be wedged back into the frame more before the holes are drilled into the tank to mount it. I am going to do this when I take the cabin back off soon.
The second picture shows the tail feathers with the rounded wooden blocks terminating the airfoil sections. A little bondo...a little sanding....
The last picture is the belly plates being final fit...before I take the cabin off.
Next I will mount the instrument pod....and then start in with the directional controls...cyclic...etc.
I am considering just lumping my build pictures and posting once every two weeks or so and just show the major stuff.....or unless most want to see every step on a Helicycle build. Let me know...:yo:
02-26-2008, 03:39 AM
Great work...starting to look like a helo!!!
I love to see the posts. Gives me drive to do better. Either way, I would love to see the progress. Honestly, a month between posts, I don't think you can wait that long!
02-26-2008, 03:39 AM
I like the way your doing it now Stan. It shows the nice steady progress without any magical jumps where I'm left wondering "How'd he do that???"
Your stab work is especially interesting. I'm wondering what I can take from it for building a tail of my own. The wooden ends are nice, is that to plans or you?
02-26-2008, 04:50 AM
I also like the way that you're doing it now. I enjoy watching your progress, and your attention to detail. I also like to see those beautiful stairways hovering in the background.
02-26-2008, 05:05 AM
I think the update pace is perfect! If you don't mind the work, I'm sure we'll all appreciate the effort.
02-26-2008, 06:21 AM
Stan, don't change a thing!
02-26-2008, 06:49 AM
Stan, I'm gonna rain on your parade here... maybe.
The older aircraft literature (CAM-18 and so on) is very negative about the flatten-it method of creating a tab at the end of a tube. Even with an internal sleeve (they say) this setup is prone to cracking -- either at the bend or at the edges of the sharp crease on either side of the tab.
They recommend a more elaborate end terminal. In this version, you make the tab out of sheet stock and weld it into a slit cut in the tube. The two open "half moon" ends are tapered down to contact the tube and they also are welded.
This is about ten times more work than the simple "flatten it" end. I have, though, had the simple flattened ones crack on parts I bought from others. Being the timid type, I've always used the more elaborate version when making my own.
If you keep what you've got, paint it a light color and watch for cracks.
02-26-2008, 07:37 AM
Here’s what “the book” says about tube terminations:
02-26-2008, 07:48 AM
That's the one, Chuck. The middle bottom picture and caption criticize the "crushed tube" approach. The top center drawing is the more "wholesome" alternative they offer.
I like the top left design and use it more than the tab type. It's more rigid.
02-26-2008, 07:51 AM
Stan; I like the play by play.
Keep it coming, please.
02-26-2008, 10:06 AM
John- The wooden blocks are by the plans. The tail design is very light but also strong. It is .025 aluminum wrapped around a 3/4 inch 4130 steel tube. Its riveted on with 1/8 inch steel rivets. I enjoy posting these build pictures, its just that some evenings my dial up is s-l-o-w! Sometimes I can load pictures with just a little wait. Stan
02-26-2008, 11:08 AM
This is what I do with something like this that has an angle greater than 25'. I do not like the tabs flexing under tension. Because you heated the tubing before bending and you already have your angles perfect, you could make the tab less flexable with similar gussets as in the drawing. I would weld the bent tabs crushed sides while welding the gussets. But do what ever Doug says is okay cause he knows what's best.
02-26-2008, 12:39 PM
Doug- Hey, I appreciate your post. Any critique from you I find very palatable just because I know you arent going to say anything negative unless you feel it needs to be said. I will say I am following the plans and videos as close as I can. I know the method you prefer as I have seen that many times on higher load applications. In my case- I do have redundancy as I either brace holds the fins securely each by themselves. In other words it would fly with either brace. I always structurally inspect-shake-etc. on preflight all braces anyway, and will pay extra attention because of what you suggested here. I DO NOT forget stuff like this because it will now always have a red flag in my mind. Should someday I find its cracking, I will post here saying you had told me so! If it never cracks, that doesnt prove me right either. I know your way is the absolute best way. I will keep an eye on it. Stan
02-26-2008, 02:36 PM
Clay: Heres a quick tour of my shop since you like to see the background stair scenery! I just started the layout of another curved stairway. I made sure the Helicycle could manuever around ok...and it does. The footprint of the next stairs will rise from those white posterboards I have stapled down. That stairway actually is going to sit right over the one next to it that has a head start.
I have been in my "back" room working lately and I will show it to you as I move the Helicycle through my shop. It is so handy to be able to move that helicopter around my workbench and into each of my three rooms to get it out of harms way when I am working on the stairways.
02-26-2008, 02:43 PM
Clay: Just moving the helicopter around my workbench in my main tool room. I have to wig wag it just a few times...and it goes right around that bench. My SparrowHawk had to stay it that back room as the mast was higher than that 8 foot opening.
Theres your stairshop tour...Clay.:)
02-26-2008, 02:51 PM
Here are some of the fuel system parts are neatly bagged and numbered. They did do a nice job of packaging everything. I could only spare 45 minutes this morning to work on the helicopter....so I made one of the hole covers where the rotor shaft will protrude through.
The little bolts will bolt the tanks in place. There are o-rings supplied and I understand its a lot stronger mounting system than having the bolts screw into the tank.
The large round discs are the access holes in the tanks. They have an o-ring as well. The fuel sender will go into one of these.
02-27-2008, 03:28 AM
Thanks for the shop tour Stan - those stairways are true works of art. It’s fun and inspiring to see them take shape, especially knowing that they’ll bring decades of enjoyment to their owners.
The same with your Helicycle. This is a great thread and I enjoy watching your progress. Thanks for sharing your passions. Best Regards, Clay
02-28-2008, 02:33 AM
The first picture shows one of my cabin mounting screws that does not pass inspection. It isnt perpendicular to the surface. When I take the cabin apart I will have to ground out underneath the nutplate.
The second picture shows the headroom I have. The cabin looks narrow from the front...but I have more shoulder room than my SparrowHawk has and I can look out both doors almost straight down.
The third picture is my grandson Colton. Had to sneak that precious package in here.
02-28-2008, 03:20 AM
That is the picture of a happy guy. Got both his babies on this thread.
02-28-2008, 05:11 AM
It's looking good Stan! Looks like you are really enjoying the build.
I enjoy seeing the details of how the bird is built and of course your craftsmenship.
that is going to be one sweet machine when you are done for sure.
Keep up the good work and the posts.
02-28-2008, 06:09 PM
Thanks guys! I worked on my fuel tanks tonight. I had to make a backing ring that goes inside the tanks with 5 nut plates riveted on. It holds the aluminum disc on that has an o-ring to seal it.
The ring is split so it goes inside the tank. I indexed the 5 holes as this is hand drilled and I am not a machine! The nut plate, disc and holes in the tank are all indexed.
02-28-2008, 06:16 PM
These aluminum adapters had to be installed through several holes in the tanks from the inside. These adapters will have brass fuel fitting screwed into them from the outside later. There is an 0-ring that seals this to the inside of the tank. I put a carriage bolt on the inside of the fittings...and tightened it up..and double nutted it. I drilled a 1/16 hole in the end of the carriage bolt and fastened some safety wire through the carriage bolt. This was then fed through the tank where my fitting came out....and I tightened the external hex nut by holding the double nuts that were jammed together.
Unjamming the nuts releases the carriage bolt...and I fished it back out the other side of the tank.
These tanks will be mounted with small bolts that I will drill a 1/16 inch hole in them as well.....and do all this fun fishing.
02-28-2008, 06:22 PM
I just have to tell you that I'm REALLY enjoying this thread. Keep it up!! And by the way, that is one cute little grandson you have!!
02-29-2008, 02:51 AM
Bob: Glad you are enjoying it. I cant wait to see you back in the air. That gyro of yours "was" a head turner...and it "will" be again.
Isnt my grandson lucky that my look genes didnt get passed on to him?:wacko:
02-29-2008, 04:51 AM
Have you considered brackets for some type of luggage storage or an air photo camera under the cab. Possibly some type of fiberglass storage case for tools that fit the curves of the cab.
02-29-2008, 09:33 AM
Larry- There are places available for some custom made storage compartments. I wont know how best to utilize these potential spaces until later in my build. Theres room under and behind the seat. There is room behind my right shoulder to hang an oblong duffle bag for my overnight trips. I plan on mounting a camera - maybe under the belly, and I guarantee I will once again be posting pictures of my flights plus all the crazy places I will be landing at! Stan
02-29-2008, 02:13 PM
I was able to sneak a few hours in today on the fuel tanks. I wanted to test for leaks as I am a little paranoid reading some of the others experiences.
What we have are fittings that go inside the fuel tank..with an o-ring on the inside...this is captured with an external nut...squeeze it up...no problem.....
Anyway...I sealed all the holes....and filled my tanks with water. One tank was fine...but my other tank had a slow seepage around one of the o-ring fittings.
I disassembled it and studied the inside of the tank where the o-ring seated to. It felt slightly wavy but how do I get in there and sand that down? I didnt want to just go gunk the insides up with proseal.
Necessity is the mother of invention. I made me an internal disc sander out of a 1/4 inch bolt....a fender washer....some smaller washers...and some self stick sanding paper.
The hole was 7/8 inch and I took some washers and drilled theh out for the 1/4 inch bolt. Then I stacked three of these washers and turned them down on my farmer lather....a bench grinder....;)...and used these as a center pilot to keep my disc sander running right where its supposed to...just around the hole.
I snaked it through with the wire again...and held it while I chucked it in my cordless drill. I pullled up on it and ran the drill and it sanded it down nice.
I put the fitting back on...did another water test....and it didnt leak!
I ended up doing all the other fittings so I know its going to be right. Nows the time...not 6 months from now with the tanks in the helicopter.
The next post will show the final pictures of snakin my disc sander into place and sanding.
02-29-2008, 02:21 PM
This is the disc sander getting snaked into position.
I had two sizes of holes to clean up...all I had to do was make some new washers to size and bolt them on my disc as a collar guide for the other size hole.
The problem is the holes were just a little too close to the inside curvature of the tank. Just enough so the o-ring wouldnt seat in right.
The last picture is my drill just taken a few seconds sand down an internal flat spot inside the tank for the 0-ring to seal to.
03-01-2008, 07:24 AM
Neat idea Stan... Necessity was the mother of invention once again!
03-01-2008, 03:44 PM
I took the cabin off so I can proceed with the cyclic controls...the instrument pod...and the directional controls. But FIRST....the third fuel tank is priority. I am not moving on to anything else until I have the fuel tanks are leak tested. Then I will proceed on.
This is the top fuel tank that has to have two bottom outlets installed. I felt inside the tank and it needs my rotary sanding tool I have just used on my other tank. I will install those fittings....and check for leaks.
Then I have to drill o-ringed mounting bolts and probably will have to be persistent with them. I dont want this helicopter looking like the SR71 Blackbird with fuel leaking on the tarmac all the time.:yo:
03-01-2008, 06:20 PM
Once again your innovations boggle the mind.
I spent the morning at our local PRA chapter II meeting. One of the local
DAR's came in and talked about what to expect during a certifation inspection and all about the paper work. Very informative and a great learning experince.
On my Sparrowhawk build, I started working on the wishbone suspension. What a pain the tolerances between the steel bars into the machined aluminum holders. 3 #$%^&* hours on the first one and got it all but 1/4in. from being seated. Got frustrated :mad::mad::mad: so I walked away for the day. Got any tips, Stan?
Keep up the good work!!!
03-01-2008, 06:55 PM
Heath- If you put one of the steel pipes in the freezer overnight- and the aluminum heated in an oven around 200 degrees, this should help a lot. Stan
03-02-2008, 05:48 AM
I am simply amazed with the way you come up with practical solutions to problems. I'm learning a lot by following this thread.
03-02-2008, 06:14 AM
Once again, you never cease to amaze me. I will give it a try.
03-02-2008, 11:04 AM
With my cabin off...and my top tank checked for no fuel leaks around the fittings I just installed...it was time to put it into its place inside the round frame rails.
The first picture shows the big gap where my finger is...the tank has to be wedged back into place...then the tank bolts drilled. The problem was I couldnt pull it back and keep it in place. So I made some 2x4 blocks and wedges and pried it back where it should go...and then kept it there with the wedges. After double checking everything...I drilled for the tank bolts.
The tank bolts have an o-ring on them and have to be fished through the tank with safety wire.
03-02-2008, 11:15 AM
This is a picture of the several tank bolts/oring combos.
Each tank has been checked and corrected for any leaks around the fittings.
I will take the tanks.....flush them several times with water. Flush with gasoline...and burn that in my truck....then I will reinstall all the tanks....and install all the tank bolts. I will have all the plumbing hooked up...and then fill it up with gasoline checking each fitting again...and each tank bolt.
I assume Murphy's law will win somewhere...and I will just deal with it and drain down the fuel and tend to it. I want this whole fuel system tested for a long time in my shop while its relatively easy to fix a leak...instead of when the cabin and all the other stuff is installed.
Thats my plan and I am sticking to it!:peace:
03-02-2008, 11:22 AM
Last picture today. I really am impressed with how nice these tanks nestle into the frame rails. They did a good job of maximizing space for gallons...and having the tanks fit the frame rails so nice.
I forgot to mention there is one more fuel tank that goes behind the seatback.
03-02-2008, 11:47 AM
I hope the kit people are paying attention to these posts of yours, so's they could make improvements to the quality of their supplied components. But...
Maybe their thinkin' is that what you have to do to correct the discrepancies in the components, somehow contributes to your required 51% toward assembly of the aircraft?! Nawwh...couldn't be.
Anyhow, the prior assemblers that have posted the problems they encountered, were not the stickler that you seem to be, ;) and then again, maybe their postings benefited your assembly procedures. I hope so. Future builders will certainly benefit from your postings.
03-02-2008, 12:12 PM
Harry This thread is intended to be a long running archive...both good and bad building experiences...whatever comes my way. Either my goof ups or parts that could be improved...as well as high fives to the good stuff. I will tell it like it is!
So far...I have been very impressed. These fuel tanks are very well made...I am going to comment to them this week that ALL they need to do is to not drill quite so close to the inside corners.
Like I said....I am on the Helicycle builders forum and have read a few minor problems with fuel leaks. What I have learned is that they just seemed to have just installed the fittings without a real thorough leak test...then have a bigger problem down the road.
That being said....this kit has had the highest quality of components of the three machines I have worked on.
Its just that I tell all....and you will hear every gripe and every praise depending on what comes my way!
Harry....I will be looking for you at Bensen Days. I know you have a limited stay there...but I will try to save some chatting time with you!
03-03-2008, 08:20 AM
Bob and Heath- Thanks for the kind comments. Necessity will be a catalyst to find solutions. By the way- I just found out that several Helicycle builders and people thinking about buying one are logging on to this site and viewing this thread. I must make it clear that some of my procedures are my pea brain way of doing it, and are by no means the best way! I have a nice 'trophy' in my scrap pile already- that vertical tailfin that I went at like a neanderthal! That slapped me out of complacency-for awhile anyway. Stan
03-03-2008, 09:05 AM
Stan, maybe it's just the old Bell 47 in me, but I'd think that 2 saddle tanks would be better than all those individual tanks. Fewer chances for leaks from fittings and were the mounting bolts go through.
Oh see you at Wauchula.
03-03-2008, 03:46 PM
Tony: Looking forward to chatting with you at Wauchula.
Here are some of the belly plates that space the fuel tanks.
I am posting every angle on this build as there are several Helicycle guys that are logging on here. When I am all done with this project...it should be a comprehensive collection of build shots and comments. I just wish there was one of these completed threads that I could take a peak as I build. This should be very helpful to some future builder who needs to see an actual picture.
I am just referring them to this site.
03-03-2008, 04:10 PM
I didn't take enough pictures of my build and the ones I did don't compare to yours, but here is one I have of BJ's (piston)ship showing the underside view- if this'll help anyone.
03-03-2008, 04:13 PM
Al: You just proved my point. Just that one picture you posted shows me a lot of detail...such as the fuel pump mounting...confirmation on my tank plates...and several other details. Thanks. Now, when I go to Homer Bells this July....I am going to wear out the dozen or so Helicycles there by taking pictures!
03-04-2008, 03:56 PM
After a busy day in the stairshop...I worked on fitting my instrument pod to the floorpan. Typical sloppy initial fit...followed by scribing...grinding....
03-04-2008, 04:07 PM
You have to level the helicopter first...level the pod...and make sure the centerline of the pod is in line with the centerline of the helicopter. My string is one way...my laser is the best way. But I cant capture the rotating red beam with my camera.....
03-05-2008, 03:46 PM
The instrument pod is set and secured. Next comes the directional controls.
03-05-2008, 04:03 PM
I gotta say this is just so cool to have a Helo project on the forum now! And I just KNOW by your rep Stan that this is gonna be a very detailed and well-built ship. I know my littl post here is gonna get lost in the shuffle quickly, this thread is alreadt the monster of the RF site at 13 pages.
I got into gyros cuz I always wanted to fly helos, so this is a great inspiration, and gets me on a track to continue to head ultimately to that goal someday perhaps.
YOU GO, DUDE! You rule!
03-05-2008, 07:05 PM
Hey Stan. I just got back from certifying two new Helicycles, both in Indiana. I hear there are two more nearing completion as well. You are going to have some company.
03-05-2008, 07:54 PM
Oh Stan......you....you went and got a stinkin powered pop rivet gun....what were you thinkin....? One would think your hand gets tired....
03-06-2008, 12:45 AM
I gotta say this is just so cool to have a Helo project on the forum now! And I just KNOW by your rep Stan that this is gonna be a very detailed and well-built ship. I know my little post here is gonna get lost in the shuffle quickly, this thread is already the monster of the RF site at 13 pages. .
....13 pages and 7200 views ... by the time I write this it will probably be 8000....WOW
Way to Go Stan , Even though most of us hold off posting here too often , the hits you are getting tell the whole story on the popularity of the build .... I'm sure you know that by now...!!! Thanks again.
What kind of Camera are you using ? Your pictures always turn out with good close-up detail and the background with all your stairs in progress are also nice and clear.
I am going to buy a digital camera soon and have lined up some fiberglass (Cessna cowl) repairs and maybe some helicopter components to refinish as a homebuilder general guide for everyone here. Also maybe some aluminium preparation and painting tips. It will not be posted probably until May or June and might not be soon enough to help anyone right now but that is the plan .
When you have a minute , the camera info would be much appreciated.
Bell 47 G2
Cheers from Canada - more Kerosene than Saudia Arabia and all of the Middle East combined. Let me know when you need some:)
03-06-2008, 07:55 AM
Arnie- Glad you are enjoying this build thread, especially from someone with your helicopter experience. It is generating a lot of interest and I am surprised by several phone calls and e-mails from both newbie lurkers to some very experienced helicopter pilots. I havent had one doubt yet that my evolvement from my Bensen thru my SparrowHawk has found me building what I have wanted all along- a dependable helicopter. Arnie, my camera is a Pentax-Optio E10. Your posting some fiberglass work will be a fantastic thread! Well, I am going to post lots of pictures tonight of my directional controls going in. Thurday late afternoon and evening is my build night. Stan
03-06-2008, 08:11 AM
Tom- Glad to see you granting airworthiness certificates to more Helicycles. I really believe they are the best kept secret in rotorcraft, but not for too much longer! With the factory selling out their production run of 40 helicycles each year, its just a matter of time when they will be all over. I am looking forward to your FAA blessing my project the spring of 2009. Hey, are you and the other club members coming down to Springfield for the rescheduled Ultralight-rotorcraft seminar this Saturday? Let me know as I may go if you do. Stan
03-06-2008, 08:54 AM
Hey, are you and the other club members coming down to Springfield for the rescheduled Ultralight-rotorcraft seminar this Saturday? Let me know as I may go if you do. Stan
We have a whole rented van going. Well maybe between 4 to 8 of our club members. I'll be going along with Tom M, Adam H, Joe M, and a few more I can't remember.
Kandace said she was interested in going also. HEY KANDACE you coming along ????????
03-06-2008, 05:34 PM
I put the directional controls in this evening.
Had to copy the scissor bracket and disc sand it...then draw file it...
So far EVERY part has been correctly packed and organized by section of build.
03-06-2008, 05:45 PM
The angle of the pedal travel has to be correct....plus the travel of the teleflex cable must be right at 2 7/8 inch. You dont want any more as too much control input to the tail rotor could stall it!
The last picture is one one of the stop bolts to adjust the limits of travel. So far everything is to specs.
03-06-2008, 05:50 PM
Now I can start putting things back on that I had to take off. The floorpan had to be notched for the newly installed pedals.
Next step will be installing the cyclic controls. This will take awhile. But once its done...then my cabin will go back on for my paint layout scheme...then off to the painter.
Last pics for tonight.
03-06-2008, 05:57 PM
Greg Mills: Hey....I skimmed overy your post. Thanks for the comment! There will be MUCH more to come in this thread. This project is way more fun than I anticipated. I am trying hard to build it correctly.....some of my methods can be improved...but I am learning.:wave:
Ed: I missed yours too. I have been hand riveting the woosy 1/8 rivets...but the 3/16 steel rivets may as well get some air power!
03-07-2008, 06:17 AM
Tom- Could you give me the phone numbers of the 2 Helicycles you just did the airworthiness certificates on? If you could give them to me tomorrow when I see you in Springfield or PM them, I would appreciate it! I would like to visit these helicopters and get some pictures and ideas. Stan
03-07-2008, 12:18 PM
QUESTION- My lexan windshields are securely wrapped in bubble wrap and ONLY bubble wrap. My stairshop is dusty. I am a fanatic when it comes to keeping my lexan crystal clear. When I take the bubble wrap off , what is the stuff you can spray on the bare lexan that will protect the surface and then be peeled off later when I am ready to fly? I really will appreciate any answer. I much prefer spray on rather than taping anyday as I have worked with both methods. The spray on stops all dust from the windshields surface. Thanks in advance . Stan
03-07-2008, 01:43 PM
Stan, Airscraft Spruce has something called discoat http://www.aircraftspruce.com/menus/cs/plexiglascleaners.html
03-07-2008, 02:24 PM
Stan, this is an interesting clip of a autorotation from a pilot's point of view....in a single-place chopper.
03-07-2008, 02:48 PM
Al: Thanks for your input...much appreciated! No intrusion at all....any good comments and constuctive critisism is welcome. I will check out that coating stuff from Aircraft Spruce. I will be handling my windshields a lot as I am going to mask off the inside perimeter and paint the inside edge black to hide the fiberglass lip and gasket.
The first thing I did was check the feel of my rudder pedals. I have enough room as I tilted them forward for my longer legs. I still can go a lot farther if needed and even have the floorpan carved out a tad more for this. The only thing I may do is grind off the round ends towards my feet...but I have a long time to evaluate this.
Rotoplane...thanks for the link...but I am on dial up and will just have to wonder what you were trying to show me.:sorry:
03-07-2008, 03:03 PM
My instrument pod is in place...and now I have to square up the rough cut back end. The pod is centerlined and plumb....but the instrument side needs some correct scribing to cut it off in a plane...and one that is perpendicular to the longitudinal centerline of the helicopter....in other words...I want my instrument face squared up...not crooked!
So...I thought about it for a bit...and set my laser up on one of my high vantage points...an upper tread on a curved stairway.
I first split the helicopter long ways down the centerline..I placed the blue tape on the tail with a gap right on the centerline...also at the mast.,..and the centerline of the pod. I set my laser in a vertical plane red light and sliced my helicopter down the middle.
You can see the red dot stopped at the tail...mast..and pod.
Then I layed out on the floor a perpendicular line to this first laser line.
I positioned the lasers vertical plane on this second line right over my pod and came down and marked my pod where the laser hit it.
I then just had to move the laser on the left and right side on the floor to finish marking my pod all the way around.
I now have a nice laser scribed line that when I cut to it...I will find it will be one flat plane...and square with the helicopter.
I could have scribed it some other ways...but this is the quickest and I can stand overhead and use my eyeball to verify that is indeed square to the eye.
03-07-2008, 05:38 PM
Cover the Lexan with Saran Wrap.
Lexan + plexiglass build up a lot of static electricity and attract dust like a magnet. So does Saran wrap. The two together (stick to each other very well) as a dust cover and protector for handling Lexan. May not be as durable as what you need for a lot of handling but it is easy and cheap to try.
Swipe some of your wife's saran or cling wrap and get someone to help hold it nice and flat as you lay it on the lexan. Overlap the joints an inch or two. Trim the saran an inch beyond the edges of the window and fold them around. When one side is covered , flip it over and do the other side similar. You will get a few wrinkles (especially on inside curves) but it generally sticks nice and flat and remains reasonably transparent. You may want to add some tape around the edge as a bump - wear strip. This way the sticky tape is on the saran and does not touch the glass itself.
I'm sure you already know this but don't use ammonia cleaners (windex etc.) or any alcohol based cleaners . They attack the lexan.
I like to use clean cold water (garden hose at low pressure etc.) as a first rinse . Static and initial dust is removed. The cold water hardens the lexan and prevents scratching. Regular yellow Sunlight dish soap foamed up on a soft cloth with a very light wipe and another cold water rinse and the glass should dry spot free and clean.
Hopefully this works for you , the supplies are as near as the kitchen. The last spray mask type type coating I bought was $200 a gallon and had a short shelf life. Not sure if safe on the Lexan. Manufacturers use similar coatings when shipping glass but it is hard to find out the the brand they use.
EDIT: I just saw Al's link to Discoat .... That is the good spray on type. Thanks Al.
03-08-2008, 10:09 AM
Arnie- Thanks for the saran wrap tip. If the spray on stuff is ok for my lexan, I will go with that as I have worked with it and it is durable and dust cant get under it. I will be handling it a lot and it is dusty once in a while in my shop! Stan
03-08-2008, 02:38 PM
For you T-62 enthusiasts...I found some more Solar T-62 turbine sketches and pictures.
I keep hearing good reports from Helicycle owners as far as dependability....power reserve for this engine.
The last picture is an army prototype sketch of a T-62 powered helicopter.
03-08-2008, 04:17 PM
Spraylat makes a strippable coating that will protect your Lexan.
Liquid Specialties Group
1701 East 122nd Street
Chicago, IL 60633
03-08-2008, 04:44 PM
Jim: Thanks for the information. What I plan on doing is taking the bubble wrap off my windshields....rinsing them with water....then when dry...spray on the protective coating both inside and outside.
I am going to fit the windshield....then from inside the cabin mark on the windshield a neat border that will hide the cabin lip and gasket. I will then spray paint this black on the outside perimeter on the inside of the windshield ....I did this on my SparrowHawk and it makes for a nice looking border. Just an idea I have copied from others I have seen done this way.
03-09-2008, 06:45 AM
Heres the start of the collective system. Excuse my blurry and off color pictures...I must have hit the wrong setting.
The first picture is the throttle shaft that will go inside the l-shaped collective bar. The throttle has a potentionometer holder that will set the turbine speed. An electronic governor will handle the work load of the throttle...thats one reason the Helicycle is easier to fly. The throttle is controlled for you. This throttle shaft sets the engine to idle and has a friction collar on it. I polished the inside of the shaft so that the friction collar has a nice controlled smooth drag to it...and doesnt have a "sticktion" feel to it. Its easy to turn the knurled nut down to lock it in place.
The collective will also have a friction setup and from the way it looks...I think it will also have a nice feel to it. I am told thats its no problem at all to let go of the collective for adjusting the radio....taking pictures...or just reading a book:twitch: hmm..just kidding on that last one!
Anyway....its weird building this. At first glance the pile of parts for each step is intimidating because it just looks like bags of numbered parts off a spaceship. But there are a bunch of cd's to watch and I found that if I take notes...make little sketches while watching these at home....that just doing so cements the critical steps in my mind while watching the video. If I dont....I have to keep watching certain steps over and over. I then take these notes down to the shop..but find having made the notes on paper...sticks it in my pea brain.....and I seldom have to look at them.
The cyclic controls that I am just starting on this week really looks foreign...but the workshop drawings...the videos...and my note taking will see hopefully all the parts emptied out of those ziplocks this week.
By the way.....thanks everyone for the kind comments both here....by PM..by e-mail...by telephone..and in person yesterday in Springfield. I am surprised that over 8000 hits have accumulated since I started this just 4 weeks ago. You guys just keep egging me on to keep posting....and my intent here is to have somewhat of a complete Helicycle building thread for someone down the road like myself that wishes there were one here to view NOW! Like I said....lots of the methods shown here are my way of doing stuff...and I am sure not always the best way......but.....it will get built and it will fly next spring!
03-09-2008, 05:26 PM
Here are just some of the videos I have received. I dont know how many more will come with the next three shipments. Although I prefer the SparrowHawks thick construction manual with lots of check off boxes to reward you when you finish an item....these videos help a lot also. I would prefer more drawings however.
Anyone interested in some good videos...I would strongly suggest just ordering "Kerosene Fever" and the other video in the last photo for $10 from Eagle R & D. Well made and fun to watch. It has 110 mph inflight views..hovering....fast stops...etc.
03-10-2008, 03:41 AM
Arnie: I have a fiberglass question for you. The inside of my cabin is just going to be painted with a charcoal grey speckled paint. You can see mesh fabric texture when the inside is painted. That isnt a problem...as I dont want to add weight by applying bondo on the whole inside shell to get rid of that. What I would like to get rid of is the overlaps that you can see of the layers of this fiberglass matt. I could level out these seams with bondo but that would have a smooth texture that would not match the mesh pattern of the rest of the cabin. My idea is to bondo these seams and "press" some mesh that matches closely into the fresh bondo...and pull it off so as to have roughly the same texture and getting rid of these overlaps that you can now see. It is minor..but I have seen some that dont do this and in my opinion...that little bit of bondo with a mesh texture would make the cabin interior extra nice without adding much weight.
Any thoughts there on my mesh idea? I would think timing would be critical.
Thanks....to you are better paid!
03-10-2008, 02:28 PM
Stan that might work but pressing it in with your fingers may make a bigger mess. You could use a piece of curved plywood with one or 2 layers of the mat glued onto it and roll it on, or maybe one of those round rollers that they use for formica seating with the mat glued to it. you just don't want it to go to deep into the bondo or it will probably make a mess. Timing will be everything and keeping the mat as clean as possible.
03-10-2008, 03:50 PM
I know you said you did not want to get rid of the weave, but just in case you did,;) here is a great product. It is called Superfil.http://www.aircraftspruce.com/catalog/cmpages/superfil.php Is is a lightweight epoxy filler. How light...... Try 3.8 lbs/gal!
It is very easy to work with and will not "kick off" like bondo. It is like marshmallow fluff. Probably just epoxy with lots of "micro", but very convenient and premixed. You have a good 30-40 min working time. It is VERY strong and sticks....well it sticks like epoxy. It also sands easy.
My guess is if you skimmed it on you would use very little. Probably less then half a quart. Might add 5 or 6 oz of weight. I have used this product extensively when I built the Rotorway and I was very happy with it.
More info http://www.polyfiber.com/epoxy/
03-10-2008, 04:11 PM
Justin- Thanks for your excellent input as well. I am just wanting to level my seams and texture this work to match the rest of the interior. I like the texture but not the seams. I like your choice of product as the working time is less frantic. This just proves once again how valuable this forum is to me. Thats why I like to post so much- you have to give back when you can. Stan
03-10-2008, 04:58 PM
Stan that superfill stuff may be just the ticket for your pin holes, especially if it sands easy when set.
03-10-2008, 05:11 PM
A lot of people use zolatone http://www.aircraftspruce.com/catalog/cmpages/zolatonepaint.php. It is expensive and requires special equipment to spray but it leaves a nice multi-colored textured finish that disguises surface irregularities.
I used a "poor man's" version when I did my Rotorway. I found a paint made by Rustoleum called American Accents Stone Spray. http://www.rustoleum.com/CBGProduct.asp?pid=79
It is around $7 a can at HomeDepot or Lowes. I used the grey which has flecks of black and white in it. I first sprayed a grey base coat so I did not have to lay the texture on real heavy. I just did a light spray over the top of the base coat. I then used a matte clear to protect it. All Rustoleum products. The finish came out great and was very durable and hid any imperfections. Most thought it was Zolatone.
I put in a few pics. The most important thing is to paint the top of your pod a dark color like flat black. If you do not, you will get TERRIBLE reflections off your windscreen. Think of putting white papers on your dash of your car. Not good.
03-10-2008, 05:20 PM
Justin: I am going to use the same paint I used on the interior of my SparrowHawk. It was a nice dark charcoal grey with specks of color. It was some trunk spray that I found at an auto parts store. I had to spray a coat of clear coat Krylon over it to waterproof it. It had no glare....and what I liked about it was that I could touch it myself very easily.
I tested it with water standing on it overnight and it was sealed.
The only glare I had in my windshield was my white tennis shoes I always wear....but they will be completely under this instrument pod.
I never could understand so many aircraft interiors painted very light colors. My dark charcoal interior will also go very nice with my three color exterior paint scheme.
03-11-2008, 03:07 AM
More cyclic work. Its great seeing these bags of mysterious parts become familiar.
Lots of parts to go on the cyclic. I like to go in an hour early....and forget a break....its over to the helicopter!
This is the throttle shaft installed with its potentionometer holder and its friction lock. The parts take some drilling and tapping...some crocus cloth occasionally to get them to fit.
I have the collective in place now and will start consuming a lot of new parts I have to become familiar with. It takes a lot of looking at that printout....and watching those videos.
03-11-2008, 04:17 AM
I take me hat off to you Stan.
Your maticulous attention to detail and precision is way beyond a SCG's comprehension.
You shouldnt wast you talents on little choppers, you should be buildn space ships mate. ;)
Thats go'n to be a real work of art wen your finished. :)
A SCG can only dream of such patients and abilities. :(
03-11-2008, 11:13 AM
Birdy- Always like reading your comments. Justin- I have been considering a back up fuel pump system, but to my delight, I was told by the company that the T62 fuel pump works without need of the electric fuel pump once its started. I just assumed if the electric pump failed, the engine would flame out. Was that the same with your T62 setup on your Rotorway? Stan
03-11-2008, 11:33 AM
Birdy- I am on my cellphone posting this and my last post had a few sentences lost into cyberspace! But anyway I had thanked you for your kind comments, even though they were way overating me. Hey, I am doing nothing more than trying to follow drawings from a true genious- B.J. Schramm! I wish I were smart enough to have designed such a machine instead of being barely able to build one from a kit. Now if you want to talk about someone really much more than a SCG, we could start a thread on your flying abilities AND your in depth and commen sense grasp of aerodynamics. Stan
03-11-2008, 12:28 PM
.....I was told by the company that the T62 fuel pump works without need of the electric fuel pump once its started...... Was that the same with your T62 setup on your Rotorway? Stan
I included a labeled picture of my fuel system.
If you follow it you will see line from the tank to a cartridge filter.
From there it goes to a low pressure electric pump (+/- 10psi). Notice the check valve. If the fuel pump were to fail, the fuel would bypass the fuel pump. Also the pump is only run for start so this allows the fuel to flow unrestricted when the pump is not running. The pump is only there to establish and keep prime to get the turbine running.
From there it the fuel goes through a flow transducer for a JPI FS450.
From there it goes to a manual cut-off which I think is very important. If the turbine ever ran away, there is little to stop it except cutting fuel.
And then the fuel goes into the mechanical pump.
03-11-2008, 06:05 PM
Justin: Thanks for the effort on that picture you posted. You understand this stuff and thats why I directed that right to you! I would also like a fuel flow meter but I am not certain yet which will work and which dont.
03-11-2008, 06:18 PM
The first picture is the collective friction control. It makes a nice smooth controlled drag on the collective.
The next picture basically is setting the cyclic mixer plug so it is perpendicular to front end controls.
The third is the cyclic coming together and finally I am not looking at it like the RCA dog with my head tilted in bewilderment. There are ball bearings in the joints...and castellated nuts to set the torque that eliminates ALL slop...but yet has a nice velvet smooth feel to it. I am more impressed with the quality of this kits components the more I get into it.
I figured this whole cyclic control system will be the hardest part of shipment #1.
The last picture is the start of the mixer assembly.
Lots more to do on the cyclic and I will post more.
I would have given $100 to have found these pictures on the internet and thats why I am documenting every detail. Future and current Helicycle builders will be directed here and they can at least get some idea how these parts go in order.
03-12-2008, 03:32 AM
Now if you want to talk about someone really much more than a SCG
Yeh rite Stan.:D:lol:
Hey, I am doing nothing more than trying to follow drawings
Mate, sumone could send you a box of pigs ears n youd find a way to make um fly.
And look good.;)
Keen to see the 'run'n gear' one this machine.
03-12-2008, 06:43 AM
Justin- Thanks for that fuel flow meter link. I originally was going to go with the Enigma for its gps and instrument readouts, but am leaning towards just an Airmap 2000 and the instruments provided. Any thoughts on the Enigma? My feelings are that yes, they display a lot of instrument readouts - but not as easy to read as the readouts arent as big as a dial instrument. Also, for my type of flying , I think the Enigma would be overkill like my Avmap was in my SparrowHawk. Your fuel flow gauge would fit right in. I feel a fuel flow gauge would be very important the way the T-62 consumes fuel. I am planning on an in cabin sight tube as well as I dont trust or even pay attention to a regular fuel level gauge. The fuel flow gauge with my sight tube will let me monitor the fuel right down to almost empty. Stan
03-12-2008, 02:18 PM
The enigma is nice but I still would want a back-up ASI and Rotortach. Those are the two things you need to get the ship down safely if something happened. With limited panel space, you may not have room for the redundant gauges.
I agree with you, simple is sometimes better. I would do as you said, and just use regular instruments.
The reason the fuel flow is very important, is you do not have a torque meter in these ships. We rely on EGT to monitor power output, which has a lag. Being that it is a single stage turbine your fuel flow will DIRECTLY relate to power produced and it reacts immediately.
When you fly you the T62, you will find you use your fuel flow gauge like a manifold pressure gauge in a piston. It becomes second nature. The EGT is just a reference for starting and to make sure once you set a power setting, that the EGT does not settle in too high. (which probably is not a problem in the Helicycle)
Trust me,....go with the JPI and you will be happy. It will also interface with your GPS and give you fuel to destination, reserve at destination and even miles per gallon.
This is a post that Doug Schwochert made from dyno test results of the T62. His results match closely the charts in the manual for this engine. This shows the correlation between fuel burn and horsepower.
HP EGT Fuel burn
45 800 11.0
55 825 12.9
65 850 13.8
75 900 14.3
85 925 15.1
95 950 15.6
100 975 16.0
115 1000 17.0
125 1025 18.4
140 1050 19.1
150 1150 21.0
155 1175 21.6
My test engine would not make over 155 HP the engine RPM started to drop off and started to pop out the exhaust.
I imagine if you were to up the turbine speed to 63.000 it could make 165 hp all my tests were at 61.900 RPM I guess the factory is right 150 HP Fuel burn sure is a killer
03-12-2008, 03:55 PM
Justin: Thanks again. I know what you mean about the rotor rpm and tach. Actually...I was always going to use the rotor tach supplied and the engine rpm...as its a nice readout and handles the 61000 rpm's.
The information on your flow meter is just what I needed. I assume you can just input what gallons are on board...then it will do the rest...telling you what you have burned...at what rate....and whats left. I had an in cabin sight tube in my SparrowHawk and never once paid any attention to the fuel level readout on the EIS. Even with this nice flow meter....I will still verify by looking at my sight tube I have planned.
I installed the cyclic this evening and it sure has a nice feel to it. 0 slop...and the right tension. They have a very excellent setup that I havent had a bit of trouble with so far...except the initial deer in the headlights look when I open another bag of parts!:eek:
I have the control linkages left to put on with all the rodends...and then have to install the spring to balance out the collective mechanism. Lots of fun work ahead...months....I will post some pictures later of the cyclic installed.
03-12-2008, 04:30 PM
I would have given $100 to have found these pictures on the internet and thats why I am documenting every detail. Future and current Helicycle builders will be directed here and they can at least get some idea how these parts go in order.
I wish you would have built a Bee before. The way that you carefully detail everything would have saved me many headaches. Keep up the good work and I can't wait to see that beauty fly.
03-12-2008, 06:19 PM
Heres some pictures of the cyclic in place. It all makes sense to me now seeing it in position. I will start making some control tubes that attach to the mixer tomorrow night.
03-13-2008, 07:19 AM
One of the characteristics of the Helicycle making it one of the easier helicopters to fly is its modulated collective. What this means is that the collective has variable geometry applied to its moving the swashplate. The bottom third of the collective has roughly 30% less movement of the swashplate compared to the middle third used for flight. The upper third of the collective has roughly 30% more movement to the swashplate. This helps when entering an autorotation and you drop the collective. You are now needing to establish and maintain correct rotor rpm and having the collective allowing more movement to control the rotor rpm makes it easier to do so, especially to novice helicopter pilots as myself. Also, when doing your final part of your autorotatinal landing, the last application of collective needs the swashplate to move more. Since this collective is now in its upper third of travel, that extra 30% of swashplate movement gets the needed pitch sent to the rotor blades quicker. Again, I am told this is more novice friendly. I have talked to several Helicycle pilots and ALL concur that if you can fly an R22, the Helicycle is much easier to fly in several areas. Time will tell! Stan
03-13-2008, 04:59 PM
These are the control tubes that I installed the bushings and rodends into today before and after work.
The walking beam plates are shown. although blurry...and partial assembly of the cyclic controls.
03-14-2008, 01:21 AM
Stan, mate, if you dont mind, could you send me a pic or two of how theyv dun the progressive collective please? [ PM if you like]
No good me reinventing the wheel ay. ;)
03-14-2008, 01:43 AM
I had been taking a good look at your mixing system (modulated collective) and thought it was clever. Now that you describe the variable rate of the collective at different pitches I must say VERY clever. Minimum of parts also. BJ came up with a winner again.
You had been asking about duplicating the fiberglass pattern inside the cabin overlap joints. I think your idea will work. I know for sure any time I accidently leaned against uncured bondo it would leave a perfect impression of my sleeve , hand or whatever.
Do like you said with an initial layer of bondo to fill the low spots , then a final thin layer of bondo. Before it cures use the pattern material lightly pressed on top should make an imprint. Keep the cloth damp with water to prevent sticking is the key. Wrap the fiberglass weave around foam rubber (sponge) or something so it follows the curves. Should work. Try it on some scrap wood to get the feel of it.
03-14-2008, 09:31 AM
Birdy and Arnie- I took some pictures of the collective at full down, one third up, two thirds up, and full up. I then also measured the actual movement of the rodends at the swashplate. I think you will find the measurements interesting. As the collective is raised, the geometry of the linkage accelerates the swashplate control rodends making for more aggressive rotorblade pitch when you are at the final point of touchdown. I am on my cellphone right now but will post these pictures and linkage travel data tonight for your consumption! Stan
03-14-2008, 01:07 PM
Here are some of the fuel system parts
I'm trying to engineer an Aux Tank installation on my UltraWhite. I want to connect the Aux to the Main Seat Tank with a 1/2 inch fuel line. The problem is that the only fittings i have (or that Tommy M. has) are 1/4" fittings that go through the rubber grommets in the poly tank.
Tommy directed me to this thread and the beautiful bulkhead fittings that you have installed in your tanks. One of those would be perfect for me to install in the bottom of my seat tank.
It looks like you got them as part of the kit. Is there any way you can find out where they got them (or who the MFG is) so that I might be able to buy just one or two 1/2" fittings. I need the kind with the flange on the inside of the tank and the nut and the barbed nipple on the outside.
Any chance I could buy such a part directly from Helicycle?
Thanks a ton for your help,
03-14-2008, 05:30 PM
Those fittings are made by Eagle.
03-14-2008, 05:57 PM
Birdy and Arnie: Heres the pictures of the cyclic showing....full down...1/3, 2/3, and full up.
I measured the collective travel and it was 15.75 inches. So I divided its travel into thirds...and took a picture of full down..1/3, 2/3, and full up collective.
I then measured the swashplate rodend travel. Application of the collective from full down to 1/3 up moved the swashplate linkage exactly .25 inches.
Moving the collective to 2/3 up moved the swashplate linkage exactly .375 inches this time....half again faster rate.....moving the collective to full up moved the swashplate linkage another .625 inches....showing further acceleration of the movement.
Scott: You can just call Eagle R&D and I would think they would sell you those fittings. If not.....I will buy them for you and you can reimburse me.
03-14-2008, 06:05 PM
Birdy: Here is a clearer shot of the yoke that the collective moves. As you raise the collective...the yoke is swinging more forward than upward. But as it approaches 9 o/clock...then the movement is more upward than forward...thus the modulation action. Its basically just the simple geometry of the arc swing accelerating as it moves upward.
The last ones are the walking beams that transfer to the swashplate rods.
Arnie: Thanks again for your bondo advice....I will go with your modified recommendation. It should make those seams disappear.
03-14-2008, 08:32 PM
Thanx Stan, that near identical to wot i had in mind. :)
Looks like me n BJ think alike, scary init? :)
03-15-2008, 03:57 AM
Birdy: You prove my point....you are a "sophisticated cow grower"
B.J. was a brilliant guy.....he tried to keep this copter simple. So far its been designed down to my level cause I can understand it.
03-15-2008, 04:34 AM
You really underestimate yourself, but it looks like you're doing one hell of a fine construction job. I can't wait to see your 'copter in person. In the meantime I'm really enjoying this thread.
03-15-2008, 12:01 PM
Bob: Thanks.....Hey...hows your rebuild coming along? Will it be much a problem fixing the Star Trek paint scheme? That is one awesome paint job....
03-15-2008, 12:13 PM
I set the intitial cyclic rigging today. Fore and aft....left and right on the cyclic.
The left and right has a yoke that you grind on the ears until the desired travel has been obtained. You can see my Dremel in there eating metal.
I am just getting these settings close so that I can reinstall my cabin. It will be nice getting it back on so I can see if there are any modifications needed.
03-15-2008, 08:24 PM
The rebuild is going VERY slowly, but thanks for asking. My business is really demanding right now, both timewise and financially and therefore the gyro rebuild suffers. It will be rebuilt, but it will probably take me a year.
Regarding the "Star Trek" paint scheme, believe it or not, the cabln wasn't substantially damaged so that won't be too bad. On the other hand the vertical stabilizer, the horizontal stabilizer and the rudder were totally destroyed so I'll have to purchase replacements and then repaint them. What fun!!
It's just too bad that it happened but it did and I have to accept it. Fortunately, no one was really hurt and the gyro can be rebuilt. I also learned alot about landing in high crosswinds. So it wasn't a total loss. I just can't wait to get the gyro repaired and flying again. I really miss it.
03-16-2008, 03:09 AM
Yesterday I finished the initial rigging of the cyclic, collective, and directional controls. It was time to reinstall the cabin and make this thing look like a helicopter! I had to finish installing rivnuts for the cover plates that are now fit.
The collective hole had to be carved out of the cabin.
I installed the cabin and checked all the controls through full range. The collective needs a little more carving out when I take the cabin off again.
Next will be the windshield and door installation. Then I can layout my paint scheme and it will be ready to go to the paint shop. There are several msc. things to do yet,....but my next shipment wont be until June. That will be the transmission and tail rotor.
I have really enjoyed this project...and am becoming borderline obsessed with helicopters. I am much more familiar with this machine and its not near as intimidating to me anymore.
I am really looking forward to my helicopter lessons which start the week I get back from Bensen Days.
03-16-2008, 07:07 AM
Justin: I just have been checking on that fuel flow meter you highly recommended. I have noticed that the JPI 450 seems to be the gauge of choice. Once again you are right on. That will be the instrument I will go with.
WARNING: Justin...there will be more INCOMING questions down the road!:typing:
While I am at it...anyone.....I have a picture of my cyclic with two switches. The lower one I will use for the PTT....the other is up for grabs....maybe a channel changer.... Do I need to shield the PTT switch inside the cyclic? The video doesnt show any shielding. I never have had good radio transmission and I want to get it right this time.
Thanks for any replies....you all have been a big help.
03-16-2008, 09:16 AM
The Garmin 430 does not use shielded wire for the transmit button. The transmitter button for the radio's is only to ground a transistor in the radio. No shielding should be needed.
How you decided which radio you wish to install yet.
03-16-2008, 09:49 AM
Do I need to shield the PTT switch inside the cyclic? The video doesnt show any shielding. I never have had good radio transmission and I want to get it right this time.
Your project is looking awesome! I am guessing that since your next shipment is not going to be there for a while, we will have a lul in the helicycle hatchery?:Cry::Cry::Cry:
You may already know these things, but you asked about radios, so here is my 2 cents!:lalala: It has been my experience with radios that the key is to keep the power wires separate from any other wires. Especially the antenna coax. I also always try to physically locate any coax and antennas at least 18" from any other wireing as the magnetic or RFI signature in and around coax can do very strange things. Some radio "experts" disagree with me but especially in a high vibration situation, I will put just a bit of torque on the coax connection to make sure it does not get loose under load. Obviously if your connections are BNC type this is not possible.
Are you going to put in a transponder too? Just another set of wiring that you will need to consider. I don't know that there would be any reason to shield PTT wires, but I could be wrong.
Regarding your additional switches on your cyclic, I like the idea of a channel changer. In my previous aircraft, I have always preprogrammed the frequencies that I am anticipating in order so that I can keep my hands on the flight controls and my eyes out the windows as much as possible, that makes it safer and less pilot workload.
The handle that I am putting in my Sparrowhawk has 5 buttons (military surplus that I replaced all the switches). I am using the front trigger for PTT, one button for channel change, one for transponder ident (since I live in SLC most of my flying area is in or under the Class B airspace and I will have to be dillegent about my locations and will often transistion the Class B). I will likely have one trigger the position strobes, and I think I am going to use the last one to turn on cabin lighting. Most of that will fall into place a long time from now when I get to that point in the build.
Not to get off track or highjack your post, but on wiring and lighting I found a new LED Strobe that does not require the high voltage (noisy) power supply and is just as bright! It's not rated for aircraft, but will work great. (I have a set installed in my patrol car!)
http://www.dandrelectronics.com Go to exterior lighting, lightbright LED and look at the LED-X series. You will also need a flasher to program and activate the lights. D and R has been very helpful and stocks these items.
My plan is to order a set of wing tip lights from:
I will order them without the strobe tubes and strobe powersupply and replace the strobe tube with the LED tube from D and R. There are other LED tubes from other manufactures, but I have yet to find any with as many LED's or the quality of wiring and fittings as the D and R units. Removing the strobe powersupply will draw less electrical current (less than 2 amps vs 10-15 for strobes), reduce weight, fire hazards and wiring headaches.
I am looking for suitable substitutes for the Airplanegear units. If anybody has a better source, I'm all ears!!!
I'm looking forward to your continuing build!!!
03-16-2008, 12:28 PM
Jeff: I am planning on a Microaire radio.
Heath: I am going to have space saved for a transponder like I did in my SparrowHawk....but I dont know if I ever will put one in.
I am considering the strobe that doesnt take the high voltage supply. One reason is less weight...and another reason is less shielding to do to keep it from messing with the computer controlled fuel system to the turbine.
Hows your SparrowHawk coming along? I love to see build pics!
03-16-2008, 12:31 PM
Stan I am really enjoying watching your progress. You make it look so simple. I want to commend you on your outstanding workmanship. I look forward to seeing more.
03-16-2008, 12:42 PM
My sparrowhawk is currently stalled. But only for a few weeks. Spring is upon us, although it snowed last night. The boss wants the sprinker system installed. Have to stay on top of the honey dooooos or else....
I do have the landing gear started and am limping along.
03-16-2008, 12:50 PM
The MicroAir manual only shows shielded wires on the speaker, microphone, and the headphone.
Will you also be using the Microair transponder?
03-16-2008, 01:06 PM
For a strobe on my Rotorway, I used one made by Kuntzleman Electronics.
They are made for experimental aircraft and are about 1/3 the cost of certified units.
They are made well shielded and did not put ANY noise into my system. I was very happy with both the product and the price.
I used the streamline mount strobe but the fresnel lens model is nice too. It might be better on the Helicycle where your mounting options are more limited without a solid tailboom. Although ....the streamlined ones come with a base adapter to mount it to round tubes as well.....oh the choices..
Their dual model units are a bargain too! I also like their LED nav light / strobe combo.
I also just saw that they now make a self-contained red LED beacon at a bargain price.
03-16-2008, 03:04 PM
Dimwit: Thanks...glad you enjoy the posts.....making it look simple? ha.....I just dont post the bad pictures....;)
Heath: My honey doo season is just about on me as well. Actually...its a 12 month season! You know that show called "Before And After"? Well, they have been taping a show at our house for 33 + years. Its going to air this fall and the name of the show is "During". Actually WE both like working around the yard and on the home. Lets see....this year...a new pergola on the patio...new fencing boards around the pool...Barbaras garden shed is going to get insulated and paneled....new nursery room refurbished for our new grandson...and one in the oven right now. I would die of boredom if I didnt have projects for myself or my wife!
Jeff: If I buy a transponder...it willl be one that matches my Microaire radio...or whatever radio I end up with. It will be one of those 2 1/8 inch round ones. Initially I will just leave a space for it and put a stick on clock there.
Justin: Thanks for the strobe information for me to chew on later. My wiring is down the road somewhat as it will come in a later shipment.
Thanks all for showing such an amazing amount of interest in this thread! I hope people dont go cold turkey when I run out of parts!
03-16-2008, 05:11 PM
I"m on the Helicycle build #6, so I really am enjoying you posts.
Early in your posts you were thinking of storage onboard you ship. Well
you may have seen this picture before, but I thought the idea was
I hope the picture posts, I'm new to this and a new member.
03-16-2008, 06:43 PM
I found a picture of another builder that had a under seat idea.
Please let me know if these took you a long time to download.
03-16-2008, 06:44 PM
Wow, sorry about the size of the pics.
03-17-2008, 07:34 AM
TPYJR- Thanks for the underseat storage picture. Thats real close to what I had in mind. Just lift out the seat cushion, its made that way, and open the hinged doors either side of the cyclic shaft. A bonus is that if I make the compartments lift out, I can then look inside the belly and check the cyclic rods and other stuff. This will be a win win modification! Thanks again for that picture that confirms what I want to do there. I will be out of shipment # 1 parts soon and this kind of stuff will be good to fiddle with when I am out of parts. Stan
03-17-2008, 09:36 AM
It's looking good Stan. I dought I can ever afford one. but I am enjoying your build thread.
Tom, welcome to the Forum. I see your profile says you fly a 300C post some pics of it sometime. I use to get some time in a 1966 TH-55.
03-17-2008, 03:44 PM
Heres another question that has me stumped. I am getting ready to fit my half doors and the full doors....hinges...latches etc. The first picture shows a half door and the last one the full door.
The company says that the half doors increase the speed 7-9 mph over no doors on at all. Ok,..I can buy that.
But then they say that the full doors only increase the speed 2-3 mph over no doors on at all.
I cant buy that. I am thinking the Helicycle would be the fastest with the full doors on. I am a show me type of guy and I wont be convinced until I do my own GPS speed runs. I bet the ASI is being fooled by changes of interior cabin pressure...and the ASI isnt reading right. My ASI has always read too high in every gyro I have flown.
Anyone else have a thought explaining to me why the half doors would be the fastest?
I asked the factory directly and they said they dont know why..but its faster with the half doors.
My GPS will tell me....:plane:
03-17-2008, 03:55 PM
Well your lucky you got your Helicycle with only a slight delay! Production
run #6 will be delayed by a year, just got my notice today.
03-17-2008, 05:50 PM
Tom: Please clarify something for me. You say your production run is "delayed" a year. Are you sure you dont mean you wont receive your first shipment till a year from now?
The scheduled production run #5...the one I am in was started in Aug 08...with the first shipment around the end of November. Well...they moved to a new facility...and my run got delayed until the first week of Febuary. I understood the production run #6 is running likewise...3 months behind.
If your run is actually "delayed" one year...then that would mean to me that your first shipment would not be until Nov. of 2009. I hope for you it isnt that long. 3 months is one thing...but a year...wow! However....knowing what I know now....it will be worth it anyway!:D
By the way...how in the world do you get such a large picture onto this website? I cant load anything larger than 150K. I am on dial up and it does take a long time for the page to load. I wil say that if all pictures were that size...I would never get to see them as my dialup would take foreever.
03-17-2008, 06:05 PM
It is my understanding that initially full doors developed an aerodynamic instability which increased the drag and had lower speed as a result.
BJ subsequently installed a "trip fence" on the forward edge of the door opening which killed the instability.
I am under the impression that speed of half vs full doors is equivalent now.
Go to the Builders forum and ask who flies full doors and what the results are.
03-17-2008, 06:14 PM
Angelo: I was hoping you would respond. Thanks for enlightening me....that makes sense! I really thought it was "probably" ASI error...
I have trouble with my dial up getting much information on the builders site. I sit with my chin in my hands waiting so long to see one picture...then I just give up. I thought it was going to be a big help to me building mine.....as I know there is a wealth of good information on there...I just cant access it.
Anyway....sounds like you are talking about a gurnee strip to trip the boundary layer?
Its really no big deal as far as a few mph...it was that RCA dog head tilt I keep using as a way to describe myself when I dont understand something.
03-17-2008, 07:20 PM
I recieved notice today that my first shipment should be September of 2009.
Again sorry about the size of those pictures. The original file size of one was 4mb and the other was 1.20mb, I reduced them both to around 530kb. I guess still to large for dialup.
03-18-2008, 08:45 AM
Tom-Well, Sept. 2009 will be here sooner than you think, just look how time flies. My little 2 month delay receiving my kit found me chomping at the bit mainly because most of my free time to build a rotorcraft is during the winter. My turbine wont arrive until April 2009 and what helped me the most justifying that lengthy delivery schedule was that first helicopter lesson I had in that R22. That completely confirmed to myself that having a helicopter fit my desires for my favorite mode of flight. This is myself speaking for the situation I am in and my obsession with the ability to land and take off many more places. On the other hand, a gyrocopter is easier to fly, less expensive, and has more single and 2 place models to choose from. These reasons make a gyrocopter a hands down first choice for more here than for a helicopter. We all are wired with different ambitions and each of us should try to follow our desires. Tom,what I am trying to get at is that you obviously are following your desires and you will find your wait worth it! I will be looking forward to youq build. Meanwhile, you have the advantage of watching this thread evolve thru the spring of 2009, and can pick and choose methods you like and more importantly, some stuff I am doing that you know would be better accomplished some other way. Stan
03-18-2008, 03:55 PM
I am just playing with my instrument layout. Once again the GPS takes center stage with my layout. This will be close....except the fuel flow will replace the transponder. If I decide on a transponder...I may just use a dual gauge to save space.
There still is a 15 inch x 5 inch rectangular section below this that will contain the engine tach and breakers...switches...
03-18-2008, 05:17 PM
I have a pic of a similar panel, and as I recall everything fit. By digital
are you referring to the digital rotor/engine tach from Westach? I downloaded
the info. for my future ship. The company provides calibration specs for
If you want a (SMALL) pic of the panel just let me know.
03-18-2008, 07:59 PM
I can feel for you - have the same problem when I'm in Colorado where we have dial-up only.
Ever tried your local public library?
I use them frequently when I travel- their high speed link-up is paid for by our phone bills.
Another place is your local "Starbucks"- all you need is a wireless card in your laptop.
Go there- have a coffe and download whatever you are interested in onto your drive so you can go through it peacefully when at home.
As for the fence- there should be instructions on the plans for the full door construction.
03-19-2008, 07:02 AM
Tom- Please post that panel picture. I am planning on using the supplied 3.25 inch ASI, rotor tach and have them in the most prominent top area of my panel. I like those easier and quicker to read gauges. I will also have my VSI and altimeter on the far left and right . The turbine tach will be thd digital one supplied. My radio will be a MicroAire . The rest of the instruments will fit into those 2.25 inch holes. This is just my initial plan for my layout. I insist on symetry and my GPS centered and built in. Stan
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