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Kolibri's Korner -- a "blog" by a new RAF owner

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  • I've always had good luck with Advance auto parts in my neighborhood they have always seem to have had quality parts and back there warranty with out ever giving me a problem. Just my experience with my local ones.

    Sincerely SWilliams

    Comment


    • bugflyer, thanks, and I certainly agree with your point. I'll never pinch a penny when it comes to maintenance or parts quality. I'll look into a quality rebuild shop, but I hadn't the time this go-around.

      There were cheaper remans than Rayloc, which I avoided. The NAPA guys didn't know who re-mfg the Bosch unit, and opined that it could very well be the same plant which do the Rayloc. They spoke highly of Rayloc, so I went with that.

      If Bosch still mfg. this unit new, I'd have bought one.

      I carefully inspected the Rayloc, and it looked new throughout. It comes with a lifetime warranty.
      The VR is internal to these circa 1980 Datsun/Nissan 720 pickup 35amp alternators. Generic part # is 14231.

      I installed it today, and went up for a bit, staying in the pattern.
      Charging voltage was right at ~14.5. So far, so good.
      It was quite cold, about 5, and I reveled in the cabin heat.

      Regards, Kolibri
      PP - ASEL (Piper 180, C172, RV-7A), SP - Gyro (Calidus, RAF), soloed in gliders; checkride soon

      Wasn't happy with my RAF's pitch instability, so I installed a Boyer H-Stab to my great satisfaction!


      "My expectations: disclose the truth I need to fly safely, and act like you truly care about quality. Anything less is greed or laziness."

      Comment


      • 202rrpm achieved with OEM RAF prerotator

        I recently gyroed to a friend's ranch and landed on a 1000' patch of pasture that he occasionally uses for his TW. The takeoff next day had my full attention, due to a bit of roughness over ground.

        On a hard strip, I use the standard RAF procedure: start the takeoff roll at 150rrpm, increasing power at 160rrpm, 180rrpm, and then full power at 200rrpm. This is easier on the prerotator system, and there's plenty of runway length to accommodate.

        From my friend's pasture, however, I wanted to spin up to max rrpm before my takeoff roll. So, first, I serviced the prerotator clutch plate and pads (deglazed, and then scuffed up heavily), and readjusted the cable engagement. I got the clutch lever play just right, very firm, yet not dragging the plate. (A piece of paper folded 4x is about the right amount of space between the plate and pads. Make sure your plate turns true.)

        After warming up the motor, I gradually prerotated to a max of 202rrpm (with a final ~1900erpm). This was the highest rrpm I'd ever seen, accomplished with a monster grip on the clutch lever. (At 200rrpm the rotor disk is very solid and no longer prone to flapping.)

        I had about 8kt of wind right on the nose, perfect. The takeoff roll began a bit bumpy but I could feel weight quickly lifting from the mains which smoothened out the rest of the roll. I estimate that it took about 250-300' of roll to lift into ground effect, and I stayed there until 50mph AS (Vx). My friend texted me that the takeoff looked smooth and normal.

        ___
        After nearly 2 years of ownership and 200 hours of flight, I've some thoughts about my experience with the RAF2000. It's been an odd and unexpectedly uphill road, but on the whole I remain (generally) glad that I "went there". After a lot of mod/maintenance work, I am finally enjoying relaxed flight knowing that I've greatly increased its safety and reliability.

        However, given that decent 1000' pasture, and my skill ample to the task, there should have been no reason for any apprehension about taking off from there. The apprehension was solely due to my understanding how tricky a takeoff roll the stock RAF can be, and needlessly so. It all went well, but I'm not fully satisfied with RAF's design and performance there. I'd like to be able to reliably spool up to 250rrpm, and roll with the stick full back without lifting the NW so strongly (or at all). Otherwise, I'm not getting even close to full potential of a gryo's short takeoff.

        So, I think it's time for me to upgrade the landing gear (move back the mains, add suspension, and castering the NW). The RAF technique of balancing on the mains (to avoid touching a turned NW) I consider needlessly fraught with risk, and it increases takeoff roll since the somewhat flattened rotors can't spool up as quickly.

        I'll also modify the prerotator (which may be due some new bearings, anyway) with a hydraulic slave actuator along the lines of what KennyJ did. RAF's cable and bicycle-cheap clutch handle really has got to go.

        ____
        My general issue is this: with all the hundreds of RAF owners here and abroad, and the wealth of information shared by many of them on this valuable forum, you'd think that after a decade of new ownership by RAFSA that they would have incorporated at least some of our worthy mods. To date, there is still:
        no geared redrive (cogged belt, what are we, the Flinstones?)
        no main gear suspension, and widened stance
        no castering NW
        no differential toe-braking
        no decent rudder pedals, which are also adjustable for pilot leg length
        no improved prerotator system (e.g., a simple hydraulic actuator)
        no superior electronic ignition
        no long-lasting and lightweight exhaust
        no safe/strong +500 hour life rotor system (head, torque tube, rotors, upper mast)
        no control-independent trim system
        no cabin-external fuel tanks
        no H-stab
        no lengthened keel to better keep the tail in the propwash, and reduce yaw
        no vortex generators to reduce the wig-wag
        no reduction in prop thrust offset
        no improved seat belt attachement points
        no improved cabin shape for aerodynamics and increased space
        no engine cowling for improved looks and performance

        They've not even added a couple of idler pulleys to their p/r belt.

        RAF owners have tackled all of the above (except for cowling and external fuel tanks) and almost all of our mods had been tested before RAFSA's purchase in 2007. Yet the Mocke family has incorporated none of them. And, as far as I can tell, they don't even manufacture the kits in South Africa — it's still the old Kindersley Canadians doing so, while you pay for the extra freight from Africa to help maintain the illusion of local RAFSA mfg.

        Nothing has changed, yet RAFSA has the shameless gall to advertise their fusty, unimproved 1990s era machine as "modern" and "well-engineering" and "the best" on the market. Had they incorporated even a few of our mods, RAFSA would still own the USA LSA 2-place gyro market even if the kit were $15,000 more (which would include a Sport Copter system).

        To close on a positive note, I think the 160hp Subaru 2.5FI remains a decent gyro compromise between power, weight, and cost. It's a water-cooled and heavier "IO320". From eddie's experience (and now others), it seems to accept a turbo well enough.

        Regards, Kolibri
        PP - ASEL (Piper 180, C172, RV-7A), SP - Gyro (Calidus, RAF), soloed in gliders; checkride soon

        Wasn't happy with my RAF's pitch instability, so I installed a Boyer H-Stab to my great satisfaction!


        "My expectations: disclose the truth I need to fly safely, and act like you truly care about quality. Anything less is greed or laziness."

        Comment


        • 20170105 Kolibri parts list for the RAF2000

          Some new items added (battery, alternator, etc.)

          All text in green are parts I either found, or confirmed myself.

          Regards, Kolibri
          Attached Files
          PP - ASEL (Piper 180, C172, RV-7A), SP - Gyro (Calidus, RAF), soloed in gliders; checkride soon

          Wasn't happy with my RAF's pitch instability, so I installed a Boyer H-Stab to my great satisfaction!


          "My expectations: disclose the truth I need to fly safely, and act like you truly care about quality. Anything less is greed or laziness."

          Comment


          • That's a good article, I would be happy with just a wider and little longer cabin.

            And on another note there are two 2.5 Subaru's with turbochargers now,they are both

            in my hanger @ Socorro,nm,my engine now has close to 700 hrs on it.I have a friend

            that lives at a high elevation nearby and is enjoying the extra power provided by the

            turbocharger.



            Best regards,
            Best Regards,
            Eddie Sigman,Polvadera,nm
            (575) 835-4921

            Comment


            • history of my prerotator (which is still mostly stock)

              Thanks, eddie. If I ever go up to a 2.5FI, I'd be tempted to also turbo it (at least turbo normalized).

              _________
              Here is what I've so far done to my prerotator system. Even though I've still the OEM cable, long shaft, and cheesy RAF clutch lever, when all components are recently serviced I can nonetheless get 200rrpm from a standstill.
              Gates Green Stripe K060425HD belt (very heavy-duty)

              two idler pulleys (90mm Gates #38019 grooved) (Gates #38002 4" smooth)

              p/r shaft key slot and drive plate slot enlarged from 1/8" to 5/32"
              (The larger key has lasted 50 hours so far, when I was getting <15 hours from the smaller OEM key. The drive plate also spins true now.)

              Sport Copter upper mast plates (which are thicker, and also bolted vs. riveted), and flex issues should be a thing of the past. Any RAF owner can add these to his RAF mast and rotorhead, AFAIK.

              Sport Copter Bendix, ring gear (Sport Copter recommends Mobil EM Polyrex or any NGL1), and rotorhead

              lubed drive cable (Molygraph, per Sport Copter)

              deeply gouged drive plate (as Harry S. used to do)

              deglazed and scuffed up (use a flat file) pads

              adjust for firm clutch lever, yet maintaining ~0.020" plate/pad clearance (use a piece of copy paper folded 4x). If the rotors begin to barely turn after you've disengaged the rotor brake before takeoff, you can sufficiently increase plate/pad clearance by loosening the clutch lever cable end (and it won't take much).

              I've not yet added:
              shorter drive cable (51" on my SC rotorhead seems about right)
              short p/r shaft (Harry S. recommends it)
              brake pad material to the drive plate (several have done so here)

              The RAF prerotator drive unit does not seem to have a seal on the rear of the housing, and a bit of lube goops out the shaft into the pulley and plate. Does anyone else experience this?

              ____
              I'm looking for a very high quality p/r clutch lever, which is flatter/wider under the hand than the RAF lever. I'd like it to be very well machined, and aircraft quality. (Perhaps it will have a cammed engagement.) If it requires rerouting another cable, I'll do so. (I think the RAF cable is too thin, anyway, and prone to stretching.)

              Regards, Kolibri
              PP - ASEL (Piper 180, C172, RV-7A), SP - Gyro (Calidus, RAF), soloed in gliders; checkride soon

              Wasn't happy with my RAF's pitch instability, so I installed a Boyer H-Stab to my great satisfaction!


              "My expectations: disclose the truth I need to fly safely, and act like you truly care about quality. Anything less is greed or laziness."

              Comment


              • Great thread about RAF's and I suspect the best one place to learn what to fix and improve.

                You earn my U-ROCK award!
                Resistance is futile…… You will be compiled!
                Cheers,
                John Rountree

                PRA- Director
                PRA- Volunteer Coordinator

                PRA31 - Vice President of S.D. Rotorcraft Club
                http://www.Pra31.org

                U.S. Agent for Aviomania Aircraft... the most stable gyroplane on the market today.
                See: Aviomania USA http://www.AviomaniaUSA.com

                OEM Dealer for MGL Avionics - glass cockpit EFIS for Experimental aircraft Ask about DISCOUNTS for PRA MEMBERS

                Comment


                • Thank, John! Well, I've learned a lot from folks on this forum, and am pleased to contribute back. Most RAF owners seem to be inherently making a "poor man's Cavalon" out of their modest ship.
                  PP - ASEL (Piper 180, C172, RV-7A), SP - Gyro (Calidus, RAF), soloed in gliders; checkride soon

                  Wasn't happy with my RAF's pitch instability, so I installed a Boyer H-Stab to my great satisfaction!


                  "My expectations: disclose the truth I need to fly safely, and act like you truly care about quality. Anything less is greed or laziness."

                  Comment


                  • I'm juuuust about to break 200 hours in my RAF. Since I'm more frequently visiting rancher friends and setting down in pastures and grass strips, I'm looking forward to improving the landing gear. I've an idea on castering the NW with an easy mod, and adding a "tiller" to steer it (as in airliners).

                    Regards, Kolibri
                    PP - ASEL (Piper 180, C172, RV-7A), SP - Gyro (Calidus, RAF), soloed in gliders; checkride soon

                    Wasn't happy with my RAF's pitch instability, so I installed a Boyer H-Stab to my great satisfaction!


                    "My expectations: disclose the truth I need to fly safely, and act like you truly care about quality. Anything less is greed or laziness."

                    Comment


                    • New forum format, wow, this is different, I wish it a great success. Just passed 200 hours in my RAF2000. Glad to have made it, and by now I know my machine very well. Speaking of RAF's, the SACAA (South Africa "FAA") just released their report on the crash of ZU-RHO. http://www.caa.co.za/Accidents%20and...ports/9462.pdf An extremely thorough 51 page report, and very damning for RAFSA. The SACAA now insists on helping RAFSA redesign the kludgy system since has failed to get it right themselves. Ouch. Regards, Kolibri
                      PP - ASEL (Piper 180, C172, RV-7A), SP - Gyro (Calidus, RAF), soloed in gliders; checkride soon

                      Wasn't happy with my RAF's pitch instability, so I installed a Boyer H-Stab to my great satisfaction!


                      "My expectations: disclose the truth I need to fly safely, and act like you truly care about quality. Anything less is greed or laziness."

                      Comment


                      • I just posted over at Microlighters some urgent info for all RAF owners, especially those in South Africa. http://www.microlighters.co.za/viewt...240841#p240841
                        PP - ASEL (Piper 180, C172, RV-7A), SP - Gyro (Calidus, RAF), soloed in gliders; checkride soon

                        Wasn't happy with my RAF's pitch instability, so I installed a Boyer H-Stab to my great satisfaction!


                        "My expectations: disclose the truth I need to fly safely, and act like you truly care about quality. Anything less is greed or laziness."

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Kolibri View Post
                          20170105 Kolibri parts list for the RAF2000

                          Some new items added (battery, alternator, etc.)

                          All text in green are parts I either found, or confirmed myself.

                          Regards, Kolibri

                          Kolibri, The list you have compiled is greatly appreciated. You have done a lot of good work on this.
                          I do have one item that you may know a part number for, that being the spark plug ignition leads.
                          Thanks,
                          Greg T
                          Greg T

                          Take offs are optional, landings are mandatory.

                          Comment


                          • My pleasure, Greg, and thanks for the kind words. spark plug wires DirectImport, or was it ImportDirect? (#40275 - $27).
                            PP - ASEL (Piper 180, C172, RV-7A), SP - Gyro (Calidus, RAF), soloed in gliders; checkride soon

                            Wasn't happy with my RAF's pitch instability, so I installed a Boyer H-Stab to my great satisfaction!


                            "My expectations: disclose the truth I need to fly safely, and act like you truly care about quality. Anything less is greed or laziness."

                            Comment


                            • Thanks for the feedback. Mine must be different than most others. Original owner removed the individual coil packs and replaced with single electronic coil directly to distributor. Can't find wires long enough to go from distributor to plugs with 90 deg end at distributor. Wanted to find some good quality EMI leads to help with a little radio noise. Unable to locate original owner to ask if he made his own or found these.
                              Thanks again.
                              Greg
                              Greg T

                              Take offs are optional, landings are mandatory.

                              Comment


                              • Decided to use MSD Street Fire and make my own.
                                Thanks Kolibri
                                Greg T

                                Take offs are optional, landings are mandatory.

                                Comment

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