Building Mariah Gale

PW_Plack

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It has been suggested that having the horizontal stabilizer on the bottom limits rudder authority in an engine out vertical descent...I have trouble imagining the horizontal stabilizer having much effect on yaw or the rudder authority...
Vance, I think the theory is that in an engine-out vertical descent, the airflow to the rudder is blocked by a horizontal stab mounted fully below it. But a cruciform tall tail can't be much better, since the H-stab is still at least halfway blocked.

For that matter, what if you had no horizontal stabilizer at all? In a vertical descent with the engine out, the rudder is seeing only edgewise flow, so moving it does nothing.

I would think the answer to any of these situations is to put the nose down a little and spiral to get airflow (in the proper direction) over the rudder. True vertical descents are fun, but I'm not sure they're ever really needed.

Given your experience and confidence in the Predator, just go out and shoot some very high approaches and use vertical descents to get down, and see what happens. With the engine at idle, the machine will want to slowly spin, due to the "dissymetry of thrust" as the spinning prop slides edgewise through the air, but in a true engine out, (if you're comfortable to try,) you should be able to come pretty much straight down.

And if it works in the Predator, it should work in Mariah Gale.

In an engine-out descent with forward airspeed, an aerodynamically cleaner fuselage should help rudder authority, too.

As for tail volume adequacy, can you approximate "fuselage volume" (or whatever the technically correct term is) ahead of CG, and compare?
 

Vance

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My role in the process.

My role in the process.

You are the director behind what is fabricated.

You who will ride and guide the creation.
Hello Leigh,

I didn’t intend to disagree with you observation and compliment.

I feel that my role is to share my fantasy and then it becomes collaboration between all the people on the adventure.

I try not to get in the way of each artisan’s creativity.

I have found this methodology leads to more than I am able to imagine.

I have found that people looking on tend to ascribe too much of the result to me.

Before the accident I would have played a larger role but the methodology would have been the same.

It frustrates me that I don’t have more hands on.

I understand the process but my limited vision and balance keeps the quality of my craftsmanship well below that of my friends.

I just describe my fantasy and we all work together to create the end product.

There is no place on Mariah Gale that allows a lower level of fabrication.

There is no part of Mariah Gale that Jim and I haven’t worked through together.

Mike and Vince have had a lot of input on more than just the empennage.

We use many of Smokey’s ideas to manage load paths and fabrication techniques.

All of her comes from a brain trust of all my interested friends including my friends here on the forum.

You especially have had a great deal of input because you have empathy for the adventure.

Thank you, Vance
 

Vance

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My opinion.

My opinion.

Hello Paul,

Thank you for the input and I concur.

The Predator becomes very sensitive to the direction of the wind in a power off vertical descent.

She points her nose into even a slight wind and the rudder seems to have no effect without power.

I watched Roy Davis do tail slides into his smoke at Bensen days. I do not understand how he does it.

When I have tried a tail slide in the Predator on relatively calm days she whips around pretty fast at anything over about 5 kts backward. A little power allows for more control in a backward slide but nothing like Roy seems to have.

I like the Horizontal stabilizer on the bottom because the ground effect gives me another signal when I am attempting to interface with the ground.

I don’t get that with a cruciform empennage.

I like the solid feeling of an articulated rudder that I don’t have with a full flying rudder.

When flying cross country in the Predator I often fly with my feet on the floor until it is time to interface with the ground. In my experience a full flying rudder feel less steady.

I also like the transition from power on to power off better in the Predator than any full flying tail that I have worked with. I ascribe this quality to the articulated rudder but it may just be the execution of the particular gyroplane I was flying.

Thank you, Vance
 

PW_Plack

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...The Predator becomes very sensitive to the direction of the wind in a power off vertical descent...When I have tried a tail slide in the Predator on relatively calm days she whips around pretty fast at anything over about 5 kts backward...
Vance, that sounds like just what an adequate tail volume is supposed to do. If Mariah Gale has more volume and an even longer arm, you may never get to do a tail slide!
 

Vance

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Control in unusual attitudes.

Control in unusual attitudes.

Vance, that sounds like just what an adequate tail volume is supposed to do. If Mariah Gale has more volume and an even longer arm, you may never get to do a tail slide!
Thank you Paul,

I feel I will be able to do a tail slide by keeping a little power in so I can keep her from turning into the relative wind.

It almost works in the Predator and seems to slow the descent.

I am hoping the airfoil, better sealing and longer moment arm will give me more control.

I don’t know what the value of a tail slide is, but it sure looks cool.

I want to learn to have more control over the aircraft. I feel this is part of being a better pilot.

Thank you, Vance.
 

Vance

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Down the composite trail.

Down the composite trail.

I have been in touch with Vince over the last two days.

I was going to meet with the composite distributor, Revchem Composites but the meeting didn’t work out.

Vince is planning on laying up some test pieces.

At this point we imagine that the layup will be 3 layers of Carbon fiber, a core and 1 layer of Kevlar. That should weigh .56 pounds per foot or around 37 pounds for the empennage.

If we just went with four layers carbon fiber and a core it is stronger and weighs .48 pounds per square foot or around 31.7 pounds for the empennage.

I feel with the pusher propeller we are likely to hurl things at the empennage and the Kevlar adds some impact strength.

I know very little about composites and I would be grateful for input.

The Mooney empennage weighs a little over 50 pounds and is harder to attach and not as smooth.

We are following the advice of the distributor and he has given us 5 choices.

That is why Vince is going to make some test pieces.

Thank you, Vance
 
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Vance

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Further down the composite trail.

Further down the composite trail.

I spent some time on the phone with David, the representative from Revchem Composites.

He feels with a little work we can get the empennage down to 33 pounds.

He is going to try to work something up by this weekend.

He agrees that a layer of Kevlar is important and wants to do the body and cowl that way too.

He sent some paperwork that shows how much strength is picked up with a simple core.

I am pleased to have David involved. He seems quite knowledgeable and detail oriented.

I love this stuff, I learn so much.

Thank you, Vance
 

ironcowboy

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Hi Vance,

I recently used carbon fiber in the construction of my nose pod. This was hand laid, not vacuum bagged. I used between 3 and 5 layers of BID style from Aircraft Spruce. The resin I used was the West System also available from ASSC. You will need WEST SYSTEM 300 RATIO PUMPS, $10.95, and the A-2 kit for $41.00 (for a quart) also available in gallon kits. I was able to use a little under one quart to manufacturer the nose pod on my HA2M. It's 36"(ish wide) by 22"(ish). Total area is probably 56 by 40 when you add in the radius areas.

The A-2 Kit includes harder and resin, and with the ratio pumps installed directly on the container, you just pump one time on each and the exact correct quantity is dispensed into your mixing cup. I discovered that three pumps of is each is about perfect at 80F. If you go four pumps, it can go exothermic on you.

The A-2 kit (105 resin and harder) is the slow cure kit, and you have a good 30 minutes of working time after mixing, or longer if the temp is below 80F.

West 105 is fully compatible with carbon fiber and Kevlar.

Also you can use POLY-FIBER SUPERFIL EPOXY A&B for $19.90 for the small kit. This stuff works like Bondo, it's really light weight specifically for aircraft, sticks to EVERYTHING, and is reasonably flexible after cure so it wont crack. It is a creamy fluffy material when wet like Fluff marshmallow cream.

Good luck.


http://www.aircraftspruce.com/menus/cm/epoxy_westsystems.html
 

Vance

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Thank you for your help Cortland.

Thank you for your help Cortland.

Thank you Cortland,

I value your experience.

I need to go with Mike’s supplier on the materials.

Vince has worked with carbon fiber a lot but not much with carbon fiber and Kevlar and not at all with a core.

Learning is part of why Mike is helping me out. He feels I stretch their skill set with my oddball projects.

I want the Kevlar so that the empennage doesn’t come apart if the prop throws something into it.

David concurs with that desire.

He feels one layer of Kevlar is enough to get the job done.

Two layers would bring the laminate weight up to .64 pounds per foot. There are about 66 square feet of laminate so that would bring the weight to 42.3 pounds.

It is structurally much stronger with a layer of Divinycell H80 as the third layer.

At this time in our decision making process it is 2 layers of 5.7 oz Carbon Cloth, a layer of Divinycell H80, .25”, another layer of 5.7 Carbon Cloth and a layer of K49/095 Kevlar.

We are still working on alignment.

The Kevlar is on the inside so it is in tension if something hits it.

This laminate should weigh .56 pounds per foot or about 37 pounds for the empennage.

David hopes to get the laminate down to .5 pounds per foot or 33 pounds for the empennage. I don’t understand the process but he seems to be having challenges because as of now I don’t have an email and he said he would try to get it to me before the weekend. He feels there are places in the structure where we can lighten it up a little and end up below 30 pounds.

I have several books on composite construction that do not seem to always be aligned. This is a whole new world to me.

We thought we were advanced when we built the streamliner body from Kevlar in 1991. I feel things have moved forward since then.

Thank you, Vance
 
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ironcowboy

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I am very interested in your tail :) You know what I mean!
 

Vance

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I don’t know what you mean.

I don’t know what you mean.

I am very interested in your tail :) You know what I mean!
I see from the smiley face I am missing your humor Cortland.

I would appreciate it if you would help me to understand it.

Several of my friends are helping to edify my humor.

I am still a novice humorist and often overlook subtle wit.

Thank you, Vance
 

Vance

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Empennage progress and more.

Empennage progress and more.

I am up at Greenwood now and about to hit the sack.

Jim likes to start at 4:00 AM.

He liked the picture of the Rans nose gear.

I stopped by Mike’s in Hollister on the way up and spent some time with Vince.

The empennage is his in-between job and he has been working on several big projects.

He was working on Mike’s new trailer when I got there that had remarkable signage so I took a picture. The detail on the flag is remarkable and the job of sticking it on is extraordinary. It is a sort of vinyl and they put it on with a heat gun and cover all the rivets perfectly. It was simply amazing.

Vince was working on padding the shelves on the inside when I interrupted.

Vince has been working on the fairing for the connection between the horizontal stabilizer and the vertical stabilizer. The island for the rudder worked out well and he has the area for the upper and lower hinge working. He still has to do the middle one.

The top front of the vertical stabilizer curled over a little and he is working on cleaning that up.

Vince has the three piece mold worked out and I hope we will have a part soon. The fairing is both for structure and aerodynamics.

It is my understanding that inside 90 degree corners are very draggy and the vortex that is created uses up effective area of the airfoil and causes drag.

David, the composite guy feels the spars will be stronger with curved inside corners instead of sharp corners. David has been dragging his feet a little and Vince is going to get after him tomorrow.

I had lunch with Mike and found out that he is one of the sponsors of the air show at Hollister Municipal Airport on May 28th and 29th. Ed and I are planning on flying The Predator up and staying with Mike. I don’t know if we will do any flying at the show. When they moved Watsonville last year they sort of slid Hollister in its spot. Watsonville was hoping for less fog but it didn’t work out. Hollister is further inland and has less of a problem with fog this time of year.

Jim and I are going to assemble the gantry crane tomorrow and work on the location of the main landing gear.

I brought my die table up to help Jim manage connecting the keel to the airframe. The parts are big enough to be unwieldy.

We are also going to be doing some more design work on the rotor head.

I will take some pictures of the airframe progress tomorrow.

Thank you, Vance
 

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StanFoster

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Vance- Your Mariah Gale project has to be one of the most intense homebuilt gyro projects ever. I would love to see it up close and personal. Your pictures show it evolving very nicely, but I bet the closer you look, the better it gets. The work on just the tail is superb. What a team you have gathered together Vance. There is something special about you that drives your team to do top of the line work for you. You are an intense person yourself, and it would be very satisfying coming up with a level of work that satisfies you. Excellence is its own reward. Stan
 
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Vance

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An Adventure!

An Adventure!

Thank you Stan,

I am fortunate to have friends like you Mike, Vince, and Jim that do not compete with others. They simply do the best they can at the edge of their skills and knowledge.

Then they stand back and say how could I do it better?

It inspires me and I find it cathartic.

The days don’t slip away.

Each day becomes a wonderful symphony of effort and results.

Vince loves having a reason to extend his skills and a focus that drives him.

He always exceeds what I can imagine.

I may say to him I think it would be nice if we did this. An example would be when we came up with the island under the rudder so we could extend the fairing. We talked about it and imagined it and then the next time I see him he has brought the idea to fruition beyond my imagination. Sometimes he has come up with some better idea. Vince is always soft spoken and modest. As you can see from the pictures what Vince is creating is a lot different from the original fantasy.

It may not have any real purpose but it is fun never the less.

It is hard to contain my excitement and not rush the process. I have found it is important to get into the process and journey and not rush to completion. For me that is what makes it a worthwhile adventure.

Sometimes it is difficult to coordinate the efforts with very different processes going on at two locations that need to know about something that doesn’t exist yet at the other location.

So far we have not lost any time at either end. The build has taken on a nice pace of her own.

Jim is done feeding the horses so it is time to get to work. I will post some pictures when I can.

Thank you, Vance
 

Vance

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A little more progress!

A little more progress!

I had a lot of fun working on Mariah Gale with Jim today.

The main thing Jim needed me for is to make sure the shock bracket clears my toes. It goes just above my feet and spans the currently open end of the frame.

For those not familiar with a motorcycle girder fork, it has two pivoting arms that in this case are parallel and the same length but they don’t have to be if you want a particular axel path.

The picture of the streamline tube, AKA front strut that is the attachment for the castering bearing shows two holes that will be fitted with four aluminum hats that butt together in the center and are held fast by the 5/16 pivot bolts. They will also be bonded in place because the tube is not flat there. They are inside the body so they don’t have to be streamlined.

The lower link is in place and the location of the upper link and bracing required my feet on the rudder pedals and a checking of the panel mount to make sure the back of the radio and transponder don’t hit the braces that will go up to the single coil over damper. The lower link will fasten to the bottom eye of the damper. It is at ride height now.

The upper end of the damper attaches to the bracket for the upper link that spans the currently open end of the frame. Jim is holding the upper link in picture 12. There are two braces that come from the center of that bracket at an angle to the first truss junction. We are combining the mount for the panel with this structure. There is also a single tube that goes straight down from the damper bracket.

The single shock is between my feet and Jim needed to be sure that my feet wouldn’t hit it when I operate the pedals and toe brakes.

It all went as planned except we added the small vertical tube to manage the vertical loads better.

We are trying to get 6 inches of travel with 4 inches of droop at ride height.

We spent a lot of time on weight and balance and comparing Mariah Gale to the Predator. We have more fuel further back, the engine is further back by 6 inches and the extension on the propeller is 4 inches longer. The empennage is six inches further back from the propeller.

We don’t know exactly how much the body, windshields, front damper, mast, rotor head, controls, cowl, empennage and panel weigh. The things that are not quantified kept accumulating and I finally succumbed to my trepidation about the unknown. Jim and I decided to mock up the main gear, take it over to Mike’s for the body and cowl, build the panel and make the windshields. In the mean time Gil will make the coil over damper so we have far fewer unknowns when we locate the mains. I am still going to spend some time trying to guess at the location of the mains but my calculations are no longer critical.

We mocked up the fuel tank to help me imagine the location of the center of gravity with 38 gallons of fuel and ten gallons of fuel.

Jim doesn’t like to make complex parts over so in my opinion this is a good compromise.

Because of this resolution we felt putting up the gantry crane at Jim’s was premature so I am going to put it together back at the hangar.

We spent some time on the design of the rotor head and made some incremental progress. As Jim puts it we are not in a hurry about the rotor head and can build it and the controls while Vince is working on the body and cowl. For the time being at least we are planning to use Sport Copters hub bar. I feel it is best not to try too many things out at once.

I left my die table in Greenwood to help Jim manipulate the frame and keel as it becomes more cumbersome.

I took a picture of the keel with all the braces in place and finish welded. It is very strong in torsion now.

Thank you, Vance
 

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Vance

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Magic Moments!

Magic Moments!

Thank you Barron,

I get very excited when I see evidence of progress.

She is not the gyroplane I imagined a year ago.

As we have progressed she has taken on a life of her own.

Each time I fly the Predator I try to imagine the difference in the experience of flying Mariah Gale.

We are very excited about the possibilities and at the same time I have great trepidation.

I feel it is a grand display of arrogance to imagine that we can build a gyroplane that we will enjoy more than The Predator.

I suspect that some things won’t work as well; I hope some things will work better.

Whether Mariah Gale is more alluring or not, building her has already been a wonderful adventure and everyone working on her has learned a lot and had many magic moments.

I feel that two old guys building a gyroplane in their garage makes a better story than simply buying one that already flies.

The Givans napkin is a good story too.

This is the longest we have worked on any project; usually we are on the second or third iteration by now. It has been challenging adjusting to her pace.

Thank you, Vance
 

StanFoster

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Vance- Your efforts on designing and building the Mariah Gale will indeed add so much more to your story. This book has a lot of potential and as I have saidseveral times, if the right people hear of this adventure, your story will be a big hit. I expect you on the "Today" show or equivalent. This whole undertaking with all your past challenges and triumphs over them just all add up to a "Perfect Storm" of events that will bring the nationwide focus on this mission of yours. I will definitely be bringing this story to Andy Engels attention with your blessing. He was the editor of the prestigious glossy magazine "Fine Homebuilding". That man has many connections in New York that are heavy hitters. With your permission, down the road, it would bean honor to use my connection with Andy Engel to see if big doors can't be opened up. I sincerely believe this is a HUGE story and I get goosebumps thinking I just know you. Stan
 

Mark E

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Vance- Your efforts on designing and building the Mariah Gale will indeed add so much more to your story. This book has a lot of potential and as I have saidseveral times, if the right people hear of this adventure, your story will be a big hit. I expect you on the "Today" show or equivalent. This whole undertaking with all your past challenges and triumphs over them just all add up to a "Perfect Storm" of events that will bring the nationwide focus on this mission of yours. I will definitely be bringing this story to Andy Engels attention with your blessing. He was the editor of the prestigious glossy magazine "Fine Homebuilding". That man has many connections in New York that are heavy hitters. With your permission, down the road, it would bean honor to use my connection with Andy Engel to see if big doors can't be opened up. I sincerely believe this is a HUGE story and I get goosebumps thinking I just know you. Stan
Dang! Can already imagine the movie! brad Pitt playing Vance.:D
 

Vance

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Living the impossible dream!

Living the impossible dream!

Thank you Stan, I agree that the first step to the book is building Mariah Gale.

For most people not connected with experimentals building an aircraft in your garage seems impossible.

Most people only dream of flying.

That is a big part of the fun, reminding people that they should chase their dreams.

I wish I had your confidence.

The adventure itself seems much bigger and more challenging than the book.

I find the idea of selling the idea to a publisher that will invest their money and talent in our dream difficult to imagine.

I feel things are going very well and I keep trying to put one foot in front of the other.

I have been very fortunate every step of the way.

I have been on this adventure my whole life without knowing of this waypoint.

Life treats me well.

I am grateful for any help I can get along the way, getting something published is a lot of peoples dream and somehow we need to find that extra something.

When I look back at any of the really big adventures I have had it always had a lot to do with my friends.

I love the support on the forum for this particular fantasy and the help I get along the path. There are many nights where it seems impossible and it helps to have people believe in the fantasy.

It is a great adventure whether or not the book part comes to fruition.

I love living each day of the journey.

Ed had a short successful flight at Oceano Airport Day on Saturday so we feel that part is coming back together too. It was a particularly chaotic environment and I had to do several things that could have triggered the challenge. A pilot at the wrong altitude in the wrong place not giving good radio came very close to us head on. It was only a 15 minute flight but it was a first step.

I am grateful to everyone for their consistent support. There are surprisingly few naysayers about this dream.


Thank you Mark, a movie is not part of the fantasy for me.

I feel like we will be better able to communicate the idea with words and pictures so people can use their imagination to adopt the dream.

As I wrote that I realized that is what movies do too. It broadens the audience because so few people read books.

I don’t have any idea how we would work toward that, I feel we should stick to the book fantasy and who knows what will happen.

Thank you, Vance
 
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