More Fuel Tank PROBLEMS

Steve McGowan

Gold Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2004
Messages
2,517
Location
Macon Ga.
I have another Sparrow Hawk with tank leakage problems.. Now the seal and seam adhesave is breaking down on a SH3.

Anyone with any info on tank bladers or any sure way to fix this problem,
PLease contact me. only thing I know that will repair it is Pro-Seal..

And again,,

Remove the caps and inspect the inner tanks for the JEFF Coat sealant coming off the walls and ceiling of the tanks..

Steve McGowan 478-461-1451
 
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gyroplanes

FAA DAR Gyropilot
Joined
Mar 18, 2004
Messages
6,086
Location
Lansing, Illinois (Chicago South Suburb)
Aircraft
(1) Air Command, (1) Barnett, (1) Air Command 2 place kit, (1) Sycamore gyro
Total Flight Time
2650
Are seat tanks a possibility? I will offer a discount to the afflicted.

If the seat tanks were hinged, could the area under the seat be used for storage, like the McCulloch J-2?

I am not bum rapping RAF or Sparrowhawk, just the use of fiberglass fuel tanks. I had a early Brock fiberglass seat tank split open and douse me with gasoline in a hard landing. I was a spark away from a horribly changed life.

I STRONGLY recommend a fuel cell type bladder or insertion of a cross linked poly material tank inside the cavity, if seat tanks are not an option.
 

lanichol

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 24, 2004
Messages
1,503
Location
NW, KS
Aircraft
RAF 2000 AAI Modified, Var Pitch IVO, hydraulic pre-rotator, mechanical FI
Total Flight Time
18 hrs gryo & training
Are seat tanks a possibility? I will offer a discount to the afflicted.

I STRONGLY recommend a fuel cell type bladder or insertion of a cross linked poly material tank inside the cavity, if seat tanks are not an option.

I am listening, but not sure I understand. Do you have a solution for the RAF/Sparrowhawk tank besides the bladder?
 

Russ Hobbs

Newbie
Joined
Apr 16, 2008
Messages
1,169
Location
Cle Elum, WA
Aircraft
Dominator Ultra white
Total Flight Time
30 Dual time
Tom
I was thinking the same thing earlier today. Why couldn't the seat tank be tied into the existing fill neck and cross linked together like the original seat tank. Height would be the only real issue I can see with my limited experience.
 

gyroplanes

FAA DAR Gyropilot
Joined
Mar 18, 2004
Messages
6,086
Location
Lansing, Illinois (Chicago South Suburb)
Aircraft
(1) Air Command, (1) Barnett, (1) Air Command 2 place kit, (1) Sycamore gyro
Total Flight Time
2650
I am listening, but not sure I understand. Do you have a solution for the RAF/Sparrowhawk tank besides the bladder?

If I had an RAF or SH around to check, I would try a seat tank to see how it fits. A pair of my tanks would give you 15 US Gallons (I don't remember if that's more or less than stock).

They could have separate fillers for lateral balance when solo and a left-right-both fuel selector, like Cessna.
They could easily be vented and sumped outside.

If someone wants to try a pair, it's at no risk (other than shipping) as long as they are still saleable when returned.
 

bmoore2156

Active Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2008
Messages
1,005
Location
Siletz, Or
Aircraft
Converted RAF
Total Flight Time
300 hrs in my RAF
I have both tanks for my RAF
I have the fiberglass one installed, and I have the plastic one sitting in the garage.
I really like the comfort of the fiberglass tank. I too am worried about the tank leaking.
What about making an aluminum seat tank, like the fiberglass one? It would probably be lighter and it could be beefed up for more strength.
Any thoughts or ideas on this?
Brad
 

Vance

Gyroplane CFI
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
16,810
Location
Nipomo,California
Aircraft
Givens Predator
Total Flight Time
2400+ in rotorcraft
I have both tanks for my RAF
What about making an aluminum seat tank, like the fiberglass one? It would probably be lighter and it could be beefed up for more strength.
Any thoughts or ideas on this?
Brad

Hello Brad,

I offer a few thoughts on building fuel tanks.

I have built many aluminum tanks that leaked.

I would not try to build one now because I am out of practice.

If someone is familiar with building aluminum tanks they can usually build one that works well. It is not an easy skill to learn.

Most of the tanks I built were odd shaped and required fitting after welding so I would gas weld them because, in my experience, a gas weld holds up better under the hammer. Most people don’t have experience with gas welding aluminum.

The shape you require is not very complex so most of it could be made on a brake and TIG welded. Minimizing the number of seams is a useful design goal.

There are companies that will make a bladder for your custom tank that will increase both safety and weight. It complicates the build process and makes the project take longer but it is probably worth it.

I know of several RAF’s burning on impact and one SparrowHawk.

I wear a fire resistant nomex costume when I fly to lessen the damage from the first fireball. It will not protect me from a fire without a lot of additional stuff that makes it less comfortable.

Thank you, Vance
 

MichaelBurton

Gyro CFI
Joined
Oct 2, 2004
Messages
1,261
Location
Petaluma CA. USA
Aircraft
Sparrowhawk, B95, AC680, BE23, Calidus, MTO Sport, Cavalon, Vortex, Dominator, WindRyder, RAF2000
Total Flight Time
6000+ over 3000 hrs in gyro
I am working with Nate Oldham at Airgyro to Build an insert for the SH1 and SH2-3. We have contact with an expert aluminum tank builder and are also looking into the possibility of using a fuel bladder. The cost would be high if we only build what we need for our aircraft.

The best option would be to get a count of those that will spend the money for the tanks so that we can get a better cost.

If you are interested send me a PM and I will get you on the list. I will need a phone number and for what version of SH you need the tank.
 

Steve McGowan

Gold Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2004
Messages
2,517
Location
Macon Ga.
I'm not trying to BAD MOUTH GBA,, but for what these kits cost that should never have happened.. Stuff Happens,, "HOWEVER"

An "AD" should be sent out to all owners to stop flying and check they're Sparrow Hawk tanks..

I'm not in any way wanting someone to get hurt, But how the hell can and would you know if a leak started while in flight..

I grounded my SH until I completely inspected and was sure that it was safe after Terry Eiland and Bill Finnigan was killed..

Whatever happens,, PLEASE be careful and check your Sparrow Hawks Tanks..It will only take a few hours..
If Ya don't.. You may Never Live It down.

Steve
 
Joined
Mar 12, 2009
Messages
110
Location
Brigham City, Utah
Aircraft
Cessna, and Stabilized RAF
Total Flight Time
450
While I was doing some research on this subject, I contacted Rotational Molding of Utah and explained the situation. The guy I talked to stated that GBA contacted them in the early days to produce a suitable plastic tank. I was told there would be an approx. $20,000.00 mold set up fee. Price of tanks? Depends on how many you divide into the 20 grand plus plastic... The other bummer. There are several types of machines that the tanks are just a little different. If someone can think of a way to make this useful, call me, we'll try. Until then, I like the beer can tank or bladder idea.

Curt
 

JimGyro

Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2006
Messages
10
Location
Momence,IL
Aircraft
Sparrow Hawk II
Sparrowhawk II fuel tank

Sparrowhawk II fuel tank

Here is a photo of my left fuel tank which shows the deterioration of the seal and seam adhesive. I have know doubt that it was caused from the ethanol fuel. My plan is to coat the tanks with pro-seal.

Jim
 

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MichaelBurton

Gyro CFI
Joined
Oct 2, 2004
Messages
1,261
Location
Petaluma CA. USA
Aircraft
Sparrowhawk, B95, AC680, BE23, Calidus, MTO Sport, Cavalon, Vortex, Dominator, WindRyder, RAF2000
Total Flight Time
6000+ over 3000 hrs in gyro
At this point I have received only two requests for the fuel tank replacement. If I don't get a few more it will not be a viable project. I will update all those that have made or make a request by PM as to the final status of the project.
 

rkwill

Junior Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2004
Messages
11
Location
Morton, WA
Fellows,

The experience of many of us that fly (used to fly) with fiberglass tanks in the wings or elsewhere is that fiberglass dissolves and sheds glass fibers. The resulting sludge and fibers get into the filters, the fuel pump, and the carb. The result is the quiet sound and unplanned dead stick landings.
Everyone I know is having to handle ethanol contaminated fuel.
Several of us have tried the (supposedly) ethanol proof sloshes for the fiberglass tanks. Such efforts routinely resulted in more dead stick landings.
Our only viable response has been to remove the fiberglass tanks and fabricate/install aluminum tanks.

Richard
 

rkwill

Junior Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2004
Messages
11
Location
Morton, WA
Fellows,

Regarding Stabilizer.
It is to stop fuel from deteriorating during long storage periods and to stop the ethanol from seperating from the fuel.
It is not advertised as having any fiberglass tank protection value.

Richard
 

Hoges

Junior Member
Joined
Mar 12, 2007
Messages
106
Location
Cronulla, NSW, Australia
Aircraft
RAF 2000 GTXSE
Total Flight Time
330
My SH has 540mm (21.25") clearance from the underside of the cabin to the ground and a cylindrical fuel tank 400mm in diameter and 500mm (2') long with hemispherical ends will hold as much or more fuel and than the fibreglass tanks and could be slung under the keel.
Just an idea.
Scott
________
Dc Medical Marijuana Dispensaries
 
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MichaelBurton

Gyro CFI
Joined
Oct 2, 2004
Messages
1,261
Location
Petaluma CA. USA
Aircraft
Sparrowhawk, B95, AC680, BE23, Calidus, MTO Sport, Cavalon, Vortex, Dominator, WindRyder, RAF2000
Total Flight Time
6000+ over 3000 hrs in gyro
My SH has 540mm (21.25") clearance from the underside of the cabin to the ground and a cylindrical fuel tank 400mm in diameter and 500mm (2') long with hemispherical ends will hold as much or more fuel and than the fibreglass tanks and could be slung under the keel.
Just an idea.
Scott

Please be careful it will also lower the CG. The reason you have room under the landing gear is it was lengthened to raise the CG. You need the CG to be inline with the thrust to have a properly stabilized SH.
 

okikuma

Member
Joined
May 21, 2006
Messages
2,120
Location
Santa Clarita, CA
A little over a year ago on another thread within our forum, I came across a video of a Continental O-200 powered RAF 2000. I'm fascinated over the method of mounting the Continental engine, and the external aluminum fuel tanks to his gyro. At that time, I was able to contact the owner of the specific RAF 2000 (Jimmy Meredith) and had a nice conversation with him last May. For what it's worth, I've copied and pasted my post below mainly to show his method of mounting his fuel tanks that others might be interested in and to evaluate as a possible alternative in solving their fuel tank problems when using ethanol based fuel.

Don't forget to watch the video.

Wayne
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Earlier today, I spoke with Gillispie "Jimmy" Meredith about his Continental O-200 powered RAF 2000 gyroplane N2029E.

http://www.vimeo.com/2021802

Jimmy is a great guy to speak with and was very gracious to take the time and answer all my questions about his gyroplane. Thanks Tim for your assistance in locating Jimmy.

As I figured, Jimmy's RAF gyro empty weight is lighter than the equivalent Subaru powered versions. What is surprising is how much lighter. Jimmy tells me that his gyro's current empty weight is just under 620 lb.! That is a significant weight reduction! Here is a two place EAB gyroplane that is LSA compliant and can have a 700 lb. useful load! I forgot to ask Jimmy what is the specific gross weight limit he has set for his gyro.

The Continental engine is really an upgraded C-90 with O-200 crank and pistons. The engine does not have a starter or generator/altenator. Jimmy says he has set 2900 rpm as his max rpm limit and is for take off only. In cruise flight, he operates it between 2400 - 2500 rpm and cruises between 70 - 80 mph. Jimmy says that the cylinder head temps are a cool 325 degrees and oil temps never climb above 160 degrees. For extra insurance, he added an oil cooler and it sits down low and near the prop. The prop he is using is a 68" Warpdrive and says he has measured 430 lb. of static thrust. I mentioned to Jimmy that figure seams low for his gyro. When I said perhaps if he used an IVO prop, he could obtain 600 lb. of static thrust, he agreed and that is in consideration. The two fuel tanks are 5 gallons each for a total of 10 gallons and it is a gravity fuel system. He mentioned that he might add a small header tank down low to increase the capacity. Jimmy is also looking into a wind powered generator for electrical power. I suggested that he look at the Kutoba series of alternators for light weight electrical power.

When asked how well does the gyroplane fly compared to the Subaru powered RAF 2000s, Jimmy says it much easier and feels more stable, even though it is a HTL gyro and has no horizontal stabilizer. I did not ask if he is planning on adding one in the future. He said that he flies the gyro conservatively and most often solo. I asked how was the performance with a passenger and he said it was alright, however he has only flown down the length of the runway with a passenger. After more experimentation and work, he'll then fly a pattern and then a short cross country with a passenger.

When I asked Jimmy why the Continental engine, he said he just feels more comfortable flying behind a certified aircraft engine. He also said that he believes that the initial cost, operating expenses and 1500 TBO life of the engine is still cheaper than setting up, installing with all the associated hardware, water cooled system, PSRU, and maintaining the Subaru.

Doing some quick figuring, Jimmy's gyro with a 200 lb. pilot, full tanks and oil (68 lb.), and with a 30' rotor, the disk loading would be 1.26 lb. per sq. ft. Add a 200 lb. passenger, the disk loading would be a respectable 1.54 lb. per sq. ft. Not bad at all for a two place gyro.

I think Jimmy is moving in the right direction in owning and flying a useful two place gyroplane. Just think what the performance would be with a O-320 Lycoming powered Sparrowhawk?

I invite comments about what Jimmy has done. Those of you out there that want to dwell on how Jimmy's gyro is a HTL aircraft with no horizontal stabilizer, that is not part of the discussion here. I want to concentrate on the benefits or detriments between the use of an air cooled aircraft engine vs. the Subaru.

Thanks everyone,

Wayne
 
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