What do you want to Know About Safari Helicopters

Discap

Junior Member
I am somewhat surprised by the lack of info on Safaris the on this site. So at great personal risk I would offer all the info I have gleaned after 5 years of ownership and 250 hours of flying them. I have detailed my build on www.mykitlog.com/discap. I taught myself how to fly in it. I don't recommend this path but for some reason it is hard to find anyone that wants to give primary instruction in a homemade helicopter.

I have made made substantial improvements as far as balancing goes. My lateral and vertical are below 0.1 ips in all phases of flight. Within the next two weeks I hope to start testing a device to help tame the 2/per.

My ship is glass panel for several reason including data recording. I use the MGL Odyssey.

So so fire away if you are interested.

Bill
 
Bill,
Your build log is showing but a small specific portion of your build, is there more that I am missing?

Thanks
Ken
 

Discap

Junior Member
Ok that is weird. I have not been on the site in a while and I know they have made some "improvements". I found the rest of he build by tapping the blue Date in top left of any of the shown posts. After doing this go to the top and you can press ALL. That will bring up the entire build. For some reason he most recent posts are listed first the the date sorting changes from early to late so it is easier to follow.

Not or sure what is going on here but I will look into it.

Bill
 

Discap

Junior Member
Not much interest here or everyone is shy. I will throw out some stuff.

Performance real world.

The crusing speed is more dependent on how gusty it is than anything else. I'm in Kansas and regularly fly with the windsock standing straight out. With this in mind 80 mph is doable in almost any wind conditions. I have had to slow down to 60 mph a few times for fear of unloading the rotor. If it is dead calm I have seen 100 mph. I have 4 way trim and use it 100% of the time (like on an Enstrom or MD500). A typical cross country flight 85 mph is relaxing 95 is more work and not relaxing.

According to to the fuel totalizer I burn 10 gal/hr over the last 250 hours. Lots of hovering and testing.

I am 240 lbs buck naked (try not to visualize that). I have flown with guys up to 260 lbs from the hover. Field elevation 1420' Density altitude 3000'. It was not pretty but it can be done. 650 lbs useful load. If I did much two up flying I would add to my counterweight because of the forward CG. Still have plenty of control but the stick is not centered.

I can do pedal turns with the wind sock straight out, including back to the wind. Taxiing with my back to the wind adds 2" of manifold pressure. It does not like to do that especially with two on board.

Power management is critical it seems like you never have enough unless you are by yourself and it is cold. Cold helps dramatically.

Fire away, or not.

Bill
 
Bill, honestly and sadly you will find it rather quiet here on helicopters, there are only a few here actually building any type of helicopter and no Safari's that I am aware of. I may be the only one actively (used loosely) working on one of it's predecessors, a updated/modified version of the Commuter II.
There is always a lot of interest in helicopters (how could there not be haha) but unless you are building one it's only of a passing quiet interest.

Do you have any measurements, internal/external, I.E. any at all on the friction clutch system?
It comes complete so doubtful but no harm in asking.

Any flying videos?

Ken
There is no flying as fun as helicopter flying, I don't care what you say :lalala:
 

Discap

Junior Member
Nope no measurements. I did assemble mine at the factory. They don't encourage working on the transmission. Pretty short on pictures.

Bill
 

klyde

Junior Member
Discap;n1119673 said:
Not much interest here or everyone is shy. I will throw out some stuff.

Performance real world.

The crusing speed is more dependent on how gusty it is than anything else. I'm in Kansas and regularly fly with the windsock standing straight out. With this in mind 80 mph is doable in almost any wind conditions. I have had to slow down to 60 mph a few times for fear of unloading the rotor. If it is dead calm I have seen 100 mph. I have 4 way trim and use it 100% of the time (like on an Enstrom or MD500). A typical cross country flight 85 mph is relaxing 95 is more work and not relaxing.

According to to the fuel totalizer I burn 10 gal/hr over the last 250 hours. Lots of hovering and testing.

I am 240 lbs buck naked (try not to visualize that). I have flown with guys up to 260 lbs from the hover. Field elevation 1420' Density altitude 3000'. It was not pretty but it can be done. 650 lbs useful load. If I did much two up flying I would add to my counterweight because of the forward CG. Still have plenty of control but the stick is not centered.

I can do pedal turns with the wind sock straight out, including back to the wind. Taxiing with my back to the wind adds 2" of manifold pressure. It does not like to do that especially with two on board.

Power management is critical it seems like you never have enough unless you are by yourself and it is cold. Cold helps dramatically.

Fire away, or not.

Bill
Bill: I was 180 but hovered my Baby Belle at 8500 DA just out of ground effect with ½ tank fuel and still had a little power left. The tail was feeling soft though. I had an 0320 that I had overhauled and balanced. During one flight, I topped off. Took off stopped at another field. Shut down and waited for another ship. Started and flew to another place for breakfast. Shut down and later started up and hovered to the fuel pit and could only put 7 gal in the tank. Hobbs said 1hr. Honda engineer looking at the intake manifold asked if it would even start with such an imbalance in fuel delivery.
I noticed something about centrifugal clutch? Mine would always chattered during engagement. I had a mod in mind to dampen some of that out but never put it in place. For the second time, my output to the tail rotor ate the bearings. Note there isn't any way provided by the design to properly pre-load the bearings. I also had a collective spring break just as I entered a hover after a flight. The collective almost hit me in the ear, the ship shot straight up and my low rotor alarm was blowing my headset off. I got it on the ground and there was the broken spring. I designed what I call "Chinese wts" to mount on the blades ala Bell 47 and got rid of the spring. I hope you are aware of the seal at the top of the gear box that eats a groove in the main rotor shaft. When I tore my trans down for bearing replacement I found a jagged 0.020" groove. My calculations said that the shear safety factor on the main rotor shaft was the lowest of any kit helicopter that I could get data on. I've got a list of negative design and fab things that I found and in spite of that, I still believe that with some good engineering the Safari is potentially the best two seat ship out there. I presently own a highly modified Rotorway (Allison gas turbine engine) that is so much harder to work on or pre-flight and has less head room, but has plenty of power and speed. Also you get to smell JetA which is cheaper than 100LL.
Stuart Fields
[email protected]
 
Stuart,
Was that main shaft calculations made on the 4130 shaft or the newer Titanium, never had heard of any issues on the older but some passing issues mention of the Titanium version.

Ken
 

klyde

Junior Member
Blue Chips: My calculations were on the Titanium shaft. Very few ships use the solid shaft like Safari. It is easier to get more strength at lower wt using a hollow shaft. Safari also used a lot of 2024 T3 aluminum in non stressed areas that 6061 T6 could have handled the job at less cost and less wt. I didn't talk about it before, but I found a small spot on part of the swash plate casting. I probed it with a small needle and it fell in the hole. Careful sanding, I found a relatively large casting flaw. When I broached it with the factory, they told me to fill it up using my TIG and aluminum rod. That sure made me wonder about other aluminum castings. My bird was from a kit from 1997. It had the Ti shaft and spindles and the beefed up gear box and the @#$% spring on the collective that darn near caused a crash with me when it broke in flight. I had 235 hrs on my ship when I sold it. I had flown it at Oshkosh and at several other airshows and fly-ins. I had the 1/rev vibrations down below 0.1ips. The 2/rev was still an issue if the fuel was down around ½ tank.
 
Stuart, I agree with you on the hollow shaft but that would require an entirely new design so they just stick with the solid I guess. What little I know about Titanium it may not be the best choice for a main shaft. I also found the earlier Commuter II castings crude and rough, and am not a real fan of plain castings for flight critical components anyway so am machining all new swash assembly and other castings from solid 7075-T6 stock. Every one seems to complain on the 2/rev, be nice to get rid of that. One fellow here named Don apparently did but it was a rather complex and lengthy matter, believe they remedied it by making for a soft mount for the main gear box.
 

Discap

Junior Member
Stu thanks for the comments and I will address them one at a time.

Intake manifold Most people are still using the manifold you make yourself. It is indeeed a poor design, but it works. The factory now offers a cast manifold from Superior. It certainly looks better , but I have not been able to test it to determine if it actually is.

The clutch does indeed chatter on engagement. The only way I see to improve this would be to tighten up the tolerances between the drive and driven parts of the clutch.

The tail rotor drive bearing are the wrong ones for the application. The gears are helical cut and this cause axial thrust. The stock bearings have no thrust surface. Bearings are available that are an exact fit that do provide thrust and solve the problem.

Collective spring. I have seen your Chinese weights and that certainly is a solution. The factory close a simpler one. The kit now comes with 2 spring cable assemblies instead of one. I personally prefer this solution.

The seal cutting a groove in the main shaft has been addressed by installing a sleeve over the main shaft where the seal rides.

I work closley with the vibration engineers at Dyna Vibe. Matt the head engineer ran calculations on the main shaft and several other areas. He found that although the solid shaft was not the "best" design that it was within what he considered the safe range. One interesting thing that came from this was that he predicted "whip" in the shaft between 80% and 87% rpm. You probably noticed it as you ran your ship up on concrete. The steel shaft did not show the whip to the same extent.

The number of castings has dropped significantly. No parts in he control system are cast including the swish plate and control arms. Without the ship in front of me, the only castings that I can think of are the main transmission and tail rotor gear box.

i am working on a counterweight type solution to the 2/rev problem. Just pick up,parts from my buddy with a water jet, and will star milling them this week. I have tested on a vibration bench(thanks Dyna Vibe). So now on to the real thing.

Bill
 

klyde

Junior Member
Bill: Does the lead/lag adjustment of the main rotor blades still involve slightly over-reaming all of the blade retention bolt holes except one? McCutcheon told them how to get rid of the need for the Collective springs. The trailing edge heavy condition of the blades not good.
Stu
 

Discap

Junior Member
There is now a screw adjustment for the lead/lag. You can really fine tune it. I have added a chord wise balancing point so there is now also no need to use either lead/lag nor head shift in the balancing process. Set both to 0 and do the balancing on the blades and chord wise.

The redundant springs have proven effective, light and simple. Kind of like Frank Robinson used to preach "add lightness".
 

klyde

Junior Member
Bill:I centered the head and had rigged up a laser pointer to get both blades straight w/respect to each other and then balanced span wise with washers added to the outer most blade retention bolt (my blade tips were the rounded variety), and then chord-wise add washers to the side of the head using the long cross bolt. Three starts I could get it down to below 0.05ips. Having had the single spring break which would have killed me had I been hand off the collective doing something with the radio, the springs didn't impress me. If it had springs holding the collective up which meant spring failure would tend to take you toward autorotation rather than away from it. The "Chinese Wts" could be adjusted to neutral collective....I've read a bunch of books on helo aero, that have said trailing edge heavy blades can take you closer to flutter. All that said, the highly modified Rotorway that I'm currently flying also has a spring on the Collective. I will be looking to get rid of it also.
Well we have some helicopter dialogue going on this forum. Thanks to you. BTW the Rotorwayowners group had some discussions re: Safari going on. Two high time instructors had comments to make.

Stuart
 

Discap

Junior Member
Stu you are right on the chordwise. I actually drilled additional holes on the angle brackets dedicated to the weights. The problem using the long cross bolt is that it moves the headshift depending on how tight it is. I found this out one time when I checked the headshift with a dial indicator. Turns out you cannot torque this bolt. Considering its purpose finger tight is good enough.
 
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animal

Platinum Member
Discap;n1119681 said:
Nope no measurements. I did assemble mine at the factory. They don't encourage working on the transmission. Pretty short on pictures.

Bill
Trust me I know why... :) My former A&P tore down my transmission to the Commuter 11 and miss placed the parts, just about got all the parts back from him. not going to be fun. still missing to shaft keys and then have to find out the part numbers for the seals. got all new bearings.
 

Discap

Junior Member
I hope you have a big press to put things back together with. Everything is a shrink fit. If you just press things together you will ruin them. I don't remember the exact temp the pieces were heated to, but you need to find out. Wrong temp can affect the strength of e unit.
 

Mmarmino

Newbie
Good morning! Thought I would revive this tread I'm seriously looking at Safari helicopters. I have not yet ebeen able to see one in person but want to take a trip down to Florida. I live in Kentucky but will be in the richmond VA area for the next four months. I was a helicopter pilot in the army. I really want to get back in the air. I received a flight in a rotorway, I thought that was a nice helicopter but it was a little cramped. I'm 5'9" and weigh about a190 pounds. I really love the look of the Babybell. Also, Id like to get opinions on this basketcase on eBay.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Baby-Belle-Safari-Helicopter-02-Hobbs-only-shows-36TTSN-2-seater-Dual-Control/123484846091?hash=item1cc045380b:g:YJcAAOSwLO1btmOQ&vxp=mtr
 
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