View Full Version : People's Projects - How are they coming along?

14th January 2008, 15:13
As I've got a keen eye on the SSDR category I was wondering how people's projects are currently coming along? Do you know of anybody who has actually flown their own designs? (or possibly an aircraft which is around now but actually can qualify for SSDR?)

Now that the PFA(LAA) competition has been and gone and from the designs which were showcased both in a thread(Here: http://forums.bmaa.org/default.aspx?f=17&m=13669) and also from the PFA magazine, how are people getting on? Are they anywhere near flying condition? The aircraft I was particulary interested in from the PFA competition was the university entry(Possibly Cranfield uni??) Has work started on a full scale version yet?

And what about that sexy Rutan style SSDR? Has that moved in any direction since the competition?



Paul Dewhurst
15th January 2008, 11:42
Our Dragonfly has been flying now since mid summer last year. Wing is a bought in item, but trike is all ours - so maybe the first UK new design SSDR to fly?

Lost of work / time to get from first prototpe to production though - but we are getting there.


Mick Broom
15th January 2008, 15:36
Hi Paul,
If you are talking about the 'Colab' from Cranfield Uni I can bring you up to speed.
We have the wings and tail made at 1/3 scale so need to finish the body and engine mount and hope to have that flying at about Easter time to get confidence in the claimed performance, Cof G and so on.
The basic load calcs are done and detail put into the wing design so I can go out and explore the costings and manufacture to see if I can afford it.
The rest is not resolved except in outline but we have FE capability in the team and are at the moment recreating the design in 3D Cad to do the detail work but are looking for help in the aerodynamics.
If we had a pet bank manager and no distractions at work I am looking at something flying in about one year from now with the LAA air trials in 2009 as my target which I want to win.
I know a good pilot and the specs are good and it looks as if it will be a pilots plane so that's possible but there are a lot of things which can go wrong before that.

16th January 2008, 09:20
I am spending what time I have available thinking about how to manufacture the wing.

I have come to the conclusion that the one thing that enthusiasts like myself need is a low drag wing for a flexwing (low drag, low thrust; low thrust, small engine; small engine, low weight). The other design criteria is that it should be able to be manufactured at home by anyone. It helps no-one for me to design something that requires the resources of a factory to produce.

This is the circle that I am currently trying to square, but Iím a great dreamer so donít hold your breath.

Laurie (2)

16th January 2008, 11:47
..Have you boys applied for registration yet?
...I`ve just had my application rejected today,effectively "Come back when you`ve finished it"

16th January 2008, 11:50
Apparently "wings done" isnt good enough

17th January 2008, 07:35
An update on the e-plane:

We're doing a lot of design and analysis work to verify the weight (especially) and performance before starting construction. (It's much quicker to rebuild a plane on the computer!). A very helpful friend is doing some proper 'computational fluid dynamics', which should point out local separation problems, and improve drag and control estimates. I'm building a cockpit mockup to test space, access, ergonomics, etc. It's nearly finished. We'll also use it with the x-plane flight simulation that we've already got working. Next major task is a structural test specimen - and that'll check if we can get the very low weight/adequate strength. It's our first time in building carbon fibre components from scratch, but we're getting lots of help from a Marshall's Aerospace expert, and we're soon off for a short course with Carbonology.

We're also hoping to find a local R/C modeller to build a half scale model, which we can instrument to check performance and low speed handling.

Hopefully we'll be building the real thing in March, and aim to have it complete at the end of the year....

Yes, it's a lot of stuff before we get building - but it'll make me much happier about stepping in and flying it!

You can follow progress on our web-site..... www.e-plane.co.uk


17th January 2008, 15:31
Another one for you. Have you ever experimented with one sided corrugated cardboard (covered in a lightweight glass cloth) as a method of structural boarding material. It would be a bit tedious getting the cloth into the corrugations on one side, but I'm a great believer in utilising some old fashioned ideas to gain stiffness with lightness.

Dave S
17th January 2008, 15:58
i might be able to help with the RC Model.

I build large models and fly them in competitions all over the world, i also fly a C42, an RV 6 and i am facinated by this de-reg stuff

See some of my models below

Dave Stephens

Attached files http://cloudniner.co.uk/images/converted_files/21848=1748-dscf1302.jpg (http://cloudniner.co.uk/images/converted_files/21848=1748-dscf1302.jpg) http://cloudniner.co.uk/images/converted_files/21848=1749-dscf1052small.jpg (http://cloudniner.co.uk/images/converted_files/21848=1749-dscf1052small.jpg) http://cloudniner.co.uk/images/converted_files/21848=1750-image0151.jpg (http://cloudniner.co.uk/images/converted_files/21848=1750-image0151.jpg) http://cloudniner.co.uk/images/converted_files/21848=1751-long-easy.jpg (http://cloudniner.co.uk/images/converted_files/21848=1751-long-easy.jpg) http://cloudniner.co.uk/images/converted_files/21848=1752-dscf1346.jpg (http://cloudniner.co.uk/images/converted_files/21848=1752-dscf1346.jpg) http://cloudniner.co.uk/images/converted_files/21848=1753-dscf0087.jpg (http://cloudniner.co.uk/images/converted_files/21848=1753-dscf0087.jpg) http://cloudniner.co.uk/images/converted_files/21848=1754-fouger1.jpg (http://cloudniner.co.uk/images/converted_files/21848=1754-fouger1.jpg) http://cloudniner.co.uk/images/converted_files/21848=1755-pict0025.jpg (http://cloudniner.co.uk/images/converted_files/21848=1755-pict0025.jpg) http://cloudniner.co.uk/images/converted_files/21848=1756-ailiner.jpg (http://cloudniner.co.uk/images/converted_files/21848=1756-ailiner.jpg) http://cloudniner.co.uk/images/converted_files/21848=1757-euro.jpg (http://cloudniner.co.uk/images/converted_files/21848=1757-euro.jpg) http://cloudniner.co.uk/images/converted_files/21848=1758-audiance.jpg (http://cloudniner.co.uk/images/converted_files/21848=1758-audiance.jpg)

17th January 2008, 16:14
Thanks again Jeremy,
I must have a go at manufacturing some corrugated sheet without the paper.

SSDR could turn out to be a cheaper hobby than those massive models !!


17th January 2008, 20:52
Great models Dave. What a nice collection, dread to think how many hours of work you've put into that lot! (and the amount of cash!)

19th January 2008, 09:20
Hello Paul Jockster and all,
I start to feel more like a rave from the grave, as I have been working half heartedly and intermittently on my miniswift for a good couple of years now!
I has flown, but only a couple of inches off the deck, then I had the opportunity to change to what I thought would be a better wing and that changed so many dimensions I got into all sorts of clearance problems.
The frame is all sorted again but my local strip is less than ideal with a slope across it, and the last time I tried a light cross wind was adding to that drift... further to that I have no foot throttle and in even a couple of knots of cross wind you want both hands on the control bar, and throttle has to be all or nothing... nerve wracking when the end of the strip never looks that far away.
The new wing, a Pegasus Photon is much more wing shaped than the old Striker I was using; it is a deal heavier, but if it flies at all I think it will go a lot better with the new wing.
I have flown that old Striker wing with a 215 Solo engine, but this now uses a Radne Raket at 10 or 11hp I guess, so we will see... hopefully this spring down in Cornwall.
Mark P.............

bear evans
19th January 2008, 16:20
hi jockster

still looking for a wing for my sky trike i know for a typhoon wing large. trying to find out the maximum pilot wieght for this wing and any mods done .

20th January 2008, 00:16
Hello Mr Dude,
Is the Typhoon you have a free flight wing? They do make a nice trike wings too, and I guess Solar Wings or Pegasus would tell you what it's maximum suspended load should be.
Sometimes with free flight wings stated pilot weights had a fair bit to do with stall speed for foot launching, and of course with wheels that doesn't matter much, but a free flight wing is quite likely to need stiffer A frame uprights... heavier guage or oversleeved, and 2.5mm wing wires increased to 3 or 4mm.
the 250 Robin Skytrike was a lot heavier than the Valmet powered one and that will make a difference too.

I started my little trike project with a nice old Striker, but this season I am trying again with a Pegasus Photon on it.
Good luck,
Mark.......... (mdphillips1956@yahoo.co.uk)

bear evans
20th January 2008, 13:14
hi mark

thank you, yes it is a free flight wing [hang gliding]i have emailed for info on the wing ,i looked up on the hang glider bible but no spec was listed.would i have any problems obtianing mod parts flying wire,s tube sleeve,s i have a typhoon wing well nearly all of it for spares .trying to get as much info before buying it and learn a bit from pilots that flew them.

can any one tell me if there was a problem with the super scorpion wing thank you

20th January 2008, 15:03
....One difficlty with SSC was L/D about 7:1 .But it was the first hang glider with really good cotrol and manouverabiliy with its deep keel pocket and large billow shift.It was a bit weighty for its size
....The worst problem was in slow flight near the hill .A large weightshift roll input could tip stall the flatenned wing leading to spin away from the desired turn.and serious injury
...This required a massive pull on to unstall the tip; or better, a sensitive touch to pull on the right amount before demanding tight turn .I really liked the glider, but it was a bit small for my pies.

21st January 2008, 08:11
Hello Dude and Wily,
I started with a Super Scorpian on my Hiway Skytrike; it flew nicely and climbed well even with just my 9hp engine, though I was less pie engorged in those days!
It seemed perfectly viceless to me, and just once I was gust stalled flying stupidly behind a hill (in the wind sense) and I dropped till the wing banged tight and those little 2.5mm wires boinged tight both sides... my next wing on it a Flexiform Striker, had two 3mm wires each side and that felt better... but was a much smaller area and didn't climb so well.
How many pies were you carrying Wily, I was 11 stone then in 1980, as against nearly 14 in this new millemium.
My Super Scorpian was 198 sq.ft. which seems huge now... my Striker was a 'small' version at 165; I would have done better on it with a 175 'medium' Striker like I now have, but I did many good flights with that small Striker even so.

Billy Brooks told me they can do all the Photon bits at Pegair, so I guess Typhoon parts (which came just before the photon) should be possible too.
Mark Phillips...............

21st January 2008, 08:14
Hello again Mr Dude,
After sending it ocurred to me your question about were their problems with the Super Scorpian wing, might have been linked to remembering the name of the grounded Scorpian microlight.
That was a horrendously constructed fixed wing plane that killed a few people... no connection at all!
Mark P.............

21st January 2008, 08:27
Dave - re the R/C model.....

Could you contact me directly on tony@e-plane.co.uk. I'd love to talk further with you.

Tony Bishop
e-plane team

20th April 2008, 11:49
For my own project I also started with the wing. Many of today's high performance hang gliders use a rigid wing braced by carbon fibre tubes and struts. G-CFDZ might not be a totally new design, but I like to think I putting together one of the best wings available with one of the best trikes I wave assembled a nice machine which is, as far as I know, the UK's only rigid-wing microlight.

See http://www.g-cfdz.com/ and tell me what you think.

Paul Dewhurst
20th April 2008, 18:51
I flew a Ghostbuster for a while (next model on from the Exxtacy) on a doodlebug. It was rather disapointing. although roll required no effort the roll rate was appalling leading to a feeling of not really being in control- especially in turbulence. Pitch was rather stange with no real signs of stabilty and a wandering 'pecking' trim position. Glide was reasonable, but thats all it had going for it, and rigging was pain and took forever.

It will be interesting to learn how well the Exxtacy works on the trike. I expect the extra weight and shorter span my make it a rather better outfit. I suspect the Ghostbuster may have been an exercise in increased performance at the expense of handling.

Flight design did make a two seat trike version. Pegasus had one to try. had lots of handling problems, mainly apparently due to te spoilers sucking up at speed nad producing uncommanded abrupt pitch up when they did - which apparently was rather alarming! You shouldnt have this problem on a nice slow light single seat trike with small engine, but might want to watch for it during any high speed runs. Slack spoiler return bungees apparently exacerbate this problem.

Perhaps we shoudl bully Aerola to make a triking weight version of the Phantom, which uses ailerons..

I have heard Bill Brooks talking that he rekoned that a wing similar size or smaller than a quik doesnt need billowshift and could be made rigid and still weighshift adequately in roll. Could be made with no top or bottom rigging at all then - just a small control frame....

I am reminded of the comment in an early 80's Flightline mag where a successful designer of a 3 axis type espoused that trikes had developed as far as they were going to go and we woudlnt see any more useful performance gains!!!


Dave Smith
21st April 2008, 08:44
No top or bottom rigging wires also makes for an easy design of semi-de-rigging - taking off the crosstube tension and folding back the wings whilst still on the trike. Battens will usually allow you to bring the tips into less than 7ft apart, so you can store the assembly in a lorry back, or similar. Much more difficult to do with a conventional wing, which goes floppy as soon as the tension comes off the wires...

David Evans
13th July 2009, 15:46

I tried this question on another forum and got ZERO response! Got to be worth a try on here so here goes....

I know there are a number of SSDRs commercially available/or about to be available eg the E-go canard design, Silver Fern Microlight's Firefly, The Eindekker , the Kid and one or two flexwings but does anyone know how the other entries in the PFA/LAA competition are coming long? I can remember the winner of the simple category Joe Kovacs 'Midgie', Jeremy Harris's 'Mayfly' The Colab joined wing Biplane, The Spitfire derived design and a modern take on the 1920's English Electric Wren. There were some more but 'The Boss' tidied away my magazine. Does anyone know how any of these are progressing and if any of them are likely to have plans made available?

Surely not the daftest/maddest question thats ever been asked. And I know that at least some other people are interested in SSDR on this forum

Right chaps...... just Zero to beat.....

Dave Evans

Mike Cowlishaw
13th July 2009, 18:57
The Sirocco acla.eu/index.html (http://acla.eu/index.html) still looks very interesting .. but like many (most?) aeroplane manufacturers their website is rarely updated (the 'blog' was last updated over a month ago), and there are few specifications there.

15th July 2009, 08:30
Well like most dreamers mine is still dreams. For me the competition was a useful exersise in putting some ideas down on paper but no more than that. Like most dreamers the ideas are moving on far faster than my ability to pin down the detail.
Still I've learned a great deal and kept the brain active so there is a lot positive has come out of it.

Now that my Scorcher is sitting at home I would like to build a new wing for it but realisticly the facilities I have to manufacture something of that scale are never going to match my asperations so I'm not holding my breath.

Laurie (2)

Mick Broom
15th July 2009, 08:48
Hi Dave,

The Colab project is still alive with slow progress due mainly to zero funding is being made from two fronts.

One - the design has been visited again and some more stress work and redesign has taken place mainly to make it practical to use, as my main thrust is to make a usable competition plane which also means its easy to fly ,land and look out of.

Two - the model has flown and we are still playing around with CG positions and wheel heights and so on, early impressions back up the slow speed lift claims and the flights are getting longer between takeoff and crash so progress is being made between real jobs.

It was never my intention to work to a time table until we had a lot of confidence in the design and could find some time and funds to do it properly. One reason why I am trying to retire so I can get on with it but the retirement has not worked yet.


Attached files http://cloudniner.co.uk/images/converted_files/56009=4556-colab-203.jpg (http://cloudniner.co.uk/images/converted_files/56009=4556-colab-203.jpg) http://cloudniner.co.uk/images/converted_files/56009=4557-colab1-004.jpg (http://cloudniner.co.uk/images/converted_files/56009=4557-colab1-004.jpg) http://cloudniner.co.uk/images/converted_files/56009=4558-colab1-005.jpg (http://cloudniner.co.uk/images/converted_files/56009=4558-colab1-005.jpg)

Mick Broom
11th August 2009, 22:07
Hi for those following this thread.

A short clip of the Colab in flight. It all seems to be settling down but we are still into a bit of tuning.

So far so good and I am pleased with progress so will start to explore the power units this winter as while I have a modified motor which if successful can be used initially, I would like to finish up with two electric power units if I can find someone who understands such things.



David Evans
12th August 2009, 14:28

I'm watching all things SSDR. Thanks for the post and please keep us informed as the project develop

Dave Evans