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  • Weedhopper...new member...hi!!

    Hi BMAA folks, and thank you for having this forum.

    My name is Scott McClure, I live in USA, my biggest hobby is Weedhoppers.

    I own a small contract manufacturing company producing injection molded plastic parts for local manufactures, as well I make replacement plastic parts for the USA weedhopper aircraft, and sell them on the internet.

    I've been stalking a single seat AX3 that somehow ended up in USA for over one year now.

    The aircraft is now in my shop, no engine, no engine mount, missing a few wing ribs, but otherwise

    pretty complete.

    I know ULTRALAIR of France built these aircraft, but I have no idea of the year mine was built...there are no tags.

    ULTRALAIR owned the USA trademark "weedhopper" from 1992 to 1999, so I think this single seat was shipped here as a

    promotional aircraft during those years. (my best guess)

    I now own the trademark, and sell parts under the "weedhopper" name.

    In USA we fly a 2 axis weed, very simple machine, no rules, no license, as long as it weighs less than 254 pounds (115KG)

    This AX3 has been flying as a "fat UL" in USA, just like many if not most UL's in USA....no-body ever weighs them.

    So I am wondering if I can ask for input and advice about this AX from you experts??

    I would be happy to post pics and listen to your advice....also I will need to find some small parts.

    Cheers,

    Scott

    Attached files

  • #2
    Weedhopper...new member...hi!!

    Hi scott

    This is very interesting, i have never seen anything like this before. I just thought their was only AX-3's and AX-2000's but i have been mistaken. The structure looks very simular to the AX's in this country. Me and my father have just finished putting back together our AX-3 when the sticking in the wings failed, you can read my blog to learn more ( http://microlight-flying.blogspot.com/ ) We found that their is alot of very fiddely bits on our one so it helps to have two people when putting stuff back on, e.g rebuilding wings, tail. Good luck with the rebuild and i hope everything goes well

    Edward Warnell

    Comment


    • #3
      Weedhopper...new member...hi!!

      Hi Scott and welcome, as far as I know there is only one Weedhopper in the UK although I could easily be mistaken, but I am pretty sure that there are no single seat AX3s over here in fact yours is the first that I've heard of.
      The story of the AX family as it was told to me by Bill Sherlock, the guy who first imported them from France to the UK, is as follows.
      Ultralair developed from the Weedhoppers that they were the Europe agents for and aircraft called the Europa. Bill went to see if it could be made to fit UK regulations to fill the gap for a nosewheel microlight trainer. Unfortunatly there was no way that it could be made legal in this country, but he was called back later to take a look at a lighter weight aircraft the AX3. This, with a little adaption, fitted the bill nicely and they were imported as kits initialy and constructed by Bill's company Cyclone and became a popular trainer, the Cyclone AX3/503. Some were privatly imported from France and privatly built and some of these were fitted with a Rotax 582.

      Cyclone were taken over by Pegasus and they produced and updated version the AX2000 engined by a 582 or an HKS and a lot of development of the wing and airframe. These were produced in reasonable numbers but weren't the great success that the AX3 had been.

      The Europa meantime was being licence built in India untill the demise of Ultralair, it was then developed further to become the X Air, which fitted with a double surface wing and flaps became the X Air Falcon. I have no doubt the other developments took place in France as well, so you see the Weedhopper is responsible for a fair sized family.

      Something you might find interesting is the parts list the is on the P&M (the latest incarnation of Cyclone/ Pegasus/ Mainair) website

      http://www.pmaviation.co.uk/admin/up...Parts_List.pdf

      As the parts are illustrated it may help with your engine mount.

      It sounds as if the Weedhopper could meet the UK SSDR (single seat de-regulated) regulations which is in many ways similar to your Ultralight rules if fitted with a suitable engine. Where many US ultralights fail to meet SSDR is in wing area which I doubt would be a problem with a Weedhopper.

      Ginge

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      • #4
        Weedhopper...new member...hi!!

        Hi Ginge,

        Wow! you pack a lot of history in a small space.
        You are so correct, "Weedhopper" family is big, and still growing.

        The most interesting thing for me is all the European engineering that has been applied to the weed.
        In USA, nothing changed, with a 254 pound weight limit it evolved zero since the early 1980's.

        Thank you for the P&M parts link!!
        I've been looking in France for parts, ULM Tech has weed parts....in French:
        http://ulmtechnologie.e-catalogues.info/

        Even in USA, several different companies have produced the Weedhopper, most all are just "clones" of
        the original Chotia designs, and many were using parts produced by John Chotia's company in the late 1970's
        and early 80's.

        I did not know the ax2000 was a UK product, I have always thought of them all....Europa, ax3, ax2000 as
        French products??

        History aside, I will do my best to keep this example of (AX3?) as original as possible.

        There are a couple of questions I ask just from first observations, the rudder sports an original sail, the weed logo
        is missing, but the witness mark remains.

        My question (with pics) is this an original rudder frame tube? There are a couple extra holes that I wonder why.
        The sail has been on this frame for many years according to the wittiness marks left by the sail on the tubes.

        Are your rudder tubes painted white?
        This is bare aluminum, with a solid insert at the hinge area, secured with a pop-rivet.

        Could almost look like an original tube, except for the extra holes. Two holes are at the rudder hinge, one hole is at the forward tube area
        .....see pics. Any ideas on this would be appreciated.

        I'm sure your rudder and my rudder are one in the same animal.

        In USA, no weeds have any batons anywhere!

        And for an interesting detail, over tea, our Weedhopper wing struts are just simple tube, total weight is about 6 pounds!
        The wing struts on this AX are very cool, contured, with jury struts.... weigh 23 pounds!!
        I am sure the 17 pounds (7.7 KG) you guys are carrying around is weight well spent!!!

        Even though our USA weeds are only 2 axis, people do
        loops in them.... not recommended (Darwin awards?), but
        the old factory videos had footage of (Thornton?) doing loops in a weed:
        Watch the first 3 minutes, you will see a USA weed being flown hard!


        Question 2, do your rudder batons hang out like the ones in my pictures?

        Cheers,
        Scott

        Attached files

        Comment


        • #5
          Weedhopper...new member...hi!!

          Impressive film Scott, although I must admit I'd not want to try to copy him.

          On my aircraft the fishtail batten are secured in their pockets although they don't stick out as far as yours are. To the best of my recollection the tubework inside the tailplane is all powder coated white, maybe one of the other guys on here can confirm that?

          Ginge

          Comment


          • #6
            Weedhopper...new member...hi!!

            From looking at my collection of bits it seems that the French tubing was mostly white. Cyclone AX parts often unpainted and most of the Pegasus parts are painted white. Having said that I've only seen one white rudder. The rudder pedals on the french kit were essentialy the same but unpainted with a gold finish.

            The pod from my French AX kit proudly displays a "10 years of the weed hopper " logo and the rudder sail also has the weed hopper logo- all of the major components fit the uk aircraft- talking to Bill Sherlock as I remember that there were at least 2 different sized wings on the French aircraft- one was too small for the UK regs.

            I need to get out more !

            Ray

            Comment


            • #7
              Weedhopper...new member...hi!!

              I was recently in France for a week and one of the guys down there had a single seat 'AX3'. It looked just like Scott's and was powered by a 447 engine. There will be none in the UK of course. Many of the components used in its construction are noticeably similar to those used in the AX3 that we are so familiar with over here in the UK. I can't say anything about the 'extra' holes in Scott's rudder tube although I'm afraid I would be very concerned about them as there's no way they should be there, but I wouldn't be concerned about the fin battens as you can see from the attached pic I took when I was originally re-assembling MYRO. You can also see the Weedhopper logo on MYRO's rudder.

              Incidentally, the chap down in France is a trifle eccentric and decided to extend the wings of his single seater by a meter on each side which he did by removing the tip tubes, shoving in some extensions with wooden ribs and covering them with Oratex (you are allowed to do anything you want in France - there are no permits, no inspections etc etc). He found he had problems getting down because of the extensions and ended up having to cut the engine :turn: The reason for the extensions is because he wants to remove the 447 and fit another lower power engine so he ends up with a sort of ULM motor glider concept for semi-soaring, low speed flight. Imagine if he tried doing his experiments here in the UK

              But that's not all - he says he's going to do away with the Ultralam wing covers and battens, make up a set of light weight ribs and cover the wings in Oratex. I told him I'd watch his experiments with interest :shocked:

              He said if the weather had been better while I was there, I could have flown it. I think I was fortunate that the weather gods were on my side that day and there was drizzle and low cloud :rofl:

              Roger

              Attached files

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