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  • Retractable, different from the Dragonfly

    Natty manual retract here, no good for mine as too far to reach...;-)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NusHALUWMEQ

    Flylight use Aeros wings, this looks like their own trike, wonder if they pinched the idea from Flylight's Dragonfly?

    Cheers
    G-KEVA
    BMAA 5696

    "If anybody ever tells you anything about an aeroplane which is so bloody complicated you can't understand it, take it from me: it's all balls."

    R.J. Mitchell :- Designer of the Supermarine Spitfire

  • #2
    Retractable, different from the Dragonfly

    They bought one over to show us a couple of weeks back. It's designed for the more hangy wings rather than chaser, but is a high quality engineered product and a very good price. As the UK aeros dealers we can sell them too...!

    Paul

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    • #3
      Retractable, different from the Dragonfly

      I do wonder about the drag saving if you turn the wheel until it is flat-on to the airflow. My Dragonfly has no fairings and I've always thought that retracting the gear would give little benefit.

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      • #4
        Retractable, different from the Dragonfly

        Of course its primarily for folding for packing up, but a bit of fun on the air and looks cool! The ANT has a fabric fairing / bag for the wheels to tuck in behind and fair them in, so should be some drag saving too. On the dragonfly the wheels tuck up I side the Glassfibre fairing, and on the basic one without fairings a proportion of the wheel tucks in behind the seat back.

        Paul

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        • #5
          Retractable, different from the Dragonfly

          This is the trike I fancy...

          http://www.trike.com.br/mini.asp

          ...especially with one of their topless floater wings.

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          • #6
            Retractable, different from the Dragonfly

            By eck, just looked at that link - its a complete rip off of a dragonfly! Same detail structure for the seat and forward fairing, main gear legs and drag links, even the overthrow bracket on the monopole etc etc, Have they no shame!

            Paul

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            • #7
              Retractable, different from the Dragonfly

              Can you pursue them or does the fact that they are in South America make them untouchable?

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              • #8
                Retractable, different from the Dragonfly

                Certainly looks that way .. even the angle of the seat is (as far as I can measure from their photo) is identical.

                As has been said before, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery ...

                Mike

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                • #9
                  Retractable, different from the Dragonfly

                  We have spawned more than a few clones, and a few more that are heavily 'inspired'. Nothing you can do about it really - just smile and take the 'flattery view' that Mike pints out.

                  Result is that the soaring trike market world wide now has rather a surfeit of similar product and our export sales have reduced considerably. Soaring trikes being a niche within a niche does mean taking a smaller slice of the smallish pie means very few sales, and differentiation is now by small details and largely influenced by local prices and supply. And the soaring trike market has little potential for much revolution left - especially as price is a big constraint.

                  Currently we are exploring other areas, such as the fox cub, with less of a purest soaring slant and accent on ease of use/ownership. And we are also working on the other end - more traditional mainstream microlight cruise performance in a stylish but affordable package - the Dragon Chaser.

                  We want to do a three axis SSDR, but rather ironically making the most out of UK 300kg means exports would be difficult - its much easier to sell sub 115 to fit FAR103, and its world wide local variations. Leaving us in a bit of a dilemma what direction to go in - and whether we can do something that specs to fit both - without the light model being too obviously trimmed back.

                  As long we can have fun playing with developing small planes and pay the bills we will be happy - but that modest task alone is quite a challenge!

                  Paul

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                  • #10
                    Retractable, different from the Dragonfly

                    I have the impression that FAR103 three-axis is a not very satisfactory market niche, unless you live in a land of light winds and light regulation.

                    How about taking a different approach/target: an SSDR aircraft that maximizes the opportunities to fly in UK weather (i.e., can be rigged (as necessary) and flown in our typically gusty weather, and not just in summer evenings and mornings)?

                    Mike

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Retractable, different from the Dragonfly

                      Mike Cowlishaw wrote: I have the impression that FAR103 three-axis is a not very satisfactory market niche, unless you live in a land of light winds and light regulation.

                      How about taking a different approach/target: an SSDR aircraft that maximizes the opportunities to fly in UK weather (i.e., can be rigged (as necessary) and flown in our typically gusty weather, and not just in summer evenings and mornings)?

                      Mike
                      *Hi Mike

                      Paul's products are the sort of well sorted consumer products that make you want to own one whether you need it or not, they are very good to look at.

                      When the Dragonfly was in the early stages, went for the more agricultural Ace as it felt more like the sort of thing I flew in the 1990s, and might be capable of fulfilling a personal dream of a machine that could tour with longer range and speed. If I'd known the regs would relax to 300kilo and stall speed then the Chaser variant would pretty much fit the bill, although Paul would advise on trike airframe longevity with a thumping V-Twin lump in the back.

                      What Ace need to do is to park the R&D on the mechanical side as they work pretty well now the tubes are shiny anodised, and get some nice bodywork out there; it's a good rugged product with some tweaks and I've modded it into a reasonably capable tourer, this year did Enstone, Duxford and Spamfield from East Yorkshire, hoping to do Popham next spring but might be a windy day too far. 35-litre tankage helps.

                      Out of interest did you see the weird mod to allow dropping the wing single-handed? Bolted a swan neck onto the rear wing keel to allow the bar to go far enough forward, now the wing's lighter it hobbles pretty easily, although my video isn't that slick as it was one of the first tries

                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WGuUkMcyws

                      cheers

                      Kev

                      PS I've trimed 61mm off the trike nose now as the bar out was nowhere near the front strut, and added a mudguard; still tinkering...
                      G-KEVA
                      BMAA 5696

                      "If anybody ever tells you anything about an aeroplane which is so bloody complicated you can't understand it, take it from me: it's all balls."

                      R.J. Mitchell :- Designer of the Supermarine Spitfire

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Retractable, different from the Dragonfly

                        Looking at it from our perspective in the "windy ole UK", you are of course right Mike.......... but my information is that the FAR103 market in the States is starting to once again become boyant................. due to it's freedom.. No Medical.. No licence... No permits.... No training............... No anything but sufficient funds to buy and the will to fly (whether this is a good thing or not, depends upon your point of view)............. there as here people rebel against Red Tape.

                        I may be wrong, but if I were in Paul's situation, I would rather have the possibility of say 1% of the US and other FAR103 Markets ... than 99% of the UK one.............

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Retractable, different from the Dragonfly

                          There are many UK microlight pilots that are perfectly happy to and choose to only fly on the nice days. Flylight are masters in the art of minimalistic aviation. One of the great things about the Dragon range is the fact that you don't have to incur the expense of hangar age if you don't want. Other flexwing manufacturers selling in the UK have dumped the realistic rigging/derigging option. Take the initiative and give us a 2 seat low and slow like you do with single seat. It must be something that can be kept at home (Target/Fox), 2 seat folding trike with no fairings so that when not in use the monopole goes down and the wheels fold in so it occupies the same space in a garage as a push bike and is simple to maintain. No expensive 4 strokes.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Retractable, different from the Dragonfly

                            UK market is tined wee, you would be silly to expect more than ten sales a year - if you really hit the sweet spot, so something that has potential to sell abroad is the only way to justify any sort of business plan. I often think that UK pilots just don't realise what a small and tough business it is and expect it all to be like dealing with a multi national..!

                            The European market for 300kg single seat microlights is small as well, and needs certification - to more than one flavour, which is a bit of a passion killer for small sales number potential.

                            So being able to comply with part103 makes sales potential sense - not even so much for the US - which might be a tough market price wise, but it is adopted in lots of other countries world wide as a reduced regulation category.

                            Mike - I dont think that part 103 compliance necessarily means poor weather capabilty. The shadow and thruster flown solo have similar wing loadings, - and of course the shadow has been a very successful long distance tourer and is regarded as good in turbulence.

                            Maybe the best approach is to have a base design that can be configured to suit either market - bigger motor and more fairings and features for the full fat version - maybe even a smaller wing based on same basic structural components ( rather like Skyranger and Skyranger swift).

                            I currently have two basic design concepts - one that was done pre 300kg, and was designed to exploit the area rule with small 8M wing but with another 1.5 M of countable area in lift strut and gear leg fairings. Simple primary glider type '1D' fuselage structure, but dressed up with pod and windscreen. Tricycle UC. Engine up top thruster style. Aim was something very small, with loaded wingloading fairly mainstream and full span ailerons coupled with short span to ensure powerful control. The advantage of small wing was that it could be quite strong with modest spar sizes - even ok for basic aeros - which would be a big part of its sales hook - not so much to encourage folk to do silly things but to illustrate small and light didn't mean flimsy and weak.

                            The other design concept is more 'mini Nynja' featuring a fully enclosed cockpit, with full fairings, and engine up front under a cowling. Again smallish 8-9M wing but this time 300kg MTOW. it should be reasonably clean, and 50-60hp should give it really rather sparkling performance and 100MPH fast cruise capabilty. Clearly more performance and maybe more UK sales appeal ( although much more expensive to make).

                            All would have wing fold as design priority, and be classical tube and fabric structure - could be battened pre sewn envelopes for wings and tails or simple ribs attached to structure then Oratex covering.quite a few types have the option of either.

                            There could be quite a bit of commonality though between the two concepts in terms of wing and tail surface design. I could always do two fuselages...!

                            Paul

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                            • #15
                              Retractable, different from the Dragonfly

                              Ken wrote: "Paul's products are the sort of well sorted consumer products that make you want to own one whether you need it or not, they are very good to look at."

                              Absolutely! I bought one (G-LOAM) and flew it for 18 months, and no regrets at all .. except that I only managed 12 hours of flying in that time (it was 2012, mostly; a horrible summer). It was the best flying I've ever done, in every way.

                              Wally & Ian: exactly what I meant; the USA is a different story -- there are places, there, that you could fly a microlight for more than half the days in a year, perhaps more. And, yes, I loved having my Motorfloater on a trailer in the garage; attach that to the car and the wing on the roof (in about 15 minutes) and be completely independent of all others as to where and when I flew. Rigging and derigging was about 35 minutes at the airfield; completely reasonable (and, Ken, I was always single-handed dropping or raising the wing, although, yes, that took a bit of experimentation).

                              The snag was that (de-)rigging the craft single-handed wasn't safe in winds gusting over 7mph (and yes I did try extra tethers, etc.). And there weren't many days and times that I could fly that came close to that requirement.

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