I have been experimenting with air speeds and engine rpms over the last week. I have found that Bloop 2 flys well at 7000 rpm and shows 30 to 35 mph indicated... The landing gear has been holding up very well since I rebalanced Bloop 2. Even with my poor landing skills nothing has bent or broken. I have bounced a few times and had one harder than usual landing today but no problems occurred. Over the last week I also flew some right hand patterns and did two touch and goes and landed twice with a tail wind this morning. All were "firsts" for me and very enjoyable. The more I fly Bloop 2 the more I like it. It is very predictable and I feel safe when I fly it. Control inputs are very positive and responsive. When I make a mistake it is easy to correct. I like the slow pace of flying in Bloop 2; it is relaxing and fun. Thanks for designing a great ultralight.
August 18, 2017.....I separated the back rest pad from my seat assembly and moved it back about 2 inches. Now it's mounted to the diagonal strut on center line, so it's not going back any farther.
I strapped into the plane and had the nose held level to do the balance check.The balance was almost exactly neutral, so I failed the test, which requires the loaded airplane to be slightly nose heavy. I will need to fly with a pad that keeps me farther forward, but pilots much heavier than me (I weigh 148 lbs.) can get the benefit of sitting all the way back, which is what was intended.
So, sitting perhaps an inch farther back than before, I flew a flight test
without feeling anything new in the air, but on the ground things were different (the unexpected, as usual).
On takeoff I lost some power, so I throttled back and landed to work it out on the ground. Nothing seemed wrong, so I determined that while busy with takeoff concerns I had probably pulled the throttle back with my hand due to the unaccustomed far forward position. So, I then took off a second time with full power and no problems.
After touchdown on landing I realized that the plane was more tail heavy on the ground than before, and I was lagging on getting the nose back up to level. This made the steering more difficult and the plane rolled a little off track before coming to a tail down stop. (Actually, I don't have a track to stay on, anyway, I'm out in a grassy field).
I had re-mounted the fuel tank sideways, but it was no less awkward to re-fill from a jug, so I will probably put it back where it was.
Flew Bloop 2 this evening. Did 4 take offs and landings and a couple of go arounds. Bloop 2 seems to like a cruise of 30 to 35 mph indicated at 7200 to 7600 rpm. It will fly at 20 or less but with the stick full back it won't climb much at that speed; it just bobs up and down. At one point I was flying at about 17 mph indicated. Descents are at 6200 to 5400 rpm or less. Landings are great with the throttle off once I clear the hill. I botched the last landing because the wind picked up a little so I ended up too high when I pulled off the throttle, but no worries. Bloop 2 still came down, a little steeper, then bounced a little on touchdown.
| August 1,
Bea Bloop (similar to Bloop 2) Report by
Doug Wimer in Idaho, (edited by me).
"...for seat placement, I bolted 4 inch chunks of 2 x 2 angle to the nose frame top tubes where the seat would attach. On the top surface of the angle iron were three holes (front, middle, and rear) so I could bolt the seat in different positions. It wasn't real convenient to change positions but I figured it was better than adding tail weight and it gave me about 4 inches of adjustment. I never did fly it with the seat all the way back but did note significant improvement going from the front hole to the middle hole."
||July 29 ,
2017...Two biplanes staging for their morning flight
while a paramotor returns from exploring the local
|Bloop 2 thunders down the runway trailing a cloud of glory.||Glen F.
presents his ballast brick, a
battery with no electrical function.
The panel on the right is the
||July 26 ,
2017....When Floyd F. flies the Bloop, I get to see
my airplane from a new angle. The takeoff can be
alarmingly slow and with a high nose angle, but it's
all normal. At full throttle the stick can be held
full back and nothing much happens. The stick is not
way back in this photo, you can see that the
elevator is not much raised.
Floyd and I are practicing for the fly-in, doing demo flights with good posture. I did an engine off landing, he did a low pass at full throttle (we are careful not to call this a high speed pass, it isn't, you have plenty of time to watch the Bloop as it floats by).
We are flying from the grass instead of the graded runway, it's soft and clean, we don't leave a cloud of dust and grit when we roll through the flowers. The ground squirrels are digging craters in the far end of the field, however, so we will have to be careful if we are rolling in that area.
| Good news! Bloop 2 took to the air today
like a fish to water. The improvements I made (installing vortex
generators and adding a counterweight to the tail) worked better
than I expected. Take off speed was lowered from 25 mph to 19 to 20
mph indicated. The front ground brake now acts like it is supposed
to without digging in and lifting the whole airplane off the ground
like a catapult. Landing was cool; the Bloop floated so well that it
was hard to keep it from ballooning, and the landing was so soft
that nothing got bent. Overall handling in the air was much more
responsive also. Bloop 2 actually turned when I gave it left rudder,
even with the wind against it.
It really surprised me when I got airborne at such a low speed on the very first taxi test. By the fourth taxi test it was obvious that adding the counterweight had nailed most of the ground handling problems. Bloop 2 was much easier to balance on the mains while rolling down the runway and didn't pull to the right nearly so much as before.
| July 19,
2017...The photo shows a broken flange on my engine
between the motor and the exhaust pipe (left side
seen from behind). This is an attachment to a
neoprene vibration isolator (rubber shock mount),
it's too bad the rubber spool didn't break instead,
as occurred on the right side a few years ago.
Replacing the isolator was easy, but now I have to
repair steel or make a special part.
This was a cantilever flange that appears to have broken in bending. The same part on subsequent models of this engine appears to be made stronger. Realistically his may be the kind of minor weakness you have to expect from light engines designed so you can run with them on your back.
Part of my preflight inspection is to grab the engine by the exhaust pipe and rock it on its mounts to check for looseness. Both in this case and the previous break on the other side, I felt a lack of stiffness before flight but could not confirm a problem, so flights were made before the break was spotted. There are lessons in this, but no sure solutions.
2017.... Once again, the crusty motorfloater pilot
conquers the local sky. I tend to fly in
between the paramotor pilots, who fly in the misty
dawn or near sunset, and the sport class, that gets
up late and flies with the heavier traffic. I am
spoiled, flying in the golden hours when the air is
warm and calm. I have been flying over higher peaks
lately, making long, gradual climbs and lengthy
descents, as opposed the the short, busy flights I
I flew down the runway about a dozen feet high just to get to the water faucet at the other end so I could wash the plane. The engine speed required did not seem to be any less than would have been required higher up, which was surprising.
On the way back I scooted down the runway. The required power margin between flying and good control for scooting was small, so I found myself in the air a couple of times when I was just trying to keep the nose level while rolling.
July 8 , 2017....Some bird in distress has perched on my cables and splattered my wing, but that's not what this photo is really about. Rather than fly with an altimeter, I use the local peaks as altitude indicators in order to stay out of restricted airspace. I am about level with the peak in the picture, and jet liner territory doesn't start until about a thousand feet above that, so I'm good.
I'm about two thousand feet above my take off, at mid point in a cross country flight. I thought I was following a trio of paramotors and might catch up to them, but they went somewhere else. In a jacket and hiking shorts I was a little warm most of the time, but lower down, near the field, the air was much cooler and refreshing.
This photo was taken about a month ago, it's the Bloop 4 cockpit, which can be compared to the Bloop 2 cockpit photo lower down the page.
I like the automotive push button seat belts, but the thin supple straps make them harder to use. Bloop 2 has stiffer nylon straps, a better setup but harder to find. The curved back control stick on the B2 is easier to use, mine is just simpler.
My throttle control cable is rigged low on the lever for a long throw, the B2 has a short throw lever and I find I like it better. My ignition switch is up near the engine instruments, but I still sometimes manage to switch it off accidentally with my foot while climbing in or out of the plane. The experimental drogue chute is in the black zipper bag.
2017.....This morning's flying was cool and a little
bumpy. During a long descent at idle (a rare event
for me) I noticed that the rudder response was
noticeably diminished (I assume that this was due to
the lack of propeller blast on the rudder). I also
noticed that by leaning forward or back in the seat
I could slightly trim the nose angle. None of this
matters much, it just shows what influences flight
The tail skid bungee cord wrapping is being done differently now, but I don't think you can see it in the picture. It works the same but should be more durable because now the bungee does not pass around any sharp edges. I'm updating the four drawings that describe the tail skid rigging (B4T12, 13, 14, & 15).
2017....Even when I fly for fun on a warm morning,
there's usually some kind of goal. Today's fun is a
turn around over a high peak in the back country. I
see places where I could land and even takeoff
again, but being stuck there in a damaged plane
would be inconvenient, so I just look. The elevator
control stick is unattended for best picture taking,
so this is where I test the trim setting.
I'm testing a simplified tail skid, one of the very rare design changes that might make the plane both lighter and simpler. Not very much lighter or simpler, but at least contrary to the usual trend.
Here's the Bloop 2 being carted around. I had a chance to blast down the runway and hop it a few times, it still flies wonderfully.
It has a floating disk airspeed indicator and an altimeter, but I forgot to look. I was mainly evaluating thrust and looking at engine speed to help troubleshoot some engine issues.
I helped Glen F. re-tension his wing cables recently on Bloop 2, they were getting sloppy and hanging slack. This probably doesn't influence the shape of the wing in the air, since all of the adjustable cables on the wing are the ones that are unloaded in normal flight. One Bloop added outboard rear flying wire adjustment (the multi-line lacing) in order to deal with a chronic turning problem, and this allowed re-tuning the plane to the pilot's satisfaction. My reaction to the same issue was to put a trim tab on the rudder, and that worked, but the turn in my plane was so slight I had been ignoring it and didn't really need to do anything.
The Bloop 2 now has an off the shelf emergency parachute system (unlike mine which has a home made cover bag). This is a paraglider system, the cover bag attaches with snap hooks and has a small storage bag with a transparent top. This is an ordinary hand deployed setup, a bag inside a bag. The outer cover (as seen in the photo) is a diaper flap system that falls open when the red handle is pulled, so the chute is then held by the pilot's hand in its deployment bag and can be thrown or dropped.
I like that stylish and comfortable swept back control stick, made from an offset walking cane sold at Walmart. Contrary to this, Bloop 4 uses a straight control stick just to demonstrate simplicity.
Re-scheduled to Sunday, August 13, 2017!
John Nichols Field, San Diego, CA
Class and Ultralight airplanes, paramotors, and a flag jump!
will be flying and on display until 2 pm. Drive in, or get
permission & info. to fly in.
are expecting to fly in daylight since the eclipse is still a
Bloop 4 will be there and flying, and maybe Bloop 2! See the
SDUA website for details.
"Last Sunday we had quite a squall with hail and 70 mph winds. My friend Mark texted me a photo of Bea swimming in the wind. By the time I got there he was gone and she was tied back down. The left wings both have bent rear spars and the horizontal stabilizer and rudder are toast as are the landing gear. I took her apart today. I suppose at some point I'll fix her but I already had a fairly full set of summer plans... It's just a little too rough for such a light fragile craft here."
| June 8,
2017.....I attached my old hang glider drogue chute
onto the Bloop 4 at the back of the throttle
quadrant. I'm going to experiment with it as an
airbrake, to see if I can approach landings steeper
and use less runway rolling to a stop. Many planes
have flaps and wheel brakes for this, but I have
been considering the in-flight drogue chute as a
This morning I made several test hops with the drogue out it to see what the effect would be, and it seemed promising. The drogue inflated and positioned itself as planned. You might expect the chute to pull the plane to the left, but I don't think I felt that. Instead, I was drifting off the runway to the right, and had to counteract that with left rudder. I think the right drift was due just to the cross wind, and the drogue chute seemed to have little effect on flight control. At full power during the lift off I did not feel the drogue at all. I'll continue the hop testing as conditions allow.
Ultimately the plan is to deploy the drogue chute in the landing pattern and leave it out until the plane stops. This is unusual, since most aircraft that use drogues do so only when their wheels are on the ground, but I want the air brake effects for the entire landing, as long as there are no control issues.
My chute is the same size and design as the American made hang glider drogues (smaller than the European). I made it from a drug store beach umbrella, and have landed with it many times in my airchairs and hang gliders.
2017...On a Saturday morning in front of the club
house, the Bloop is tied down to a cable (I carry
tie down ropes in the airplane storage bag). To the
left a paramotor is done for the day and is being
lashed to a car bumper. The turboprop on the right
will start up soon and carry sky divers. The wind is
still calm, as shown by the limp flag.
Earlier I had done some hops on the paved runway, which as usual allowed me to feel every little jolt. Today, twice, I felt the tail skid coming down on the runway during the touchdown, perhaps the first time I have felt in on a landing. This may be a result of the recently installed vortex generators allowing the Bloop to reach a higher angle of attack as it settles down onto the wheels, a nose high touchdown for sure! As you can see in the photo, with the skid down the nose is up about sixteen degrees. Touching down with the tail skid causes no problems I know of unless someone is laying cables across the runway.
May 29, 2017...Today my landings and takeoffs were made from the grass at the side of the runway. The field is soft and forgiving, and should be fine until I get bumped by rolling through a ground squirrel crater.
This is part of the idea of a kind of flying that uses minimal facilities for personal aviation. We could be flying simple motorfloaters out of mostly unimproved fields to make local flights. This is partly a matter of design. Most light airplanes are restricted to paved runways by their small wheels, fast speeds, and their need for extensive repairs if they do a major ground loop.
May 24, 2017.....Floyd Fronius is in the high seat warming up for an instrumented flight. We are both continuing to search for good ways to get up into the seat, it's a challenge for our limited flexabilities. After his first flight with the vortex generator fins, Floyd commented that the low speed control seemed good. We flew, now how do we get the data out of the instrument (Flytec 6015)? We're working on it.
Just after touchdown my landings have been a little unstable lately, and I suspect it's due to a confluence of the vortex generator effects and my bad piloting habits. I think I'm landing slower and more nose up than before (good), and when the wheels are first on the ground I tend to keep steering (also good) but I don't do anything in pitch, I just sit there (nose high) when I should be rotating the nose down immediately to get stable in ground roll. I'll try to do better soon.
The Bea Bloop in Boise has its new elastic suspension landing gear.
See below for Doug Wimer's report on early season flying in Idaho.
Doug's new elastic suspension landing gear is shown on the right (notice the added bracing cable that was mentioned in the report). The shoe brake and brake cable are shown, also.
As you can tell from the fairings, the direction of travel is to the left.
In the left photo I think this is the compressed air rocket chute Comelli) mounted on the nose tube. The elastic wheel suspension, wheel brake, and vortex generating fins can all be seen.
April 25, 2017.....Moving out to the runway, I push on the tailskid, rolling along.
Below left, the static balance of the Bloop allows sitting on the nose, convenient for raising or lowering the tail. A breeze will sometimes bring the tail down, bouncing on the tailskid.
Below right, I relax in my front row seat to watch airport activity.
Today I flew three patterns in mild wind conditions. With the vortex generator fins I seem to be lifting off and touching down at lower airspeed than before (no fins). I seem to notice more instability from the wheels in the cross wind than before. It may be that the lower airspeed has reduced the authority of my yaw stability and control, or perhaps the effect of the crosswind is amplified by the lower airspeed (a left crosswind becomes more left the slower you go.) Now, when I land in a crosswind, my nose is way up in the air, and I have to do substantial rotation at low speed to get the nose down into a stable rolling attitude. The two axis procedure may have to emphasized: don't linger, set the nose low as soon as the tires are on the dirt.
Ready for flight testing the turbowing Bloop.
If I were buying all new equipment, I'd get an integrated crash helmet with this headgear, for enhanced flight safety, but this is the setup of the moment.
Updated Bloop 4 drawings will soon be posted, to cover the new smaller vertical stabilizer, simplified tail skid attachment, and to show just the current set of wheels. The updated drawings will have new dates (isn't that what updated means?) and the newest zip files will have the highest numbers, as always.
Glenn went ahead with his first high flight in his Bloop, this may be the landing. The winds were odd but the runway was soft (therefore forgiving), and the flight went pretty much as intended.
Here I am flying at a more or less normal pitch attitude (close to having the nose level), in a slight left turn.
The paved runway can be seen running visually from my knee to my chin. I usually land there in the lower right to upper left direction when I use the pavement, but normally I'm on the dirt strip, the edge between the light and dark fields leading up to my nose. I have to approach that strip over the scrubby hill to the right, which is actually pretty steep. My major goal there is to come down close to the hill and use as much of the runway as I can. Without a headwind, about a third of my runway is unusable because of the need to maintain clearance from the hillside. This is why I say if I was to add more controls, it wouldn't be ailerons, it would be airbrakes, to allow steeper approaches.
2016....Floyd Fronius is off in the Bloop 4, notice
the full fuel tank and the airspeed probe mounted on
the nose tube. He was flying with an instrument with
flight recording abilities, so there will be numbers
for those who crave them! The nose high angle is
worth noting, we just fly at the angles that feel
the best. Experiments at higher altitudes show that
at full throttle, with the stick full back, the
plane just waddles on.
The reported maximum climb rate was 400 fpm.(feet per minute), but that seemed to be with the help of air going up, the more normal climb rate was 200 fpm. I'll add on to this when I get hold of the data.
Floyd flew some roll reversals and reported that the controls are effective but the feeling is weird. I felt the same thing until I got used to it. The initial yawing is something you don't get with ailerons.
|Floyd flew out to a
local mountain top, looking south toward Mexico at
the bottom of the canyon. The outskirts of Tijuana
can be seen off to the right, this is not a clean
air day down there.
I haven't been in this area, I want some place to land when the engine quits. You could land uphill in the brush, but it would probably wipe off the landing gear.
prepares for data gathering as the engine warms up
(notice the spinning propeller, my paramotor power
pack does not have the increasingly popular
automatic clutch that would disconnect the prop at
low engine speeds).
Not much warm up was needed, I had made an earlier flight into the back country to check out the new Indian reservation casino (no activity, parking lots are still dirt).
It's wonderful to be able to take action shots with people in them instead of the usual static machinery photos I have to use for my news page.
I took some takeoff shots with Floyd leaving the vicinity, walked away, turned back, and he was still there, still leaving. This is a really slow airplane!
2016......Here's Bloop 3 warming up for
I'm not putting air in the main tires so they are getting softer on every flight. The low inflation seems to work fine. I'm not going to measure the pressure because I'm told that the sealant slime in the tire can contaminate a pressure gage.
The fittings rubbing on the top of the nose tire (for ground braking) can be seen, also the three bungee cords running back from the nose (two for the rudder pedals and one to the bottom of the elevator control stick for nose up trim).
8, 2015...At the local motocross track the Red Max has
landed for a visit. He's flying a red Minimax with one
Room for landing is the critical factor in a tight situation like this. Maybe a good set of wheel brakes, a small motor, and a de-clutching propeller would be the right setup for this spot.