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.
|| April 25,
2017.....Fake Monoplane! This is a quick photo edit
(of the next photo below) to visualize a monoplane
version of the Bloop. I use photo re-work as a
design tool to focus attention on what aspects of
the Bloop motorfloater might be carried over into
For example, this fake photo prompts me to look at the similarities and differences between my designs and others. This proposed motorfloater might be similar to a Zigolo, having about the same wing area and the same engine, but the Bloop based monoplane would have widely spaced wheels to accommodate the two axis control system. The two axis (rudder/elevator) control system is only half as complex as a three axis system (with ailerons), making it easier to build, maintain, and fly. The large diameter of the wheels also serves the goal of getting off the paved runways and back onto the grass, flying with less infrastructure.
[Please be reluctant to reproduce this photograph, or any photo of a non-existing airplane, they are fun to look at but may be misleading, mistaken for something that actually flew,]
April 19, 2017.....Today I had a few flight tests in mind for my new vortex generator fins, but I first flew a normal pattern, and started having fun, so the test program unravelled until next time.
This photo is before the flight, I think the engine is running for warm up. This is our "run-up" station for engine tests at full rpm, notice the anchor strap tied to the tail. The dry season has arrived and the wings are really dusty, though luckily that doesn't show much at this distance.
My four short flights were ordinary except for the effect of the vortex generators, which seemed to allow slower speeds, a higher angle of attack, and generally smoother operation at the slow speed end. When I bring the stick back while ground skimming the plane settles to the ground smoothly instead of dropping down, and it doesn't seem to be needing any additional runway to do it.
April 11, 2017...Here are my fun fins in action! The little clear plastic fins (white in the photo) spaced out along my leading edge shell are my newly installed vortex generators, and I'm up in the air checking them out. All is well at altitude, the turns are slow and tight.
At idle power with the stick full back the nose will still dip after considerable hesitation, too bad that didn't go away, but it's happening at a very low airspeed.
Takeoff is slow, short, and smooth.
My landing approaches have been slower, so I'm spending more time in the landing pattern, maybe I need to fly closer inside to get down and clear the space for other traffic. My transition from groundskim to rolling is smoother now, I can settle down with the stick full back instead of falling through in the parachute mode.
Overall I like the generator effects, I can't say I've found any drawbacks yet.
April 10, 2017...It's a turbowing! Now my whole Bloop 4 wing, top and bottom, has these little stick on plastic vortex generator fins. I just followed the directions on where to place them, no innovations here.
The outboard fin spacing is finer than inboard, helping the wing tend to stall at the root first instead of the tip. This is desirable, it gives you a straight ahead stall instead of a wing tipping stall. It's generally thought to be faster and easier to recover from a straight ahead stall than a turning one.
The vortex generators worked pretty much as advertised. With the new generators installed I flew two test hops and then a pattern. The Bloop seems able to fly slower, and control is good at all speeds. I was concerned that I might float down the runway into the sunset, but actually I stopped in about the same distance as before. There was no "parachuting" mode, the flying was smooth right down to the runway.
I'll fly to altitude and do more testing soon.
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.
2017....Floyd Fronius is flying with some of his
soaring instruments clamped onto the nose tube. I
flew with them too and made a few observations.
My nose level cruise speed was about 33 miles per hour, faster than expected, due to a high throttle setting. I flew at a comfortable height which turned out to be about 1500 feet above ground.
2017....This view is from a few days ago.
This flight was sunny but a little chilly, about the same as I would feel in a paramotor, but a little quieter because I'm a few feet out in front of the engine.
Recent experiments (pressing on my headphone in flight) suggest that with firm fitting headgear I could reduce engine noise and improve radio reception.
The thirty year old rock climbing helmet that I fly with has side areas cut out to accommodate my noise reducing head set, but the helmet still interferes and the earphones are not seated as close on my head as they should be. I plan to try out a cloth helmet (like the one in a photo on this page farther down) that should allow a closer earphone fit.
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.
December 29, 2016...The Bloop 2 is coming out again. It hasn't flown high for almost two years, but it has been in a hangar and now has a new engine. A series of test hops and scoots has been flown in preparation for re-launch.
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.
Bloop 4 is off like a rocket back on Christmas day. This looks like a high angle of attack, maybe I'm pulling up out of the wind gradient or maybe I'm focused on those trees ahead. It doesn't seem to matter whether you fly in San Diego or New York state, there will still be trees around the airport!
Photo thanks to Susan Scherer who was shooting from a nearby hilltop.
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.