Motorfloater News...       
by Mike Sandlin ................................ Last edit: August 20, 2017





....A Bloop 2  Report by Glen Frehafer flying on the week of Aug. 14-19 (edited by me).
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.




August 14
, 2017.....We have had our club fly-in, and once again the Bloop has performed and displayed itself to public acclaim.  It was fun to land quietly in the grass with the engine off. Now I can proceed with some changes, I want to make the seat a little more adjustable, etc.


August 4, 2017....I have updated some of my design pages, found on my photo collection page, see the "Motorfloater Design Notes" album. These pages tell why I designed things the  way they are, and how I operate the Bloop. More pages will be added as I move on to new topics.


....A Bloop 2  Report by Glen Frehafer flying on Wednesday, Aug. 2 (edited by me). Glen flies with a floating disk airspeed indicator and an altimeter, in addition to engine speed and temperature instruments.

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.

The Bloop 4 with me in it descends at an engine speed of 5800 rpm. I cruise at about 7000 rpm, so I am going a bit slower than Glen. The manufacturer's recommended cruise engine speed is 6500 rpm but my engine speed is not stable there. All my landings are made with the throttle at idle (full back for minimum thrust) or with the engine off.  I did not fly the Bloop 2 with the vortex generator fins it now has, so Glen may be seeing lower airspeeds than I ever did.


August 1, 2017.......Another 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."

The idea here is that there really is no check or spec for having the pilot weight too far forward in the Bloop. The balance check procedure is to load up and hold the nose level, then the nose must go down when released, and this assures adequate forward weight but does not address excessive forward weight very well. The plane flies better when not too front heavy, so tail ballast has been used to move the center of gravity back as long as the balancing check can still be passed. The moveable pilot seat also allows the balance to be adjusted for heavier or even lighter pilots, and it is better than tail ballast because it does not add additional weight to the plane. I may put an adjustable seat  on Bloop 4 sometime, perhaps using different thickness back pads instead of mechanical adjustment.

Today I flew three patterns in Bloop 4, trying to look good and sit straight for the upcoming fly-in. I did one engine off landing, and noted more than ever that the rudder loses some authority in flight when not being blasted by the prop wash.




July 29 , 2017...Two biplanes staging for their morning flight while a paramotor returns from exploring the local area.





 

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 vertical stabilizer.






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.


....A Bloop 2  Report by Glen Frehafer (edited by me).
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.
It sounds like the issue of weight too far forward will require more attention. Fastening weights onto the tail while still passing the balance check seems to work well, but I regret the added weight when the pilot is already flying heavy. An adjustable seat that allows pilots heavier than me to fly farther back is on my wish list.


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.





July 15, 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 usually make.

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.



July 6 , 2017....The afternoon wind was holding the wind sock at about forty five degrees, on the margin between fun and bumpy. Lots of headwind made the patterns easy, but at one point while ground rolling, the left wing lifted slightly and I was reminded to keep the nose lower.
I was wearing my radio in a chest harness so I could walk around and move the plane while still being on the field frequency (an example of CTAF). I recently switched from an ancient rock climbing helmet to a cloth head cover, and the headphones worked much better, especially the noise reduction, which made flying overall more fun. Today I noted a drawback, that big airplanes can taxi out near me and I can't hear them, even when my engine is off. I'll have to remember that I'm not getting the noise warnings I used to get, I need to keep aware of events visually, even when just standing around.



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.









June 30, 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 control.

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).





June 27, 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.

June 19, 2017....A couple of flying days ago my take off was cut short when the engine lost power. It didn't quit, just dropped down to a descent rpm. I started going down from about a hundred feet, flew down onto a runway and shut down for investigation. At the run-up station, the engine ran fine at continuous full power, so I was dealing with a motor mystery. I suspected three possible factors: contamination of the high speed carburetor jet, low fuel pressure, or a leak in the fuel line introducing air bubbles into the carburetor.
The vacuum line that powers the fuel pump was half off its intake fitting, and may have been leaking, so I re-seated it and consider it to be the prime candidate for cause of the problem (low fuel pressure). I cleaned and re-set the high speed jet on the carburetor (easy to do by the book). I've made two flights since then and all seems to be well now.

I'll replace the fuel line, filter, and primer bulb with new parts when they arrive, just for confidence.



San Diego Ultralight Association 
ANNUAL FLY-IN!

Re-scheduled to Sunday, August 13, 2017!

  It's now on Sunday!, (not Saturday)

 John Nichols Field, San Diego, CA

Sport Class and Ultralight airplanes, paramotors, and a flag jump!

We will be flying and on display until 2 pm. Drive in, or get permission & info. to fly in.

We are expecting to fly in daylight since the eclipse is still a week away.

The Bloop 4 will be there and flying, and maybe Bloop 2! See the SDUA website for details.




....Another Bea Bloop (similar to Bloop 2)  Report by Doug Wimer in Idaho,  (edited by me). This comes after the reports previously posted [see farther below].

"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."
This is a real shame, especially considering that only a small amount of flying was done before the damage and it was flying well, as I understand it. I know what a beat up Bloop looks like, and that sure is one! It appears that it was the tie down rope (or anchor) that failed, and maybe not the airframe. [Doug has emailed me that his summer plans have become more flexible and he has begun Bea Bloop repairs. He suspects that his tie down fasteners did not hold well enough during the wind squall.]


June 10, 2017,,,,,It's too rainy to fly, so I'll review some new Bloop ideas.

The drogue chute for the Bloop is discussed below. I need about three times more runway for landing than for takeoff, and the minimum size of my airfield is determined by the long rolling distance before stopping. The drogue chute is one approach to shortening that distance. A propeller with a clutch would also help, it would stop pushing me through the landing and maybe add some drag in idle. Will future electric motors allow slow enough operation that the propeller will create in-flight drag instead of thrust? I hope so.

The vortex generators seem to be effective in getting more lift out of the wing at the lowest speeds. Maybe the fins allow the aft end of the airfoil to have more effect, so perhaps the fins combined with more aft end downward deflection (more aft loading) will give me a higher lift wing ( and thus I will fly even slower). The more cambered Bloop 2 airfoil might be a good candidate for making best use of the stick-on fins.


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 simpler alternative.

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.



6 June , 2017.....I flew patterns and go arounds at the end of the day, just for the fun of hopping off the grass. A firm headwind was blowing, so ground speeds were low and the takeoffs and landings were slow, it was like walking the dog. When I got out of the plane I was going to leave the engine running so another pilot could fly it, but I accidentally closed the engine switch somehow (my foot?) and shut the engine off. Then it would not re-start, so that was the end of the aviation, until I do some engine adjustments. The pilot who was going to fly the Bloop rolled out his own airplane instead, a sport class two seater, but his engine was behaving badly and not holding a constant speed, so he didn't trust it and decided not to leave the runway. He commented that he might have just flown anyway if he been in the Bloop, where an engine failure is not so critical because the plane flies so much slower and can land in the bushes if the engine fails to operate.

June 3, 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.


....Another Bea Bloop (similar to Bloop 2) Flying Report by Doug Wimer in Idaho,  (edited by me). This comes after the reports previously posted [see farther below].

May 12, 2017......Link to Youtube Video, bamboo and plastic biplane based on the PIG
    
Black plastic, bamboo, up on a wingtip... just like my early hang gliding!  (but with better crash protection). Low and slow glider flying was once a regular activity, we called it "ground skimming", a kind of sustainable Flugtag on the hang glider training hill. It was great fun and allowed me to do some of my first original designs at little risk compared to high flight. The PIG video is another example of ground skimming, showing how novice pilots could fly low and slow with good crash protection.


 


 

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.

 
 



The BeaBloop, (much like a  Bloop 2) Flying Report by Doug Wimer,  (edited by me)

...my flying season has been somewhat frustrating so far- only two loops around the pattern and 3 broken landing gear to show for it. I put her mostly together Thursday April 20 by myself on a breezy day.  Took about 8 hours. On the 21st I finished some odds and ends and it was still blowing 5 to 15.  Several pilots expressed some hopes that I would be able to fly it by Saturday for the annual Wings and Wheels show at the airport and perhaps win the short field landing contest as they had tired of giving the prize each year to a Stol pilot from Oregon. Against my better judgement I decided to do some test hops.  That went ok for a few runs but the right wing wanted to dip all the time so I had to use a lot of left rudder.  The last hop was a bit too high and I really had to use all the left rudder to get the right wing up so I came down sideways, leading with the right wheel and folded the side strut poking it through the lower surface of the wing.  I also bent the bottom of the forward landing struts.  (Those didn't break probably because I always do a spiral wrap of fiberglass at the bend in the struts as well as make a wing shaped cross brace wrapped in fiberglass between the two struts where you previously had used the cord brace)  Some golfers helped me do the walk of shame back to my tie down and I went to the nearest lumber yard for a 2x4 to make her a crutch so I could take the gear off and bring it home. I had enough pieces from previous gear to slap another set of struts together quickly but had to wait till Monday the 24th due to rain and wind.  I put the new gear on and added a cable from the outside of the gear to the wing at the outboard front interplane strut on both sides to resist inward force when landing less than perfectly level as I tend to do.  I also made some adjustments to the incidence cables to try to raise the right wing. This time I flew the pattern which went OK but still the right wing sinks.  Again had to crab the landing and landed mostly on the right wheel.  The bungee gear are soft enough but they cause the wheel to hang down further which gives the ground more leverage to bend my struts.  That, and the pavement doesn't allow for skidding like dry dirt would.  So once again it bent the ends of my struts (see photo) but at least the cable kept the side strut from folding, although it also bent a little.  I attempted to straighten this by pulling the new cable tight on the right side (bad move, I discovered yesterday).  I also broke the nose wheel tube but that whole arrangement needed to go as it was jut too flimsy for the taxi ing I have to do at my airport.  I revamped this and tried to make another run later that day but as I pulled out onto the runway the motor suddenly sounded different so I shut down and checked it out.  The airbox had become loose where the boot goes in allowing it to rotate and had gotten sucked into the prop when I revved it to pull onto the runway.  I ordered a new one (carbon fiber this time, very light so less vibratory wear on the boot) from Dell at Paraglider Mall.  He puts Shoe Goo on the boot before inserting it into the box.  He says that checking to be sure the box won't rotate should be part of the preflight check each time.  I worked the next week and din't get to go play with the plane till this past Wednesday.  While I was putting that on and instlling my newly arrived Comelli chute one of the guys from the pilots association pulled up and congratulated me.  Turns out Bea won the prize for the the rarest aircraft at Wings and Wheels!  I got a trophy and a lifetime supply of aviation fuel.  (Technically the fuel was just a $50 card but as she doesn't use much gas and I'm not a very good pilot...). 
All of Wednesday was spent trying to get the engine to idle right.  By yesterday morning I finally solved a combination of fuel line and throttle cable issues and did the pattern again.  This time the right wing was even worse.  This was the first flight after  attempting to straighten the slightly bent right gear by tightening the newly installed outer gear cable.  That must pull the outer leading edge of the wing down and cause more washout.   Made for an exciting sideways flight and an even more sideways landing. This bent the struts a little bit more but still able to taxi back to the tie down.  I went home and cobbled together another set  of gear (I'm getting pretty fast at that) and hope to try again this morning after some cable adjustments. This time I extended the dowel inside all the way up to the bend which should make it harder to bend.
Can't really concentrate on whether the VGs are making any difference yet as most of my attention has been focused on the distracting right wing problem.  I think the bungee gear is helpful but hard to say when landing sideways on one wheel.  I do like the brakes.  I agree a disc brake would be more effective but my wheels don't have a place on the hub to attach them and I couldn't arrange for enough clearance with the sliding mechanism between the forks and struts and I would have to put the caliper down at the end of the forks which would be complicated.
I now use the wing crutch to rest the tail on during tie down so hopefully she is better prepared to deal with wind storms.  Thanks again for providing the award winning design.  I'll send a photo of the trophy once I get it.  My friends Mike and Randy claim it exists but don't know who has it- I'm more interested in that than the gas card to be honest.

Doug

 


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.



Ups and Downs of Bloop 2 Flying, by Glenn F., (edited by me)

I had a hard landing at Nichols field late this afternoon (April 10, '17) due to an engine out.
Apparently I didn't tighten the locking bolts enough on the redrive when I adjusted it the other day. It took a while to loosen up though. The flight was almost an hour long and pretty uneventful though it was windy aloft. At one point while I was over the BMX track heading West I throttled back and the Bloop just stood still in the air with no forward movement to speak of. I had to give it a lot of throttle to make it move towards Nichols. On the last downwind leg the engine was making a weird sound and I thought to myself "I never heard the engine make that noise before"! Then just before I turned base the engine lost complete power so I pulled off the throttle and called a mayday. Luckily I was able to glide to the field, from 700 ft. altitude. I thought the engine had seized or died while I was in the air, but after I landed I could hear the engine idling and I had to shut off the mag switch. There was smoke coming off the engine redrive it was so hot, and the belt looked like it had partly melted. the pulleys were trashed from grinding against each other. I was glad that I had stayed close to the airfield while I was flying.
Fuel was dripping on my back, my seat belt held me in my seat and I was able to exit uninjured (airplane was upside down). Several people from skydive helped me right the airplane and I was able to push it back to my hangar. There is very little damage to the airframe, mostly the collapsed left gear tore the lower wing cover fabric. The engine pulleys and the belt are trashed, but the engine and prop are o.k.
The rest of the airframe resisted getting damaged pretty well. ...it glided farther than I expected too. When the engine went out I didn't think I would make it to the airfield. I think my glide angle was too shallow though, because when I needed to flare I didn't have enough speed and the bloop stalled which caused the hard landing. The bicycle wheels did not collapse, just the two struts attached to the aft wing spar bent in half and punched through the lower wing fabric causing a rip. Bloop 2 will be down for repairs again, just when I finally got it to running good, but it shouldn't take too long to fix if I can find the time to do it.
Glenn Frehafer

I think this was just about Glenn's first long flight in the newly renovated Bloop 2, too bad about the damage, I hope it's just a matter of getting new parts. All three existing Bloops have wiped out their landing gear in their short flying careers. I want my landing gear struts to be strong enough so that upon impact the wheels are bent (they can be sacrificial because they are easy to replace) but the main wing airframe is not damaged. Maybe we are still headed towards tundra tires.




If the aircraft red line (maximum safe airspeed) is calculated based on load relief due to stalling, then a lower stall speed will call for a reduced red line. If I consider the Bloop to have a load factor of 6 (also expressed as 6 gs) and it stalls at 20 mph., then using the stall load limiting method, I calculate a red line of 20 times the square root of 6, which is 49 mph. (I use 45 mph. as my maximum speed, I have probably not actually gone faster than 40 mph.). If I reduce my stall speed to 17 mph., my new red line is 17 times the square root of 6, 42 mph. (Notice the magnified effect, a 3 mph. reduction in stall speed resulted in a 7 mph. reduction in red line.) This means that if you lower your stall speed then you have to stay slower to maintain a given structural safety margin, so I'm not going to fly real fast with vortex generators on my wings. This is the same idea as having a reduced maximum air speed limit because your flaps are down.



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.





Bloops in a row, before the morning club meeting. They're tied down to a cable so they don't get blown away like tumbleweeds when the turboprops start up.


I made several landings with light wind from various directions. The wind on my first landing was 90 degrees from the left at about 3 miles per hour, a rare opportunity to do a two axis landing in a pure crosswind. I touched down as slow as possible, my course down the runway but my heading into the wind a little. That was good, but I was a a little late getting the nose down, the plane was tracking to the left and trying to get off the runway and perhaps the left wing lifted a bit, no smooth landing this time! I got the nose down, steered back down the runway, and was able to add power and take off again as I had intended. If I had not gotten the nose down in time I would have just had to settle for rolling out into the field and stopping, nose slightly into the wind.

Be sure to understand that the tendency while rolling in a crosswind is to be turned into the wind (not downwind) by the tracking of the tires and possibly the weather vaning of the tail. The upwind wing may start to lift if your nose is high, and that should be answered by lowering the nose to reduce the wing lift and to let the plane settle back down on its wheels. The intuitive reaction to a wing lifting on the ground is to apply rudder toward the high wing (this is what you might do in flight to level the wing)
but on the ground this is wrong, it will turn you off your intended course. The proper two axis procedure for ground rolling is to keep steering to where you want to go and lower the nose to level the wing.

The beach tires I used to fly with were better for crosswind landings and takeoffs because they did not have the stable tracking of the BMX tires I am using now. Stable tracking is usually good for runway rolling, it makes for easy steering, but when you land headed off course it works against you. The tundra type tires that are durable enough for field flying will be heavy, but they may still be an option worth trying.







March 14, 2017...
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.


The Bloop 4 motorfloater flying video:

Bloop 4 Slow Flying #2





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.





Why taxi when you can just take a nice, quiet walk?






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.








October 27, 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.



Floyd 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!










July 13, 2016......Here's Bloop 3 warming up for yesterday's flight.

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).





November 8, 2015...At the local motocross track the Red Max has landed for a visit. He's flying a red Minimax with one white wing.

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.







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