Saturday, March 13, 2010
Need input on the Trike
The Trike demonstrator has not flown since we returned from Sebring. It sustained some very minor damage as we were loading it into the truck for the return home; the Superlite was a higher priority for us to work on after we got back. Also, the move into our new workshop location had consumed four weeks of our energy.
Based on the number of inquiries on the Trike, I know people want it and it's important to get this new plane up and running.
So here's my comments, and I want your feedback:
1) We redesigned the fuselage on the Trike to use an aluminum tail boom. You can see the black powdercoated tailboom in the photo above. It looks cool. It was supposed to save weight and reduce production complexity. It doesn't really save any weight, and the additional welding complexity on the tail feathers and rear landing (now main) landing gear largely offset welding savings on the rear fuselage. Should we use the original steel welded fuselage? Or stick with the aluminum boom?
2) The main gear of the Trike were designed from the ground up to use fiberglass rods. Although strong, this involved creating a couple more weldments that require fabrication. It would be easier to use an 'A' frame rear main gear similar to, if not identical, to our existing gear on the taildragger models, and forget the fiberglass rods. In other words, changing the gear design will save some money, and make this plane more affordable.
3) The nose gear works great; but we've discovered that the strength of the aluminum on the gear is a little marginal. Nothing really to discuss here; we're rebuilding the nose gear with some stronger aluminum.
4) The ground clearance is a little high, making taxiing tips slightly more likely.
5) I think many people want this with a bigger engine (think MZ-201 with 45HP) and light wings (think carbon fiber) so that it's weight legal in part 103. This would be an option, but would cost $$.
I have to make decisions on all of these over the next two weeks.
What do you think?