Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Wichita Machinists, Disc Brakes, and Part 103 Ultralight Aircraft

Wichita, KS is the home of Belite Aircraft and also the Aircraft Capital of the World!

As home to a majority of general aviation aircraft (EG:  Cessna, Beechcraft/Hawker, Bombardier/Learjet, also Spirit Aerosystems and Boeing Military) with notable exceptions of Cirrus and Piper, Wichita has a diverse manufacturing community.   In particular, there are hundreds of small, medium, and large businesses which provide components to the major aviation companies.

Many (but not all) of those companies have been hurt badly by the aviation slowdown of the last couple of years.

This has been an opportunity for Belite:  we've been able to find a machine shop or two who are capable of providing us with very high quality machined parts for our Belite Part 103 ultralight aircraft.

And tonight, I provide just one example:  our new disc brakes, which we are installing on our ready to fly and kit aircraft.  These disc brakes are composed of three major components:  a machined 'tripod' standoff, which works in conjunction with a solid steel 4130 chromalloy axle to attach to the brake rotor and to the wheel; a brake attachment plate, and, of course, a disc brake caliper/rotor assembly, which comes directly from the mountain bike industry as an OEM component.  It works great for our lightweight aircraft.

Here's what the assembled brake looks like (the brake cable is not attached in this photo) (also note the steel spring suspension):


It's a very tight, neat looking arrangement.

The aluminum components are machined from solid billet: 6061T-6, which is a common aircraft alloy.

Let's take a look at each individual component.  Here's the standoff 'tripod':


And here's two more views of the same part:



This 'tripod is used to fix the brake caliper to the wheel.  It's designed to work with our 5 inch wheels, which are now the standard wheel on every Belite aircraft.

Another component is the brake attachment plate.  It's a simple part, and is very strong.  Here it is:


To make all of this work, we do need a disc brake rotor and caliper.  As I mentioned previously, our Part 103 ultralight aircraft are well matched to use a brake from Avid.  Here's the brake:



So let's stack all these parts up and see what it looks like.  You can see the 'Tripod' below the brake rotor:


And let's now put the attachment plate on top:


Obviously a few nuts, bolts, axles, and cables missing.  But hopefully, you get the idea.

Here's one more look at how it ends up on the aircraft landing gear:


Side note:  Look at that nice big fat 5.00 x 5 tire!

We sell these for $350 as a kit and $400 installed on our flyaway airplanes.  The kit includes left and right sides.  (pricing always subject to change without warning.)

You can find them on our Ready To Fly spreadsheet, and also on our Price Your Own Kit spreadsheet.

My thanks to my able assistant Gene Stratton for shooting these pics.

2 comments:

kevin said...

Excellent use of a MTB disc brake! What led you to choose the BB5's over BB7's? They're the next "step up" in Avid's cable pull disc line, with pad gap adjustments on both stationary and mobile pads so you don't have to mess with cable tension to adjust the stationary pad.

Also, the G3 rotor from Avid is lighter than the Roundagon rotor you have on there now; there are even lighter rotors from several manufacturers, or even custom pieces, but I imagine the price would ratchet up quickly.

Talley said...

The brakes look nice and light.

Check out the new video of James flying the Belite on you tube. Search "superlite takeoff" and "superlite flyby"