Saturday, June 5, 2010

The weight of gasoline for aircraft use isn't necessarily what you think it is.

Please pass this post on to anyone who is flying with autogas in their airplane -- it will open their eyes as to the true weight of the gasoline!

I've been calculating the weight of gasoline as 6 pounds per gallon ever since I was a 19 year old newbie pilot.  

That's a critical number, used by several hundred thousand pilots frequently as they calculate weight and balance on their aircraft.  WikiAnswers is a little more precise and shows it as 6.02 pounds per gallon.

However, the bigger surprise for me has come to my attention as I've started to fly ultralights.  I don't often use 100LL anymore, having switched to 91 octane premium car gas.  I'm flying with car gas.  So, here's the pertinent question:

Friday, June 4, 2010

A message to Russia...

Привет Мир,

Я заметил некоторые звенья, входящие из России. Я нуждаюсь в российском дистрибьютере для моего самолета. Если любой может помочь, пожалуйста пошлите мне английский ответ на:

james  a t



Thursday, June 3, 2010

Belite Trike gets a nose job; then it flies.

The Belite Trike finally gets its nose cowl.

I arrived at the airport at around 11am this morning. I asked Gene to give me a hand with the installation of a new fiberglass cowl on our redesigned Belite Trike. Gene disappeared from the hangar and reappeared a couple of minutes later with a tray of nuts and bolts, along with some tools. We got to work.

This was the first time we'd put a cowling on the Trike; I was eager to see the results. I was curious as to the aerodynamic improvement (if any) along with the aesthetic improvement.

It took us about 90 minutes, but we had the cowl fitted and looking very sharp.  We had to make some minor cutouts on the cowl for the carb and for electric starter motor.  A couple of support rods still need to be welded into place, and Gene and Ken, our expert welder, would get that done while I ran some other errands.

Returning later in the afternoon, the Trike was sitting, ready, begging to fly.  But first, it had to sit still for photos.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Bunny Hops & Flying POV

I received a call from my daughter earlier today. She's currently a counselor at Camp Quaker Haven and it was the first time I'd heard her voice since she left last week.  She's also our 'corporate cinematographer', and has produced almost all of the videos that Belite has posted on Youtube.

"Hey Dad," she said. "Did you know that I posted another Belite video before I left Wichita?"

No, I didn't know that.

It's great having a cinematographer in the family!  More video to show people what we are doing.

I had taken quite a bit of video, shot from my Point Of View, while flying the Superlite several weeks ago. It does a great job of showing the world flying by while piloting an agile single seat airplane. You can see it here:

Also, we shot some video of our Trike a few weeks ago.  It's just a series of bunny hops, mostly up and down the runway, but it shows the gentle landing characteristics of the Trike. 

(A little off topic:  I flew both of these planes earlier today, in Kansas strong winds.  They handled the wind with no difficulty).

Anyway, here's the video of the Trike doing bunny hops.

The Trike has free castering nosewheel steering.  You turn the airplane by applying either left or right heel brake.  I'm reminded of when I first flew a Grumman Cheetah back in 1978 or 1979:  ground handling works basically the same.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Pictures that nearly got away

Here's some photos that nearly got away...

Benton Airport

My friend Terry Alley's Kitfox Lite

The Kansas country side passes below. Trees and a creek; farmland too.

Someone took this photo of me at Sebring in January. I'm in a Belite Superlite.

A nice in flight photo of a Belite.

Jabara airport, in a photo from last year.

And a wounded Belite, injured in a taxiing accident. (Stupid hole in the ground.) (Stupid pilot for taxiing over hole in the ground.)

Belite manufactures FAR part 103 kits, airplanes, and featherweight avionics.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Can my ultralight legally cruise faster than 55 knots?

Yes it can.

You may already be saying: "James -- you are just flat wrong. I have Part 103 memorized -- and it says that the cruise speed limit of an ultralight is 55 knots."

Well, I think you are flat wrong. I've been mulling on this a while, and I thought it was worth some discussion.

How to configure a Ready To Fly Superlite 50HP ultralight!

I've created a spreadsheet that allows users to select different options to personalize their Belite 254. Do they want a taildragger, or a trike? Do they want a Superlite, or a really light version? What you may not realize is that these are all really the same airplane. The only thing that varies is the option selection.

The spreadsheet keeps track of option selections, cost, and weight. As a result, you can end up with any type of FAR part 103 ultralight that you want!

Here's our base spreadsheet. Have a look: