Saturday, June 26, 2010

Moonlight is bright; sunlight is perfect

 (c) 2010 James Wiebe.  Reproduction not allowed without written permission of  the author.

1.  Moonglow

I am standing outside the tent.   I can hear the Middle Fork of the Salmon river flowing not more than 30 feet from where our tent is pitched.  I can feel the stillness of the air.  The temperature is perfect -- cool, not cold, not warm, not uncomfortable.  Cool.  Just cool.  It is exactly as it should be in the night.

The temperature is perfect, the night air is perfect, the sound of the river is perfect, yet there is something creating more majesty than any of these minor senses.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Belite Landing & Levitation

A quick photo essay on a landing sequence to a perfect 3 point levitation.  Here's ace pilot Scott Severen, coming in for a landing in Belite's FAR Part 103 Ultralight aircraft: the Superlite.

And here's the Levitation:

Thursday, June 24, 2010

How to price a Ready To Fly Belite airplane

One of the challenges of running a small aircraft business (double entendre intended) is explaining our option list to our customer base.  I made a post a few weeks ago where I provided some spreadsheet excerpts explaining some options. 

Now we've made it simpler - we have a online page which allows you to dynamically select any options you want, and see the resulting price and the resulting aircraft weight.

Every single model we sell is basically the same airframe, modified for performance (which is our Superlite, with a 50HP engine) or for tricycle gear, or for light weight, or for better paint jobs.....  Starting from a baseline configuration (which we call a Belite 254), you can click option buttons to see what your ideal airplane weighs and costs.  Create a Trike; create a Superlite, create a Dragon, create whatever kind of FAR Part 103 Ultralight aircraft suits your fancy.

Give it a try, it's fun!

There's also 'preset' buttons at the top of the pricing page which allows you to click one button and see various model configurations show up in the dynamic pricing / weight spreadsheet.

Give it a try and play with it --- just click here and you'll land on the correct page on our website.



Sunday, June 20, 2010

Belite Ultralight Aircraft Stalling Speed

I've run into some interesting discussion out on the social networks discussing or questioning the ability of the Belite ultralight aircraft design to stall at 24 knots.

A quick analysis of the FAR Part 103 rules, as it relates to ultralight aircraft, specifies five critical technical conditions for the acceptance of an aircraft as meeting part 103:

a) Weight, not to exceed 254 pounds, although there are several exemptions.  (Under certain conditions, weight may be as high as 338 pounds, and still meet Part 103.)

b) Stalling speed, not to exceed 24 knots Calibrated Airspeed. 

c) Cruising speed, not to exceed 55 knots calibrated airspeed.  This translates to a True Airspeed of as high as 74 mph (conditions:  10,000 feet; 0 degrees C, 55KCAS) or even higher.

d)  Fuel capacity not to exceed 5 gallons.  Part 103 incorrectly indicates that this is 30 pounds of gas -- which is simply not true.  It can represent up to 33 pounds of gas.  See this link for an explanation.

e)  Single seat operations.  Not much of a technical consideration; this is easy to verify.  If you wanted to get two people in our airplane, each would have to have a butt with a width of 8 inches.

For these FAR Part 103 rules, it is easy to verify a, c, d and e, and thus ensure that your aircraft is a legal ultralight.  (There have also been discussions of why Belite would use a 50HP engine, thus potentially allowing cruise > 55KCAS -- I'll get to that in another post in the near future.)