Monday, July 23, 2012

FAQ’s on Belite’s “UltraCub” and ½ VW Four Stroke engine

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FAQ’s on Belite’s “UltraCub” and ½ VW Four Stroke engine
The following information is subject to change without notice

1)                  Q:  What is a Belite UltraCub? 
A:  The Belite UltraCub is an ultralight airplane manufactured by Belite.  One configuration has the following major characteristics: 

a)  4 stroke engine
b)  Traildragger configuration
c)  Rear turtledeck which gives it the appearance of a Piper J3 Cub.
d)  Legal Ultralight under U.S. FAR Part 103


e)      Users may build an UltraCub from a kit from Belite.  The single defining characteristic is the rear TurtleDeck option.

Belite UltraCub with 1/2VW engine

f)  The TurtleDeck is available as a build option by Belite for any factory built airplane.

TurtleDeck on Belite UltraCub

2)         Q:   What standard features and benefits does it have?
            A:  They are:

a)      Standard basic instruments:  hour meter/tach, inclinometer, EGT/CHT, Oil pressure warning, Oil temp gauge, ASI.  All other instruments are optional.
b)      spring steel main landing gear, which are much better than bungees, softens landings and taxiing
c)      differential (independent) main gear disc brakes with heel pedals
d)     Single color ( with color selected by owner) Oracal (vinyl) finish over the entire airframe, fuselage, wings and tail feathers.  Very beautiful finishes!
e)      Rear steerable tailwheel with steel tail wheel spring.  In conjunction with brakes, gives easy ground manners.
f)       Aluminum fuselage – riveted construction utilizing mainly 2024T3 longerons; also 7075 and 6061T6 aluminum in critical areas.  Other alloys are also used.
g)      Lightweight 6061T6 aluminum lift struts.
h)      5” Azusa nylon aircraft wheels with 5” wheels
i)        4130 Chromaloy steel landing gear “A” frames
j)        Polycarbonate windshield and sunroof
k)      Easily and quickly foldable wings
l)        Enhanced wing area (40” x 144”)
m)    Enhanced flaperons (12” x 120”), reduces stall speed and improves roll control.
n)      Functional Winglets, increasing lift, reducing vortices, reducing drag, increasing flaperon effectiveness
o)      Intermixed aileron / flap controls, providing standard stick (aileron) and standard flap (flap handle) control with 3 notches of flaps.
p)      Multiple storage compartments under seat
q)      5 gallon plastic fuel tank.
r)       This aircraft does not include an engine cowl.
s)       A hand deployed emergency parachute is included.
t)       The engine has single electronic ignition. 

3)                  Q:  What does an UltraCub cost?
A:  $27,995 + $2.25/mile delivery charge (one way) to any US destination.  Other configurations are available for as little as $16,495.

4)         Q:  What does an UltraCub kit cost?
A:  $7995 (base Belite Kit cost) + $500 (turtledeck kit cost).  This doesn’t include main gear springs or brakes, but it does include solid gear links, and mechanical (drum) brakes are available for $100 extra.  It also doesn’t include a fuel tank, but we buy ours at Walmart for about $12, and you can too.

5)         Q:  What type of construction is used in the fuselage?
A:  It is straightforward aluminum construction.  Most of the gussets have pre-drilled pilot holes, and the rear fuselage is pre-aligned, mostly pre-drilled and ready for you to start riveting.  All main cabin bulkhead formers and gussets are CNC cut and have many pre-drilled pilot holes as well.  The builder has to cut cabin longerons and members, but as these lengths are short, and all formers are square, the resulting assembly process is easy and straightforward.  Aluminum may be cut with a carbide blade table saw, or a band saw, or a hack saw.

6)         Q:  What type of construction is used in the wings?
A:  The wings are built with aluminum spars and CNC cut Baltic Birch ribs.  Everything slips together and is locked in place with Gorilla glue.

Belite wing with aluminum spars, CNC cut  Baltic Birch
7)         Q:  What type of construction is used in the tail feathers?
A:  The purchaser may select between aerodynamic horizontal stabilizer/elevator or pre-welded stabilizer/elevator.  The pre-welded feathers simply need to be covered.  The aerodynamic feathers are easy to build and very straightforward, like a big model airplane wing.

8)         Q:  How is the structure covered?
A:  We use generic Dacron, glued and shrunk to the underlying wing or fuselage structure.  We use a special glue (Hipec) for attachment of fabric to the underside of the wing.  We use Stewart Systems glue for most other fabric work, and we use Oracal vinyl (available in about 80 colors) for covering over the shrunk fabric.  Kit builders may use whatever system they are comfortable with.

9)         Q:  What does an UltraCub weigh?
A:  As built by Belite, with a four stroke engine, and as described in this document, it weighs 278 pounds.  This is the maximum allowed by FAR Part 103.  (Our configuration includes a parachute which is deployed by hand, for which FAR Part 23 provides a 24 pound allowance.) The rear turtledeck is not included in this weighing, as it is removable for flight.  (The rear turtledeck weighs about 7 pounds).  Much lighter weights are possible by using two stroke engines.

10)       Q:  I see that your configuration doesn’t include an engine cowl.  How could I add one?
A:  It is available as an option for $350.  We don’t weigh them as they are removable for flight.

11)       Q:  What other options are available?
A:  Bigger Tires and Carbon Fiber main spars will be popular options.  The Carbon Fiber spars save 9 pounds, which would allow nice big 5.00 x 5 tires.  $2400 total.    Doors and trailering kits are also available.

12)       Q:  Are other instruments available?
A:  We are happy to install any instrument manufactured by Belite Electronics, including Turn Coordinators, fuel gauges, etc.  We do not install other instruments.  We recommend you have other installations (EG, radio) performed by your local instrument shop.

13)       Q:  Does the four stroke engine have electric start?
A:  No.  The 1/2VW are very easy to hand prop, and the electric start option is too heavy for our FAR Part 103 usage.  It would be a great option for aircraft built as ‘experimental’, though.

14)       Q:  What power does the 1/2VW four stroke engine develop?
A:  45HP. 

1/2 VW Engine
15)       Q:  Who is the engine vendor?
A:  Scott Casler, Hummel Engines. 

16)       Q:  Will other 1/2VW four stroke engines work?
A:  Absolutely.  We recommend at least 37HP.  Great Plains is a good source for plans or a complete kit – see:  And as of this writing, their 1/2VW kit is under $3400. 

An online build manual for 1/2VW engines may be found here: 

17)       Q:  What about the motor mount for a Belite and a half V/W?
A:  We designed it, and it is pretty sweet.  It includes a Chromalloy steel mount and aluminum mount plate.  $300.

Engine Mount for 1/2VW on Belite Ultralight Airplane
18)       Q:  What kind of fuel consumption does the engine have?
A:  We expect fuel economy to be about 2 GPH in cruise.  This number will be verified in August.

19)       Q:  What kind of gasoline does the engine use?
A:  91 Octane automotive.  100LL will work, but be aware of lead fouling issues.

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