Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Klaus Savier 360 Development Nomination

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Title: Savier 360 development Nomination
Experimenter: Klaus Savier, John Lynch
Category: Design/Build/Test
Aircraft: N360KS
Date: 2012 - 2013
Contact:
Author: Elliot Seguin


Argument:  Klaus Savier is a relentless and aggressive aircraft experimenter.  With the amount of work he has put in tweaking in the Delaminator Vari-Ez (link), it was very exciting when he took on a new airframe with the Determinator Long EZ.  More importantly, perhaps, than the jump from the Vari-EZ to the Long-Ez was the jump from the Continental 200 to the Lycoming 360.  The installation of the lightspeed ignition (link) and the Savier fuel injection (article) in this new engine is sure to provide exciting results, but most notable is the new billet accessory case Klaus has installed on the engine with the help of John Lynch at JL Design in Santa Paula (contact).  Just like the fuel injection system, the accessory case represents an aggressive multi-disciplinary modification program requiring understanding engine theory, application of engine theory, as well as computer aided design/manufacturing, and finally flight test.  I look forward to seeing what this airplane is capable of as Klaus continues to refine it.




On Lynch's Fadal 4 Axis Mill
Finished accessory case


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Benoist Replica Nomination

Photo: Kermit Weeks (link)
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Title: Benoist Replica Nomination
Experimenter: Kermit Weeks, Ken Kellett, Steve Littin
Category: Design/Build/Test
Aircraft: N1913B
Date: 2012 -  2013
Contact:
Author: Elliot Seguin

Argument:  Kermit Weeks is not one to turn down an aggressive airplane project.  He and his team of professionals in Polk City, Florida have been attacking their replica of a Benoist flying boat, which was used in the creation of the world's first heavier-than-air airline service in 1913.  The team's attention to detail has driven them to build a replica engine from scratch of the 478 CI 6 cylinder 2 stroke 75 hp engine.  Not to mention the entire aircraft including the huge wood center hull that forms the fuselage of the airplane.  All this multi-disciplinary work has been done on a very aggressive timeline, with video and photo updates available every couple days on Kermit's Facebook page (link).  Ken Kellett video (link),  Engine video (link).

Photo: Kermit Weeks (link)
Photo: Kermit Weeks (link)
Photo: Kermit Weeks (link)

Monday, December 23, 2013

ACE 360 Cylinder Mod Nomination

Photo: Jim Ratichek


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Title: ACE 360 Cylinder Mod Nomination
Experimenter: Kevin Eldredge, and Andy Higgs
Category: Design/Build/Test
Aircraft: N519BM
Date: March 2013 - Nov 2013
Contact:
Author: Elliot Seguin

Argument:  ACE performance is an aggressive company making aftermarket cylinders for Lycomings.  Kevin Eldredge and Andy Higgs are passionate about bringing aircraft cylinder design to the state of the art.  Their first cylinder design is an aesthetically pleasing combination of a one piece head and barrel with modern combustion volume shapes.  The idea of updating aircraft engine technology is not new, but turning a swoopy cad model into flight tested hardware is an exciting example of an aggressive multi-disciplinary team.

Photo: Kevin Eldredge
Photo: Kevin Eldredge
Photo: Kevin Eldredge

Photo: Kevin Eldredge
Photo: Kevin Eldredge
 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Aero Chia 550 Cylinder Mod Nomination


Title: Aero Chia 550 Cylinder Mod
Experimenter: Andy Chiavetta, Lee Behel, Chris Padilla, John Jackson, Darryl Greenamyer
Category: Design/Build/Test
Aircraft: N33XP
Date: May 2013 - Sep 2013
Contact:
Author: Elliot Seguin

Argument:  Andy and Darryl have worked very hard for many years dialing in the race 33 Legacy.  The final iteration, a GTSIO-550, has been whispered about for a long time.  It is a tough challenge, but if anybody could do it, Andy could.  In the final weeks leading up to the '13 races, Andy's battle for this holy grail came via passionate text messages, and when I heard Lee Behel had flown the airplane (video) I figured it was in the bag.  Unfortunately, that was as far as the project got for '13, but when I think about what it took to get that motor to run, the fact that it flew is only another testament to the hardest working man in air racing.  Go Andy!

  

Monday, December 16, 2013

Precious Metal Canopy Mod Nomination

Thom's Canopy, Photo: http://www.mikekillianphotography.com/

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Title: Precious Metal Canopy Mod Nomination
Experimenter: Thom Richard
Category: Design/Build/Test
Aircraft: N6WJ
Date: Sep 2012 - Sep 2013
Contact:
Author: Elliot Seguin

Argument:  Thom Richard is a great example of new thinking in the sport of Air Racing.  Similar to his wingtips, the canopy that he installed for the 2013 races represent a new approach to the problem.  The shape is noticeably different than the other mustangs in the class. It opens to the side which we haven't seen in that class for a while, and the arsenal of GoPro cameras that he flew mounted behind his head are a great example of adapting the old sport of Reno Championship Air Racing for self broadcasting via youtube, etc.  Thom also documented the very old school build on his website for other home builders to enjoy (link).




Monday, December 9, 2013

Electric Long EZ Mod Nomination



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Title: Electric Long EZ Mod Nomination
Experimenter: Chip Yates, Zach Reeder, Byron Young
Category: Design/Build/Test
Aircraft: N89CY
Date: May 2012-Oct 2013
Contact:
Author: Elliot Seguin

Argument:  The electric Long EZ (link) is the first electric aircraft to set records to the new FAI standard.  Chip's enthusiasm and ability to gather the best talent around is very visible in the team's success.  From sourcing COTS components from other industries, to designing new hardware when none could be found, to finding experienced flight test types to get the systems sorted, this is a great example of a multidisciplinary, small team with an aggressive goal on a tight schedule.


  Photo: Two clowns. This clown has saved me more than once and I owe him!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Precious Metal Wingtip Mod Nomination

Precious Metal Photo: Curtis Noble http://www.curtisnoblephotography.com/

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Title: Precious Metal Wingtip Mod Nomination
Experimenter: Eric Ahlstrom, Thom Richard, Matt Williams, and Michael Town
Category: Design/Build/Test
Aircraft: N6WJ
Date: Sep 2012 - Sep 2013
Contact:
Author: Elliot Seguin

Argument:  Precious Metal showed up at Reno 2013 with an exciting paint job, a new engine program, and a bunch of aero mods.  The new scoop and wing body fillets came off another mustang, but the wingtips and canopy were new for the type.  The new tips represent a new approach to the problem.  While the team has not yet been able to put the power on the airplane required to prove their performance, the new approach is exciting in a race class for which the solutions have been generally unchanged for many years.  Thom and Eric did the engineering, the fabrication, and the initial flight testing of the parts, a very multi-disciplinary undertaking.

Wingtip bodywork. Photo: Mike Killian http://www.mikekillianphotography.com/


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Melmoth2 Aileron Mod Nomination

Melmoth2 Photo: Peter Garrison


Mojave Experimental Fly-in
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Title: Melmoth2 Aileron Mod Nomination
Experimenter: Peter Garrison
Category: Design/Build/Test
Aircraft: N2MU
Date: Sep-Nov 2013
Contact:
Author: Elliot Seguin

Argument:  Peter's aileron mod is just the most recent in a string of mods that Peter has done to both the Melmoth and Melmoth2.  The goal was to lighten the aileron hinge moments.  He chose to do so by moving the hinge line in the aileron, which required building a new aileron and aileron drive mechanism.  It is a great example of Peter's continued interest in all parts of the process.  His website covers the aero and structural work done on this mod, the fabrication, and eventual flight test, this mod is multi-disciplinary example of aviation curiosity.  

Description: (link)


Photo: Peter Garrison
Photo: Peter Garrison
Photo: Peter Garrison
Photo: Peter Garrison
Photo: Peter Garrison


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Unleashed Beluga Mod Nomination


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Title: Unleashed Beluga Mod
Experimenter: Tom McNerney
Category: Build
Aircraft: N54SG
Date: Spring/Summer 2013
Contact:
Author: Tom McNerney


Argument:  The Beluga Belly mod to the wing body fillet is a first for the Lancair 360 design. Tom McNerney is pushing the boundaries of mods that have been done to this design, and seems to be having a blast doing the work and sharing it (link). Tom's website chronicles the specifics of his work with a level of detail to make any aspiring racer confident. Tom's enthusiasm makes his project a great representative of the renaissance of 4 cylinder Sport Class racing, making the bronze race an exciting one to watch in 2013. The Beluga concept was a very successful modification to Lee Behel's Breathless aircraft (photo) back in 2007-08. While the designs are directly related, this mod has not been applied to this design previously, which makes this mod significant. 
-Elliot Seguin

Description: (link)
Tom and Kim in their racer

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Plane Driven Powered Actuator Mod Nomination

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Title: Plane Driven Powered Actuator Mod
Experimenter: Trey Johnson, Art Stackowski, Buzz Richards, Tony Horvath, Sean VanHatten, Cliff Gerber, Geoff Stevenson
Category: Test
Aircraft: PD-2 N390PD
Date: Aug 2013
Contact:
Author: Cliff Gerber

Argument:  The Plane Driven program is very simple in concept, what makes it tough is the wide range of environments a flying car would encounter.  This range of environments is wide enough that it makes it hard to predict them.  So the team has smartly chosen to put the vehicle in those environments early and often.  This most recent change from a manual to driven actuator, and the resulting change in time to actuate by two orders of magnitude is a great example of the value refining a working system through thorough, realistic, and varied testing.  
-Elliot Seguin












Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Czech Mate Wing Nomination


First flight of the new wing. Photo: Victor Archer (link)
Mojave Experimental Fly-in
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Title: Czech Mate wing inspection/engineer/rebuild
Experimenter: Bryan Kreimendahl and David "LD" Hughes
Category: Design/Build
Aircraft: Yak-11 N5943
Date: Apr 2010 - Sept 2013
Contact:
Author: Elliot Seguin

Description:  In April of 2010 Don "Bucky" Dawson posted some pictures titled "Air Racer Air-frame & Wing Stress Clues..." (link).  A fantastic example of the small community that is air racing, those pictures triggered an inspection of the air-frame, then a tear-down, and eventual rebuild.  What other corner of aviation has a team of photographers there when the aircraft reaches its design point to capture the response of the vehicle? Very cool.  Bryan and David tore into the highly modified Russian aircraft, reverse engineered the existing structure, came up with a way to add new structure, then rebuilt the airplane around that added structure.  Drawings of the structure are limited. The materials and origins of the pre-existing structure are as storied as any airplane of this vintage, yet, they were able to find a solution. 

Argument: This is an exceedingly rare blend of skills and talents.   Determining what the new structure would be, and incorporating it into the existing structure required many disciplines. The result was proven with the aircraft back on the course in the race environment without the troublesome buckling in the skins.

Wing Skin Buckling Photo: Don "Bucky" Dawson
Wing in Jig Photo: Ifixit.org

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Turbo Sonerai Nomination

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Title: Sonerai Cowl Rework and Turbo Installation
Experimenter: Jeff Lange
Category: Build
Aircraft: N1463J
Date: May-Oct 2013
Contact:
Author: Elliot Seguin

Description:  In the never ending quest for more speed, long time cross country racer Jeff Lange decided to redo the front of his cowling and install a turbo charger.  This required composite fab, exhaust fab, and significant systems work.  The result is the first turbo charged Sonerai.  The airplane has not yet flown with the turbo, but has almost two hours of running on the ground.  This testing has revealed almost a thousand rpm static improvement.  Covered on his blog (link).

Argument:  This mod requires significant multi-disciplinary work over many months, resulting in a first for the Sonerai type (turbo charging).