Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Unleashed Beluga Mod Nomination

Mojave Experimental Fly-in
Award Nomination

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

Mojave Experimental Fly-in
Award Nomination

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
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
Award Nomination

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
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: