Wednesday, 19 April 2017

That's amore

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHtdGJfVd2w

When you dance in the sky with a cloud way up high.

That's amore...


And when your kicks match your plane... that's amore too.


Electric Twister aEro and developments

I spent at least 2 hours talking with the H55 team about the electric Twister at Aero Friedrichshafen.

The team cannot be of a better pedigree as they are the same people who designed and built the Solar Impulse 2 - the round the world electric aircraft.

More details and specs on this site: 

http://www.hamiltonwatchaero.com/

One of the test pilots I was talking to (Dominique) said he thought the take off distance of the electric Twister was about half as much as a normal Jabiru powered Twister.

It also has a climb rate of 1,700fpm - this does not change with altitude either as the electric motor puts out the same power regardless of atmospheric pressure.

Currently it has a 100kW motor and they are planning on putting a 200kW motor in it next. This will give it a power to weight ratio about double that of an Extra 300.

Also they are building a new wing - which will use the same molds so the profile is unchanged - but there won't be any flaps. In their place will be full span ailerons giving a 400 degree roll rate! The outer wing tips will be 'clipped' too to further improve the roll rate (although this will destroy the Twister's beautiful lines).

Dominique said it is unlike any other aerobatic plane to fly in a sequence as the motor acts as a brake when you are going down (gaining energy as it does so with regen). So the sequence has less change of airspeeds and any downlines can be made longer.

He also said it is virtually vibrationless in flight "Turbine smooth" and with no noise other than the wind rushing past the canopy.

The price of the current electric motor is eye watering though - $100,000.

It only weighs 13kg - if you were happy to have a motor double that weight then the price would come to 1/5th of that - so $20,000.

Exciting times for electric aircraft.

The 200kW version with it's new wing will be a Twister 2.0



Woodcomp variable pitch prop helps performance.


Cut down gear leg fairings with massive gaps.

I think these two split inlets from the NACA duct underneath go to the batteries in the wings to provide air cooling.

Charging plug - takes 1 hour to charge.


NACA duct at the front of the cowl feeds air to the batteries mounted on the firewall - this duct  has an integrated rain separator, water and batteries don't mix well.

Inlet below the spinner is for the radiator that provides liquid cooling for the propulsion motor which is kept at 60 degrees C or below.

New wing being designed/made. No flaps and full span ailerons - aim is for 400 degrees roll rate. 4.44 times the current roll rate!

Interior is a bit spartan - not a lot of 'love' gone into this - however it is a proof of type prototype so that's forgivable.

Canopy restraint attachment and no headrest.

Pretty simple panel with this powerplant.

Transponder has been removed as it was causing interference with the battery controller.


Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Twister Touring

10 days, 5 countries, 1,595 Nautical Miles, 17.6 hours flown and 1 simply fantastic fuun filled flying holiday.

Lots of pics below will tell the story.

Suffice to say the Twister performed brilliantly - it's not such a bad little touring aircraft. 

Fuel burn was averaging out at 14.3 litres per hobbs hour. This is quite a bit less than the 17 litres per hour figure I had been told by Pete. I found out that he always cruises at max continuous - 2,800rpm. Whereas I found myself cruising at 2,680 - 2,700 most of the time. So despite the weight of G-FAAT and all the baggage we were still able to cruise at 125kts TAS at altitude and burn less fuel.

I had headwinds for pretty much the entire trip. The worst being 35 knots on the nose just after leaving Valreas Visan in Provence - the Mistral wind doing it's thing and funnelling down to the coast. I did get a small tailwind on the last bit of the last leg when heading north from London back to Little Gransden.

The only issues I had were minor.

I noticed that the bottom two cowling screws at the back worked loose - luckily I had already prepared a 'spares' kit and so was able to replace those. I then made it part of the pre-flight to go round and tighten up/check all the cowl screws each time. Weird this happened at all as it has not been an issue up to now despite being aerobated around the sky and cruised about at the same airspeeds.

The iPad got too hot in the direct sun over Switzerland and shut down. I put the screen near the air vent to cool it off and then shaded it from the sun with my left hand for the rest of the trip and it was not a problem again.

During some moderate turbulence my head hit the canopy. I was wearing a cap with a dome at the time and all the force was concentrated through that small area of the metal dome right on my head which made the air in the cockpit turn blue for a few minutes. After that flight I switched to the cap that Crispin lent me which had the dome removed. That's what I will wear from now on but am already planning a 5th point harness installation as I feel this is needed anyway for doing negative G aeros.

Onto the pics...



Passing London, Canary wharf and O2 dome.

Mid channel at 5,000 feet and I spotted this sub. It was followed by a Destroyer about 1 mile behind for protection as it is quite vulnerable when surfaced. Not sure which Navy it belonged to.

Approaching Le Touquet

Le Touquet. First stop for obligatory customs and a fuel top up. Parked next to the other G-reg there so he did not feel so lonely.

The Red Devils, Belgian display team, arrived shortly after in their SIAI Marchetti's.

Heading south, routing East of Paris here. The weather was like this the whole way down France.

The Loire river, France's longest river, winding it's way out to the coast.

A small diversion to overfly the famous Roman Aqueduct, Pont du Gard.

Finally arrived at Salon de Eyguieres.

The French Twister agents, Michel Sudre at left and my host Crispin Vincenti Brown on the right.

Michel takes me for a local sightseeing flight in his Pioneer 300.

Roman ruins.

Gliding field where the solo world endurance record was set in 1952. 56 hours, 15 mins. They used spot lights to light up the ridge at night and the glider soared back and forth on the constant Mistral wind that blew up the slopes of the ridge in this photo. (This record was broken in 1961 in Hawaii with a flight of 71 hours but that was not solo they had two pilots).

Michel and Crispins 2CVs.

Going for a wander around the airfield with Crispin and 2 of his dogs.

A nearly finished Twister in Crispins hangar.

Michel has made a great job of this cowling. Note the smoothed outlet area to the left - it is even curved on the inside edge.

One of many mods. The cabin air NACA inlet has been moved from the top to the side of the fuselage (to stop rain and any other debris from collecting in it.)

Non factory supplied fuel pumps. 
General overview of the underside.



A sensible mod - smoothing out the contact face of the gear leg 'knees' with flock. Makes for a larger and smoother contact area for the gear legs on their mounting points. I wish I'd done this!

Visiting the Musee de L'Aviation - a great little museum near Marseille Airport.

Michel was Chief Test engineer at Eurocopter before retiring. Here he studies the rotor head of a Super Frelon - a type he flew to China in.

Bristol Hercules engine being studied by Crispin and Michel.

The record setting AS350 Squirrel which landed on the summit of Mount Everest. Still the only helicopter to perform this feat.

We found a display with Michel's photo on it. Circled in red.

The speed record Eurocopter X3 - 255 knots!

This gizmo in the back of the X3 keeps the upper rotor and outboard props from vibrating out of phase. No idea how this works - looks more like the inside of the Tardis to me. 

Michel talks to his old boss from Eurocopters.

Not just any Mirage but the Mirage used to test the flight controls for the Concorde.

The simply amazing model room upstairs - I've never seen anything like it. It seemed to have every type of flying vehicle ever made - including space ships.

Half and hour flight north to Valreas Visan to spend 2 days with my Uncle and Aunty who live nearby. Nice little friendly airfield with fuel and hangarage.

Nuclear power station on the Rhone river. Do not overfly these or you will be shot down/fined 15,000 Euros - take your pick!

Lake Geneva, turning base for Lausanne my lunch stop on the way to Friedrichshafen.

Lunch in Lausanne. Good place to stop with usual Swiss excellence as part of the experience.

Staying away from the mountains in Switzerland - not a day with weather to fly over them.

Joining downwind for Friedrichshafen - Zeppelin approaching the airfield too.

"The pattern is full". 5 fixed wing waiting to take off and I am cleared to land while the Zeppelin goes over the top of me on the roll out. Lucky I didn't have to do a go around.

My accommodation for the next 3 nights. Tent City in Hall A2. Cheap and very convenient. Earplugs essential to avoid the snoring and other noise.

Hybrid amphibian from Norway. The very interesting Equator aircraft.

The electric Twister from Switzerland. Much more about this in another post coming soon.

Really taken with this. Tarragon. A German improved version of the Millenium Master/Blackshape Prime.

One piece wing of the Tarragon made from Prepreg Carbon with 150 degrees C resin.

Interior of the Tarragon.

Really neat little Rans S9 that has been modified - great little cheap aeros machine.

East European way of selling an aircraft. 
I've no idea what this display was about.


Having lunch with the Strieker brothers and Dornier's grandson (in the cap).


100th anniversary of the Zeppelin this year.

Exciting new twin rotor rotary engine. 100hp, 64kg installed weight, 12,000 Euros and would fit in a Twister! 
Lovely old Junkers with open cockpit.



Electric Pipistrel Taurus motorglider.

All ready to leave Friedrichshafen - perfect weather for flying.

Looking back over Lake Constance and the Swiss Alps. Dead smooth at 5,000ft above the inversion.

In the cruise over Germany - happy with these numbers.

SkyDemon is just a great app. Wouldn't want to fly without it.

Barges on the Rhine

Nurburgring racing circuit.

Nurburg Castle

The famous Carrousel on the Nordschleife Circuit. Ridden around here on my motorbike many years ago.
Happy man on arrival at Johan's local airfield, Zoersel/Oostmalle

Arrived in Belgium and the locals have this weird tradition of taking photos in strange locations with kids who have just been christened.

Twin Twisters. Johan parked up next to me.


A happy Johan with his Twister.

Panel layout is very similar to mine - happy to be of inspiration to him.




A nice formation flight in the evening. 
And again the next morning. Nice to be in the air with another Twister.
Quick stop at Brasschat - another local airfield.



Heading over the docks north of Antwerp. 

Beautiful Brugge

Calais was all closed up so I departed an hour earlier than my flight plan and had Lille Info change that in the air.

Mid channel and with many Belgian bugs on the windscreen.

Coasting in at Dover


SPOT Tracker trace of the route taken.