Another year gone how depressingThe quad spent the summer in a container. I've had other issues and didn't retrieve it till February.
I intended to make new axles for the narrow wheels but had hassles with steel supply.
The quad had several problems after the long rest. The starter electronics were dead (the starter motor is OK).
The batteries are almost dead.
There is a weird engine problem. When cold the engine dies between 3300 and 3800 RPM. Works fine above and below this range.
Once it snaps out of this mode it runs fine. I thought it was warm up issue but it now looks more complicated than that.
I am in the process of getting council approval to build at Nimbin. If all goes to plan I will have more space and an airstrip a stone's throw from the house by the end of the year - a big game changer for PPG.
The down side is it will be harder to get the supervision to make me legal.
April.I have some time again and did some work in it.
I bought a trailer to replace the stolen one so I can move it around again.
Trailering is still awkward because the roller door and roof beams are too low in the garage. I don't want this trailer stolen too so the quad needs to stay on-board to fit everything into the locked space.
Made some short dummy axles for trailering. The new trailer is wider but still not wide enough to keep the fibreglass axles in.
The starter fault is in the flyhenry brick and I don't intent to replace it - ever.
If the charger part of the flyhenry fails I will use an alternative.
I tried a cheap 100amp relay ebay as a starter relay but it stuck (welded) closed. I add diode to kill the flyback and it still failed.
I ordered a quad bike starter solenoid which has been known to work on these engines but have not tired it.
The reason is my 40amp DPDT relay arrived and it works. I wanted to test this relay because it may be possible to use it to switch the batteries from parallel to series as well. This simplifies the charging and loads the batteries more evenly.
There is a solid state relay on the way from China and if it works that will be what I use.
My instructor did not like the location of the oil cooler being so close to the prop.
So I moved it as shown into the rear tank space. I don't plan to use this tank and will supersize the main tank instead.
There was still the annoying oil leak at the cooler.
After another failed attempt to tighten the connectors I dumped the oil and redid all four threads with thread tape.
So far so good on the oil leak front.
The nicads are now so bad now they wont turn over the engine even after it is warm.
I replace them with powersport Lithium motorcycle batteries which seem to work well.
Cold start a day after running the engine is probably under 1 second and warm start even faster.
It is also starting with no throttle now - possibly because it has run in a bit more.
I changed my steel supplier to www.racetechsteel.com.au and got my 4130 steel in a few days.
We may start on the axles this week.
May.The bushes in the front solid wheels were chewed out and the axles scored after just one morning of mucking about.
The bushes have been replaced with bearings.
The dead starter circuit has- been replaced with a solid state relay. YLD-1160D - 60 Amps 110V DC.
So far so good but I am concerned that if the starter stalls it will overload the relay.
I have no idea what a stalled motor will drawn or what overload the relay will tolerate. The relay may have overload protection but I doubt it.
Note that you must protect the SSR from flyback when the motor is turned off. I have diodes across the motor and also zener protection across the SSR.
Pedals.I was not fond of the supplied foot steering arrangement. This was a polypipe wrapped in non-slip material slid over the fibreglass axle.
In the above image you can see my 3D printed footrest/pedals. These will probably need to be beefed up a bit but seems pretty good for a first prototype.
Ecotrons - boo hiss
You didn't order the EFI kit directly from us, so you need to contact your dealer for customer support.
You need to pay $300 for customer support if you want get our customer support.
Starter solenoid failed.After about 10 starts the solid state solenoid failed in the "on" state and the starter ran for a couple of minutes as I did some taxiing. Everything else worked OK including the new pedals.
This was the first time the quad was taxied since coming out of the container. First run with front wheels aligned and all the above mods.
The trailer fit out is coming together.
25th Wing up(maybe).Rumor has it I managed to inflate the practice wing and get it overhead.
Unfortunately I didn't get to see it.
The wing came up crooked and went off to the left.
I saw it and corrected but it totally disappeared from view when it went overhead - all I could see was sky.
I kept power on for a few seconds hoping it would come forward into view but it didn't and I aborted.
It was a bit too breezy and I gave up for the day.
When I looked up my helmet slipped a bit reducing my view.
I did some tests at home and I really can't see back overhead. I can see straight up and maybe a few degrees back.
To get a direct view of the wing I'd have to relocate the seat forward because as is my helmet hits to bar behind my head preventing me tilting back any farther.
I've made a mirror mount.
30th Wing up(with evidence).Today a different friend (crew) and I went to the industrial lot again.
I said it was to test the mirror position and any extra progress was a bonus.
The first two inflation attempts didn't work. The wing would rise but not continue overhead.
For these two attempts the wing didn't come into view of the mirror.
I guessed the a-line assists were to long and raced the failing light to adjust and layout the wing for try three.
The wing came up and into mirror view, it wasn't perfectly centered but somehow felt stable and controllable.
There was no intention to fly but I went a little faster then planned and may have lifted off despite the small wing.
The front wheels definitely lifted and I had the impression the rear ones came off for a fraction of a second but the video missed it.
With the a-assist fixed I maybe able to see the wing without the mirror but I'm keeping it for now.
For anyone who hasn't been following the saga - note that I did have some training with a PPC and a PPG instructor and will be going back for more before leaving the ground. However this was the first time I inflated a PPG wing on a prop powered PPG (not a wheeled driven trainer or a pushed quad).
Even in places where you don't need a license trying to teach yourself on new equipment could be an expensive mistake.
Videos and manuals can't convey the what the real life experience is like.
June.I've had a sore neck for several days which I think is from the PPG stuff.
Also got a belly bug which I don't blame on the PPG but is slowing me down a bit.
My rear dummy axles I use to shrink the wheelbase for transporting the quad are both bent.
I tried making one out of HDPE rod but I'm not happy with it.
I couldn't find a handy source of strong axles material so I'm going to try an idea for making fibreglass rod.
It will be epoxy glass which should be stronger than the polyester-glass used in the stock axles.
Rolling my own also means I can add carbon or Kevlar.
If I can still buy Kevlar - it is a regulated material now - utter non-sense.
The stock axles are known to break on our heavier machines.
The amount of time it has taken to get this far is obviously ridiculous but I actually like doing a bit and having a few days to review and think about it.
When I learned to glide/soar I would have a couple of training flights every couple of weeks. Lots of time spent waiting for my turn. I was told that intense training was not as good and basically if you learn fast you forget fast too.
Pilots who soloed in a week needed a lot more post solo checking and training than those on the slow path.
GRP rod.My attempts to make fibreglass rods have mostly been disasters but I'm not out of ideas yet.
Above is a photo of 160 strands of chopper glass ready to be resin soaked and pulled into a PVC tube mould.
Here you can see the funnel thing I designed to feed the fibre and epoxy into the tube.
The result looked pretty good.
The hard part is finding tube with a 25mm ID. These dummy axles are undersized and that doesn't matter.
For a full axle I'll have to work something out.
I don't need new axles ATM but chances are I will.
Inflation 2,3 and 4 - 11th June 2016This practice session could have gone better but practicing to abort is useful too.
Having only done one successful inflation before this I shouldn't be too hard on myself.
My biggest problem is vision. If I can see the wing I usually know what to do.
Using the mirror works best but I can only see a portion of the wing and the wing does not have a clear centre line.
The velocity edge wing has better markings.
I will try moving the mirror slightly forward - this should give a better view of the leading edge but delay when the wing comes into view.
The second run got interesting when three wheels left the ground - nice to see the quad started to self steer in the correct direction to follow the wing. It looks like I'm over-correcting again - trying too hard. Run five may be better.
I need more practice but getting good weather and help to line up makes for slow progress. Wind is forecast for the next 5 days.
I really like the video record and may need to look into doing it alone.
This would be much easier after I move but that would be another winter flying season wasted.
Also one of the new rods is failing. The dummy axles seem to be under more stress than the long ones.
I've ordered some 25mm solid aluminum rod.
Making full axles is worth a go but not a priority ATM.
Inflation 5 and 6 - Ground run - 18th June 2016A calm Saturday morning between the rain forecasts.
Back to the industrial lot. It has been chewed up by petrol heads doing doughnuts in the wet.
Taxing without the wing is pretty rough but I couldn't really find anywhere smoother for a run into wind.
The first inflation started OK but when I throttled back I had trouble maintaining speed.
I may have had engine issues and the ground was soft.
For the next three tries the wing would not inflate properly. I'm not certain why. The wind had dropped and the wing might have been a touch damp.
I'd made a very small A-assit adjustment to even up the two side but it was really tiny.
I almost gave up but decided to shorten the A-assist beyond what I'd try on the velocity wing. The gradient wing may just need more A line pull.
Whether this really fixed it I'm not sure but on the next try the wing came up. I worked hard for a while getting the wing and speed right but eventually had a very stable wing or deluded myself that it was.
I had re-adjusted the mirror position and the image of the leading edge now sits half way up the mirror during taxiing. I think the direct view came and went if the wing moved for and aft. It felt stable and I didn't panic if I lost view for a moment. The brake line feel gives a clue the wing is still up there but it is a bit early to work out all the clues. Towards the end of the run I increased power a little and lifted the front wheels for a second.
I would have liked a much longer run but 200 metres ended with an embankment.
Taxiing felt fairly comfortable, I'd done high speed nose high ground runs as part of my aerochute training and this was similar.
On the way home one of my homemade dummy axles broke but I should have some rod to make a new one in a day or two.
I've also made a phone holder to fit aft of the mirror. I will probably put the altimeter there too. I'd also like to put a ball compass somewhere but I don't want it to interfere with the sensors in the phone.
My practice days at this site are coming to an end and I'll need to finish my training and fly - maybe one more session first - with the big wing?
I'd like to fly there one day - it is 2.3K from my house and seeing the neighborhood from a para-glider would be cool.
More work done.I machined two solid aluminium short rear axles for trailering.
The mirror mount is screwed down along with a galaxy-S5 holder.
I also modified the foot pedal design and printed one for when the first prototype breaks.
Bad weather since the last practice day. It could be OK again in a couple of days.
It seems like there is about one day a week with light wind.
Sunday was the first good day for practice since the previous Sunday.
Temperatures are below average even for winter.
There was a chance of rain but it stayed dry. Wind forecast said 6 Kph with 11KPH gusts.
Wind was pretty much zero on the ground and mostly West (not NNE as forecast) but doing 180 reversals from time to time.
The ground was muddy and chewed up by idiots doing donuts. There was nowhere smooth left.
Had a nice chat to some golfers and showed them the quad while warming it up.
I hooked up the 36M wing for the first time - the "new" wing which is coming up to 3 years old but still unused.
With nill wind I couldn't pre-kite it properly but well enough to check the lines.
When I started the engine for the first inflation the gauges said it was cold again. I let it idle till the CHT reached 50C
I noticed a slight asymmetry in the wing as I could see the left tip better than the right while it was on the ground.
When I hit the throttle it seems to come up more slowly but it was no harder to manage than the practice wing.
I could centre it in the mirror and the front wheels came off fairly quickly. I backed off then applied power again and lifted off a little.
The video doesn't show it but it felt like I was slightly off the ground and not bouncing along the rough terrain.
The 300 metres went by quickly and I pulled up before the drainage gully.
My cameraman (Ken) pointed out there was no wind so I could do another ground-run back to the car/trailer.
On the second run it took a little longer to get the wing stable overhead but I noticed I could tell where the wing was without looking at it.
I'm not sure exactly how but I think it is a combination of the feel in the brakes, the lean on the frame and the angle of the risers.
It will become cleared when I do it more.
When I had the wing up I increased power and took the weight off the wheels as I went over some soft mud.
At the end I killed the motor and pulled both brakes to try to bring the wing down behind me. It didn't work out and it came down on top of me and the engine. The engine had long stopped and the are no really hot parts on top but it was a bit of a tangle.
Some head wind would help and I may have had a slight tail-wind as I stopped.
I think I've done enough home work now and the next step will be to go to a location where I can put a larger air-gap under the wheels.
I've been working (unsuccessfully) on my radio and (successfully) on camera mounts and helmet earmuffs.
The stars aligned with a fine if marginal day, an offer of help and gear ready to test.
Once again I didn't sleep well last night with today's plans rolling around in my head.
The four week break lead to fuel priming problems but got there in the end.
On arrival at the site the ground was wet with standing water and mud a plenty. The grass was wet from fog and we waited maybe an hour for the fog to burn off.
I tried to kite the wing but couldn't really hold it in the breeze and ended up in a wet area.
I couldn't set up where I wanted and ended up with less usable length and closer to the embankment than I'd like to be.
I was a good run but I'm not sure whether the untidiness was caused by me or the gusts.
31stI managed one more practice before the westerlies are expected.
It still wasn't as tidy as I would have liked but not too bad.
I had the wrong base radio with me and could not to do radio tests.
Weather and instructor availability may line up in late August for a return to the turf farm to complete my training.
If all goes well I'll get a few hours logged in September. I may even have a buddy.
I've also worked on the Chinese fighter pilot helmet. I removed the visors and made my own earmuffs.
I fitted a Baofeng compatible helmet kit but found the mic sensitivity was too low for the VOX.
Replacing the mic insert with a -35db Panasonic fixed the problem. It has not been tested in the running quad.
I also printed some axle caps out of flexible TPU. These are mainly to keep the water off the bare steel.
I can't paint the steel because the extra thickness would prevent bearing removal.
AugustNot much planned for August. My instructor is busy till September. I'm penciled in for early Sept to work through the 27 pages of training syllabus. I've been looking through it and it is a bit over the top.
Prior experience doesn't seem to be taken into account so I need to log about 5 times the hours I'd need for a PPC license. Then they want another 10 hours of mentoring.
I don't think thermal and ridge soaring rules should be part of the basic syllabus - soaring is not what PPG pilots generally do - it could be an advanced endorsement.
Reviewing my taxing efforts I'm thinking that I've fluked a good wheel combination.
I don't think I've seen or heard anyone say this but having slippery tyres on the front might be a really good thing. If the wing fights the wheels you usually want to wing to win without tipping. That points the quad in the right direction. If the wheels don't slip the wing may win by rolling the quad over.
It was pointed out that my rear tyres had a lot of tread and would be better smooth. That is probably true but the front may be more important than the back. If you are pulled sideways I think it would be really bad if the rear wheels let go first.
Ideally we would have castered front wheels - done correctly they will respond to a lean as well as a side pull.
SeptNot much. Some training was planned but didn't happen.
OctoberThe plans for September have slipped to October. I visited Propfest to look for familiar faces and found a few. I learned the Bundamba industrial site I practiced now had a fence around it. I was lucky it was still "open" when I needed it.
Later, I drove past the site - no fence.
DecemberI'm not doing much with the quad ATM. Another attempt to get more instruction failed. There is a chance something will happen in February but I'm not counting on it.
Most likely I will find another instructor after I finish the house and relocated the quad there. There are some hold ups starting the build - should start in early 2017. The house is in Nimbin and I'm hoping one of the instructors in the Byron bay area has wheeled qualifications.
One minor thing I did for the quad was print a cover for the foot-pedal in TPU (polyurethane) the updated page is http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1637162