I hope you are all doing well and either enjoying building or flying your creations.
I was hoping that there might be some of you that could offer me some advice and clear up some questions that I have prior to commencing building my own baby, I mean ... pride and joy ... I mean Canard Aircraft. Yah, the last one.
So firstly, I guess I should talk about my "mission" and why I want to build.
I want to build for a few reasons. Namely, being cost effective means of both owning an aircraft, and paying for flying hours. Then there is also the freedom of being able to go where ever you want to go when you want to go, instead of asking the local club if it is ok to take the plane for the next 3 days. Having the freedom to build an aircraft that suits me and my personality is also very high on the list. And finally, the fact that I, Me, I did that, I built it.
As for a "mission". Well, there is a couple of things that I want to do with this plane. First, I live on the East Coast of Australia, I have family on the West Coast. This a trip of about 1954 nm without reserves, or allowance for taxi fuel etc. Obviously it would be brilliant to be able to do this trip in an 8 to 10 hour day (maybe 11 if I push myself), as well as taking any future family I may have with me (who knows, I might get married and have kids, then again I may not!). I'd like to do the trip without stopping as well, I know, a big ask, but this leads me into my second part. A flight around the world. The biggest leg of this journey looks to be LA to Hawaii at 2221nm, something that I need to do in a single hop, there's no option with that one. After both of those, it would be little flights here and there, and just having some general fun in my own plane. Hey, why not, it's mine after all right?
I've already been talking to some local builders, and I have been so far convinced that a modified Cozy IV would be the best option for all of this. Speed, Range, Stability, and yes, I do think it looks sexy. Maybe you guys and girls have a different opinion, if you do I'd love to hear it. But if not, then that is probably what I have decided on, I've already asked my local aussie Aircraft Spruce supplier for a quote on the plans and some of the kits, so I'll be ordering at least the plans soon.
So I guess now onto my questions about building, and Wow, I have a few. Please stick with me.
1. The foam that is used in the construction of a Long-EZ/Cozy, is this a structural component? I am assuming that it makes up some of the rigidity because it forms the sandwich structure with the glass? and If it is structural do the plans specify the exact type and manufactured grade to use? I foresee some issues in getting a local supplier, so the more detail I have about the foam the better I can ensure I am getting the exact thing needed.
2. If the foam is structural in terms of providing rigidity to the glass, has anyone known of a good flying example of someone using a lighter material to replace it, like Aluminum or Nomex Honeycomb, in less structurally critical areas? Note, I would not dare to deviate from the plans in places like ... the spar! In trying to achieve my goals with the aircraft, saving weight would be a top priority so that I can have a greater useful load, hence this question, and the next.
3. The (assumingly) official Cozy website lists the "Gross Weight" as 2050 lbs (929.86 Kg).
3.A. Is this the design Max Take Off Weight? or is it Max Ramp Weight? or even something different? I am a little confused. I've been told by the local building organisation that the builder sets their own MTOW for their own craft, however I am cognisant of what the designer has designed the air frame to do including safety, I don't want to eat an engineers safety margin, that's the bit that keeps me safe.
3.B. The listed Empty Weight of 1050 lbs (476.27 Kg), is that including some specific standard engine that it is designed around? (I think the Lycoming O-360, 200hp) (The reason I ask is because of questions 3.C. and 6, but we'll get to that)
3.C. If the "Gross Weight" is the MTOW Design, that would leave me with: assumingly 453.5kg useful load. Take 2 x Pax (assume 80kg each) = 293.5 kg for fuel & baggage. Minus 30 for Baggage (being cautious) leaves 260kg for fuel which = 85 gal, assume 9 gal per hour cruise (based on Continental CD300) at 190 kts, gets me 1790nm no reserves or taxi etc. So the Question. Does anyone know how I could I make the LA to Hawaii flight with this math and MTOW? am I wrong in my assumptions?
4. The reason for question 3 is that I am trying to plan fuel for the round the world trip (and also, East to west coast and return). I know that I'll need some sort of Auxillary tanks, I just need to know how big can I make them, how much raw fuel can I pack into this thing, whilst still having room for me, a round the world partner, and our baggage. I am planning (at the moment, always subject to change) of solving this by adding some (for lack of a better term) "Drop Tanks" or "Conformal Tanks" on the outside either under the wing or along the fuselage. Does anyone have any suggestion about this, which one to use, which one will help keep up a high cruise speed etc.? If you're not sure about "Conformal Tanks" (I wasn't either) here's an OKish Wikipedia article on them: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conformal_fuel_tank
5. I've read that the canard of the Long-EZ (which the Cozy is Based) has 2 different designs, the original, and a RONCZ (?) design. The latter being more impervious to things like water droplets or dead bugs. Does anyone know which one the plans of the Cozy say to build?
6. I've been looking at a few different engines that I could use with this air frame. For a round the world flight I'd prefer a turbine for 3 reasons. 1) Reliability 2) The availability of JET A fuel around the world 3) The smooth running of the engine, a much more comfortable ride. I've found a company here in Australia that is releasing their first turbine engine next year. It is designed specifically for experimental aircraft. So a few question about engines:
6.A. The Turb Aero engine (TA200P) is significantly lighter (about the half the weight) of other pistons of the same hp. How would this affect CoG for a Cozy? And would anyone disagree that this would be a good choice for the air frame? (Engine can be found here: turb.aero). Also, noting that it is lighter, and produces more HP at 75% cruise would that equate to a higher Cruise Speed? I am also assuming lighter means I can cram in more fuel in place of the weight saving?
6.B. If I cant do the TA200P for what ever reason then I would look at maybe one of the engines Diamond are using on their twins (Austro AE 330) or their new single RG (Continental CD300). Would this also suit my needs? If I went for the continental engine increased HP (300hp max, 260hp cruise) provide a higher cruise speed? can the air frame as designed handle a cruise speed of say 200 to 220 Kts (230 to 250 mph) or would I need to make modifications to achieve this?
6.C. The reason I am looking at engines so early on is the calculation of fuel burn and making an educated guess on the cruise speed (question 6.B. allowing). I do want this to be fast, I know that the LA to Hawaii leg of my trip will be very long, there are reasons why pilot operating limits exist and I don't want to be fatigued and have an incident. I know the Turb Aero engine will burn more fuel than the other two I am looking at, but in the opinion of this forum is the reliability, weight saving, smooth ride, and experience of using a turbine worth it?
OK. I guess I should probably leave it there for now, that's all I can think of, and it is a huge amount, maybe the answers here could help someone else looking a building as well. Although I assume a lot of your answers will probably just raise more questions. Hopefully I can get to building soon and maybe meet some of you in the sky!
Thanks in advance for all of your answers! And the Best of Regards,