*****Skyote #88 gets Bronze Lindy for "Airventure-Oshkosh 2016 Plans Built Champion"******

October, 2007

Welcome to "Skyotelog", the build record of Skyote #88. I assume that you are familar with the Skyote biplane. If not, you should visit http://www.skyote.org/ for a complete introduction to this unique but elusive biplane.

The posts are presented in reverse chronological order (newest first). Or you can click on one of the "Labels" to see all of the posts concerning a specific topic. Click on any photo for a larger image.

All my building experience is limited to Van's RV's so I have no experience with building tube and fabric or "plans building". I have much to learn so take everything I write with a grain of salt and reasonable skepticisim.

I do not intend to follow a "traditional" path for the construction of #88. I intend to employ low level technology and $ to reduce the construction time and difficulty where possible and practical. By low level technology I am referring to CAD, laser, waterjet, CNC. For example:

  • I have purchased a complete wing spar kit from Jerry Kerr.
  • A rib kit from Mr. Bartoe.
  • Brunton Flying Wires and Drag wires from Harvey Swack.
  • CNC profiled tube kits for the fuselage, tail feathers and landing gear from VR3.

In addition I have converted all of the wing fittings, brackets, links, lugs etc. to CAD and had them cut by water jet. I have designed a laser cut wing spar drill template/jig which positions the five spar components so that all of the holes can be drilled in a complete spar as an assembly. I plan to continue converting as many parts as I can to CAD so that I can reduce the "hand-made" components to a minimum.

Note: As of June 2015 I have over 100 CAD files which provide 600+ water jet cut parts for the Skyote.

While it takes a little time, converting the design to CAD is a great way to truly understand the drawings. plus a huge amount of information has been extracted from the rather complex drawings. This can be a great help to others in understanding and interpreting the design.

The Skyote is uniquely suited for conversion to CAD in that a "computer" was used in it's original design. I have read that Mr. Bartoe used a HP calculator to "compute" the design and dimensions of the Skyote. The plans show all of the critical dimensions to three decimal places for X,Y and Z axes.

Amazingly, when I put the design into CAD the resulting 3D models agree with Mr. Bartoe's thee decimal place dimensions about 99.9% of the time. I have found one discrepancy but less than 0.030"!

If you want to build your Skyote as cheaply as possible, or if you enjoy handcrafting the same parts over and over again then my approach to building is not for you!

If you want to build your Skyote in the minimum possible time with highly accurate parts then this approach may be the answer. I personally get a lot of satisfaction out of organizing the project so that it can be produced accurately. Hopefully some of this work will prove useful to others in the future.

Comments are welcome. I will respond as time permits

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Monday, May 8, 2017

Photos by Jay Selman

Some nice photos by Jay Selman. These were made near SC76 in October of 2016.
Jay is a great guy and real gentleman!
You can see his work at www.jaybirdaviationphotos.com 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Bending A Skyote Tip Bow

This should be self explanatory. The forming block is 13" radius made from scrap MDF or plywood. Leave a little extra on each end of the tube for trimming to fit. Leave about 3/16" clearance between the sliding forming block and the tube or the bending forces will be high. Use a lag bolt for the pivot.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Fitting Drill-Up Suggestion

Matched hole spar components are beginning to ship so I thought it was a good time to post some drilling suggestions. I have had good results using the following method to drill up fittings to intermediate and final sizes. The purpose of this set-up is to prevent the part from rotating or climbing the drill bit while being drilled.
I recommend that all fitting and spar holes be drilled using a drill press. I find it difficult to get holes of the desired quality by hand held drilling. A spray bottle of WD-40 or similar will help with drill bit life and hole quality.

My drilling set-up consists of a wood block and short piece of angle both held in the drill press vice as shown. One leg of the angle has a notch cut into it to allow access to the hole to be drilled up. I drilled a 3/8" hole and sawed into it to form the notch. The drill press vice is locked down to the table.

Use the fitting to set the gap between the wood block and the horizontal leg of the angle then tighten the vice. There should be some clearance so the the fitting slides in the gap loosely. This is important as the fitting should float freely and NOT be clamped tight. This allows it to center on the drill bit as the bit enters the hole.

Touch the bit to the part lightly and slowly at first to allow the part to center on the bit. I like to hold down on the part as the bit is retracted to eliminate binding on the bit.

This method can be used for pre-bent fittings as well.

 I get good results drilling up thin fittings with a Unibit. The Irwin Unibit #1 has the proper diameter steps and is available at Lowes. The Unibit avoids off center drilling or walking as the drill is always piloted while drilling up to the next size.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Skyote #88 takes Bronze Lindy @ Oshkosh 2016

Skyote #88 snug in its spot in front of the "Arch" on the flight line.  
A beautiful shot by Mike Kukulski.
Thanks Mike!

One old man, one Bronze Lindy and one sweet biplane!

For such a little airplane, Skyote #88 made a big splash @ Oshkosh 2016. It scored a Bronze Lindy for "2016 Plans Built Champion" and two feature magazine articles in Sport Aviation and Kit planes magazines.  Budd Davisson will do the Sport Aviation write up and Tom Dubrouillet will handle the Kit Planes piece.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

A Sad Sight - Oshkosh No-Go

Skyote #88 was all packed and ready to head for Oshkosh this morning.  Unfortunately, the weather gods did not co-operate. Fog and low ceilings persisted until nearly noon so the mission was scrapped for today.  The next try will be Wednesday or Thursday.

That's a Stratus 2S mounted on the upper wing. No help for 100 foot ceilings!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Matched Hole Airframe Components Now Available for the Skyote

A full array of precision, matched hole Skyote airframe components will be displayed at Airventure 2016. The Skyote parts will be in Hangar D, booths 4109-4111. This will include matched hole wing spars and center section, water jet cut fittings as well as ready to cover precision TIG welded fuselages. The complete Skyote airframe can now be purchased from the craftsmen, shops and vendors who made parts for Skyote #88.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

In Flight Video Skyote #88

I tried my hand at in flight video yesterday. Here is the raw footage:


Sunday, June 26, 2016

SC Aviation Association Gives Skyote #88 "Peoples Choice" Award.

Skyote # 88 attended the Sunday breakfast fl-in event which was part of the 2016 South Eastern Aviation Expo held at KGRD.. Skyote #88 won the top prize, "Peoples Choice Award" !

We arrived early and got a good parking spot.
It was overcast or broken all day which helped with the heat.
A nice smooth 70 nm cruise at 1500' both ways.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

First Fly-In for Skyote#88

This past Saturday Skyote #88 went to the Fabric and Tail Wheel event held at the fantastic Triple Tree Aerodrome. Between 75 and 100 beautiful fabric and/or tail dragger airplanes showed up on a nice but hot day.

Triple Tree Aerodrome is a unique "Country Club for Airplanes". It features a 7000' x 400' wide grass strip that looks like a golf course.  You can learn all about it @  www.tripletreeaerodrome.com .

All in all it was a very nice day. Skyote #88 was well received.
There were some very nice airplanes there:

Friday, June 10, 2016

Don't Be Shocked

The party is over for the gas-filled oil-damped shocks. Earlier this week one one suffered a significant oil leak. I always realized that this was a real possibility but I had hoped that the "mean time between failures" would be high enough to make the risk low. This failure occurred at about 30 hours total time which is totally unacceptable.  \

Luckily the failure occurred at my home base and the "Skyote Pit Crew" replaced them  them with my design urethane compression style shocks.

Tom's son, Nathan, handles the grunt work. From discovery of the leak to back to flying status took about one hour max.

The Skyote now rides on urethane compression bushings. Compared to the original bungee struts and the gas filled shocks, these struts are almost bullet proof.  If these struts fail then likely a few other things will be bent as well! In addition, these struts are adjustable for spring rate, ride height, and pre-load. makes me wonder why I was so fired up about the gas filled shocks?

These struts have performed well for about ten hours. They are just a little more "active" than the gas filled, oil damped shocks which is to be expected. I think the average pilot would not really notice any difference from the cockpit.

Some kind of covers may be in order.

Skyote #88 Is Out of Jail

As of June 9, 2016, Skyote #88 has completed its required  40 hours of flight test time! When we completed the reinstall of the O-200 and brought #88 home on May 27 she had 9.1 hours on the meter. So Tom and I got in 31 hours in 12 days.. She hardly ever cooled off! 

#88 is free to roam now.  I plan to take her to the Fabric and Tailwheel fly-in at Triple Tree Aerodrome tomorrow (SC00).  I hope she behaves herself.

Not so good cockpit photo showing 40.3 hrs. on the EIS.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Skyote Component Photo Opportunity

This past weekend we put together a practice photo shoot in preparation for Airventure/Oshkosh 2016. Dale Doane visited with a partially completed Skyote air frame (about 50% complete) and Johnathon came by with a full set of Skyote spar/aileron components.  The idea is to show all of the components available to the Skyote plans builder.in one photo.

This is just my amateur shot.  The professional photographer  was able to get get everything straight on in one shot. Look close and you will see the aileron spar and nose skin components behind the wings. That's Dale Doane adjusting the seat in the fuse and Johnathon Pritchard in the jeans with Les Kanna in the background.

Pritchard, Doane and VR3 will all have Skyote components for plans builders on display in their booths in Hangar D.

Almost looks like an RC Model!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Skyote #88 Gets Her Groove Back!

I am happy to say that #88 is all back together again and better than ever.  The totally rebuilt engine was re-installed this past Tuesday. She now has painted ailerons and and a prototype stripe on the fuselage. The engine runs great and is silky smooth. A few installation photos follow.

We used this pressurized can to pre-lube the bearings. It was hooked to shop air to provide a regulated 38 psi.

Jack Moore rebuilt my engine. At 80+ Jack still knows his stuff. I am very privileged to have Jack do my work.  Here he is pumping two quarts  through the oil galleries prior to first start up.
The engine started on the second blade and has behaved itself very well since.
It now has about four hours flight time and I am extremely happy with it.

Tom making a few last minute checks before the second "first flight". The first few flights were made with the cowl off to make leak checks easier. Fortunately there were none. Also lots of cooling air flowing over the oil sump hanging out in the breeze.
Looks ugly from the outside but you cant tell the cowl is missing from the cockpit!
.The second first flight which occurred at SC76 on this past Wednesday was uneventful. 

All buttoned up and back Home at UZA this afternoon.

Prototype stripe, version 2.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Skyote #88 Gets It's Engine Back Tomorrow

I am happy to report that Skyote #88 will soon be airworthy again.  Needless to say, it was a real bummer having to pull the engine for major repair just a few hours after the first flight. The engine has been totally rebuilt and should be in tip-top shape this time. As you can see from the following, I was very lucky to be at my good friend, Les Kanna's, airfield when we decided to ground the Skyote due to inappropriate noises from the engine.

#88 was pulled out of the barn today and moved up to the "airplane factory" at SC76.

She needed a good bath before going in to the hangar. I hope I never see it like this again!

The "good as new" O-200 in position and ready for installation to begin tomorrow.

#88 is sharing hangar space with some very interesting airplanes which are visible in the background.

Here is Les Kanna's gorgeous BMW K-1200 motorcycle engine powered Onex.  The BMW provides 100+hp in a plane which normally flies with 80hp. The bottom cowl has been removed which gives us a peek at the engine 
This is a real hot rod which flew for the first time this spring. This is way out on the end of the experimental limb of sport aviation.  This is the only installation of this engine that we are aware of. It now has over 40 hours and all of the landings have been at the intended destination! So far, so good. Silky smooth! Did I mention fast?

This is Ed Lee's slick Corvair powered Sonex.(all flush rivets!).  It should see air under the wheels soon as he is ready to call for the FAA any day now.  I hope some of the speed  of these two hot rods rubs off on #88!