*****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, December 24, 2007

Teardrop Aluminum Strut Material

I found a source for teardrop aluminum strut material. It is:

David Gordon
AED Motorsport Products 5373 West 86th Street Indianapolis, Indiana 46268 USA Phone: 317-334-0569 / US Toll-free 888-413-0233 Fax: 317-879-9397
or web site: www.aedmotorsports.com
They offer teardrop tubing made fro 1.5" x 0.058" wall 6061-T6 per the Skyote plans. They custom make this to order so they only deal in 12' lengths. The best deal is to order three 12' lengths which will make struts for two airplanes with one strut to spare.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Drilling First Main Spar

Tom and I drilled the first spar last Friday the 14th. We proceeded with extra care as it was the first spar to be drilled using the laser cut spar drill/assembly jig. We drilled all of the holes for the ribs and fittings in about 50 minutes. We did not drill any holes in the tapered section of the tip.

Everything worked as planned. We will drill an aft spar next. We plan to complete the rib/fitting/spar assembly for one wing before drilling the remaining spars. Better safe than sorry.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Excellent Fuselage Construction Book

As a neophyte fuselage builder, I have found the book "Construction of Tubular Steel Fuselages" by David Russo to be very helpful. Much of the information in this book directly transfers to the building of a VR3 fuselage. The book can be found here: http://www.actechbooks.com/construction_tubular_steel.htm

VR3 Final Report

I am happy to report that the final version of the VR3 Skyote fuselage tube kit has been assembled and checked. I received the replacement longeron and firewall tubes last week but just got around to assembling them yesterday. These tubes have a different arrangement for the joint between the longerons and the firewall tubes. The new joint arrangement provides the same type of interface with the landing gear and flying wire fittings as called for on the plans. The original joint design from VR3 was not wrong, just different.
The new joint design provides the same "perch" for the fittings, but eliminates the need for plugging the end of the longeron tube by mitering it to the vertical firewall tube. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, just take a look at the latest posting in the VR3 photo album. Others may take issue, but I am satisfied that the new joint is structurally equivalent to Pete's design while being easier and more accurate to build.
I am very happy with the VR3 kit. I have had a couple of experienced tube fuse builders look at it and they said that it would not be possible for them to duplicate the accuracy and fit quality using the traditional manual profiling methods.
The VR3 kit is about the same cost as Pete Bartoe's rib kit. In my opinion, the VR3 is at least, if not more of a time saver, than the rib kit. I think I could eventually hammer out the ribs if I had to. I'm not sure that I would ever get the fuse hand fitted to a point that would make me happy.
In my book, there are only two valid reasons not to go with the VR3 kit:
(1) You WANT to fit the tubes yourself.
(2) You can't justify the $$.
If you are not burdened by either of the above "problems" then VR3 is the way to go.
In conclusion, I have no connection with VR3, financial or otherwise.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Aluminum Spacers

I just received the first aluminum wing fitting spacers.

I got them from http://www.aluminum-spacers.com/ . In a quantity of 500 they were only $0.17 each. These are 1/2"dia. x 5/16"bore x 3/8" long. I wil make the shorter spacers by cutting down some of these.

The spacers are a perfect fit with the 5/16" 4130 tubing which will be used to make the bushings that fit inside.

The actual company name is Daven Screw Machine Co.. They are a small family run business and were very easy to deal with. If you don't see what you need on the web site, give them a call as some standard sizes are not listed as was the case for the above spacers.