*****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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Friday, May 30, 2008

Fuselage on the Gear!

Today was an exciting day as we rolled Skyote #88 out of the shop on its gear. Dale Doane has done a fantastic job of fitting and welding both the main fuselage structure and the landing gear. You can tell that Dale is proud of his good work.

The gear turned out far better than I had anticipated. The geometry came out just right and it matches the fuselage attach fittings perfectly. The VR3 Landing Gear Kit was a huge help but the landing gear is still the most difficult part of the project so far. Well, maybe figuring out the drawings might be the most difficult, with the landing gear number 2 in difficulty!

Here are a few random detail photos:

From left to right thats Dale Doane, me, Glenn Bridges. Glenn's fuselage is about two weeks behind mine and will be on the gear soon.

Painting Small Parts

Painting small parts is always difficult. One trick is to use masking tape sticky side up to stabilize the parts. The tape will actually hold the parts in most any position so that all of the edges can be covered. After painting one side allow the paint to cure sufficiently to be "tape proof" then turn them over and do the back side,

Saturday, May 17, 2008

VR3 landing Gear Tube Kit

The VR3 landing gear tube kit has been jigged up and welded. Even with the assistance of the VR3 tube kit, getting the landing gear assembled and welded correctly has been the most difficult part of the project so far. Dale Doane came up with the assembly jig pictured here. The jig is referenced off the firewall and holds the two axle tubes in the correct position for when the gear is compressed to the normal ride height and the tail wheel one foot off the ground. At this condition the toe is zero and the camber is 2.5 degrees.
The tube cluster at the axle is relatively easy, especially with the VR3 tubes. The difficult part is the upper ends of the gear tubes where they interface with the fittings on the fuselage. Getting the correct shape at the upper ends while maintaining the correct dimensions and alignment is a challenge. This could all be simplified if a correctly welded landing gear assembly were used to perfect a "stand alone jig "that would hold the tubes in the correct alignment for welding and not involve using the fuselage in the process. Maybe I could convince Dale to offer completely welded landing gear kits !

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Assembing First Wing

Tom and I started "dry fitting" the first wing today. This is essentially a matched hole assembly task as all of the parts with the exception of the ribs have been "pre-drilled" by the water jet cutter. So far everything is going well. The plan is to get all of the parts and the assembly procedure perfected then make a run at the remaining three wings.