*****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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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Engine Mount

Started work on the Engine mount this week. I had originally planned to let Jabiru USA design and make the engine mount but after 3 months and no mount, I decided to do it myself. The photo above shows the initial tube fitting fixture. These tubes were profiled using a little piece of free sofware called "Tubemiter". You can Google it or you can go here: www.ozhpv.org.au/shed/tubemiter.htm

The program only works for the intersection of 2 tubes. You just input the diameters of both tubes, wall thickness and angle of intersection. The program then provides a flat pattern which you print and wrap around the tube as a notching guide.

This is a poor man's version of CAD for tube mitering but it works very well. You are still responsible for determining tube length and correctly indexing the notches on each end of the tube.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Aileron Nose Skins

This is our first crack at forming the aileron nose skins. So far, this has been very difficult and we have not made a satisfactory skin. The amount of bend achievable with the above rig is not sufficient, leaving too much "fight" in the skin.

Update: Dale Doane was able to finish the bend of the nose skins using a set of slip rolls.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

More Tank Progress

The Header and Reserve tanks strapped in the approximate correct position. We are trying to figure out the best option to fill the reserve tank. It could be filled through the header tank with a valve between or it could have its own independent filler with no connection between the tanks.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Center Section Progress

We have resumed work on the center section. Tom had completed the frame work last Fall but we had put it aside to work on other things. The 0.050" bottom shear plate has been fitted in the above photo.

We used a stretcher to curve the shear plate stiffener angles.

Yours truly drilling the top skin. This skin is secured by screws/nutplates. The leading edge skin is next.

Reserve Tank Model

This is a foam model of the reserve tank which will fit above the rudder/brake pedals and below the original header/fuselage tank. The capacity is 6 gallons. We put it in the airplane last Sat. and it fits well. (Forgot the camera) More pictures soon.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Blakesburg 2008

I made my first visit to the Blakesburg, IA fly-in this year. Blakesburg is a truly unique experience. No asphalt, no concrete, no commercialism. Just 350 or so superb antique aircraft parked in the grass with quite a bit of fly-by activity as an added bonus.

We had a nice gathering of Skyote owner/builders. From left to right: Hawkeye Hughes, Greg Swanson, John Roberts, David Teel, Glenn Bridges, Mike Kukulski, Dick Smith, and Dave Novak. Hats off to Dave for flying his beautiful Skyote in from Wisconsin.

That's Doc Packard in the center. Dick Smith on the left and Glenn Bridges on the right.
Doc was not present when we made the group photo. He bought his Skyote at age 67 and says he rolled it more than 4000 times before age made him give it up! Doc said he rolled the Skyote every time he flew it. That should be an inspiration to us all.

The tall guy is George Becker from Boulder, CO. George worked for Pete Bartoe at Ball Aerospace and made many of the parts for the original six airframes. George had some good comments on Mr. Bartoe and the Skyote.

This is Dave Fisher. Dave was the original owner of Hawkeye's airplane.

I really enjoyed meeting and talking to all of these people. As one might suspect, Skyote builder/owners are very interesting characters!