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Joe's SkyRaider UL Project

SkyRaider UL


Kit Manufacturer/Location                                                                      
Flying K Enterprises, Caldwell, ID (now out of business as of circa '04)
Victor Bologna, Completed 3rd Qtr 2002
Rotax 503, Single carb, Dual Cap. Discharge Ignition/46hp @6250 rpm
Single Place, high wing monoplane, tractor
Steel tube, alum. tube, wood (ribs) and Stits fabric, auto paint (2 part)
26 ft. 2 in. normal/ 28' w/ tips (mine has beautiful tips)/107 sq. ft.
Length/Height/Width (folded)
17 ft. normal, 20 ft. wings folded / 5 ft 8 in./8 ft. 4 in.
Stall Speed
26 mph
Max. Speed/Vne
63 mph / 100 mph
Empty Weight/Gross
Tbd/tbd lbs.

This is the story with photos of Joe Cook's purchase of a SkyRaider ultralight to add to his collection of various vehicles, and hopefully fly soon.  The connection was made via an ad in Barnstormers placed by Vic Bologna  of Lakeport, CA.  The plane was actually being flown out of Petaluma Municipal Airport and that is where we picked it up.  On Sat. 12/3/05, my brother Dan and I departed for Petaluma towing JL's trailer at 0800.  Going by way of 162, I-5, 505 (Winters Cutoff), I-80, 37 and 101, we got to the Petaluma airport about 1050. 

We found the plane already out of the hangar and ready for inspection.  Vic went over the pre-flight walk-around and answered questions.  It all looked good, as expected.  Then Vic asked a friend, and CFI, Chris, to do the demo flight and that all went well. So Vic and I went into the Petaluma WaMu bank where I presented the "Official Check" and he got it cashed/exchanged.  Meanwhile, Dan was working on getting the trailer ready to load.  This involved adding some plywood planks which he had scrounged from a trash pile and some plywood shelving donated by a neighbor from the hangar across the way (and owner of a Viking).  Good thing we brought our cordless screwdrivers and lots of 3" drywall screws.  :)  The combo extended the available deck space such that we could load the SR facing forward and get the tailwheel onboard.  This got the CG of the plane in a better position on the trailer and eliminated any worries about reverse airflow on the tail feathers which might have been a problem with a tail first trip.  All this was accomplished with the help and advice of Vic and several of his friends.

Once we got going we could see that the prop was developing enough torque at 60 mph to slowly rotate the engine.  So we stopped on SR37 and put a bungee on the prop to stop that.  I looked in the cockpit at that point and found the ignition key was not in place and wondered where it might be stowed.  Turned out it was tied to the safety pin on the BRS (Ballistic Recovery System) and made perfect sense.  We got a lot of approving glances and thumbs ups from various people in traffic as we moved along at trailer pace vs. their more normal speeds.  We pulled into the Rest Stop on I-5 south of Williams for a pit stop and to check the load.  I parked in a "trailer" slot on the truck side that had an empty slot on each side.  Before we left, an 18 wheeler had pulled in on each side.  And the drivers and their passengers stood around and asked questions and admired the plane for several minutes.  And I was more than happy to answer their questions.  :)

We got back to the OFOF Briefing Hut about 1730 pst and since it was dark by that time, we just rolled the trailer and SR into the Hut after placing a caster unit under the trailer jack.  Rolled in quite nicely and fit the space available as envisioned.

On Monday, 12/5, we  unloaded the SR and unfolded the wings (sorry, didn't take a pic with the wings in place yet).  Found it is more of a two man job than expected to do that task.  It has a very tight fit at the fuselage fitting and the alignment has to be just right to get the pins installed.  I found a Phillips screwdriver in my tool box that was about the same diameter as the pins and that helped to get everything aligned so the pins would go in.  I think I'll try and find, or make, a tapered pin to accomplish that task.  With everything in place, I climbed into the cockpit and tried it on for size.  Seems basically excellent as is.  Found out my LightSpeed headset doesn't have the proper plug to fit the existing Ultra-com comm panel jack.  I have subsequently found a couple of adapter cables that should work, on the Web.  We folded the wings back up and rolled it back in the Hut.  At 20' long with the wings folded it needs to be angled somewhat to leave room to pass at the south end.  Dan was going to rearrange some of the stored stuff to facilitate a better position.

On Tues., 12/6, I went over to the Hut to check engine s/n, redux box, et al.  Dan had indeed moved stuff around and the SR was re-positioned at about a 30 deg. angle to the front wall and had plenty of space at the rear.  Even looks like there is space for normal meeting crowd without rolling it out, maybe.  Eventually, the tentative plan is to build another 'Port' to be able to store/hangar it outside the Hut.  I removed the cowling and inspected everything in the engine compartment.  It is all exceptionally clean.  We'll see how long it stays that way.  :)  Found the engine s/n and recorded it.  Found the gearbox is a 2.62:1 ratio (stamped 2.62 HM) and the prop is 64" in diameter.  Also found the primer port on the carb.  Presently, the Rotax 503 engine is started using the choke which is actuated by a lever on the carb.  you have to reach in thru the front of the cowl to get at it.  So the drill is to set the choke, start the engine, let it run for 10 secs. or so, turn it off, then reach in and turn off the choke, then restart.  Rather tedious.  I have the option of installing a choke cable to operate the choke or to put in a primer.  The guys on the Fly-UL list are mostly in favor of the primer because it also gives a backup, limp home, mode if the fuel pump fails.  You can also get rid of the flexible 'primer bulb' which have been known to stick its ball valve and cut off fuel to the engine.  I'll probably go the primer route.

So as of 12/6, that's where we are.  I'm ordering the adapter cable and hopefully within a couple of days we'll have the communication system up to par and I can do some taxi testing, etc.

More to come.

Update #1 - 12/15/05 Activities - Taxi Practice (email to Dan)

Well, today was SR's debut on the tarmac of OVE.  :)  I was able to get it out and both wings unfolded.  I ground each pin down to make an entry taper up to about the middle of the safety pin hole.  Seemed to help the installation some.  I installed the "industrial strength" Velcro on the panel after cutting to size.  And it seems to work well and looks good.  I gave it a squirt of Starting Fluid so it would feel at home with the rest of our fleet. :)  Set the choke, climbed in and it started after a couple of revolutions of the prop.  It doesn't take long for it to run like crap with the choke on so I killed it, climbed out, unset the choke, climbed back in and restarted.  Much smoother and seems to like above 2K rpm for taxi and smooth running.  Turned on the ANR and sounds much better.  :)

The wing clears all of your CalTrans saw horses if you give them 6' or so of clearance.  As far as I could tell it wasn't making clouds of dust but the rearward visibility is zero.  Forward isn't bad except dead straight ahead.  By moving my head left or right I can see most of where I was going without the "S" turns.  "S" turns are no problem tho.  Rudder steering with the detented tailwheel works well, just not good for real sharp turns.   I went over to the South Ramp and gave it a real workout.  Slalomed around the tiedown buttons, did clearing turns, left and right, stopped straight ahead, etc.  Turns out that the right brake is below par and the left brake has some eccentricity or scuffing issues.  But the left one definitely has stopping power and would pop the tailwheel loose and pivot on the left wheel nicely.  Think I'll be doing left hand clearing turns for a while.  )   The right one doesn't have the stopping power, even with the heel pedal in proper position.  It is lazy with max. force.  Think it will take some inspection to check internal conditions.  Interesting that Chris didn't give us any feedback on the brakes, just said, "Yeah, I used them.".  :)

With my comm all up to par, I did the whole exercise and never heard one call from anybody.  The Quick had left earlier (didn't hear any overrevving out of it today) and the 2 trike guys were out on their evening excursion.  They all came back after I was parked back on our pad at the Hut. 

I drug the feed scales out and with a couple of 2x6 ramps was able to get the mains up on the scales.  I couldn't figure out how to get the tailwheel raised up to datum by myself.  So I read the scales as was...Oh..Oh.  The left read 204 1/2 lbs., the right read 207 1/2.  When we get the tailwheel up these will go up some more.  So I think we will be hard put to keep the gross below 550 lbs.   Could be more like 650. 

I folded things up and put it back in the Hut.  Didn't time it but with the door and everything, I think it takes about 30 min. out and 30 min. back.  BTW, I got the data package from Vic that includes the GPS manual, Icom manual, Rotax 503 manual and the Flying K SR build manual.  Thanks, Vic.  New pix added.

       Joe Cook (12/18/05)

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