American General

The plane that I have gotten the most comments about is the one I am flying this year as a trainer. It has a very patriotic sail pattern following several similar sails with red, white and blue patterns.

Here is a picture of the previous plane in this series, without the double surface tail. Not that this one also has the single aframe, single kingpost.

The sail has most all of the bells and whistles that can be done. Extra ribs top and bottom, T slots for the rib insertion, lots of color and a mylar center section for a smooth transition from wing to wing.

The double surface rudder cover shows the lack of folds and color mis-overlaps as with the factory single surface covers.

The engine mount is upside down, with a 582, dual carb, oil injection and a B box with a Tennessee prop. Performance is great due to the relative power to weight, no electric start and such.

Some other features are as follows,,,,,,,,,

stab stiffener ribs
rudder brace kit
top tail wires
hegar 4 by 6 wheels
HD nose struts
side mounted brake lever
shoulder harnesses
reinforced LG down tubes
overhead pull start location
1 gallon injection tank
two wide seat tanks
transfer pump to root tube tank
pushrod aileroncontrols
shortened ailerons

This plane has proven to be an absolute perfect training plane. It has plenty of power with the two blade prop combinec with a reasonable top end too. A three blade slower turning prop might have a bit more low end performance, but shortening the 250 foot takeoff roll just doesn't seem a good trade-off for the weight of the prop, the weight of the then required C box, the cost of the C box, and reduced top end aka, higher cruise RPM. The quiet factor would be better with the slower turning three blade prop, but the throaty sound of the two blade isn't objectionable to most people.

The large diameter tires offer at least 4 inches of effective spring, considering the gear set-up has no actual spring at all. The round profile tires makes for a gradual increase n load on the airframe, and thus, a reduced loading on the landing gear downtubes and such. A large wide tire would tend to land all at once, making for more impact and higher loads with less travel available.

The all 1/8 wire set with the 5/32 LE OB LWR wire plus the upper tail wire makes for a super rigid plane. No more having part of the plane follow you through a fast manuever anymore. Wingovers and pushovers feel solid and secure. I am sure the wear and tear on the airframe is significantly reduced as the top tail wires hold the tail solidly against the trailing edge, reducing any back and forth as with the stock tail assembly that just hangs off the wing with the standard four point attachment.

Also, the heavier wires make for a more rigid wing/aframe combination. The wing is actually pulled through the air by the upper and lower traling edge wires, thus the need to make the upper wires as large as the lower ones. The small factory wires lead to a loss of air-frame aerodynamics at higher speeds as the smaller upper wires allow the wing to droop and sag as the nose is lowered for higher speeds.

Having the lower mounted engine offers a much better thrust line. The stock high thrust creates a cou-le problems that require some design changes and pilot actions too.

The design has a significant amount of washout, or wing twist, to reduce the effects of the high thrust line. This washout increases the drag of the wing significantly and also allows the wing to stall in center section with high angles of attack.

The pilot may be surprised to find the pitching momenst are fairly high with the top mounted stock engines. The lower thrust lin makes for much reduced pitching moments with power changes. A slow approach may turn really bad should abrupt power changes be required to avert a stall, or to reduce a high sink rate. The need to give up elevator may be realized too late if it should happen near the runway.

I have flown this plane for 350 hours. The engine block is a rebuilt trade-in from a new blue head swap. The balance of the engine components and the entire airfram,e was new last year in June. It has performed flawlessly for this time period. i did have a break in on of the ignition wires but easily repaired and heatshrunk the section. Plugs are replaced about every 75 hours. The plug ends were also replaced at 150 hours. These parts were again replaced this spring. The engine has 350 hours at this time and is still running strong. there has been no leakage of lluids either from the radiator or the rotary valve shaft. I do run the orange antifreeze, and did some interesting mods to the shaft and the seals when I rebuilt the engine a year or so ago. I installed two seals facing the same way, thin ones, fr the coolant side of the shaft seal area.

All in all, this plane has done well for me with a rigorous training regimen. It has never failed to start after two pulls. Chokes have been removed and the circuits plugged with silicone. A primer allows direct injection prior to pulling the starter rope. this engine also has the new model 99 starter which is signiciantly larger diameter making for easier pulling for the operator. The handle has been located just over the pilots seat for ease of reach, rather than over the shoulder as on a stock unit.

The wide seat tanks while allowing for a much larger amount of fuel to be carried, also have the desirable feature of being wider. They fit even the largest of students and pilots. I have had students as heavy as 280 pounds.

The radiator is a small automotive radiator, and maintains a maximum temperature of 145 degrees even in the hottest of ambient temperatures.

Just a really great plane, developed by a combination active BFI, engineer, and good second guesser !!!