Yes, I still have it!
In this journey, you will see how I
SAFELY and ECONOMICALLY converted my old, tired
Some common comments about The Brick from others:
It's built like a brick sh*t house.
Square like a brick.
Looks like a brick.
Looks really nice!
When can we do mine like that?
How much for your wing wire set?
It sure doesn't fly like a brick, tho!
I did not get in a hurry and took my time. I even took weeks at a time not working on it! Having built about 75 ultralights over the last 18 years helped with locating/fabricating the right combination of parts. This modification is easily accomplished and a lot of time and thought has gone into the selection of parts and cut lengths to minimize wasted material and save construction time.
I spent about 18 hours on the sewing machine modifying the sails and making the aileron covers. Most people wouldn't go to the trouble of installing the extra rib pockets between the existing rib pockets. If the weight gets up, I CAN REMOVE them and still have a pretty well defined airfoil. The re-inforcement of the sails for the added compression struts is done with boiler patch material. This is considerably heaver than the regular sail cloth. The aileron cover stripes match the stripes on the wings. There is also a velcro gap seal sewn onto the trailing edge of the wings and the leading edge of the ailerons. Lots and lots of stitches and stitches take time!
The rest of the airframe was completely dis-assembled for inspection and replacement of any questionable parts. There were a LOT of slightly tweeked bolts on the aircraft. Like I said, it HAD BEEN FLOWN! There was only one tube to replace: A nose strut that had been bent in the last engine out. During the teardown and inspection, the rear prop shaft bearing was discovered to be bad. Anyone who has replaced a prop shaft on a Quicksilver knows what fun that is! Luckily, the airframe was in about a million pieces already, so there wasn't that much more to take apart. The other two bearings on the prop shaft/drive shaft were replaced.
The engine is in good condition, but is very high time and will require a total overhaul. More on this later.
The tail surfaces were replaced two years ago, so they are fine. Some extra wires were added to the tail group to triangulate the rudder/horizontal stabilizer/tail skid. This greatly strengthens the tail structure. On each side where the tail boom tubes fit into the tail brace tube, I drilled a hole and installed an AN3 bolt. This will take some of the twist and slack out of the tail. Since the aircraft had been previously converted to rudder-on-the-pedals, there was not much more to do here.
First order of business is a TOTAL teardown and inspection. This is what your MX looks like after you take the wings and tail off. It looks like it exploded! The wings are nice and dusty from six months of storage. These wing covers still punch test good, but they are pretty faded on top! This plane is a 1983 model that has had four previous owners and HAS BEEN FLOWN! We took the Rotax 377 off and set it aside. There will be a total thrash on the engine later. It will have a total teardown, inspection and rebuild before it rejoins the rest of the bird!
Here is a shot of the new wing covers. The one on the bottom is complete. Notice the extra rib pockets between the existing factory ones. Look at the wing cover on the top. The front and rear wing spar pockets are not sewn yet. This is to show the extra re-inforcement(white boiler patch) for the extra compression struts. The white boiler patch in the center(right side of photo) is for the velcro and extra holes for the kingpost and gas tank filler.
Here is a shot of the old stock wing and the new shortened wing cover. This looks kinda short here, but remember I took that much off each end! The total wing span is now 25' 9 1/2". It SHOULD turn and roll better!
Another shot of the sails. The finished left on the left and the almost finished right on the right.
Here is another shot of the trike before massive teardown. Note the two three gallon tanks behind the seat and the nearly-not-transparent four gallon on the root tube. This was changed to a stock Quicksilver five gallon over-the-root tube type. You can also see the bent right nose strut in this photo.
How flat is zero degrees of dihedral? There is 1/2 degree washout in the wings, tho. This photo shows the finished Brick prior to having any gas in the tank. The rebuilt engine fired on the third pull, by the way!
Here's a look down the leading edge. Look closely and you can see the washout in the trailing edge of this wing.
Here's a shot looking from the rear left. The left aileron is turned down for this shot. The ailerons are 6 feet long and 1 foot wide. The 6 foot length translates into 1/2 of a standard 12 foot piece of 6061 T6. Engineered to minimize waste and be easy to construct, the aileron is rectangular and not tapered like a stock aileron. The compression struts are fitted with standard Quicksilver parts on the front and rear for easy part availability with the exception of AN inserts, spacers and AN bolts to replace the Grade 8 stuff.
Here is a look down the trailing edge of the wings. Here you can see the ailerons and another view of the flatness of the wings.
Here's a bad photo of the left aileron and gap seal. You can also see how close the ribs are on the wings.
Here's a bad photo of the left aileron control mechanism.
Here's a better photo of the right aileron control mechanism.
Here's a photo of the engine area. The engine was completely rebuilt. The cases were not pretty due to 15+ years of oxidation, so some satin black engine paint was applied to all exterior areas. The cylinders and heads were left in their natural finish. The engine rebuild included new gaskets, seals, points, condensers, plugs and caps, pistons, rings, wrist pins and bearings, front main and a pair of rear main bearings for the crank. The carb was rebuilt and a new fuel and air filter fitted, also. The pipe and header were bead blasted and refinished with a couple of liberal coats of extremely high heat black paint. Notice the new gas tank, too. All fuel lines were replaced, too.
Here's a bad photo of the left side of the engine area. Lots of time was spent detailing the engine. Notice the aileron control horn above the engine.
Looking for a break in the wind for first test flights......It's been blowing 15 gusting to 30 or so for the last week, ya know!
AND...AND..... I got a break in the wind late Sunday evening. The aircraft which was finished Friday, the 2rd of May, 1997 and taxied and hopped on Saturday(cross wind taxi and some cross wind hops, too) was flown today the 6th of May. The first flight was uneventful and lasted 30 minutes. You had to pull the aircraft off of the ground, tho. After a few touch and goes, the first flight was history!
After a minor incidence adjustment to the horizontal stabilizer, it's back into the air for another 15 minutes. The incidence adjustment fixed the take-off problem and the aircraft flies off the ground now. That flight was completed with a engine idle landing just for practice. You can never have too much practice in the event of an engine out, ya know!
After the first two flights, some more minor trim adjustments that needed to be made were performed. The first trim problem was noticed after flying for a little while when I started relaxing and looking around. I noticed the left pedal was about a quarter of an inch lower than the right. After inspection on the ground, it was discovered that the left pedal is about that much off with the rudder centered. The only other changes after the first two flights were changing back to the standard bent stick instead of a straight one and changing some cotter pins.
The first flight tests were a whopping success! It is somewhat better than I expected. The power on stall speed was about 20 MPH indicated. It cruises at about 38 MPH at 5200 RPM. Rate of climb seems to be a little less than a stock MX, but the engine is running a little rich at this point in time. The carb will be tuned out, but as is, it cruises about 5 to 8 MPH faster than stock! The ground and flight handling in a cross wind is much better than stock.
Another high time pilot and BFI(Larry Bollinger) did some test flying for me for a better overall picture of the handling of the plane.
While he was flying, I shot another roll of film, so expect some nice flying photos soon! Jay was out flying his Kasperwing also, so you may
see it in the background, too.
After his first thirty minutes in the air, I made some more changes.
One of his comments resulted in a much easier-to-fly plane! The ratio on the pedels to rudder was a little too high. This resulted in high rudder pedal pressure. A new control horn was fabricated for the rudder which decreased the required pressure and changed the personality of the plane. This mod coupled with proper jetting in the carb(it was too rich) and laying the seat back one notch on the seat mount downtube gave even better flying/handling qualities! The aircraft was much nicer and easier to fly. The pressure on the stick and pedals is very light, but very controllable at the same time.
Now for the good news:
I'm happy, I'm excited, IT FLIES, IT FLIES!!!!!
It almost flew hands off after just the first few very minor adjustments and flies even better now!
Testing Continues........The Brick now has about 6.5 hours of flying time on it.
After much additional test/fun flying, the Brick now has about 30 hours on it. One of the first things that became apparent when flying the brick was the speed difference from stock. The aircraft was able to out-run the stock prop pretty easily at full throttle and ran a little to fast at cruise. The stock 52X32 prop was exchanged for a 52X34. This change of propeller pitch allowed the engine to stay loaded up at full throttle and decreased the RPM the engine was turning at cruise as well. The aileron horns are in my machine shop now being fitted with flanged ball bearings on the pivots. This should lighten up the already light control forces and make them operate smoother. Test/Fun flying continues.
Here is a background I made for my PC back in the day.....