I have not been enjoying this build.
but I need to elaborate.
A programmer friend once told me that I would be an excellent beta tester because I always seem to find that combination of inputs that seizes up the computer.
I am also a creative person. Often if i make something, it comes out of nowhere. The last major thing I built was this arcade machine:
this gives you an idea of the skill set I have. Not a master craftsman by any means, but able to come up with novel ideas and solutions. In my mind then this is at one end of the creative spectrum. Another sort of creative pursuit are things like LEGO or Mechano. In the case of making one of those models the goal is clear, and there are explicit instructions to get you there. This is at the other end of the spectrum.
So, sometimes I like the OCD hypnosis of something like LEGO (I have a kit ready to start on actually) and sometimes I want the immersion of creating something from scratch, like my arcade machine with glass control panel and touch controls. With the Bushcat kit I was really expecting a giant Mechano set. But it’s not that. How can it be? Mechano have made millions and millions of sets and had maybe a century to perfect their system. My Bushcat kit however is number 231. And a hell of a lot more complicated than a Mechano set! This ‘model’ is a continuous work in progress. There are typos in the instructions, missing or wrong sized bolts. There are sections where you really have to use your initiative and work out what it is they are trying to tell you.
so then, this is not a scratch built arcade machine, but nor is it a Mechano set.
But Mechano is what I was expecting. Every step perfectly defined. Every part present and correct. So I am struggling because of my false expectations. So each time there is a problem, I really start to get down about it. Maybe because then I’m not sure what the right thing to do is. With one of my scratch built projects, the right thing to do is whatever comes to mind. The solution is correct so long as I am happy with that solution.
However, I have been told this kit is one of the easier ones and the manual one of the most complete. I think if you are a prospective buyer, be clear about what you expect. For most people, it will be all you expected it to be. For those rare few Beta Testers like me, you may struggle.
Went to my eye specialist as my eyesight is extremely bad now. I have had a detached retina in one eye for about 6 months, my bad eye which now has a plastic lens, a cornea graph and still can't see out of it, which has now got worse. I close my eyes and I still see a coloured lit area that makes it hard to go to sleep. My good eye has a cataract so I see double and my glasses are pretty darn strong already so basically I can't see out of one eye, see double with the other and having dancing lights when I close my eyes and try to sleep. They are stuffed
It was hard enough trying to land when you have no 3rd dimension to know how high you are or how far away things are but now seeing double and on an eye steroid every day due to 2 cornea rejections it was time to hang up the headset.
As good a point as any to post an updated picture. The battery was a dam tight fit and im not looking forward to having to replace that one day!
Putting on the undercarriage and wheels was pretty straight forward. Be aware that some of the items come pre assembled even though the manual has assembly instructions. Things like the disk brakes definitely need tightening up and Loctite used.
the seat backs had a hole too small for the clevis pins so I needed to drill them out
The fairing is a bit of a struggle to put on. You will need to ‘stretch’ it on. Note here that the bolts that weren’t fastened in section 6 should be removed before fitting the fairing. The manual doesn’t mention this. If you thought it was hard putting the fairing on, wait until you realise you need to take these bolts out and have to take the fairing off again 😄
Note: once i fitted the undercarriage I found that the slot it fits into on the fairing was not even. Hard to know if it was me or it’s not that accurate. I ended up
cutting a couple of mm off with a Dremel. Just as well you can’t see both sides at once, eh! Time will tell if the alignment of the fairing will be a problem...
You need to put ten grommets into the fairing at this stage. Go to the bedroom and grab yourself some water based lube, some of these are tough little buggers to insert 😄
so tough in fact there was no way I could get the two medium sized grommets in the holes. They were 10mm holes. I ended up drilling them out to 12.5mm and they were still the hardest to get in! Those two are for the battery cables.
I should add that that at this point (kit # 231) they still have instructions for drilling the ten holes. This is probably legacy from when they offered a version with a rotax 582 and thus presumably you would drill holes in different locations compared to the rotax 912. Mine came pre drilled
To lace up the fuselage sail I stuck with my ghetto work bench. By strapping the front down, I was able to lace most of the way from back to front. The last quarter or so I was able to reach from inside the fuselage. I concede that I may have to put it on a stand soon but for now this let me crack on 🙂
Note that the lacing is only done loosely at this stage.
BMW IIIa was an inline six-cylinder SOHC valvetrain, water-cooled aircraft engine, the first-ever product from BMW GmbH. Its success laid the foundation for future BMW success. It is best known as the powerplant of the Fokker D.VIIF, which outperformed any allied aircraft.
Detail section 17
installing the first bit of trilam on the skyreach bushcat.
ive never been good at lacing my shoes so this will be a challenge 😄 but at least I can make it easier to thread the lace with some superglue on the end and rolled between wet fingers to make a ‘needle’. I’ve now perfected my technique. Ignoring the fluffy end of the string I soak about a 10mm section with superglue. When it has set I cut it on about a 45 degree angle. Then a bit more glue on the cut end.
also, save the leftover string! On a later section you need to lace the aft end up with a short length of string. Mine was too short! Luckily the leftover string from this section was longer 🙂
When the the covering is done, you will need to get a nut and washer inside the covering and onto a thread. I found by sitting that part onto a torch pointing up, I was able to do this without too much trouble.
Detail section 11.2
In my correspondence with the contact engineer he told me I will have to trim a little off two bolts on the tailwheel spring so that the rearmost diagonal braces will fit. I used a Dremel so took the barest possible amount off.
I corresponded a lot with the engineer recently because there was a lot of head scratching with those fuselage diagonals. It should be that you may have to coerce the pieces a couple of millimetres to get them in place. But I found my first diagonal was 36mm short! Had everyone scratching their heads. Finally Errol, the Bushcat dealer came over (luckily we aren't too far from each other) and he found himself scratching his head too. He called the factory and talked to the engineer and the manager. A light bulb went off for Errol though and while undoing the bottom longeron to see what the diagonals would do without it, he realised that loosening off the bolts let it fit properly. The bottom longeron has two bolts. Taking out the second bolt lets the longeron swivel a bit. Once everything was aligned it all fitted beautifully and the second bolt can be put back in.
A programming friend once told me I am the perfect beta tester because I always find that combination of things that no else has tried that will lock up the computer. Looks like that 'talent' has transferred over the airplane building because this is the first time this phenomenon has happened with this particular kit 😂
I still don't quite understand why it did it, but my own thought is that if I were to build one again I would leave those two bolts loose until all the diagonals are in place and then tighten everything up. It may well be that by the time you are building this kit, the manual will suggest that also.
Detail section 9
left side upper fuselage tube has two threaded holes. Also, make sure you put the turnbuckles in in step 2 before you do step 3 (which ties the two tubes together aft) otherwise you won’t be able to put the Clevis pin in. How do I know this? 😄
Detail of section 8.2
there are bushes that go inside the bottom tubes where the tail wheel spring mounts. These are a tight fit so what I did was wrap the tube in thin card and then get some vice grips. I wound the vice grips up to just touch the card. And then just enough more to just compress the tube. Not enough to even see. Then I placed the bushes in place with pointy nosed pliers and put the bolts in to hold them in place. When the vice grips were released the tube springs back into shape and holds the bushes 🙂
Note in in the background is my bike. By strange coincidence it shares much the same specs as the Bushcat- 100hp, 305kg (yep he’s heavy!) and about 180 km/h top speed! Mind you, you don’t want to be going top speed on a cruiser for any length of time, while you could do it all day in the Bushcat 🙂
I am building the Bushcat in a two car garage. Skyreach recommend something a bit bigger. So not heaps of room. Right now I’m using two of the long crates as a bench. They are sitting on some mini castors so I can move them
around. Once those two are decanted they can go out and the fuselage can stand on its undercarriage in the same location. There will
be an awkward phase though because the wing components are in the larger of those two crates. Jo doesn’t know it yet but her car may have to sit outside for a bit 😄
once ive built as much as I can, I’ll have to look at renting a hanger of course...
For this section you need to rivet some aluminium strips along the bottom. Later they are used for lacing the fabric. I can tell you now a ten dollar pop rivet gun won’t work!
So I got this bobby dazzler for the rivetting. Kingchrome, forty bucks. Does the trick and should see me through this build since there are only a few rivets here and there in the Bushcat 🙂
Note: this build is for the taildragger version of the Skyreach Bushcat, so bear in mind some sections may be a little different to the tricycle version.
So I won't be posting every time I screw a nut onto a bolt. Mostly I will highlight points of interest, tricks and solutions and general thoughts. Also I am discovering that I am needing 'special' tools sooner than anticipated, so in this first post I will list any special tools/materials and the section of the Bushcat build I first needed them in. That way if anyone else is building a Skyreach Bushcat they can see when they have to spring for them without having to buy them all at once. At the time of writing this, I was up to section 17. I would suggest it won’t take long to get that far.
Torque seal - Section 1
Pop rivet gun - Section 2 (not really a special tool as such, but I didn't have one handy so it goes in the list!)
Loctite 243 - Section 12
Cable tension gauge - Section 14
0.82 safety wire - Section 14 (choose any unit of measure you like- miles, parsecs, cubits. I myself went for millimeters as that will have the best fit in the hole)
modified pointy nosed pliers - Section 17
M6 taps (through and bottom) - Section 25
special wheel bearing grease - Section 29
Antoinette began as a private venture led by the engineer Léon Levavasseur. By 1904, most of the prize-winning speedboats in Europe were powered with Antoinette engines. During this time, he designed engines of various configurations of up to thirty-two cylinders.
The company's primary business was the sale of engines to aircraft builders. Their engines were used in the Santos-Dumont 14-bis of 1906, Paul Cornu's rudimentary helicopter of 1907, the Voisin biplane that was modified and piloted by Henri Farman who used it to complete Europe's first 1 kilometer circular flight in January 1908, and other significant pioneer aircraft.
There seems to be no information about the application of the v16.
Liberty V12 engine photographed at Hendon in 2012.
The Liberty L-12 was an American 27-litre (1,649 cubic inch) water-cooled 45° V-12 aircraft engine of 400 hp (300 kW) designed for a high power-to-weight ratio and ease of mass production. It was succeeded by the Packard 1A-2500.
There were 20,478 engines produced between 1917 and 1919. Only a few engines made it to France before the war ended.
The Avion II was the second primitive aircraft designed by Clément Ader in the 1893. Most sources agree that work on it was never completed, Ader abandoning it in favour of the Avion III that had a financial backer. Ader's later claim that he flew the Avion II in August 1892 for a distance of 100 m at a field in Satory is not widely accepted.
The engine developed for Avion II, called Zéphyr was a light steam engine driving a 3 m (10 ft) diameter 4-bladed propeller, in which steam was cooled through a condenser. It yielded 22 kW (30 hp) at 480 rpm at a pressure of 15 Pa (0.00 psi), weighing 33 kg (73 lb) dry, and 134 kg (295 lb) with full boiler and accessories.
This one was at the Musee de l'Air et de l'Espace, Le Bourget, Paris.
32 different aircraft types used Salmson engines, including Short, Farman, Blackburn, Voisin, Caudron, Vickers and Sopwith.
Henri Salmson, a manufacturer of water pumps, was engaged by Georges Marius Henri-Georges Canton and Pierre Unné, a pair of Swiss engineers, to produce engines to their design. Their initial efforts were on barrel engines, but these failed to meet expectations due to low reliability and high fuel consumption caused by internal friction.
A new 7-cylinder water-cooled radial design was then developed by Canton and Unné. The range was expanded to produce 9-cylinder models, and also two-row 14-cylinder and 18-cylinder engines. By 1912 the Salmson A9 was producing around 120 brake horsepower; while competitive with rival designs from French companies, Salmson, Canton and Unné decided to develop more powerful engines as their rivals were concentrating on engines of lower power.
The engines were produced at Salmson's factory at Billancourt, which was expanded during the First World War, and a second factory was opened at Villeurbanne. The Salmson-(Canton-Unne) series of water-cooled engines were also built by licensees in Russia and in Great Britain at the Dudbridge Iron Works Limited at Stroud in Gloucestershire between 1914 and 1918.
From Wikipedia - From 1905 to 1915, Alessandro Anzani built a number of three-cylinder fan and radial engines, one of which powered Louis Blériot's 1909 cross-channel flight. An Anzani three-cylinder engine that powers a Blériot XI based in England is thought to be the oldest airworthy engine in the world.
The first image is from Paris, the second from Old Warden, in a 1910 Deperdussin.
This is a Bertin X-8. It is 100HP. Photographed at the Musée de l’air et de l’espace in Paris in 2015. Bertin was killed in a crash of his fifth build before the Great War.
Jane's All The World Aircraft 1913:
BERTIN. L. Bertin, 23 rue de Rocroy, Paris. 1913. Monoplane. 2-seater.
Length.........feet(m.) 29 (8.80)
Span...........feet(m.) 34 (10.40)
Area .....sq. feet(m?.) 226 (21)
.....lbs.(kgs.) 770 (350)
Motor..............h.p. 100 Bertin
Speed, max...m.p.h.(km.) 71 (115)
Number built during 1912 1
Remarks--Wood and steel construction. On wheels only. Controls: warping and rear elevator
Flight, November 16, 1912.
THE PARIS AERO SALON. Bertin.
M. Bertin's machine is a monoplane which follows in its general design conventional practice. Its main body, pentagonal in section, is a girder of wood and steel wire. In front is mounted an 8-cyl. 100-h.p. engine of M. Bertin's own design and constiuction. The tail has fixed vertical and horizontal surfaces, to which are hinged respectively the rudder and the elevators. Its chassis built up entirely of steel tubing, and although not highly original, is, nevertheless, extremely neat and effective. Its flexibility is derived from steel compression springs enclosed in the outer oblique chassis struts, the vertical centre ones acting purely as guides.