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About this blog

My adventures in building the Skyreach Bushcat LSA kit

 

But first, time for some indulgence!

 

Thirty five years ago, I was given a copy of National Geographic magazine. The cover story was on ultralights. I was besotted by the idea of these 'personal flying machines', particularly the Pteradactyl and Quicksilver MX, but I had a funny mindset back then. Even to the extent of thinking that since we didn't live in the USA, ultralights were out of my reach. Not just that, I lived in Darwin, Australia which as a 14 yo felt like an even less likely place for ultralights. Where were the green forests and New England architecture for me to soar over!

 

Ten or so years later, having pretty much forgotten about ultralights (as I knew them) I learnt to fly in a Piper Warrior. I got as far as GFPT and then ran out of money, and steam.

 

A couple of years ago I started thinking about the 'real deal' again and the idea of constructing an ultralight and did some investigating. And lo and behold, Quicksilver (and the MX) were still around! But only just. They were going through the process of changing hands, and also Rotax had stopped making the engines used for them. Anyway, I discovered this new type of licence (RA-Aus) and decided to re-learn to fly and convert my GFPT. At the same time, I was pointed to the Skyreach Bushcat as a possible kit to build. You might think the Bushcat is a far cry from an MX, but it is still aluminium tubes, brackets and fabric. Just with a Rotax 912 swinging the propellor instead of a chainsaw motor! But it will totally scratch that itch I had all those years ago. And also, I can take my partner up with me, and it doesn't just have to be at the break of dawn 😀

 

 

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Entries in this blog

 

8. Section 17

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.

danny_galaga

danny_galaga

 

9. Section 20

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.

danny_galaga

danny_galaga

 

7. Section 11

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.

danny_galaga

danny_galaga

 

4. Workspace

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...

danny_galaga

danny_galaga

 

6. Section 9

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? 😄

danny_galaga

danny_galaga

 

5. Section 8

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 🙂

danny_galaga

danny_galaga

 

2. Section 2

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  🙂    

danny_galaga

danny_galaga

 

1. Without further ado!

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      

danny_galaga

danny_galaga

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