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langted

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About langted

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  • Birthday 11/12/1956

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  • Aircraft
    Citabria 7ECA
  • Location
    Lambertville, MI

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  1. langted

    Lightning

    Dave- I haven't been on the forum for awhile, but I'm glad to see you finally got the bird home. I did about 6 days of factory assist on my own lightning in October. Since then I've done a little work on it, but I've largely been sorting other things out. That includes some infrastructure on the local airport workshop I'm renting. Being an amateur mechanic, I had a lot of tools, including compressor. But, airplanes are different and I found I needed a few tools.... resin.... fiberglass cloth.... bit parts and stuff not included in the kit. Now that I'm finally getting traction on the project, it has gotten prematurely cold for the last 2 months (Winter in US) and my shop heat is not great. Sigh..... After the build assist, I was able to bring it home on a large rented landscaping trailer, so fortunately I didn't have your HUGE shipping bill or import tax (but I do have 6% sales tax.). Also, although not as cool or fast as your turbine, I opted for the Titan 340 with fixed pitch prop which is cheaper. I'm planning to use a Prince propeller -- they are light weight, seem to have good performance, good reported factory support, they are reasonably priced, and I ride my bicycle past the factory every few days in the summer (Maybe I'll just strap it on back of my bike!) My plan is to get everything fitted including instruments, then take it back to Shelbyville for paint, reassembly, and test flights. Then fly it back home. Schedule ??? Who can say at this point. Hoping for next Fall. (I know - naive). Do keep us posted on your project -- much more interesting than mine. Ted
  2. langted

    Lightning

    Repeating Dave's comment, the lightning was not originally designed within LSA restrictions, but rather it was slowed down to meet LSA restrictions. (This is a good time to correct a typo in my 6-22-18 post: most existing lightnings in the US are E-AB not E-LSA). So as Dave indicated, its an incremental, rather than a big a push to the design. Personally, I'm not one to take a lot of risk and I like bigger margins. For those reasons, I am exploring using aluminum fuel tanks and a BRS parachute which are available on the lightning. I also like mechanical simplicity and less vibration for which Dave's turboprop should excel. Although this time around, my build will be too soon to take advantage of Dave's turboprop, I still hope to get advantage of any modifications that might improve Vne margin. With an expected cruise of "only" about 155knts, my build will be "OK" in that regard, but more margin is still worth a little expense. So I'm keenly interested in Dave's progress, look forward to more testing of the desgin at higher speeds, and look forward to a (hopefully) small retrofit to my airframe as a real benefit.
  3. langted

    Lightning

    So... you're saying our IQ is well over 200?
  4. langted

    Lightning

    It's amazing how fast this aircraft goes together! I was very happy with the building environment, although sorry I was only able to be there on day one and wasn't able to connect with Dave. Can't wait for mine to start. Of course Nick just had to capture my "bald spot" while I there.....
  5. OK....will report back as the kit progresses. By the way, I did take a test flight in the factory demonstrator with a Superior O-320. It flew very nicely (on "rails" as they say), but since it was the only factory demonstrator, Nick (Arion owner) was reluctant to let me land it. This resulted in a lot more questions to other lightning owners, which eventually satisfied me that landing qualities are fine. However, I expect to do thorough transition training since I am coming from a 115 hp Citabria 7ECA.
  6. langted

    Lightning

    Well after further review, I just started the process to buy a lightning XS kit. With respect to any concern over propensity for lightnings to be damaged in accidents, a previous post notes that the NTSB in the US has an accessible online database that details all the reported general aviation damage accidents. Using data from the NTSB, the FAA compiled a report in 2014 (called a "Continued Operational Safety (COS) Report") that summarizes (only) light sport accidents in the US from 2004 to 2014 from all manufacturers (I imagine a lot of forum members have seen this). With respect to the Arion Lightning LSA, its accident rate was not the lowest, but slightly lower than the average (which is good, considering its performance). However, the since the report only includes factory assembled LSAs, it does not include amateur built LSAs or experimentals in either the reported accidents statistics or the number flying. So I made a similar tabulation for the lightning using the NTSB database for all lightnings in the same period, LSAs and the rest (most are E-LSA). The result was essentially the same, i.e. still a little less than the average accident rate of the factory built LSAs from all manufacturers. The accident reports included damage incidents from before the lightning tail improvement, so if extracted from the data, that might make matters even better. (Note that this was just my personal review, not error checked...my engineering disclaimer). In the end, I was satisfied. With respect to landing difficulty, this seems to not be big deal, but it is a performance oriented airplane with higher than typical wing loading. As to shorter fields, one guy I contacted in Indiana (who has serial number 12 and loves it) reportedly flies from a 610 meter grass strip with 25 meter trees right at each end, and the original tail. This isn't a STOL strip, but a lot tighter than I will need. So, after test flying it, in my book, the lightning performance and handling is excellent, price reasonable, looks great, build time is minimal, and its safety record is on par with others. A lot of positives there, and good enough for me.
  7. To finish off this string.... After a lot of research, talking to owners, forum feedback, a decision spreadsheet, etc, etc.... The winner is Arion Lightning. I am sending in my deposit in the morning mail. Not sure where I'll be in the que, but probably not too far behind Dave's. Choosing between these airplanes was really tough, the hardest decision I've ever made, but I think I'll be happy. Just too bad Dave's turbo won't be ready. Thanks for comments.
  8. Exactly why I call myself "lousy pilot".... a self-reminder to keep from becoming cocky and complacent.
  9. In the original post, its sounds like it was resolved as flooding due to the particular carburetor setup. But then the subject of vapor lock came up. I'm not sure if this adds much to the conversation (perhaps you guys are already up on this) but I'm new here so.... related to vapor lock.... In the US, airports generally only sell 100LL AVgas, whereas a lot of light sport engines can run cheaper automobile fuel (Mogas). If you run Mogas, it should be understood that its not just a matter of the octane, no lead content, and possibility of ethanol blends, but a whole different formulation. Of significance to this thread is the vapor pressure of the fuel (Reid vapor pressure, or RVP). In the US, RVP of AVgas is (I think), typically about 7 psi (48.3 kPa) year round. Mogas vapor pressure is much higher: typically up to 15 psi (103kPa) for "winter" fuel and regulated to be as low as 7.8 psi (54 kPa) in the summer, regionally dependent. These are the absolute vapor pressures, measured at 100F (37.8C). I took a quick look at Australian standards for Mogas, and it looks like there is a different summer/winter standard there as well, with a similar range. I first encountered this one early summer day in my small power boat on Lake Erie, in the US. I was stranded on the lake 15 miles from shore and couldn't start until I figured out it was vapor lock and I got the carburetor and fuel lines cooled down. It had never happened before in 10years of using that boat, but I had filled the tanks in November the prior year (that's late fall, here), when mogas stations were well into "winter" fuel. I don't do that anymore. Vapor lock is always inconvenient, but potentially lethal in an airplane, if it is susceptible by design. The bottom line is that you are much more likely to encounter vapor lock if you use Mogas, and even more so if its a "winter" blend.
  10. Looking forward greatly to Dave's updates!! I'm still leaning toward the Lightning. However, just to make life difficult, the US "airplane factory" rep for the Sling 2 just informed me that the Rotax 914 will fit in the Sling 2 (not advertised, but compatible with design). Not sure what I think about having a turbo (no experience with them, so more research needed), but the 914 (vs 912) wakes up the Sling 2 and gets it just into my target range for speed and climb. (They are also doing a slight redesign on the four seat Sling 4 to accept the new Rotax 915. That's really a great buy if you want 4 seats, but pricey if 2 seats are enough) Ted
  11. As for the 7ECA, I only cruise at about 87 knits (sorry- I couldn't resist), I still have the wood spar (not replaced with newer metal spar), and the fabric is nearly expended. Instruments-- very limited (airspeed, altimeter, ball, and a G-meter). I don't like the tandem seating but I do like the tailwheel. You generally get to your destination faster in a car (albeit in less style), unless you are going to an island or something. All joking aside about knits, knots, or mph (I'm getting a kick out of this forum)--- it appears to me that the RV-9 and the Lightning XS cruise speeds are pretty close to each other when equipped with an O-320 equivalent engine. In any case, performance is very sufficient for either the RV or Lightning with O-320. One the other hand, The Sling 2 is an LSA (through and through) and suffers from only being offered with a Rotax 912-- I know its a great engine, but small. Just looking at the finished airplane, I would go for an RV-9 (or -7), with no regret. But, in line with "ApenName"'s sentiments about my ever advancing age, I think i have ruled out the RV-9. There is a gent in my local EAA who is about a year from finishing an RV-9A. HE says he has religiously spent about 4 hours a day, for 4 years, with an estimated year to go. (Hundreds of hours just on the sliding canopy!) I suspect I would be very similar to him for a number of reasons, and that is about how much time (per day) that I can devote. (Another guy in my local just finished a RV-8A -- 16 years!) It seems that however you cut it, quickbuild or not, an RV project is just too long for me. (Maybe I'll get into one down the road, just for the challenge of building, without concern whether it ever flies.... but that is not my present objective.) So: That leaves the Sling 2 and the Arion Lightning. Both have either the factory or a dealer/build assist facility nearby (which is a big reason for excluding OTHER LSAs). Checking on Foreflight, I looked at a few places that I want to be in "comfortable" flight range -- i.e. less than about 2.5 hours. A FAST LSA, like the Lightning w/Jabiru 3300 at 120 knits will marginally make my objective, but the Sling 2, alas, at about 100 knits, does not appear that it will. OF these two, I like both a lot, but for completely different reasons. The Sling has a sliding canopy on a very wide cockpit (that my wife loved), reasonable build time, excellent, exceedingly complete kit and instructions, very obviously robust gear -- there is nothing "not to like" except pull rivets (minor), higher purchase price (minor difference), and much slower speed (about 112 mph vs. 138 mph). I suspect it will also have a better resale and may be a bit safer, especially on landing. The lightning is better looking (my opinion), clearly looks to have a MUCH faster build*, and can be built as an LSA (with Jabiru 3300 power) or it can be built with O-320 type engines for higher speed and climb. I'm not as comfortable with composites compared to aluminum, and I think resale will be worse. But, it meets all my objectives. Note: wife wasn't at the point of accepting the inevitable when we visited Arion, so she didn't get in the cockpit to compare with the Sling. It has a tip up canopy and noticeably tighter cockpit, but OK by me. Summary--At this point, I haven't quite written off the Sling 2, but I'm tending toward either the Lightning LSA (Jabiru) or the faster lightning XS (O-320). Basis is better performance and faster expected build time than the Sling 2. I think I can be done (theoretically) in about a year, so maybe 2 years in reality. * factory offers a 4 week build program for $4000 US per week: The program is 1 week assembling (builder assist), 1-2 weeks in paint shop, then 2 more weeks (builder assist), then fly off the 40 hour FAA requirement. I am thinking to do the first week, but transport home for the rest to save $8000 and to be more involved in the building. So, that's where I'm at (today, that is) Thanks for all the comments! Ted
  12. langted

    Lightning

    Thanks Ian -- I would be using 95% paved runways and the rest always pretty good mowed grass for occasional fly-in gatherings. Sounds like its not an issue.
  13. If I were to build the RV-9, it would be a quick build or MAYBE a partially completed kit if I liked what was done. In the meantime, I'm still flying the citabria (This is a club plane that gets very little use-- so little I think of it like my own.) I look forward to the building, but I DO want to finish in sufficient time to fly it for many years as well; I'm guessing that I will be good to fly until age 70 or so (9 more years). Most of the RV projects I have seen seem to take 4 years minimum, and some much longer. I would be happy with 4hrs a day or so for 1-1/2 to 2 years. That seems in line with Vans quick build claims, but their claims appear to be way too optimistic. Right now, I am tending toward the Arion Lightning XS --- very nice plane and seems to meet all the attributes I was looking for.
  14. langted

    Lightning

    FlyVulcan: Thanks for the info on Vne-- perhaps I could get the same modification on mine if I buy it. Probably not needed for an IO-320, but nice to have more margin. I have had RC planes come apart due to flutter and its an eye-opener. Also, thanks for the inputs on the gear and landing. Sounds like its just fine. Ted
  15. langted

    Lightning

    Wow! 200 hp sounds like a fun project! Be sure to keep us informed! With respect to increasing Vne, how do you go about that? Is that something that Arion assists with, or is it a "one-off" prospect? Since Vne is based on TAS it would seem it could sneek up on you at higher altitude if you are looking at IAS even with more modest IO-320 power, so more margin would be a big plus for that as well as rapid decents. Have your friends commented on landing qualities and gear robustness? I am an average (i.e. typically lousy) pilot, and am concerned over whether the lightning will demand more than my ability. (I am currently flying a Citabria 7ECA) I also heard a stray comment that landings on grass strips may not wise. Can you comment on landing qualities?
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