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eastmeg2

Buzzard Trike Restoration

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I've decided to try my hand at restoring an old Airborne Buzzard Trike Base. Ive' picked the Buzzard not just because it may (hopefully) have some parts in common with later Airborne trikes like my friend's 1995 Edge Executive trike which shares our hangar, but because it was legally a single seater trike which, as a single seater should give me the freedoms to enhance it with goodies like rear wheel disc brakes, or fit a HKS-700E motor (versus 2nd hand Rotax 503) if I'm feeling that rich further down the track.

 

Needless to say I'll need to find a good source of aircraft quality bolts & nyloc nuts & possibly 6061 Aluminium tubing, although the tubing I've seen on the trike frame so far all appears to be in pretty good condition in spite of it's age and I may even be looking for ways to confirm this (for example if there's corrosion on the inside surfaces I can't see), or even get the tubes re-anodised.

 

Attached (I think, 268k) photo shows its current state of (dis) assembly, which is how I bought it.

p1010402.jpg

 

It also came with a fibreglass pod and Rotax 532. Not too sure if the 532 will ever see action again, but will see how it goes on a test bench when I get around to it.

 

 

 

Cheers,

Glen

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This time I hope, have shrunk it to 126k this time . . . difficult because I have to type in the entire file path every time, starting with "c:"

p1010402a.jpg

p1010402a.jpg

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Yep that is (dis) assembled allright. :laugh:

The seat cushion looks like a 2 seater in the pic is that right? I thought it was only a single.

Thanks for the show and tell and please keep us posted on how it's going, it will be interesting :thumb_up:

Regards Bill

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Hi Bill,

 

You're spot on about the seat cushion looking like a 2 seater. But I was always assured by the previous owner that Buzzards were only ever registered as single seaters. HGFA has backed this up. I have no intention of challenging this since the relative freedoms afforded to single seaters will add to the appeal of this project.

 

I"ve already started speaking with Punkinhead about a new single seat cushion with a luggage bag/box where the rear seat currently is.

 

 

Cheers,

Glen

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Geez Glen,

 

Looks like the buzzards have fed on the old buzzard and left you with a skeleton and some slim pickings lol.

Good luck with the project and as Bill has already said keep us informed on your progress on it.:thumb_up:

Cheers

Alf

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G'Day Alf,

 

Long time no hear. Hope everythings ok in your part of the world and the recent fires have not come too close.

 

I've taken the trike frame into the hangar and put it together to see what needs replacing and whats missing.

 

I hope Airborne are in a good mood this week.

 

 

Cheers,

Glen

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I'm just weighing up the engine options for the Buzzard:

  • New Rotax 503 + Gearbox approx $6k
  • Overhall of Rotax 532 by 'Floods $5k (With a warning from Floods that the 532's had weak cranks, plus the gearbox would probably need an overhall)

Any other options out there?

 

I've been Googling "1/2 VW" engines like those used on the Minimax and Hummelbird Ultralights but can't seem to find any Australian distributors for 1/2 VW engines, only for whole VW aero engines and USA distributors of kits for 1/2 VW engines. Now If I could get a nice 1/2 VW engine producing 40-50hp with forced air cooling like a Rotax 503 - and I think some VW engine did have this, that woud be a serious option to consider . . .

 

 

Cheers,

Glen

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Hi,

There is a VW motor manufacturer in the Bribie Is. area, just north of Brisbane.

 

Bob.

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Guest brentc

I might have a set of spats with moulds for the Buzzard. Are you interested in them?

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Thanks for the quick response guys. . .

 

Bob, I think you're referring to these guys, VW Engines experimental aircraft engines, I've not contacted them yet as they don't advertise any 1/2 engines on their website but it wouldn't hurt to ask them now would it, or they might even be able to do a version of the very first VW engines which I think were around 1200 or 1300cc, so long as the weight doesn't go too high over 50kg. That would be preferable to a 2 cyl 1/2 VW motor since it appears the crankcase has to be heavily vented to accomodate both pistons sweeping their volumes at the same time like a well balance single cylinder motor.

 

 

Brent, thanks for the offer, I'll keep that in mind but as my main bird is an XT-912 tourer and I'm looking for a different experience with this mistress, after much umming and ah'ing, I've decided to follow the Redback path and leave this one completely open and naked. Will most likly purchase a Redback instrument pod from Airborne to stick up front. Have also had fantasies about installing a new XT engine mount & mast from Airborne but strongly suspect that cost will be the limiting factor.

 

 

John, $$$$$'s.

I have checked HKS700E prices and they're upwards of USD 9k.:loopy: (Plus freight & GST).

With BMW bike boxer engines, do you know of any Oz distributors or pricing? Have seen some European articles on these though only for 2 seater trikes, so I'd probably be looking for something slightly smaller than the R100 motor, more like an R80 I suppose.

 

 

Cheers,

Glen

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John, $$$$$'s.

I have checked HKS700E prices and they're upwards of USD 9k.:loopy: (Plus freight & GST).

With BMW bike boxer engines, do you know of any Oz distributors or pricing? Have seen some European articles on these though only for 2 seater trikes, so I'd probably be looking for something slightly smaller than the R100 motor, more like an R80 I suppose.

 

Yes I thought that might be the problem ;)

I don't know of any Oz agents for BMW aero engine conversions so that option might involve a bit more engineering of your own.

 

Do Hirth do anything suitable ? Might be back to the price problem again though

 

Cheers

John

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Hirth have an interesting motor in the F23. 50hp 2 stroke 2 cylinder boxer. But it will always be Rotax for me when it comes down to choosing between Rotax and Hirth. In this comparison I consider that the Rotax 503 would be the better option.

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I think I only flown with a Hirth engine a couple of times - nothing exciting happened but after a lot of trouble free hours with the 503 that would be my preference also.

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I spent all of last Friday outside the Airborne factory replacing all the bolts in the trike base. All the holes were round, which is good.

 

The Buzzard generated a bit of interest.

 

I went home with a new Rotax 503 engine package and a Redback instrument binacle, minus the instruments. (Perhaps well timed to see what can be bought at Narromine a few days from now.)

 

Tried the 503 on the trike base over the weekend, only to realise that the engine mounting brackets are still attached to the Buzzard's old 532 motor at a different location and some other seat frame mounting bolts had to be re-ordered at the correct length and should be arriving before the weekend.

 

This coming weekend I'll be checking all the seat frame parts with a dry assembly, though it will all have to come apart again for some painting. Will also mount the engine as I should have all the brackets, rubbers and bolts.

 

Then, planning the hand the old seat cushion to Punkinhead and agree on a new seat cushion design I hope will be ready by early May.

 

It was starting to look a bit like a trike base with all the shiny new bolts and the old seat cushion and shiny new intrument binacle in place.

 

Will get some more photo's this weekend, when I'm not at Natfly.

 

 

Cheers,

Glen

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Thank goodness the weather came good on Sunday morning. Like many others I was then able to fly back from Narromine, rather than having to tackle the logistics of de-rigging in the rain and squeezing it onto the back of my mate's F250 and trying to lash my wing to his on his trike trailer.

 

So, I had all of today to tinker with the Buzzard.

 

1. Fitted the new 503 onto the engine mount, but still want to get new engine mount rubbers even though the rubbers are probably still useable but I'll be happier with new ones.

2. Re-Pitched the 3-bladed Ivo propellor, increasing the pitch by 2 shims. Previously it was set for use with a 532 with a 2.58 gearbox whereas I'll be using it with a 503 and a 3.47 gearbox. I don't want my brand-spankers-new 503 being over-revved so I'll be keeping an eagle eye on on the tacho during the run-in procedure and if it reaches 6800rpm on anything less than full throttle there are still another 2 pitch adjustment shims I can move. If my new pitch setting is too coarse there are up to 4 pitch shims I can use to reduce pitch.

 

Things that still need doing:

1. Buy new fuel tank. (Same as on Quicksilver MX)

2. Fuel Plumming.

3. Wiring. ( Have an Airborne Redback wiring harness and bought a 2nd hand Powermate regulator/rectifier and the Natfly Fly-Market, so I can fit a battery to run things like a radio, GPS and landing light)

4. Procure and fit Instruments.

 

 

Cheers,

Glen

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The progress continues, though there's not a lot to show for it at the moment. Have removed the motor and put it back in it's Rotax box again.

 

Have rubbed back and painted the rear suspension swing arms and front seat mount.

 

Have ordered from Airborne:

1. A new Edge-X mast which will be much easier to fit with the engine absent.

2. Bits for mounting the new exhaust, plus powdercoating of the exhaust.

3. Tundra Forks.

4. New seat cushion and pilots backrest to fill the big hole inside the red rectangle seat frame.

 

And Quicksilver Ultralights has a replacement fuel tank available.

 

I was going to visit Airborne this Friday, but they don't have all of the parts available this week, plus the trip to Taree (where the Tundra Tyres and the Wizard Wing I might be buying are) has been postponed to the following weekend.

 

So the next couple of weeks will be focussed on getting the Trike Base structure finalised with a new Mast, the Seat and Seat Belts fited, the Engine and Exhaust System mounted, the Tundra Undercarriage fitted, New fuel tank fitted and plumbed, and the Instrument Binnacle propoerly mounted to be ready to accept instruments.

 

Once all that's done it should be ready for another visit to Airborne to get the instruments & gauges fitted and the wiring done. I can't think what else would need to be done after that before its inspection apart from bolting a wing on top.

 

 

Cheers,

Glen

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My Buzzard now sports a brand new mast and front brace tube. The FUN part was pre-stretching the internal safety cable with about 300kg of force and locking it in place with the tubular bush through which the bolt goes which connects it to the plates either side which bolt onto the base tube. It's a "Back bone connects to the Hip Bone" song kind of thing.:star:

 

 

Thanks to the rack on the quad bike, a few stray lumps of wood, a 5ft steel pipe lever, some big D-bolts and a 2nd pair of hands, the pre-stretching of the cable became possible and was uneventful.

 

Some basic geometry was engaged to ensure the hangpoint stayed in the same place to avoid trike type COG issues. Basically, if the 3 sides of one triangle are the same length as the 3 sides of another triangle, then you're looking at 2 identical triangles. The front brace tube needed one extra hole drilled and the old hole cannot be accessed with the seat frame locked in place.

 

The rear suspension swing arms were re-installed and the front seat mount was bolted back on and seat frame mounted to it.

 

Looks much better now with a bit of strategically placed paint.:thumb_up:

 

I'm a bit concerned about whether the Tundra forks will fit on the Buzzard base tube and am just awaiting a reply from someone who has restored a Buzzard before and seems to have replaced the forward section of their Base Tube with an Edge-X part.(That's right, I'm not the first)

 

Anyway, I did end up visiting Airborne on Friday morning. I realised that I'd be spending my next 3 weekends elsewhere and resolved to get as much done as I possibly could this weekend. The weather forecast for next weekend looks good so hopefully my friend will be flying his Cessna to his property near Taree and I'll be coming home from there with some more good bits for the Buzzard. Namely a Wizard Wing and some Tundra Tyres & Tubes and a possibly a detailed design of rear wheel drum brakes for trikes, if not an actual kit or an undertaking to make another set for me . . . :big_grin:

 

 

Cheers,

Glen

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Suprisingly I made it to the farm again this weekend, even after having been up to Taree on Saturday morning. But that's because I went to Taree with my friend in his C172 and we landed back at Camden around 1pm. That's another story.

 

We collected the Tundra tyres and 1 rim from my friends hangar at Taree, but somehow couldn't make the Wizard wing fit in or on the C172 for the return trip.

 

The 2 rear wheels on the Buzzard now wear the Tundra tyres and look much better also because I gave the rims some polishing before fitting the new tyres. I'm still waiting on the Outback Tundra Forks from Airborne so the original Buzzard front tyre still lives at the pointy end. The Tundra tyre did not fit in the Original Buzzard forks. We tried . . .

 

Airborne seemed a bit concerned that the standard Redback exhaust would clash with the Buzzard engine mount, so some photo's were taken to demonstrate this would not occur and emailed to Airborne tonight. So they can go ahead and weld the Redback muffler mount brackets to my exhaust and send it for power coating.

 

Alas, I'm away flying the XT-912 from next weekend though to the following one so will be too busy flying to tinker with the Buzzard for the next couple of weekends.

 

 

Cheers,

Glen

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Alas, I'm away flying the XT-912 from next weekend though to the following one so will be too busy flying to tinker with the Buzzard for the next couple of weekends.

 

 

 

Alas ????? You poor :censored:. My :heart: bleeds for you mate :crying:

 

Regards Bill :laugh:

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Back from my week of Flying & Buying

 

We had a great week away last week flying around western NSW.

 

As we disembarked from our Trikes at one of the airports my co-pilot mentioned I should look around for the pilot shop at that airport to see if I could get a better deal on Instruments for my Buzzard. After a short walk I found the shop, introduced myself to the manager there and listed what I wanted.

 

This shop had everything I needed at a better price than I'd been quoted elsewhere,:thumb_up: so I put in my order to be posted to me at home this week. So now I'm waiting for all these things to arrive so I can bolt them into my binacle instrument panel.

ASI 20 to 80 kts

ALT -1,000 to 20,000ft

Dual EGT + sensors

Dual CHT + sensors

Tachometer

Hobbs (Hour) meter (On back-order)

 

 

Cheers,

Glen:chuffed:

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The instruments did arrive last week so I had a bit of fun mounting them in the panel which I had brought home with me. Only the Altimeter had an issue with the QNH subscale being out by 25 hectopascals (750ft error), so it's been sent back to the shop for calibration. Have not got around to wiring or plumbing anything yet (The REAL FUN part). Am waiting for the exhaust system to come back powdercoated so I can put it back on and screw in the EGT sensors.

 

The seat cushion was sourced from Airborne as it became clear that any one-off duplication of the original Buzzard seat was going to cost just as much, if not more. So the Edge-X seat cushion has now been fitted in the seat frame and bolted back on. The pilots backrest has also been mounted on the base tube using the Edge-X trike next to it as a guide on how far back to mount it. Yes !!! It all fitted . . . :clap::big_grin:

 

So Sunday 24th May I've been able to sit in the pilots seat for the first time, with the tundra forks and tyres mounted. It's certainly not as roomy as the XT with the front brace tube being closer to the pilots head and a bit more bend in the knees.

 

Airborne have got my exhaust back from the powder-coaters today and will be sending it this week along with extra bits I need to fit the seatbelt, complete the Tundra front undercarriage assembly (Including brakes with parking lock) and mount the exhaust system.

 

Was a bit short for time since I stopped by Wollongong Airport on Saturday to check on some unwanted Wizard wings there. So didn't end up taking any photo's. Next weekend should show some more good result worthy of an exposure.

 

 

Cheers,

Glen

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Some good progress was made this weekend with plenty of bits having arrived from Airborne last week.

 

The Tundra Forks and front axle-wheel-brake assembly was completed and fitted to the front of the trike.

To aid this, the best method of installing new wheel bearing was discovered. ( By pre-heating the aluminium wheel to 200c in the oven and chilling the new bearings to -18c in the freezer, they simply dropped into place without any further mechanical encouragement being required).

:faint::thumb_up::clap:

 

Gearbox oil was sourced at Supercheap according to the Rotax manual specifications and the required 120mL was put in. The gearbox plug was inserted in the top and safety wired.

 

The exhaust system came back powder-coated last week and was installed onto the motor with the required high temperature anti-seize carbon grease in the joints and the springs were safety wired.

 

Seat belt was fitted to the base tube and fed through the seat.

 

The Instrument binacle pod was fitted properly this time by being bolted to the base tube with all the tidy saddles and bolt caps from Airborne. Instruments have been fitted into the panel which is separate and I'm still waiting for a good altimeter which is a couple of weeks away.

 

 

Am back to trying to source a replacement fuel tank from Quicksilver within the next month. Failing that, the alternative is to get a new fibreglass tank made up which will be more expensive but would allow for an increase in capacity over the 25 litres of the old tank, using the old tank as a guide. Might be an idea to check what marine tanks are available.

 

 

 

Cheers,

Glen

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