Jump to content
slartibartfast

Cheetah - a satisfied owner

Recommended Posts

From another thread - Don asked this question.

Hi Ross, how does your cheetah handle? did you build it? Iv'e seen them on the net and I'm curious to find out more owners experiance with Morgan areo A/C.

 

Don

 

He's probably not the only one wondering, so I thought I'd reply here.

 

I still love my Cheetah. There are many things it does right, and it certainly satisfies all the major criteria on my list.

 

  • Endurance - having 6 hours fuel gives you lots of options and scope for changes in plan.

 

  • Strength - it is an extremely solid design. Even when I dropped it hard and an axle broke, the sideways forces only bent a replaceable part, and it was all repaired fairly painlessly. Others have tried hard to break them, and they keep on keeping on.

 

  • Payload - at 267Kg empty, there's plenty of scope for pax, fuel and luggage - and plenty of storage areas to stow things.

 

  • Space - the cockpit has tons of room. I'm 6'1", so space was a major consideration. The Cheetah has great shoulder width, more leg room than I need, and I have never hit my head on the canopy. Organisation on a trip is easy. There are pockets and storage areas easily reached while in flight. The centre stick leaves your lap free for maps and kneeboard. Big tick here.

 

  • Handling - fantastic. Very light and direct feel, benign stall with good feel and warning (stick shake - not audible), excellent cruise comfort with hands off flying (aileron and elevator trim via bungies - elevator trim via wheel), fully castoring nosewheel with excellent toe brakes for unmatchable ground handling. When flying, it feels extremely solid in a turn, and will sit where it's put. The winglets give it incredible banking stability, as well as adding yaw stability when flying in turbulence. I put many hours on Garry's winglet-less Cheetah and know exactly how much difference they make.

 

  • Layout - I put a lot of attention into where everything went, and I'm extremely happy with the result. The stick and throttle are in exactly the right places for hours of cruising without fatigue. The gauges and switches are optimally placed so everything is easy to see and reach. Seating position is just right, and the seats are extremely comfortable. I have done a number of 4 hour legs, and I always feel that I could keep going. Nothing gets sore. The 4 point harness is very comfortable, and they work really well :sad:.

 

  • Simplicity - it is a very straightforward aeroplane to build, to fly and to maintain.

 

  • Looks - obviously, this is a bit subjective, but I love it. I think the lines are sexy, and it looks like a sports machine. Of course, I went a bit overboard with the graphics and paint on mine, but even plain white - they look great.

 

  • Visibility - excellent. Hard to beat a low wing, and this is better than most. The nose-down attitude when cruising gives great forward visibility too. I have the original canopy and love it, but sometime I will replace it with one of the new one-piece canopies Garry now makes. Totally uninterrupted vision, and smooth lines. They look fantastic. Just remember to wear a hat and sunscreen.

 

  • Ventilation - excellent. I put a rear-facing scoop under the cockpit to create negative pressure and it works a treat. When the 2 Naca vents are open, you have to keep the maps out of the way. Fantastic flow. I put cabin heat in too - just so my wife would have one less excuse.

 

  • Support - Garry is fanstastic to deal with. He is always available to talk, works hard to keep you happy, and is very helpful. If a problem is discovered with kits, or a better way to do something is found, he will supply new bits or new advice to everybody, and usually for free. He evens loans me his car everytime I go to Taree.
    Be warned - there are about 5 people who hold the opposite view of Garry, and relate totally negative experiences. I can only relate my experience. Problems arose with early kits, and the people involved are not happy with the way with which they were dealt. I guess you can't please everyone.

 

There are only a couple of outstanding niggles:-

 

  • Mine still doesn't reliably cruise at 110 knots. We are still trying to get to the bottom of it. I have tried about 6 props. The one I have now is probably the best of them. It climbs really well, accelerates well, and cruises comfortably in a good rev range. It still only cruises around 100 knots indicated. There is a possibility that the ASI has a leak and the indicated speed is wrong. Looking into that now. Other Cheetahs are cruising at 110 knots. John Bale built an all-metal Cheetah with flaps, and despite being quite a bit heavier than mine, it will cruise at 115 knots - on some days even more.

 

  • Nose leg pivot - I have had a lot of trouble getting the tension right on this. I frequently land somewhere and get a nasty shimmy. I then have to adjust it before I leave again (easy enough to do, but a pain). I think I have finally got to the bottom of it - not enough spring tension. If not, I will consider a redesign.

 

  • Sink rate - when heavy, you really have to watch your speed on approach. It gets into a high sink rate configuration where there isn't as much flare available as you think. I'm on top of it now, but it bit me a few times. It seems to only happen with mine.

 

  • Floating - it took me a while to learn to land it consistently. It really wants to fly, and will bounce if you don't handle the energy properly. Just practice and awareness though.

Flaps would solve both of the last 2 problems and make landing a lot easier, but I don't mind not having flaps. Once you're used to it, I find no need for them. The attidude on approach gives great visibility, the aircraft side-slips well, and speed control is fine - just a bit slippery. Not having flaps simplifies things considerably.

 

I built mine with factory assist in Taree. It was a fantastic experience and I highly recommend doing it that way. All the tools, advice, materials and labour savers are there. The kit is designed to be built quickly and easily - even by those with no prior experience. So you could build at home almost as simply. Garry is always available to help over the phone. He seems to spend half his days telephonised.

If you are considering a Cheetah (and you'd be mad not to), talk to John Bale about his. He made it all metal, and put flaps on it. It looks great and flies even better. Definitely worth considering over half fabric like mine. The weight penalty wasn't as much as you'd expect, and the performance hasn't suffered at all (and VNE is higher).

Of course you could always go the whole hog and build a Sierra. That has a 6 cylinder and cruises at 135 knots. Climb cruise of at leat 800' fpm at 100 knots. It's a magic aeroplane.

 

So there you go. I have about 130 hours on it at the time of writing this. I am extremely happy with it, and would recommend them to everyone.

I plan to be at Narromine, so that would be a perfect time to check it out and come for a ride. I think there are a few on this forum who have been promised a ride and not had theirs yet (Mal, Alan, etc.), so that would be the right time for you guys too.

 

The best thing about it?

It's not just another Jabiru. They are like carp. If we don't keep them in check, they'll kill everything else :laugh:

 

Informationally,

Ross

 

[ATTACH]7322.vB[/ATTACH]

 

[ATTACH]7323.vB[/ATTACH]

 

[ATTACH]7324.vB[/ATTACH]

276515707_cheetahposterall.thumb.jpg.1120ec5e37b4181dfe2526a9ba6f38ad.jpg

yady-small4.thumb.jpg.8fdaa3a8328384a8d72725acc4b4324e.jpg

PICT2615.thumb.jpg.71eb4663876cef425aca1facafd2fb61.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good post Ross, very informative. Pity about the last comment though. Tell you what, put your Cheetah on line for $105 p.h. and we Jab jockey's will be there in hordes to fly it. :devil: :devil: :devil: :rotary: Byeee

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Brett Campany

Very good review mate, I'm impressed by what you've said and would even consider it in the future.

 

I also reckon your graphics look awesome!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cheers.

A nice round figure Adam? Probably $60k. I am well paid, so I didn't scrimp on anything - quality paint, superb upholstery, full instrumentation, etc. Others have built them for less than $50k. Garry sold his old one for over $50k recently (I don't know exactly how much it went for in the end).

Got to be the best value around - n'est ce pas?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Brett Campany

Hey Ross, can we trouble you for any photos of the cockpit and other close up details photos? I'm keen to check this aircraft out. I don't think there's one in WA though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hey Ross, can we trouble you for any photos of the cockpit and other close up details photos? I'm keen to check this aircraft out. I don't think there's one in WA though.

 

There is one flying in WA now. Can't remember where. I'll ask Garry.

 

[ATTACH]7325.vB[/ATTACH]

 

[ATTACH]7326.vB[/ATTACH]

 

[ATTACH]7327.vB[/ATTACH]

 

[ATTACH]7328.vB[/ATTACH]

 

[ATTACH]7329.vB[/ATTACH]

PB240392.thumb.jpg.e2d50d8866ebc5b4037b12698e3fc19d.jpg

PB240396.thumb.jpg.26045471d01648e7337e29f8caf59065.jpg

PB240402.thumb.jpg.cd0dcca1b96b74d9a1e25fc92ca91541.jpg

P1251634.thumb.jpg.70d00154a9c9cec1bc82f16d071ed75f.jpg

P1251635.thumb.jpg.3b6f78a533e48eff45b990c1a5430c3e.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Slarti,

Please excuse my lack of knowledge but you mentioned trim with bungies?

How does that work

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Slarti,

Please excuse my lack of knowledge but you mentioned trim with bungies?

How does that work

 

Elevator trim is achieved by the use of a bungy loop around the stick near the base and going forward to the steel sub-frame, and then another bungy working rearward against that. In the photos below, that is attached to a lever. Since then I have changed it to a friction wheel. Garry didn't intend it, but I found that I can lift the upholstery velcro and slide the forward bungy left or right to "lean" on the stick. Plenty for aileron trim.

It's so effective, I would recommend removing all tension on it (at cruise altitude) when making sure the plane flies straight during initial flight testing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Elevator trim is achieved by the use of a bungy loop around the stick near the base and going forward to the steel sub-frame, and then another bungy working rearward against that. In the photos below, that is attached to a lever. Since then I have changed it to a friction wheel. Garry didn't intend it, but I found that I can lift the upholstery velcro and slide the forward bungy left or right to "lean" on the stick. Plenty for aileron trim.

It's so effective, I would recommend removing all tension on it (at cruise altitude) when making sure the plane flies straight during initial flight testing.

 

Er, photo's???

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Doug, there are cockpit images attached to post #7. Can't see them?

 

R461 - the Cheetah that's flying in WA is at Serpentine. It isn't painted, but is flying. Garry went over there and helped them test fly it and sort out a few issues.

There are 2 other unfinished Cheetahs there somewhere, and an unfinished Super Diamond.

 

I forgot to mention something that may be on people's list, but wasn't on mine.

The Cheetah is designed to be trailerable. The wings and elevators come off very easily. I keep mine in a hangar, but I did trailer it back to Taree after I broke it. The process is simple and fast. This also helps a lot if you have to outland it somewhere. Your decision on a place to land will be made easier if you know you don't necessarily have to fly it out again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I read that to be photos below #9 showing bungy connections to the lever etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Brett Campany

Cheers for that Ross, great looking cockpit mate! I'll get down to Serpentine one day and see if I can have a loom at the aircraft down there.

 

Thanks again mate!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great review Ross. I see in a couple of your cockpit shots that the nav. gear changes. ie compass, GPS setup etc. What's the story there?:)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Great review Ross. I see in a couple of your cockpit shots that the nav. gear changes. ie compass, GPS setup etc. What's the story there?:)

 

Cheers Keith.

There are 15 months between those shots. The original compass was a cheap temp one because I had trouble sourcing a good one for a while.

The GPS broke after 4 years of faithful service, so I got a new one.

Eagle eyes.

 

Doug - I realised tonight what caused the confusion over the photos. I changed my options to order posts from newest down to oldest. So I wrote "below" because that's where previous posts are for me. Sorry 'bout that chief.

I'll get the photos of the trim system on the weekend.

 

Brett, my photo album went missing from my profile page during the site upgrade and Ian hasn't found it yet, but there are more photos you might like here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for that Ross. It's a really neat package. (need a drool emoticon)

 

 

PS. Do you know how much difference there is in the Vne & stall figures between the all metal with flaps & your craft?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well stated Ross.. I also bought a cheetah about 6 weeks ago after agonizing over what plane to buy. My original reasons for choosing the Cheetah were that there is no hanger space available at Wagga so I planned on trailering a plane, and the cheetah ticked that box. Second requirement was I wanted a plane I could fly to Newcastle and so fuel enduarance and speed were important. The jab's I had flown in were nice cruising at around 85 to 95 kts, but the appeal of a 110kt cruise was an extra tick for the cheetah. The final tick was that I wanted a jabiru engine cause I reckon they are a pretty damn good donk. Gary Morgan was extremely helpful throughout the decision making process (and thereafter). He met me in Cessnock and gave me a few hours flying to see if I liked the plane and I was absolutely stunned by how stable and sweet it flew. As I dicked around for a few weeks deciding what to buy I got plenty of advice from seasoned flyers and even made a call to RAA to see if their were any issues with the Morgan planes. Every time I to Tried to find a reason to go safe and buy a jab, I just couldnt get the Cheetah out of my mind. One day when I rang Gary to ask more questions he asked me the question that chinched the deal for me. He asked me what I didnt like about the plane... That was the clincher for me, after 2 days more procrastinating I couldnt think of one single thing I didnt like... From that day until now I have never regretted buying this plane.. After 6 hours of circuits at Taree I flew it home to Wagga. The comfort level of the slightly reclined seating position and ample room to stretch my legs made that pretty damn comfortable. You may ask how did I stretch my legs while flying, the Cheetah is so stable in the air that once trimmed it just flys along merrily without any need to lean on the rudder. I know Im starting to sound like an advertisement for Cheetah's just like Ross, but the reality is that there is a plane for every type of personality and the Cheetah ticks all the boxes for me..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest palexxxx

Ross, are your wings on your plane of the removable type?

 

Peter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes Peter, although I don't make a habit of it.

 

I was sure someone asked the VNE and stall speed of John Bale's all-metal Cheetah with flaps, but now I can't find where.

Oh well - the answers are:

 

150 knot VNE (mine's about 125)

 

Stall at medium load with flaps extended - 22 knots.

Mine's about 35.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for that Ross. They are both impressive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Love that SRA logo, very neat. Thanks for your post Ross.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest palexxxx
Ross, are your wings on your plane of the removable type?

 

Peter.

 

 

Ross,

 

The reason I ask is because in photo 2 of your post #7 there appears to be a massive gap between the wing and the fuselage, if that gap is there all the time I would have thought that that would have created a major amount of drag and that may have been the cause of your inability to achieve a cruise speed similiar to other cheetahs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another bloody eagle-eyed punter. You've got to watch watch you post here ;).

That set of photos was taken slightly before completion, and a number of things weren't done at the time - including the wing root lining. There is a 2 inch wide rubber strip glued in place to seal that joint. It provides a waterproof seal, while still allowing the wings to be taken off.

 

Cheers,

Ross

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×