|LongEZ - N961EZ on the tarmac in Alamogordo, New Mexico|
I FLY EZ
LOOK MOM, NO WINGLETS
8 years and 2500 hours later. Its time to do some upgrades. My LongEZ is straight plans built with an O-320 engine, and an MT constant speed prop . It has served me well over the years and I've decided to take it down for the winter and do some serious drag reduction.
160HP Lycoming O-320 MT Propeller, 3 bladed constant speed prop 990 lbs. empty CG at 102.5. Standard vortilons installed. High Performance rudders Rontz Canard
On the list of things to do was to cut off the lower winglets. Seems like everyone I talked to said this would increase 2 or 3 knots. I went out and did some baseline measurements to verify any speed changes. Obviously, I can't do this after each change, but I wanted to get some BEFORE / AFTER data points. So with two of the last good flying days here in northern Ohio, I topped off the O2 bottle and took to the skys.
On Saturday, I had 20 gallons of fuel, and proceeded with the step climb, 2,500 to 17,500 ft. The engine controls were placed in their normal "Flight Position", Engine RPM at 2,300, and the throttle FULL. These were NOT touched for the duration of the test. I started at 2,500 and very carefully, held the altitude to within 20 ft. I would then climb to the next test altitude, PLUS 100 ft. I would then start a slight descent to build up the airspeed, and would level off at the test altitude. I maintained each altitude for approximately 10 minutes to allow the speed to stabilize. I then noted all the parameters, airspeed, altitude, Manifold Pressure, Outside Air temp. I then climbed to the next test altitude and repeat the process over again, up to 17,500 ft.
On Sunday, I took a deep breath and put the SawZall blade to the winglet. What took me weeks of painful sanding, filling, painting, and fitting, took precisely 30 seconds to remove. I carefully examined the new short winglets for structural integrity, After I was completely satisfied that this wouldn't come apart. I cranked up the engine and did another full climb series in anticipation of more speed.
So, The bottom line for the first stage of my drag reduction was ZERO gain. The speeds and climbs were identical.
Anyway, I have real good baseline numbers, I'll post the new numbers next spring when I've completed the modifications.
I performed several low speed, high angle of attack maneuvers. Start pulling the stick back and "Slowly" bleed off the airspeed, until the stick is all the way back. In this High AOA mode, My EZ has always been very docile, with a very gentle pitch rocking motion, and very little yawing (Dutch roll). I can give it gentle rudder or aileron input in an attempt to induce Dutch roll, but it always comes back wings level after 3 to 5 cycles
I performed these same maneuvers with the clipped winglets, and noticed "NO APPRECIABLE DIFFERENCE".
The Mods I plan on doing;
1) Clean up the winglets and fair them in to the wing. Retrofit flush mount for the rudder actuators. 2) Re-fair the main landing gear strut to properly line up with the airflow 3) Add nose gear door and clean up nose gear strut 4) Clean up and fair rubber nose bumper 5) relocate the Transponder antenna to to front belly 6) Replace the clevelands with Groves, overhaul master cylinders w/new o-rings 7) Install Dynon EFIS 8) Replace Bendix Mag with E-Mag 9) Install Small standby battery to provide backup power 10) Clean up interior to include new seat cushions 11) Rebuild cowling to clean up lines and reduce drag 12) Maybe, repaint entire aircraft. 13) Maybe, replace standard 5x5 tires with the smaller chen tires from Ken Miller.
With that, Its back to work.
THE ABOVE LIST HAS CHANGED
This is the official modification list as of 1 May 2007! 1) Clean up the winglets and fair them in to the wing. Retrofit flush mount for the rudder actuators. 2) Add Infinity Aerospace main retractable landing gear. 3) Add nose gear door and clean up nose gear strut 4) Replaced rubber nose bumper with 1/2 stainless square tube 5) Relocate the Transponder antenna to the front belly 6) The wheels and brakes are now Matco, 7) Install Dynon EFIS and EMS 8) Replace Bendix Mag with E-Mag 9) Install Small standby battery to provide backup power 10) Clean up interior to include new seat cushions 11) Modify to Downdraft cooling 12) Repaint exterior of aircraft, F16 Camo scheem. Interior to dark gray. 13) Remove exterior sump blisters and replace with hell hole sump tank. 14) Install Strong Pitch Trim system. 15) Install Electric Landing Brake actuator from Ken Miller 16) Install Airflow Performance Fuel Injection system. 17) Install Electric Nose gear from Jacks EZNose Lift 18) Relocate the Cabin heater (Oil Heat System) to the rear seat thigh support.
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