As much as I love my dragonfly. The maintenance required for the limbach happens a little more than I'd like. First of all this is the original engine that was in the plane in 1987. While it has been relatively trouble free other than needing a new set of heads about a year ago. I feel like having to pull the cowling off, and adjust the valves every 20-25 hours to be a bit more than I'd like. Stretching that interval to 30 hours just isn't possible. I typically adjust at 20 hours and the #3 exhaust valve always seems to need it.
So, out with the old and in with the new as they say. New to me that is. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what i can fit under my cowling without a ton of modifications. I originally wanted the Jabiru 3300, but it turned out that it was going to be a ton of work, heavier and really a lot more power than I needed. I know, there's no such thing as too much power... Basically, it was going to take a ton of work to fit under the cowling and I hat working with fiberglass.
I also looked at some auto conversions, but again heavy and I thought they were overly complex to adapt to airplanes.
Finally, I settled on the UL Power 260is. The problem with this engine was price. I was going to have to wait another year to buy a new one because they are currently $22,800 brand new plus shipping. I couldn't help but ask some questions and someone suggested I get in touch with the US distributer in case they knew of a used engine somewhere. Would you believe Ray knew of one? So, off a check went for $14,450 to Kaolin Aviation for an engine with under 100 hours on it, and a 54x50 carbon prince p-tip propeller came along with it as well.
So right now I'm waiting for weather to clear up so estes can pick it up for me. In the mean time I've roughly modeled the engine mount, talked to Lonnie at Prince Propellers, spoke with composite aviation about fabbing me an engine mount, got an update from GRT avionics that receives the signal from the ECU for engine monitoring, and I've started buying various things for the install.
Alright, so I have big news. No I’m not selling the airplane, but I am upgrading the engine.
just got a great deal for a ul power 260is. As soon as it arrives I’ll begin working on getting it installed.
Everything arrived for the plane in mid October. Just in time for me to open it all and leave for a 10 day vacation Then I had an issue with the alternator belt. I had to pull the engine to replace it. While doing that, I decided it was time to install a bunch of new stuff. So out with the old avionics and in with the new. It has been a ton of work to get to this point, Here’s a list of the main things that were purchased:
Starting to work on the new panel, I’ve ordered everything that I need, and have drawn up the panel in Solidworks. It will have four removable sections. Three on the top and one in the middle. I’m still waiting on the Grt sport ex basic with magnetometer and engine monitor, did receive the mini power panel from composite design, changed to locking toggles for magneto and electronic ignition plus a start button. Then to top it all off I’ve purchased the trig ty91 radio as well.
the great thing about this setup is that everything can talk to each other and it’s lighter than what I have now. Just waiting on the call from Grt for my credit card when it’s ready to ship.
center panel mock-up below.
I haven’t posted in quite some time. So I owe an update. I’ve been flying as much as possible even if it’s just to breakfast on a weekend. The plane has also been moved to Valkaria Airport (X59), and I ordered the sds CPI ignition. I’m also planning a panel upgrade that’ll include a Grt Efis and eis, trig ty91 radio, and composite design inc power panel.
Now for some flying videos.
I’ve been gathering performance data
pattern rpm -2200
Stall speed - 60mph solo 65 mph gross
best glide - 80mph solo 85mph gross
Vy - 90 mph
Vx - 80mph
Power off stalls are benign. There is no indication prior to the stall. The canard just stalls and the elevator gets quickly pulled up, a d you feel a slight pop in the stick from the control surface moving.
Now that everything is working right it’s time to paint the wheel pants. So far I just finished priming the left wheel pant. Prime, wet sand, repeat...