I designed and built a 3rd airplane. It was called the Cyclone. I never finished it because I was moving too much and the plane became the subject of a lawsuit. The original guy who paid me to design the plane went bankrupt 2/3 of the way thru the project. I had been hauling the project around fro years until I finally sold it to a guy in Minnesota. Anyway, the Cyclone was designed to be a Canadian rules Ultralight. It was powered by a 65HP Rotax and designed as a STOL one man plane. It has an all aluminum 37 ft span constant chord wing with an 8 foot flap and drooping ailerons. The flaps controlled a differential aileron mixer that blended the Aileron differential. The lower fuselage was designed to accommodate a strake angle that matched a Grumman Aluminum Canoe. The canoe doubled as a cargo pod. The plane was designed to a gross weight of 1200 lbs. it was intended that a fully dressed elk and camping gear could be loaded in the canoe.
|The red paint is a sandable primer|
|Cyclone with Daughter Hovercraft in background|
Unfortunately This project was never finished. It was tied up for 5 years in a bankruptcy. I eventually settled for all of the rights and project. However I lost all interest in this project. I was travelling to China and japan during this period and I couldn't devote enough time to it.
The Shop in Holland
The shop I designed for my House in Holland Michigan to this day is the finest place I have ever worked in. I designed the shop from the ground up to be energy efficient. It was super insulated and had a passive solar collector. I never had a gas bill larger than $20 in the middle of the winter while keeping this shop heated at 74 degrees. The shop was 40' x 40' . It had two 18 foot conventional garage type doors but both were insulated with spray urethane foam. .It also had 10' eave. Internally I used a scissors or cathedral truss. The truss was modified to extend the ridge 8 feet so a Clerestory space window could be installed.
|internal view of the clerestory windows|
|table saw in the foreground with a Tequila Sunrise|
This is the 2nd of three very large shops I have owned. Building a shop has been the best investment I have ever made. I have calculated that I got back $1.75 for every dollar I ever spent. In the case of my shop in Wichita, I sold the house in 7 days because of the shop. The same thing happened with this shop in Holland. I really hated to leave this house, shop and city of Holland Michigan. But I could see what was coming to Michigan and the auto industry. I sold this house because of this shop, The Realtor put an ad in the MLS listing calling this shop the Garage-ma-hal. I sold the place in 6 days, this at a time when houses were sitting on the market up to one year. Six months later, you couldn't give a house way in Holland.
Jamies Hover Craft
So initially I thought I could power the lift fan with a spare weed wacker engine. This turned out to be a bust. The issue was not a lack of power, but one of fan efficiency. The skirt material by the way, was given to me by a sign shop. I got the last 6 feet on two rolls. This is a vinyl canopy material. So that is what the Hover Craft looked like with the original weed wacker lift engine. As you can see the construction was 1/4" door plywood and Styrofoam covered with fiberglass. The thrust engine was mounted on a swivelling duct. The duct could traverse 180 degrees. There was very little thrust, but that WAS by design, I didn't want Jamie to get away from me.
The duct was controlled by a snowmobile style tiller bar, the internal cable ratio's were such that from lock to lock, the duct could rotate 180 degrees.
The other great fun we had together was using it as a merry go round on our Cul-de-sac. I have to tell you once she got moving a bit, the model airplane prop would "Bite" and it was really hard to hold her back.
The Zip Drive
Johnson Controls Holland was once owned by Ed Prince, the father of Eric Prince the owner of Blackwater!! Ed Prince from all accounts was one hell of a guy to work for. People would put in enormous amounts of free time to help make programs and projects successful, and this was because at the end of the day, Ed Prince took care of you. Prince Automotive valued original design, they not only encouraged out of the box brainstorming, but every year they had a contest that was mandatory for all designers to enter. They called it the Rube Goldberg contest. I was hired By JCI as an automotive interior designer. i parlayed some Aircraft interior design experience at Hexcel Composites. I was initially hired for the Jeep Commander program. This beast was about 10% larger that a Suburban. It was cancelled 1 week after they hired me. My boss Jeff Gras told me not to worry, I would be reassigned, but meanwhile he said my only job was to win the rube Goldberg contest. What a great job!!!!!
|The Zip Drive|
The only parts not in the parts bag were the CD discs, but since we didn't have to pay for them it was allowed. The lever arm attached to a variable ration capstan that Peggy made out of aluminum It was pressed to the rear axle. A piece of string wrapped over this capstan and attached to the yellow lever arm.
|top view of the Zip Drive|
|Side view of the Zip Drive|
The race was run as a 4 heat elimination. There were about 150 entries. We were placed in the middle of the pack. Most of the cars were gravity powered and a few were powered. None however could figure out how to use the valve spring. Most of the gravity cares were running about 6 seconds. The powered ones were hitting the high 4's Our design used the rubber bands to pull the main arm over center and launch the car. Once we were about 3 feet in front of the gate, the arm went over center and the main power was hooked up to the rear wheels. The drive was designed to accelerate right up to the finish line. We crossed the line and buried in the catch box a full 4 seconds before the nearest car. We killed everyone!!
|And the Winner is...........|
The Miss Mary Kate
This is a Hydroplane project I finished. A friend of mine in Holland Michigan, Scotty Hansen, gave me a partially completed Hydro project. I decided to complete it and give it to my Nephew Andy for his 10th Birthday. Andy lives on a lake in eastern Michigan in the northern Detroit suburbs. He lived with his Father Aaron and my sister Mary Kathleen (Thus the name Miss Mary Kate!!) The basic construction was 1/4" fir plywood. My final contribution was to complete the upper deck and the shovel nose rub rail. That was an interesting process. it required that I steam a piece of 2" x 2"X 10' Oak rail.
The final finish was a thin layer of fiberglass follwed by days of filling and sanding automotive bondo. I used an old 7 hp fishing boat motor and wth my nephew in the boat, it would easily get up on the two sponsons and plane. Top speed was about 30 mph.