1979 Weedhopper News
132 HOURS IN A WEEDHOPPER
Steve Groat has had a lot of hours in his Weedhopper (# 0004). This time has been all with a Yamaha snowmobile engine. Steve reports that maintenance has been minimal, with the only real problem being a broken condenser mount in the Yamaha engine, which forced a landing.
Steve has suggested a few changes which we are incorporating into the new "B" Models. First are nylon control pulleys. Steve had to replace his rudder cables at approximately 30 hours and 65 hours, then had plastic pulleys made and the last set of rudder cables are still good after almost 80 hours of use. We are also trying plastic (nylon) wheel bushings, which may eliminate (hopefully) greasing of the wheels.
Rough field operation, repeatedly loosened the nosefork / kingpin bolt, but Steve replaced it with a 5/16" bolt and has had no problems since. He also found the control stick assembly tends to loosen with rough field operation.
He says about every 10 hours or so he runs it through a 25 cent carwash, right on the trailer, the easiest way to clean it so far.
Steve's longest flight was out and returned 45 miles distance, longest duration 3 1/2 hours. Greatest altitude gain so far, 6000 feet. And he still had fuel when he landed, though he ran out taxiing back to his trailer!
I asked him what was the hairiest moment, and he gave me two answers. First, just a couple weeks ago, he got spit out of a thermal and rolled beyond 90°. This gave him a moment of apprehension like, "Wow, what's happening??", but he says the plane recovered before he did. The Weedhopper handled the situation very well with positive control response.
Another incident, with more sustained cause for concern was when a F104 jet passed about 1000 feet behind him. He still isn't sure whether the pilot saw him or not. Steve notes that wide open at 50 miles an hour seems really slow.
Steve says he has a good source for parachutes of the quick opening hang glider type, and a chest type harness. If any of you are interested, contact Steve Groat 11844, Selo Drive, Sunnyvale, CA 94087 Telephone (408) 732-9616.
Dr. HUGH WAYMAN - SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH has been flying #0012 since last October and has had some interesting flights; really likes his Weedhopper! He bought a new "B" Model too!
With full-color front and back covers, this info package answers more questions such as the designer's background, safety, and shows more about Weedhopper Inc.'s facilities. The front cover shows Peter Lert of Air Progress. Just taking off in the rear cover shows John Chotia banked up 60°, soaring a ridge in Southern California. Still $3.00 till June 1. When the price will raise to $5.00. This is by far the most informative of all info packs about any ultralight plane.
We are now selling Model JC 24 -- B. Weedhoppers. The current price is $2195. This will be the price for any order received with a postmark May 31, 1979 or earlier. June 1 and later, the price will be $2495. This is determined by the postmark date, not the date of delivery.
We will be at Oshkosh in force; at least six Weedhoppers, so far. Let us know what your plans. We would like to get flight line space together, and also a camping area together if possible.
Don't forget the $500 prize for the best Weedhopper. The judging will look for craftsmanship and finishing touches, neat filing, flawless paint, neat wiring, etc. we realized the fabric is our doing and hard to clean sometimes, so minimal importance will be placed there, but detailing a care are important everywhere. The Weedhopper is so easy to build that we want to encourage the detail and finish to avoid sloppy looking machines.
There will also be trophies for the oldest builder, longest distance traveled, best trailer, and possibly more, so come and enjoy the fun and share in the E.A.A. experience.
(If you don't already belong to the Experimental Aircraft Association, for goodness sake join. Send $25 to E.A.A., box 229, Hales Corners, Wisconsin 53130. This includes there fine "Sport Aviation" magazine.)
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
The factory will be represented in the Weedhopper with the new C-460 engine will be flown at the following events:
May 12-13 Cedar Valley, Utah.
May 26-27 Watsonville, California Fly-in.
June 2-3 Merced, California Fly-in.
July 28 to August 4 Oshkosh Wisconsin National E.A.A. Fly-in.
"B" MODEL PRELIMINARY REPORT:
We now have about 15 hours flight time on the "B" Model and have decided what features to keep and what changes have not been desirable.
The larger leading edge is really great. The stall characteristics are even better than before, with a more pronounced buffet and softer break. This was expected, and we were pleased with this change. We have been able to eliminate the flexible fiberglass rib tips and are now using full aluminum tube ribs. The extra 1 inch of leading edge radius gives more camber so the rib needs less; this allows the rigid ribs. High-speed handling (near red line) and negative 'G' porpoise maneuvers are more positive due to the rigid to a half-inch diameter leading edge. An added benefit of the fully rigid ribs is much better and tighter covering fit. Small pattern changes also help the fit. By moving the strut attachment tangs inside the LEADING EDGE, we have eliminated all the holes in the leading edge fabric. Stall speed is perhaps 1 mph faster, but it's hard to tell. Best rate of climb speed is noticeably less critical with less penalty for flying a bit too fast or too slow.
The offset bell-crank has been discarded. It seemed like a good idea, but the weight of the pilot's arm caused the plane to pull to the left when the pilot relaxed. In reality, there is not any interference with the center fuselage brace since the level elevator position is considerably forward.
The nylon wheel bushings have not worked out too well. There is more rolling friction, which lengthens the takeoff roll an extended taxi runs caused one to melt and seize. The material we were using was supposed to be self lubricating, but apparently, our localized loading is too high. They probably would work fine with light oil or grease, so we will try that. They are lighter than previous metal bushings, but we hoped to eliminate the oil/grease mess.....
The nylon control pulleys work fine and will be in production.
The first day of flying, we put six hours of air time and a couple of 6 mile out and return jaunts the second day we put on 4 hours, including a 1000 foot soaring altitude gain on a normally inaccessible mountain and left just after noon!
The Weedhopper continues to prove its convenience and reliability. No fuss or fiddling -- just fly!
"HOMEBUILT AIRCRAFT" MAGAZINE
We have just received word that the July issue of "Homebuilt Aircraft" Magazine will have a feature article about Weedhopper, and the Weedhopper will be featured on the cover as well! We haven't seen the article yet, and anxiously await our copy. Don't miss it. It is obvious that the Ultralight Aircraft movement is gaining momentum, and we are glad to be recognized as one of the leaders.