Weedhopper News December 1978
This is the first issue of the Weedhopper news, as such, I suppose this is the best time to outline the purpose and goals of this publication.
The "Weedhopper News" is intended to provide information and news about significant accomplishments and technical information regarding primarily Weedhopper of Utah, Inc.'s products. Important material may be occasionally including, which relates to ultralight flight in general. Contributions will be gratefully accepting, and I hope to be able to print pictures of your Weedhopper if you send a good B&W.
In the next issues I will outline the Weedhopper Squadron Club goals and basics for our one design competition (which will be a pure skill format, and I guarantee that tasks aren't easy!).
At last, about time? Well, anyway it is done, and running, initial tests are very promising, and we expect production to begin before next newsletter.
There were problems with patterns and castings, which have finally been ironed out, and the fixtures for production are currently in process. We are very excited about this new engine, it promises a whole new era of high-performance ultralight flying.
The moderate state of tune, low rpm, and high quality materials are expected to give long trouble-free service. The initial indications are that we will get what we wanted, high torque, low rpm, smooth running, and long life. From this point, plans are to run it on the Dyno test stand at least 100 hours, then 20 hours airborne to optimize the prop. Production will commence when 100 hours successful, Dyno time is accumulated. A second engine will be run for at least 500 hours or more on the stand to determine the ultimate service life, if possible.
As you can see by the photos is a good-looking engine. And though we could have lessened the work in tooling with other, less attractive external appearance, we want to produce the best possible product inside and out. The end results will speak for themselves.
The Chotia 460 will be available to scratch builders in about three months, as as we have a production level geared up to handle "engine only" sales. Price will be right around $600 with prop hub, ignition, ready to run, but less prop.
Propellers for the Weedhopper type speed range (48D X 19 P.) will be $110. The engine has been designed to be as universal as possible, so we will see a whole family of new designs from Weedhopper of Utah, Inc. in the years to come, all based on this simple reliable and versatile powerplant.
I would like to say that the FAA is very easy to work with, if you only realize that they are very busy people. Some of our customers have been frustrated by slipups within the system. I know the FAA personnel are overworked and underpaid. So they wouldn't be there, if they didn't like airplane. So just grit for your teeth and be pleasant, of course it won't hurt to be persistent!
I think part of the problem is, the FAA system has never had to deal with our type of aircraft before. That is, your kit arrives and two to three weeks later, is ready to fly. The FAA people often are very busy and really aren't used to things happening that fast. A couple of weeks or more slip by, and they don't understand how hard it is for a builder to wait when his plane is ready to fly.
At this point, I want to pass the word that the FAA doesn't really want to regulate super ultralight aircraft such as the Weedhopper.
In Australia, any plane of less than 400 pounds gross and 4 pounds per square foot wing loading doesn't have to be licensed. I think it is basically a good idea. My personal opinion would be favoring a lighter wing load limit such as three or 3-1/2 pounds, but the Australian rules seem to work well. I suggest that if you agree and would like to see this type of ruling in the USA, right, Charlie Schuck, Tech assistant, special projects, AFS 803 -- General Aviation Division Flight Standards Service, FAA, 800 Independence Avenue. Washington, D.C. 20591, and tell him now.
The FAA currently has a ruling proposal in the works. Of course, this no -- license rule would mean that we would be on our own. And we would have to be careful or bring on regulations again. As I see the Weedhopper in use, we really don't use normal airspace. We operate out a very small fields and most are flying is at less than 1000 feet. The Weedhopper is only capable of limited cross-country flying. Our low-speed and lightweight mean, we really couldn't do much damage in a crash. The ball FAA's job is to protect the general public. The Weedhopper doesn't constitute a hazard to the general public, so it really doesn't need FAA supervision. I suppose some sort of guidelines, such as where we cannot fly will be necessary. But I feel a special category is definitely in need. However, you feel about this led Charlie Schuck of the FAA know now.
Meet Weedhopper of Utah Inc.
Sales have been good with nearly 70 sold and 34 delivered. 14 are flying now, and that total rises weekly. Our Weedhopper seems to have found a broad market from student pilots to airline captains, this seems a large number of people anxious to get back to the basics and pure fun flying. We are sending out promotional films to our dealers to show takeoffs, landings, a power on stall, and a lot of playing, some formation flying, and a little mock dogfighting. They will be available for purchase or rent in the near future. Price is as yet to be established, because we are trying to find someone more reasonable than Kodak to supply large quantities of copies. If anyone out there has any leads, we would appreciate hearing from you.
We have found some big areas in our instructions and plans and are working on a new form, with more formal mechanical drawings, and lots of photos. As it is, construction time has run from 31 hours 240 hours! We feel that 40 hours is a realistic estimate of the actual working time, but a lot of "confusion time" has crept in!
The soaring wings are scheduled to be completed after the engine production has smoothed out, and then the electric starter.Current deliveries are running around six to seven weeks. We're getting that down, by securing steady supply sources. There are considerable variety of different components to obtain, and though it saves our customers a great deal of time, it really keeps Susan busy here!