Tim Taylor wrote:
I will need to make some changes to the gliders I'm thinking about building and I need some suggestions on finding engineering help. I've looked at some of the web sites and they range from aerospace contractors to answering machines. Some shared experiences, suggestions would help a lot.
If you're going to do it right, you need an FAA Designated Engineering Representative (DER). They are people who meet the FAA standards and are considered qualified enough to approve engineering changes in the name of the FAA. The FAA has an online directory of DERs.
If you're saying "I need an engineer to look at something I want to do and tell me if there's anything wrong," there are tons of people who will do that. Some of them are actually engineers. Remember, "On the Internet, no one knows you're a dog."
More'n likely, you want a happy compromise of the two. The trouble is, engineers that are worth a darn aren't going to commit themselves over a sketch and a brief online description. They're going to want a lot more information, including structural details of the gliders which may not be publicly available. I'm fortunate enough to live in Seattle, where our chapters are hip-deep in Boeing engineers. They're happy to talk about changes and such, but they balk at giving casual approval.
Your best bet would be to talk to some of the folks at your EAA Chapter. Your tech counselor may know of some qualified folks. Also, see if the glider design has an online presence in the form of a mailing list or discussion group. Someone else may have tried your changes and can report on them.