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New-build, LSA, 2-place 1930's style biplane

Posted By:
Eric Witherspoon
Homebuilder or Craftsman
29
Posts
3
#1 Posted: 12/26/2010 16:22:53

Ok, so I'm probably going to make a bunch of purists unhappy, but I've built a couple of riveted-sheetmetal modern homebuilts and decided the next one would be sort of old-fashioned.  So I found a riveted-aluminum-framed, aluminum spar, wood-rib fabric covered biplane designed in the late 1980's with 1930's style.  So on one side, it's not really antique.  But on the other side, it's like so much in the street-rod car world - antique "body style" and all-new stuff underneath.  It will run a Jabiru 2200.

I'm just looking for anyone else interested in this type of building / flying.  There doesn't seem to be a large builder community for this type yet, but I'm optimistic I'll be able to find what I need via existing biplane, fabric covering, and antique / replica sources.

Eric's Biplane - my website

Factory Website 

(Rotax 582 cowl/engine shown here, but they also sell a Jab 2200 mount/cowl)


Sherwood_3.jpg



John Gaertner
4
Posts
0
#2 Posted: 12/27/2010 09:19:56

The Sherwood Ranger is a great aircraft! I went and saw the prototype, and stayed in contact with its build for a number of years because I was interested in possibly building one! It has a lot of personality and good performance. I am pretty sure there was an article written up about it in either Sport or Experimentor in the early 1990's?

Regards,

 

John Gaertner

BSA, LLC



Eric Witherspoon
Homebuilder or Craftsman
29
Posts
3
#3 Posted: 12/27/2010 14:32:33

Yes, I ran across several articles.  I believe the current supplier (G-TLAC) either links to these or has them on their site.  Seems the designer was also the original supplier of kits/parts, and he unfortunately was unable to continue the business due to medical reasons and eventually died from his illness.  It's not exactly clear to me, but it appears the design was unavailable for some time (mid 1990's until 2 or 3 years ago), when G-TLAC obtained the rights and brought it back.  I also don't have a clear picture as to how many of these exist, but I recently bought a plans set, and it's number 40.  So I'm guessing that maybe 15-20 plans sets sold when it was first introduced, as there are several on the UK registry now with build dates in the early-mid 1990's, and that G-TLAC company has sold the balance up to my number 40 in the past few years.  I would hope that it catches on now that it is available again. 



Patrick Panzera
Young Eagles Pilot or VolunteerHomebuilder or CraftsmanUltralight EnthusiastAirVenture Volunteer
58
Posts
23
#4 Posted: 1/6/2011 19:15:11

We did a little something on the Sherwood Ranger in Experimenter not long ago.

http://www.eaa.org/experimenter/articles/2009-09_ranger.asp


Pat



Joshua Grant
Homebuilder or Craftsman
6
Posts
1
#5 Posted: 1/7/2011 10:39:18

I remember seeing the Experimenter report on the Sherwood Ranger and liking what I saw. I have also looked with interest at the Hatz Bantam, another LSA biplane with classic lines. I am in the midst of a Sonex build right now but someday dream of building a classic looking biplane.



Barry Jay
Young Eagles Pilot or VolunteerHomebuilder or Craftsman
1
Post
0
#6 Posted: 2/18/2011 14:19:42

Have you checked out the FK12 Comet?  It's being imported to the U.S. by Hansen Air Group with offices in GA and CA.  I believe they were at Sebring last month and plan to import both kit versions and S-LSA.  It's a little more modern looking than the Sherwood but I like the fact that you can fly it open canopy, closed and single-place with the front pit covered.



BJay Pilot
John Neno
Young Eagles Pilot or Volunteer
9
Posts
0
#7 Posted: 3/1/2011 09:55:22

Eric,

I have always been very interested in the Sherwood Ranger design.  Unfortunately the company/kits do not seem to be marketed well or supported well in the USA.  At one time about 10-12 years ago they had a representative or distributor in the USA, but the original designer passed on, and the company took a few years to get organized. 

My only other issue is that the kit seems a bit over priced, comparable in price to an RV or Sonex kit for much less performance.  While the intended type of flying is very different from an RV or Sonex, at the price for the kit plus an engine, you can purchase some 2 place vintage aircraft. 

Having said all this, the design still has a lot of appeal.  Good luck in your project.  If the kit were priced less, I might build one too.  It is a very appealing if not well known design.



Eric Witherspoon
Homebuilder or Craftsman
29
Posts
3
#8 Posted: 3/1/2011 21:37:10

Price is one reason I'm working from plans (so far).  They do allow that option. 

As for comparing value of the kit – it’s often hard to tell really what you’re getting.  Sonex has definitely optimized in the directions of value and a slick little airframe.  But consider the Sonex kit is not match drilled like an RV – Sonex generally provides holes in only one of any two parts that attach together, and it’s up to the builder to achieve correct alignment and drill through.  Sonex also saves the builder money through the use of stock “channel” pieces – lengths of “z” or “u” channel that the builder has to measure, cut to shorter lengths, cut smaller features in the ends of the parts so they can join with the mating parts, mark hole patterns on, drill these, clamp to the undrilled mating part, drill through, etc.  Not that this is hard, it just adds time.  The Sherwood kit has all the tubes cut to length with the necessary hole patterns at least pilot drilled.  They could easily leave that out and provide a bundle of 12-foot long tubes instead to reduce some cost.

Another thing Sonex does is they don’t include the myriad of bolts, nuts, washers, cotter pins, cables, rod ends, etc. – the million little things necessary to hold the big metal pieces together and make things work.  They have worked with Wicks and Spruce to have those companies assemble kits of hardware.  Those are somewhere in the range of $1000-2000 now.  From what I understand, the Sherwood kit includes all that stuff.  You just add engine, instruments, covering, and paint.

Anyway, there’s lots of little differences in what’s included and the level of completion work required by the builder that contribute to kit cost.  Has G-TLAC made the right choices in this regard?  Will they want to expand the range of options in order to attract customers with more time than money? 

 



Eric Witherspoon
Homebuilder or Craftsman
29
Posts
3
#9 Posted: 6/16/2011 15:04:43

Update - in the 3 months since my prior posting, I have completed most all of the flat aluminum and cut the steel parts (will need welding help, but there's not much steel to weld - aside from the engine mount, there are control sticks, rudder pedals, and upper aft gear leg attach fittings).  I have also obtained ~90% of the tube from a local supplier and cut them to length.  I say 90% because there are a couple of sizes where significantly <12 ft is used, so I'll order those from a by-the-foot type supplier.

Other than the usual oddball aircraft parts (cowling, spinner, seat pads, wheel pants, etc.) there are two other major categories of parts that I'll need to come up with in this design - aluminum requiring a lathe and/or mill, and wooden parts.  Surprisingly, with ~1000 parts in the parts list, they break up roughly evenly into the 4 categories of:  tubes, flat aluminum parts, machined aluminum parts, and wood.

If interested, I would invite you to the Yahoo group I created for this type.  A prior owner and a current builder (much farther along than me) have contributed photos. 

I have a feeling my work will be slowing down significantly for the next few months as it's starting to get really hot around here.

Sherwood group