ultralight aircraft, Pterodactyl experimental aircraft, Pterodactyl experimental light sport aircraft (ELSA), Lightsport Aircraft Pilot News
Aircraft Pilot is a directory of aircraft that generally fit
into what are described as ultralight aircraft, advanced ultralight
light sport aircraft, experimental light sport aircraft, experimental
aircraft, amateur built aircraft, ELSA or homebuilt
aircraft in the United States and Canada. These include
weight shift aircraft, more commonly known as trikes,
powered parachutes, and powered para-gliders.
Pterodactyl ultralight, experimental
lightsport, amateur built aircraft.
Ultralights Vanderbilt PA
The following is from the first Newsletter called the
Ptimes put out by the original factory back in the early
Courtesy of www.geocities.com/pterodactylclub/index.html
The Ptimes are
wonderful to read even now, almost 25 years later. Mostly
written by Jack McCornack, his design and flying
experiences, as well as his sense of humour really shine
though in these writings!
As practical information for owners of Pterodactyl aircraft
that are still being flown, they are quite valuable. As
historical works that show insights into the heady early
days of the ultralight revolution they are indispensable!
PTERODACTYL FLEDGLING is an ultralight motor glider based on
the Manta Fledge II B hang glider. It is fully collapsible
for transport or storage. At this time no license or
registration is required, but it is possible that a student
pilot's license will be required sometime in the future.
Registration may also be required. This kit has been
designed to comply with the FAA's "51% amateur built"
requirement for experimental aircraft registration.
involved in constructing your PTERODACTYL FLEDGLING are
airframe assembly, rigging, landing gear assembly, power
unit assembly, and wing cover installation. It is
recommended that you give yourself a full day for the
rigging, but each of the other steps can be done in an
evening or two.
tell you how long it will take you to build yours. At Manta,
a dedicated crew of two builds three Fledgling hang gliders
a day. On the other hand, if you only work on it after work
and before dinner, figure a month. No gluing, doping or
painting is required, as the wing covering and rudders are
pre-built and all tubing is anodized.
airframe kit is ready to ship two weeks after we receive
your order. The power plant and landing gear kit go out in
three weeks. The custom sail requires five weeks, between
Pterodactyl and Manta we've got the sailmaker pretty busy.
When you design the colors of your wing covering, use blue
and green sparingly if at all. Yellow and orange are the
easiest colors to see.
and specifications shown ore for the PTERODACTYL FLEDGLING
with landing gear and PTERODACTYL 'X' power plant. The
landing gear uses shock-cord suspension and 16" bicycle
wheel mains to allow takeoffs and landings at unimproved
fields. The power plant uses a 242cc snowmobile engine with
a direct driven 36" prop. It's a lot quieter and more fuel
efficient than last year's system, which used a reduction
drive 136cc Chrysler. The price includes seat, sail bag, rib
bag, and a shipping and storage tube. If you're comparing
costs with other aircraft, remember the portability of the
PTERODACTYL FLEDGLING means no trailer or hanger is needed.
expedite your order, include a cashier's check or money
order for the full amount. We will ship your airframe kit in
two weeks, followed by the power kit and the wing cover.
This way you'll be flying roughly six weeks after you place
your order. If you prefer, you can send 50% down with your
order, the balance due when your complete PTERODACTYL
FLEDGLING kit is ready
approach on a minimal airstrip. The pilot shown is quite
experienced. The runway isn't much wider than the landing
approach, maintain 25 MPH airspeed or more. Flying too slow
puts the aircraft close to stall and reduces the
effectiveness of the rudders for glideslope control. On
final, both rudders should be out slightly. Glide can then
be extended or shortened by reducing or increasing the
amount of rudder deployment. For glare, fully deploy both
rudders. The increased drag above the center of gravity will
lift the nose and increase angle of attack. Touch down on
the main wheels first. After landing, use the rudders to
control direction during rollout.
landing gear holds the aircraft at a positive angle of
attack, so all the pilot has to do to take off is accelerate
to flying speed and keep aimed down the runway. Low speed
steering is done by turning the nose wheel, but from 10 MPH
on up, rudders must be used. At approximately 20 MPH, the
PFLEDGE leaves the ground. In no wind, this takes roughly
250 feet. The pilot moves forward slightly, to trim at an
airspeed of 30 MPH, which gives best rate of climb and is
well above stall speed.
flare. Note the fully deployed rudders. The runway is as
wide as the wingspan and suitable for training.
PTERODACTYL 'X' is
a drive unit using a Xenoah 242cc engine. The system weighs
about ten pounds more than the 136cc Chrysler used in our
earlier power unit. We de-tune the engine with a restrictive
(and quiet) muffler and high pitch prop, which drops its max
horsepower from 22 at 7000 RPM to 16 at 5800 RPM. The
Chrysler is rated
at 8HP, we were bumping it up to about 10. As well as being
more powerful, our 'X' package is a lot more reliable. The
other engine didn't last real long at 125% of rated power,
the 'X' is only running 75%,
biggest performance increase has been in cruise. We travel
cross country a lot now days, usually at 45 MPH indicated.
It'll maintain altitude at 50 with me in it (I weigh 187 in
my stocking feet) but at that speed fuel consumption is
roughly 1? gallons
per hour. Throttled back to 40 MPH consumption is less than
1 GPH, by putting around at 30-35 and looking for lift it
can get down to ? GPH.
isn't much greater than before (about 300 FPM) but it's now
capable of climbing over a very broad speed range. The 'X'
power plant will climb about 100 FPM at 45, with the
Chrysler reduction system 45 was top speed and the plane was
losing altitude fast.
microlight aircraft advertised at twice the climb rate of
the PFLEDGE that can't climb with us in actual practice. 300
FPM is not the highest number we've read on a vario, it's
not a calculation based on static thrust, it's not based on
the aircraft's potential without a pilot, it's a plain old
stopwatch-and-altimeter measurement with a stock motor and a
tank full of regular. If you have a special application that
requires a greater climb rate (such as crop dusting) we can
install a reduction drive on the Xenoah as easy as the
Chrysler, and we can bump up the horsepower to 25 or so. But
don't expect it to be as good as a cross country machine, it
won't be as reliable as our present unit and it'll be a gas
drive unit is the main reason the '79 PFLEDGE costs 10% more
than the '78. Even in lots of a hundred, the Xenoah costs
more than twice the price of the Chrylser. We feel it's well
one aspect of performance where the Chrysler system was
superior to the 'X'. It still takes off in 250 feet, but it
takes three seconds longer to get there. That's because
static thrust is 20 pounds lower with our new system (65
instead of 85), and this reduces the acceleration from 0 to
10 MPH. In order to take advantage of the power availble
from the 'X' at high speed and to give a low RPM cruise,
propeller pitch is too high for optimum static thrust. As
well as efficiency losses caused by the prop's excessive
angle of attack, it loads the engine so much it'll only turn
4000 RPM on the ground so the engine's only putting out 8 to
10 horsepower. At 50 MPH we get 5800 RPM and 16 horsepower,
and 80 pounds of thrust. It's like having a car with only
one gear. If it's third, it'll be a dog away from the stop
drive units on the market which have been optimised for
static thrust. Static demonstrations have proven to be an
effective selling tool. To achieve maximum static thrust,
the engine must run at peak horsepower at zero airspeed. As
airspeed increases and RPM goes up past peak horsepower and
into a range where the engine becomes rather short fused.
It's like having a car stuck in first,
you can't expect it to hang together very long on the
aircraft design is filled with compromises. We chose to give
away some performance on the ground in exchange for increase
flight performance. So if you want to take off at dawn,
you're going to have to set your alarm three seconds earlier
than you did flying last year's model.
we've got something where we can take off Saturday morning
with a sleeping bag and gas money, log a couple hundred
miles, and come back Sunday evening. The landing gear is
capable of handling fields I'd rather not even walk in, so
we're not stuck in the airport-to-airport rut. For real soft
stuff (like loose sand) you can put one of the 16" wheels on
the nose and mount 20" mains, as shown on the first couple
of pages. I don't have them on mine because of the extra
weight and parasitic drag, but then again it took me 800
feet to get off a beach once.
write us with questions and suggestions so we can have a
question and suggestion column in Vol.1, #2 of THE PTIMES.
Pterodactyl ultralight -
experimental lightsport aircraft
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