experimental aircraft, Sky Raider experimental lightsport aircraft, Sky Raider
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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.
Sky Raider experimental
lightsport aircraft, amateur built aircraft.
This is the story of Joe Cook's purchase of a SkyRaider
ultralight to add to his collection of various vehicles, and
hopefully fly soon. The connection was made via an ad in
Barnstormers placed by Vic Bologna of Lakeport, CA.
The plane was actually being flown out of Petaluma Municipal
Airport and that is where we picked it up. On Sat. 12/3/05,
my brother Dan and I departed for Petaluma towing JL's
trailer at 0800.
Going by way of 162, I-5, 505 (Winters Cutoff), I-80, 37 and
101, we got to the Petaluma airport about 1050.
We found the plane already out of the hangar and ready for
inspection. Vic went over the pre-flight walk-around and
answered questions. It all looked good, as expected.
Ad Code TwoHere
Then Vic asked
a friend, and CFI, Chris, to do the demo flight and that all
went well. So Vic and I went into the Petaluma WaMu bank
where I presented the "Official Check" and he got it
cashed/exchanged. Meanwhile, Dan was working on getting the
trailer ready to load. This involved adding some plywood
planks which he had scrounged from a trash pile and some
plywood shelving donated by a neighbor from the hangar
across the way (and owner of a Viking). Good thing we
brought our cordless screwdrivers and lots of 3" drywall
screws. :) The combo extended the available deck space
such that we could load the SR facing forward and get the
tailwheel onboard. This got the CG of the plane in a better
position on the trailer and eliminated any worries about
reverse airflow on the tail feathers which might have been a
problem with a tail first trip. All this was accomplished
with the help and advice of Vic and several of his friends.
Once we got going we could see that the prop was developing
enough torque at 60 mph to slowly rotate the engine. So we
stopped on SR37 and put a bungee on the prop to stop that.
I looked in the cockpit at that point and found the ignition
key was not in place and wondered where it might be stowed.
Turned out it was tied to the safety pin on the BRS
(Ballistic Recovery System) and made perfect sense. We got
a lot of approving glances and thumbs ups from various
people in traffic as we moved along at trailer pace vs.
their more normal speeds. We pulled into the Rest Stop on
I-5 south of Williams for a pit stop and to check the load.
I parked in a "trailer" slot on the truck side that had an
empty slot on each side. Before we left, an 18 wheeler had
pulled in on each side. And the drivers and their
passengers stood around and asked questions and admired the
plane for several minutes. And I was more than happy to
answer their questions. :)
We got back to the OFOF Briefing Hut about 1730 pst and
since it was dark by that time, we just rolled the trailer
and SR into the Hut after placing a caster unit under the
trailer jack. Rolled in quite nicely and fit the space
available as envisioned.
On Monday, 12/5, we unloaded the SR and unfolded the wings
(sorry, didn't take a pic with the wings in place yet).
Found it is more of a two man job than expected to do that
task. It has a very tight fit at the fuselage fitting and
the alignment has to be just right to get the pins
installed. I found a Phillips screwdriver in my tool box
that was about the same diameter as the pins and that helped
to get everything aligned so the pins would go in. I think
I'll try and find, or make, a tapered pin to accomplish that
task. With everything in place, I climbed into the cockpit
and tried it on for size. Seems basically excellent as is.
Found out my LightSpeed headset doesn't have the proper plug
to fit the existing Ultra-com comm panel jack. I have
subsequently found a couple of adapter cables that should
work, on the Web. We folded the wings back up and rolled it
back in the Hut. At 20' long with the wings folded it needs
to be angled somewhat to leave room to pass at the south
end. Dan was going to rearrange some of the stored stuff to
facilitate a better position.
On Tues., 12/6, I went over to the Hut to check engine s/n,
redux box, et al. Dan had indeed moved stuff around and the
SR was re-positioned at about a 30 deg. angle to the front
wall and had plenty of space at the rear. Even looks like
there is space for normal meeting crowd without rolling it
out, maybe. Eventually, the tentative plan is to build
another 'Port' to be able to store/hangar it outside the
Hut. I removed the cowling and inspected everything in the
engine compartment. It is all exceptionally clean. We'll
see how long it stays that way. :) Found the engine s/n
and recorded it. Found the gearbox is a 2.62:1 ratio
(stamped 2.62 HM) and the prop is 64" in diameter. Also
found the primer port on the carb. Presently, the Rotax 503
engine is started using the choke which is actuated by a
lever on the carb. you have to reach in thru the front of
the cowl to get at it. So the drill is to set the choke,
start the engine, let it run for 10 secs. or so, turn it
off, then reach in and turn off the choke, then restart.
Rather tedious. I have the option of installing a choke
cable to operate the choke or to put in a primer. The guys
on the Fly-UL list are mostly in favor of the primer because
it also gives a backup, limp home, mode if the fuel pump
fails. You can also get rid of the flexible 'primer bulb'
which have been known to stick its ball valve and cut off
fuel to the engine. I'll probably go the primer route.
So as of 12/6, that's where we are. I'm ordering the
adapter cable and hopefully within a couple of days we'll
have the communication system up to par and I can do some
taxi testing, etc.
More to come.
Update #1 - 12/15/05 Activities - Taxi Practice (email to
Well, today was SR's debut on the tarmac of OVE. :) I was
able to get it out and both wings unfolded. I ground each
pin down to make an entry taper up to about the middle of
the safety pin hole. Seemed to help the installation some.
I installed the "industrial strength" Velcro on the panel
after cutting to size. And it seems to work well and looks
good. I gave it a squirt of Starting Fluid so it would feel
at home with the rest of our fleet. :) Set the choke,
climbed in and it started after a couple of revolutions of
the prop. It doesn't take long for it to run like crap with
the choke on so I killed it, climbed out, unset the choke,
climbed back in and restarted. Much smoother and seems to
like above 2K rpm for taxi and smooth running. Turned on
the ANR and sounds much better. :)
The wing clears all of your CalTrans saw horses if you give
them 6' or so of clearance. As far as I could tell it
wasn't making clouds of dust but the rearward visibility is
zero. Forward isn't bad except dead straight ahead. By
moving my head left or right I can see most of where I was
going without the "S" turns. "S" turns are no problem tho.
Rudder steering with the detented tailwheel works well, just
not good for real sharp turns. I went over to the South
Ramp and gave it a real workout. Slalomed around the
tiedown buttons, did clearing turns, left and right, stopped
straight ahead, etc. Turns out that the right brake is
below par and the left brake has some eccentricity or
scuffing issues. But the left one definitely has stopping
power and would pop the tailwheel loose and pivot on the
left wheel nicely. Think I'll be doing left hand clearing
turns for a while. ) The right one doesn't have the
stopping power, even with the heel pedal in proper
position. It is lazy with max. force. Think it will take
some inspection to check internal conditions. Interesting
that Chris didn't give us any feedback on the brakes, just
said, "Yeah, I used them.". :)
With my comm all up to par, I did the whole exercise and
never heard one call from anybody. The Quick had left
earlier (didn't hear any overrevving out of it today) and
the 2 trike guys were out on their evening excursion. They
all came back after I was parked back on our pad at the
I drug the feed scales out and with a couple of 2x6 ramps
was able to get the mains up on the scales. I couldn't
figure out how to get the tailwheel raised up to datum by
myself. So I read the scales as was...Oh..Oh. The left
read 204 1/2 lbs., the right read 207 1/2. When we get the
tailwheel up these will go up some more. So I think we will
be hard put to keep the gross below 550 lbs. Could be more
I folded things up and put it back in the Hut. Didn't time
it but with the door and everything, I think it takes about
30 min. out and 30 min. back. BTW, I got the data package
from Vic that includes the GPS manual, Icom manual, Rotax
503 manual and the Flying K SR build manual. Thanks, Vic.
Joe Cook (12/18/05)
Story courtesy of
Jabiru 80 hp
Wing span wlo
Take Off Roll
75' to 100'
Wing Span wi
75' to 100'
Wing area wlo
98 sq ft.
Wing Area wi
107 sq. ft.
experimental homebuilt lightsport aircraft
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