They are making good “progress” and might be ready to move the plane to the airport before summer. However, it seems many things are not well thought out/going according to plan:
- empty weight is ~2920 lbs, compared to 2300 planned (!!)
- the audi diesel has not really been properly tested yet, they are running it over spec (higher boost than in a car), totally new turbo setup compared to car, the redrive was not tested at all in the current incarnation
- huge issues with the doors, had to be redesigned a few times
- still I am concerned about how the windows are fixed to the fuselage (as far as I can tell bonded/glued/screwed on from the outside)
- they had to redesign the canard elevators at least once
Generally, it seems like they are doing exactly the opposite from what I would do in their shoes:
- they try to build the perfect plane first, and then test it (for example they put a huge amount of time into the interior finishing)
- they use many unproven technologies at once and don’t properly test the individual components before putting them into the plane, especially the engine/redrive (they might remove the engine soon for some more testing though)
Unfortunately, I’m growing more and more skeptical this will be a successful kit plane anytime soon, but of course I am still rooting for them :)
I am watching the project progress with interest and a degree of anxiety.
I was almost relieved that serious issues with the powerplant are arising before the plane flies.
This said… given how much effort is being put in the paint job and general fit and finish, I wonder if the business strategy could be to win an Oshkosh prize and use this and the 1000+ deposits to lure an investor and exit with a nice profit at this point.
The prototype is certainly a stunning achievement, but I still view the Raptor as not viable (read: lethal).
It seems there are now some major bumps on the way.
The test pilot has 3 areas that is not acceptable:
- engine. Single ECU. Testpilot insist on a dual ECU
- Winglet design.
- foreplane design.
There is a detailed explanation about the financing part.
Redrive also has issues…
Team also is leaving, so now Peter is alone.
Think there is less than 10% probability that it flies within 12 months.
More positive news. He has a new coupling and probably a new test pilot willing to fly it. I really hope it works out for him as he has put 4 years of his life into this.
Let’s see if he can convince a test pilot to fly it. Gonna be a tough sell unfortunately
Testpilot insist on a dual ECU
What a chicken! I was on a course at ULPower the other day. About 95% of the engines sold for airplanes are with a single ECU and almost anyone who install and use them are their own “test pilot”. Almost 100% sold for helicopters are dual ECU. To this day, not a single ECU has failed -ever, except maybe one that was toasted due to faulty installation (could be just an internet story). The thing with dual ECU, for it to make any sense whatsoever, you need a full set of extra sensors, and eventual dual actuators/output.
It’s very much a design/engineering thing. A modern engine starts with the ECU designed for a particular purpose. An ULPower engine will continue running with all sensors failed except RPM. TPS (Throttle Position Sensor), air temp, air pressure, oil temp, fuel pressure may all fail, it will keep on running. Even injectors may fail, it will keep on running with the remaining, at reduced power of course. With a dual system you can run one or the other, or both.
A car ECU will probably go into fail mode and stop the engine at a single failure of a sensor. It makes no sense to hump along with a failed TPS in a car for instance.
What a chicken!
That makes a good test pilot. Testing new stuff and not being a chicken is plain stupid.
Sometimes it is easier to pin saying no on a single, easily defendable and hard to fix item, than on the cumulative risk posed by the combination of many smaller factors…
The prospective test pilot probably decided he didn’t want to fly it even if the things he found were addressed.
So he needs a test pilot who is willing to take more risk.
That makes a good test pilot
Which was my point, if you had bothered reading the rest.